Summer is the prime time for getting together with friends at backyard barbecues and poolside cookouts. While the main dish is typically the showstopper – delicious burgers, pulled pork or chicken – healthy side dishes add just the right touch. These four recipes use delicious summer produce, and all come in at under 300 calories per serving. After choosing your side dish, don’t forget dessert. Check out the recipe for Apple Tartlets in Phyllo Dough Nests here.
BLT Summer Pasta Salad
8 ounces garbanzo bean short pasta (like Banza cavatappi)
4 slices thick, center-cut bacon, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 medium garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 bag baby spinach, stems discarded
Cook the pasta in a large pot according to package instructions.
While the pasta water is heating up, make the sauce. Place the bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate, discard the drippings but leave browned bits in the pan.
Put the olive oil in the pan and place over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and garlic and sauté, scraping up the browned bits in the pan, until the tomatoes are tender, 4 minutes. Keep warm over low heat.
In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt and vinegar. When the pasta is done, drain it and rinse with hot water. Drain well. Add the pasta, bacon, tomato mixture and spinach to the bowl with the mayonnaise mixture and toss to coat. Serve warm.
Serves: 6 | Serving Size: 1 cup/205g
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 245; Total Fat: 14g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 59mg; Sodium: 309mg; Carbohydrate: 21g; Dietary Fiber: 7g; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 10g
Caprese Tomato Salad
3 cups halved multicolored cherry tomatoes
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ounce diced fresh mozzarella cheese (about 1/3 cup)
Combine tomatoes and 1/8 tsp. kosher salt in a large bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Add basil leaves, olive
oil, balsamic vinegar, pepper, 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, and mozzarella; toss.
Serves: 4 | Serving size: ¾ cup
Nutritional Information (per serving): Calories 80; Total Fat 5.8g; Saturated Fat 1.8g; Monounsaturated Fat 2.7g; Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4g; Protein 2g Carbohydrate 5g; Fiber 2g; Cholesterol 5mg; Iron 1mg; Sodium 207mg; Calcium 23mg; Sugars 4g; Est. added sugars 0g
Lighter Spinach Artichoke Dip and Whole-Grain Pita Chips
For the dip
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
8 cups baby spinach
1 cup frozen artichokes, defrosted, patted dry and chopped
1/3 cup canned, sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 cup 2% Greek yogurt
3/4 cup Neufchatel cheese (or reduced-fat cream cheese), at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup part-skim mozzarella, grated
For the chips
3 whole-grain pocket breads (such as Ezekiel)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
For the dip:
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Heat the oil in medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until tender, 2 minutes. Add the thyme and garlic and sauté until fragrant, 20 seconds. Add the spinach and toss with tongs until wilted, 3 minutes. Place in a strainer and squeeze out the excess moisture. Chop and set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat the yogurt, Neufchatel cheese, lemon zest, salt and pepper until blended. Add the spinach mixture, artichokes, water chestnuts and half the mozzarella cheese and stir with a spoon until blended. Transfer to a 4-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake, uncovered, until bubbly, 30–35 minutes. (The unbaked dip can be covered and kept in the refrigerator for up to two days before baking.)
For the chips:
Brush both sides of the pocket breads with the oil. Cut the breads in half, open them up into pockets, and then peel the 2 sides apart to make 2 thinner pieces of bread. Cut each piece into 5 wedges. Repeat with remaining pitas. Arrange pita wedges on a baking sheet in a single layer and sprinkle with paprika. Bake until crispy and golden brown, 15 minutes. Serve the warm dip with the pita chips.
Serves: 10 | Serving size: 7 tablespoons dip, plus 6 pita chips
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 197; Total Fat: 10g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 26mg; Sodium: 267mg; Carbohydrate: 16g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 3g; Protein: 13g
Tequila Slaw with Lime and Cilantro
¼ cup canola mayonnaise (such as Hellmann’s)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon silver tequila
2 teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
⅓ cup thinly sliced green onions
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 (14-ounce) package coleslaw
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Toss.
Serves: 6 | Serving size: About 2/3 cup
Nutrition (per serving): 64 calories; fat 3g; mono fat 1.7g; poly fat 1g; protein 0.8g; carbohydrates 6.4g; fiber 1.8g; iron 0.1mg; sodium 162mg; calcium 37mg.