Gather your friends and neighbors, with these 5 tasty ideas you can throw a block party BBQ that’s delicious AND healthy:

Plant Based Burgers

Burgers are a BBQ staple! But whether you want to reduce your cholesterol intake or are serving some vegetarian neighbors, there are awesome plant based options out there.

If you’re short on time and want to pick up ready-made burgers, Beyond Meat burgers are a great choice. The Beyond Meat burgers were popularized in Canada by A&W, but they’re also available at some local stores and grocery delivery services. If you’re looking to mimic a meaty burger, these are the best option out there.

If you prefer a less processed alternative, try out this portobello mushroom burger recipe:

  • 4 portobello mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into rings
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • ~1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 4 buns
  • ~1 cup greens (crunchy lettuce or arugula are great)
  • Salt & pepper
  1. Pre-heat your grill to medium-high.
  2. Gently wipe the mushrooms with a damp paper towel to clean them.
  3. Brush both sides of the mushrooms and onion rings with olive oil then season with salt and pepper. Place the mushrooms, cap side down, and the onion rings on your grill. Cook with lid closed for about 5 minutes.
  4. Flip the mushroom caps and the onion rings. Brush the mushrooms with BBQ sauce. Close lid and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Brush the mushrooms with more BBQ sauce. Add your buns to toast on the cooler part of the grill. Close the lid and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  6. Remove buns from grill, adding any other desired condiments to the bottom. Then top each bun with a mushroom cap, grilled onion, and greens. Serve immediately.

Garlic Aquafaba Mayo

Are you thinking, what the heck is aquafaba? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Some people think it’s a brand name, others wonder if it’s a weird dessert. In reality, it’s the viscous liquidy goop in a chickpea can (or other legumes) that you probably rinse down the drain. Turns out the protein rich liquid can make a great egg replacement in some recipes. That’s why Be Fresh uses the leftover liquid from creating hummus in their vegan mayo! Don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like beans. And when you mix it up into a garlic-mayo dip, it makes an awesome burger topping or dip that’s a lot like aioli! Here’s how it’s made:

  • 3/4 cup Be Fresh aquafaba mayo
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  1. Finely mince your garlic or make a paste. (Google “how to make garlic paste” – it’s a game changer for using raw garlic)
  2. Mix all the ingredients together.
  3. It’s best if you let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 mins.

Fridge Pickles

Sliced Bubbies Kosher dill pickles make a tasty burger fixin’, but if you really want to impress your neighbors, try fridge pickling fresh produce! These 2 quick pickle recipes will get you hooked on making your own pickled veggies.

Pickling red onions takes some of the pungent kick out of them and adds a delicious zest! They are great on tacos, in a salad, or on top of a burger.

Easy Fridge Pickled Red Onions

  • 1.5 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cane sugar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • ¾ cup apple cider vinegar
  1. Add the salt, and sugar with water to a pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  2. Once the salt and sugar have dissolved, move the pot off the heat and add in the vinegar.
  3. In a canning jar add the thinly sliced onions.
  4. Pour the warm liquid into the onion jar and seal with a lid.
  5. Let the onions cool for around 45 minutes before storing in the fridge.
  6. They can be eaten once cooled, but it’s best to wait at least overnight.

Add some heat with pickled jalapeños!

Fridge Pickled Jalapeños

  • ¾ cup white vinegar
  • ¾ cup water
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 10 medium/large jalapeño peppers
  • Optional: 1 clove garlic, sliced
  1. Thinly slice your jalapeño peppers. Use a gloved hand to touch the pepper while cutting if you have sensitive skin and be sure not to touch your face with jalapeño juice.
  2. In a pot, heat all ingredients except the peppers and garlic. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.
  3. Pack your jalapeños into a jar, evenly distributing the sliced garlic (if used).
  4. Pour the liquid over the peppers in the jar. Seal with a lid, let it cool, and then store in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.
  5. You can eat the pickles as soon as they’ve cooled, but they are best when left at least overnight.

Kombucha Floats

Ice cream floats are the perfect summertime treat, but if you want to up your health game a little, try out a kombucha float! If you’ve never heard of kombucha, you’ve probably been living under a rock. It’s a fermented tea that’s fizzy, a little tart, and full of natural probiotics. Serve up a refreshing option like Be Fresh Hibiscus Lemonade with Nora’s vanilla ice cream or take a more traditional route with Be Fresh root beer kombucha.

Grilled Fruit

If you’ve never grilled fruit before, you might be questioning my judgement right now. But imagine the sweetness, aroma, and depth of flavor of caramelized onions. It’s a unique taste that’s impossible to mimic, and the same goes for caramelized fruits. Grilling fruit brings out a deeper flavor that’s great alone or paired with a touch of creamy vanilla ice cream. Here are some fruits that we love on the grill:

  1. Stone Fruits (peaches, plums, nectarines)
  2. Pineapple
  3. Watermelon
  4. Pear
  5. Apple

So, the next time you pull out the grill, don’t cast aside fruits as another post-meal refreshment. Try grilling them!

A true backyard patio party isn’t complete without a beverage or two of the adult variety (or the virginal variety if you so choose).

By Fiona Cameron – SPUD

Yellowhead Brewery is proudly brewed right here in downtown Edmonton. Their original craft-brewed lager is a crisp, clean naturally carbonated beverage perfect for sharing on warm summer nights in Edmonton. Those who prefer the IPA variety will enjoy their Remlar IPA with its tropical, flora and citrus notes.

Eau Claire Distillery is handcrafted in Turner Valley, Alberta and produce a great selection of spirits that are perfect for a healthy summer cocktail. Produced from local Alberta grains and distilled with local botanicals provide a unique flavor to their gins and vodkas which we used to create a couple beverages for that were enjoyed by everyone.

Recipes

Millcreek Salty Dog

  • 1oz Eau Claire Three Point Vodka
  • 0.5oz Lemon Juice
  • Grapefruit Juice
  • Lime Wedge

Moisten highball glass rim with lime wedge. Salt the rim of the glass with coarse salt. Fill highball glass with ice. Add 1 oz of Eau Claire Three Point Vodka & 0.5 oz of lemon juice. Top with grapefruit juice. Garnish with lime wedge

Strawberry Garden Mojito

  • 1oz Eau Claire Parlour Gin
  • 6 basil leaves
  • 2 strawberries, chopped
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 4oz club soda. 

Add basil and strawberries to a shaker and pummel. Add remaining ingredients. Shake and serve in a high ball glass. Garnish with basil and lime if desired.

Hansen Distillery is an Edmonton-based family-run craft distillery that prides itself on producing quality products using ingredients sourced from Alberta. Owners Kris and Shayna welcome people to take a walk through time at their facility and experience their quality, handcrafted spirits in their unique tasting lounge located in West Edmonton.

Recipes

Main Street Julep

A fruity variation of a classic mint julep.  The high proof of alcohol lowers the freezing point of the cocktail and, with freshly crushed ice, the temperature should drop below zero degrees.  Imbibe slowly and enjoy the cooling sensation of mint. 

  • 2 oz Hansen Border Crossing Rye
  • 1 tsp Demerara Sugar
  • 2 Large Blackberries
  • 4-6 Mint Leaves
  1. Add sugar and blackberries to a julep cup (or a short glass) and muddle until sugar dissolves.
  2. Add mint leaves and gently muddle again.
  3. Add 2 oz of Hansen Border Crossing Rye.
  4. Top with crushed ice, and add a straw.
  5. Garnish with a fresh sprig of mint and several fresh blackberries.

Stillness of the Sun

The robust flavor of End of the Line Moonshine can stand up to intense flavors.  Pairing it with the sharp acidity of fresh citrus and taming the edges with fresh berries and crisp cucumber is a terrific strategy for a firecracker of a patio cocktail, sure to please any backyard guest.

  • 1 oz Hansen End of the Line Moonshine
  • ¾ oz Lime Juice
  • ½ oz Simple Syrup
  • Watermelon (roughly a 1 inch x 1 inch piece)
  • 4 Basil Leaves
  1. Add simple syrup, watermelon, and fresh basil leaves to a cocktail shaker and gently muddle.
  2. Add Lime Juice and Hansen End of the Line Moonshine.
  3. Shake with ice.
  4. Strain into a tall glass filled with ice.
  5. Top with soda.
  6. Garnish with fresh basil, cucumber slices, and fresh berries

For those looking to enjoy a great taste without all the calories, we featured PYUR Vodka Soda based out of Vancouver. With zero sugar and zero carbs, this option worked for those following a low carb lifestyle. Fizzy peach, lime or raspberry flavors are available with a light taste of vodka so that you can still enjoy the party responsibly while paying mind to the number of calories consumed.

For those non beer drinking or spirit savoring guests, the wine selection at Wine and Beyond will suit any taste or budget. A cool crisp Pinot Grigio, or an Aperol Spritz with the fizzy bubbles from an Italian Prosecco will be a hit for your guests on a hot July or August night.

A huge thank you to The Organic Box for bringing locally produced, organic groceries to us for our BBQ. Check out their website and use the code YEGFITOBOX to get $45 off your first order!

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