BBQ recipes

Celebrate the summer season by upgrading your classic barbeque combinations and try something new at your next cookout!

Here are some nourishing and easy-to-make BBQ recipes approved by University Health Network registered dietitian, Emily Tam.

Emily Tam, UHN Registered Dietitian. (Photo: Emily Tam)

Turkey and coriander burgers with guacamole

Try replacing red meat with poultry meat next time you fire up the grill! Ground turkey is a relatively economical poultry option and a handy ingredient for quick meals. Turkey is a great source of vitamins B3 and B12, which help our bodies convert food into energy that we need to function, and zinc, which is essential for maintaining our immune systems. These delicious and homemade turkey burgers are flavoured with red onion and fresh coriander. Top with spicy avocado and your favourite burger toppings.

Because it’s so lean, ground turkey is very dry when overcooked. To help keep turkey burgers juicy, cook them just until their insides reach 165°F, the temperature recommended for ensuring that ground poultry is safe.” – Emily

Yields: 4


  • 14 oz ground turkey
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3oz fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 4 ciabatta rolls, cut in half
  • 1 tsp sunflower or olive oil
  • 8 hot peppadew peppers or hot cherry peppers, roughly chopped


  • Mix the turkey, Worcestershire sauce, breadcrumbs, half each of the coriander and onion, and some seasoning until combined. Form into four burgers, then chill until ready to cook.
  • To make the guacamole, mash the avocado with the remaining coriander and onion, the chilli and lime juice and season
  • Heat a griddle pan or barbecue until hot. Griddle the rolls, cut-side down, for 1 min, then keep warm. Brush the burgers with the oil to keep them from sticking. Cook for 7-8 mins on each side until charred and cooked through. Fill the rolls with the burgers, guacamole and peppadews or hot cherry peppers.

Grilled vegetables

Grilling vegetables is a great way to enhance the flavour of your favourite seasonal vegetables. The combination of the perfectly charred vegetables with a tangy sauce such as a Greek dressing, cilantro lime dressing or chimichurri will be favourite at your next BBQ! This grilled vegetable skewer recipe is highly versatile and can be served as a perfect side dish or a vegetarian main dish with a healthy grain. Use metal skewers – wood skewers burn easily on the grill!

“A couple of grain-based accompaniments to try with these skewers are bulgur with tossed with almonds and herbs, or spiced quinoa with pumpkin seeds.” – Emily

Yields: 4


  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 zucchini
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms, stemmed
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 ear fresh corn, cut into 1-inch rounds
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Salt and pepper
  • tzatziki, pesto or Greek dressing for drizzling/serving


  • Heat a grill to medium-high and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Cut the vegetables into similar sized chunks and thread onto four metal skewers.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Grill the skewers for 8 minutes per side or until the vegetables are tender and lightly charred.
  • Remove from the grill, season to taste and serve with desired sauce or dressing.

Mediterranean couscous salad with raw squash and feta

This Mediterranean-style salad is a simple summer side dish packed with a grain and colourful slices of raw zucchini and squash. It’s a refreshing alternative to your typical summer salad. Drizzling the couscous and vegetables with a light, zesty dressing creates a nice balanced flavour profile. The Mediterranean-style dietary pattern can help promote heart health. For more Mediterranean-style recipes, see our UHN dietitian approved heart-healthy recipes.

“Dietary patterns that are common in other parts of the world that are similarly high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds also support heart health.” –Emily

Yields: 6


  • 1 1/3 cup whole wheat Israeli couscous or regular couscous (or any other small pasta shape, you’ll need about 3 cups cooked)
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 4 tbsps lemon juice, to taste
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper, to taste
  • 15 oz chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 small yellow squash, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil or parsley


  • Cook the couscous until al dente, according to package directions. Drain off any excess water.
  • Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts: In a large skillet over medium-low heat, warm the pine nuts until they’re turning lightly golden on the sides and fragrant (be careful not to let them burn). Transfer them to a bowl to cool.
  • In a large serving bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, shallot, garlic, salt and several twists of black pepper until combined.
  • Add the couscous to the bowl and toss to coat with the dressing. Top the couscous with the toasted pine nuts, chickpeas, tomatoes, feta, olives, zucchini and squash, and basil. Stir to combine.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add an extra tablespoon or two of lemon juice if it needs more brightness. For the best flavor, refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. This salad will keep well, covered and refrigerated, for up to four days.

Which BBQ recipe was your favourite? Take a picture of your meal and tag us on social media @UHNfoundation.

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