A Healthy Barbecue – Lean Beef Koftas!!

My thoughts on barbecues and how to do a healthy barbecue!!

Healthy Barbecue options suggested in in Paula Duggan Balance Nutrition Blog

Well I love a good barbecue!! And the good news is there are plenty of options for a healthy barbecue or at least healthier barbecues. Don’t just think ribs, sausages and burgers. In other words, try to go for leaner protein, e.g. fish or prawns on a skewer or chicken fillets. I like to butterfly chicken breasts first to ensure they are cooked properly. Also, I like to marinate chicken for few hours beforehand, again I like it butterflied if marinating.

Few simple ideas!

Lemon & herb is a favourite of mine, simply mix some olive oil, herbs, lemon juice & seasoning and pour over chicken in a bowl and mix around. Otherwise, I go for a spicy marinate! If opting for red meat like my koftas or homemade burgers, my tip is to use steak mince which is leaner and also reduce your portion size. Koftas are typically made with lamb, but beef steak mince is more readily available and also leaner. Fill your plate up with salads. In fact, BBQs are a great excuse for a salad!!

Marinated barbecued chicken Paula Duggan Balance Nutrition

Healthy barbecue or Meat Fest?!

BBQs tend to be a meat fest, in other words meat is piled upon meat, we don’t normally do this at dinner time! So, something to think about if trying for a healthy barbecue is the balance of a typical healthy dinner plate! To give you a little perspective, protein should be approximately 1/4 of your plate and 1/2 your plate should be veg or salad. Yikes!!

Now, I guess I am talking about the barbecue you have at home. That barbecue … that is your dinner on a Wednesday night and a Friday night and a Saturday night from May to September!! For instance, if you are at a party with a barbecue, well, hey, it’s one day, it’s one meal. Just enjoy!! However, seriously still fill up your plate with salad!!!

Lean Beef Koftas, Lemon & Herb Wholemeal Couscous with Cucumber & Mint Yogurt and even more salad

Lean Beef Koftas recipe for a barbecue

Koftas – Makes 8 small skewers


  • 500g lean steak mince
  • 1 tsp of each of the following spices
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Smoked paprika
  • Tumeric
  • Chilli powder (optional)
  • Salt & pepper

Koftas Method

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Work the spices into the meat.

Take a handful of mince and pat it around a skewer. If time allows refrigerate for a few hours.

Brush meat lightly with oil before cooking to prevent them sticking to BBQ. Cook through, there should be no pink! Mince meat unlike a steak needs to be cooked through thoroughly for food safety.

Lemon & Herb Wholemeal

Couscous salad

Couscous Ingredients

  • 125g wholemeal couscous
  • 250ml boiling water
  • 1tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon – juice
  • Handful each of mint & coriander
  • 1 Spring onion and/or handful cooked frozen peas

Couscous method

Add boiling water, oil & lemon juice to couscous in a saucepan, cover & leave for 5 minutes (no cooking required). Let cool.

Chop herbs & spring onion and add to couscous. Use dried herbs if you don’t have fresh. Season well

Cucumber & Mint Yogurt 

Healthy Barbecue ideas by Paula Duggan, read blog

Yogurt Ingredients

  • 400g Low fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 Clove garlic – crushed
  • 2 Handfuls chopped cucumber
  • 2 Handfuls chopped mint
  • Seasoning

Yogurt Method

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and season well.

Summer side salad

  • Small bag salad leaves
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes – chopped
  • 1/4 red onion – sliced thinly
  • Drizzle extra virgin olive oil
  • Lemon Juice
  • Seasoning
A big tip for a healthy barbecue is to fill half your plate with salad

In a large salad bowl mix together salad ingredients. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, squeeze over some lemon juice and season!


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