When you think of barbecue season, some of the best bits aren’t the slabs of grilled meats and abundance of charred veggies (although those are great!) but the plethora of sides. And what do those sides tend to have in common? Creamy, mayo-based sauces that are delicious, but adds up the SmartPoints fast!
Here I have rounded up some of my top tips to make sure you can indulge in all of the best barbecue season has to offer
Coleslaw crash course
Rethink the crunch: There are so many different kinds of coleslaw that you can make that don’t have to involve using the traditional cabbage/mayonnaise base. Try using different types of crunchy veggies as the base like beets, carrots, or even radishes.
Skip the mayo: Experiment with different vinegars or acids in place of mayo for different flavour profiles. Try apple cider vinegar or lemon juice as a tangy vinaigrette, or for an Asian-style slaw try rice wine vinegar and a touch of sesame oil with julienned veggies like red pepper, scallions, daikon, and green onion.
Give your corn a makeover
You likely already have corn at your barbecues, but a great way to make it a bit more special is to try grilled Mexican street corn, also known as elote. A bit higher in SmartPoints, but definitely worth it, this is as a different and flavourful take on corn on the cob. Mexican street corn is a grilled corn cob with sprinkled with cotija cheese (a firm Mexican cheese; dry versions are similar to parmesan, wet style cotija is more similar to a feta), sour cream, chili powder, lime, and maybe mayo as well. Visually pretty and super tasty.
Rethink fruit salads
A fruit salad doesn’t always have to be a sweet treat. Try tossing your favourite seasonal fruit with cooked quinoa, farro or bulgur wheat to bump up the fibre and protein to make a hearty side salad. Since fruit is generally on the sweeter side it mixes well with ‘peppery’ flavoured ingredients like arugula or onions – and similar to the coleslaw you want to balance sweetness with acid from different vinegars.
A meal-sized salad
One of my personal favourites is a chopped broccoli salad with egg – chopped raw broccoli mixed with a little bit of mayo, cranberries, toasted almonds, radicchio and grated egg for a very fresh, crunchy, high protein side salad.
You can grill that?
You’ve got the grill on anyway, why not throw on a few thick slices of watermelon to make the classic barbecue side dish; grilled watermelon salad. Try flavour combinations like watermelon, feta, and avocado together with some shallots and fresh herbs. Season and that’s it!
For the seafood lover
An easy way to satisfy any seafood fan is to try a grilled clambake in tin foil. This requires a bit more ingredients but couldn’t be easier to make. Fresh clams, shrimp, and mussels are steamed in a tin foil pouch with potatoes, corn, butter, herbs and spices. Place the pack on the grill and steam for 10-15 minutes – that’s it! All seafood is zero Points, so adding flavour from butter and potatoes makes it a very SmartPoints-worthy side dish.