Enhance Your Cookout With Fresh Produce

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Adding fruits and vegetables to your cookout will boost flavor, color and provide nutrients your body needs for ultimate summer health and performance. Here are a few tips for your upcoming 4th of July celebration:

Add red, white and blue to your spread

  • Serve red and blue fruits, including cherries, watermelon, raspberries and blueberries with a white dip made by mixing vanilla yogurt with ground cinnamon.
  • Layer sliced tomatoes with fresh mozzarella cheese and basil leaves, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

This savory grilled burger recipe will impress your guests. The mushrooms and spice add a flavor dimension plus dietary fiber, B vitamins and minerals.

Chipotle Beef and Mushroom Burgers

Serves 4

¼ cup olive or other vegetable oil

1 pound Portobello or button mushrooms, diced

1 small onion, diced

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 pound lean ground beef

½ teaspoon chipotle powder (May substitute 1 teaspoon chili powder for this and next 3 ingredients)

¼ teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon salt

grilling burgers

Photo by Zac Cain.

Sauté the mushroom with the vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons of diced onion over medium heat to brown slightly. Add garlic and sauté over low heat until excess moisture is removed, about 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the mushrooms with the remaining ingredients. Form 4 patties. Cook on prepared grill until the inside of the patty reaches 155 degrees. Serve on a whole grain hamburger bun with your favorite condiments and top with avocado mango salsa or grilled vegetables.

Avocado Mango Salsa

Combine these ingredients:

1 diced avocado

1 cup diced mango

½ diced red onion

1 diced small cucumber

1/8 cup red wine vinegar

1/8 cup lime juice

1/8 cup olive or vegetable oil

¼ cup chopped cilantro

1 small garlic clove, diced

Salt and pepper to taste

Grilled Vegetables

Grilled vegetables are simple to prepare. Use a grill sheet or basket. Toss the vegetables in vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper and any herbs you may like, such as Italian seasoning blend. Onions and sweet peppers and great cooked together, but don’t over-stuff the tray or basket. Stir them occasionally over a medium to medium high heat until desired doneness. Other favorites are mushrooms, asparagus and summer squash. One cooked, they are great drizzled with a little balsamic vinegar.

For Dessert

Grill fruit kebabs, pineapple slices, plum or peach halves on low heat until the fruit is hot and slightly golden. Great eaten alone or as a topping for ice cream, sorbet, or yogurt.

Refreshing Beverages

  • Infuse water with slices of lemon, lime, orange or cucumbers.
  • Serve pitchers of unsweetened flavored iced tea, such as lemon ginger, orange or mint.
  • Flavored sparkling water is a great alternative to soda for those who prefer something carbonated.