Fourth of July barbecues are often packed with loads of junk food, from cheese covered burgers and saucy ribs off the grill to salty potato chips and sugary desserts. But this year, you can offer red, white and blue treats that are in the spirit of the holiday, but also healthy. Here are four ideas to get you started, from appetizers to entrees.
Blue Chip Bites
First up, the perfect bite-sized appetizer that's super easy to whip up, because the only ingredients are blue corn chips, your favorite red salsa, and a crumbly Mexican white cheese, like cotija. To make this dish, lay out a plate of blue corn chips, top each chip with a spoonful of salsa, and finish with a bit of crumbled cheese. If you'd like to serve it warm, pop it in the oven for just a few minutes and make it into nachos! Want to keep it even simpler? Just pick out a nice platter to set out the chips, salsa, and cheese, and let people make their own.
Blue-Skinned Potato Salad
As for side dishes, a Fourth of July barbecue isn't complete without some old-fashioned potato salad. For this nutritious dish, you'll need about two pounds of baby potatoes that are a mix of white and blue. You'll also need about 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste for the vinaigrette. To make the potato salad, start by boiling the potatoes in lightly-salted water until the potatoes become tender. Once boiled, drain, rinse, and place on a cutting board.
Next, make the vinaigrette in a large bowl by whisking together the lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper. After cutting the potatoes in half, add them to the bowl and toss everything. Right before you're ready to serve, you can finish the dish by adding about 3/4 cup of chopped roasted red peppers to give the dish the last patriotic touch, as well as four thinly sliced scallions, and 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint for some added flavor. Toss the dish once more, and enjoy!
This is both an easy and healthy side dish. After all, you're just cutting up your favorite fruit and mixing it! To make it for an Independence Day BBQ party, pick red fruit like strawberries, and mix with bananas and blueberries. Easy peasy, and the perfect complement to dishes off the grill.
Egg dishes like frittatas are delicious any time of day, and they can be quite healthy to boot. To make a Fourth-of-July inspired frittata, you'll need, in addition to eight eggs, about two cups of halved cherry tomatoes, about a cup of black beans (for the 'blue' color), one tablespoon olive oil, one tablespoon fresh, chopped basil leaves, two ounces of cubed mozzarella, and salt and pepper.
To make this tasty -- and filling -- dish, start by sautéing the tomatoes and beans with the olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper in a pan on medium-low heat for about five minutes. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for two more minutes. In a bowl, beat the eggs, and mix in both the basil as well as a dash of pepper and salt. Pour this egg mixture slowly into the tomato/bean pan. Lastly, add in the cheese and stir it around. Put a cover on the top of the dish, and cook it for 15-20 minutes, or until the dish has puffed up and appears cooked through, all the way to the top.
All of these dishes are both festive and healthy, making them great ideas to serve up and share at your Fourth of July shindig. What other healthy red, white, and blue dishes do you like making and serving?
Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not blogging about food, she's working part-time at a culinary vacation company, The International Kitchen, based in the Windy City, as well as repping Younique cosmetics and skincare products. Some of her writing can be found at Examiner.com.
for more features.