Healthy + Easy Sauces, Dips, Dressings and Condiments Perfect For BBQ Season
Memorial Weekend is upon us — and sub-sequentially three glorious months of sunshine, getaways and GRILLING.
I personally love BBQ season and find it really easy to eat delicious and healthy food. Toss together a quick seasonal salad, throw some fish and veggies on the grill and in 15 minutes you’ve got yourself a winning meal.
But barbecues or potlucks can also be tricky — especially if you’re trying to be mindful of the ingredients and nutrients you’re putting in your body. In most cases it’s the sauces, dips, dressings and condiments that tend to be our downfall — and sometimes the vehicle we’re using to dip it in (I’m talking to you tortilla chips). Most store-bought sauces or dips are filled with sugar, weird shelf-stabilizing chemicals and processed oils that can cause harm to our bodies and our brains (no thanks).
But not to worry my love — I’ve rounded up my favorite clean store-bought products as well as easy and tasty homemade recipes that will jazz up any meal — and seriously impress your guests — below. Use these babies as your go-to all summer long for a BBQ season filled with fun gatherings and delicious food that not only tastes good but leaves you feeling good too.
What’s a BBQ without barbecue sauce? Unfortunately most are loaded with sugar and I think we all know by now too much sugar doesn’t do us any favors. I’m a huge fan of Tessemae’s products which are super clean and use only real ingredients — in this case they sweeten their BBQ sauce with date puree. It still contains sugar (2g per serving), so just don’t go crazy with the stuff. But rest assured it’s all in real-food form.
Another one of our store-bought faves, this buffalo sauce doesn’t contain any added sugars and adds tons of spicy flavor to aioli or marinades. We’ll typically mix in a little with some avocado oil mayo for a quick turkey burger topping.
One of the best parts of a bbq is gathering around with your friends pre-dinner over refreshing drinks, delicious appies and good conversation. And there’s nothing quite as crowd-pleasing as a big spread of tasty dips (and yummy bites to dip it in). I love guac as it’s a fantastic healthy dip option filled with healthy fat that pretty much everyone loves. Try swapping the tortilla chips with crisp veggies like cucumber and jicama and sprinkle with chili powder, sea salt and lime. Delish.
You can’t have guac without salsa right? This mango cilantro salsa is super refreshing with notes of cilantro and mint and pairs well with both sweeter and savory dishes (or as a dip for these Siete Almond Flour Tortilla Chips).
Hummus is the darling of healthy dips, but try jazzing it up with this delicious homemade beet hummus (if you don’t feel like roasting the beets you can buy them pre-cooked at Costco or Whole Foods). It not only tastes unbelievably amazing, but beets are an incredibly detoxifying and liver-supporting food — the perfect accompaniment to that glass of rose (detox to retox — amIright?).
This is a favorite around here and is tastes amazing slathered on tacos and burgers or when used as a dip for sweet potato fries. In the summer I love grilling thick sweet potato slices or wedges and drizzling this sauce on top for an extra kick.
This is one of the easiest sauces to make with just five ingredients and one minute of your time (no blending or food processing required). Awesome on burgers, tacos or as a dip for fries or grilled veggies. I prefer to use Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Mayo, which doesn’t contain oxidized, toxic oils like canola or vegetable oils.
Another delicious, easy aioli option. Just swap out the sriracha for chipotle chilis in adobe sauce for a smokier flavor.
This aioli paired with grilled or steamed artichokes is my go-to for any summer gathering. It’s a straight up crowd pleaser (tested and approved many, many times), super healthy and insanely delicious. We also like to use it on a meatier white fish like grilled halibut or fish tacos.
I absolutely love pesto sauce, but many store-bought ones contain cheese and don’t taste nearly as fresh or vibrant as homemade options. Pestos are really easy to make and can easily be jazzed up with different herbs, nuts and spices. Delicious as a marinade, drizzled over grilled fish, chicken and veggies or tossed with a heartier kale salad or zucchini noodles.
While traditional “cremas” contain sour cream, this recipe derives it’s richness from buttery avocados. Super flavorful and filled with healthy fats, it tastes amazing on sandwiches, grilled corn on the cob, burgers, hearty salads, veggies or tacos.
This is one of the MLH’s (meat-lovin’ hubby’s) absolute faves. It tastes best when used simply, like this romaine salad with avocado and blackened tempeh (you can also substitute grilled chicken or fish) or for a modern twist try grilling thick wedges of romaine for a couple of minutes and drizzling on top.
If you’re looking for something to toss with fruit or any sort of salad with sweet undertones — make this dressing your new go-to. It’s way tastier than any store-bought version and has far less sugar.
This dressing goes equally well with grilled fish (especially copper river salmon) or when used as an accompaniment to a heartier salad (like this vegetarian nicoise salad).
There’s something so summery about a simple basil dressing. It pairs amazing with summer produce (especially anything with thick, juicy tomatoes or grilled corn). Try an updated “caprese” salad and swap the mozzarella for avocado. You can also add a bit of honey to this dressing for a touch of sweetness.
While I’m a big fan of making our own dressings (they’re easy to make, taste better and most likely contain a lot less sugar) I realize sometimes you just need any easy, store-bought option. Enter in Primal Kitchen dressings, which don’t contain any added sugar or oxidized oils. This ranch is great as a dipping sauce or condiment to grilled meat or fish.
This smokey, slightly sweet sauce is super versatile and works both as a marinade for any meat or seafood (especially shrimp) or when tossed in a heartier grain, bean or potato salad (try in this crowd-pleasing Chipotle Sweet Potato Salad).
Unfortunately most store-bought rubs contain tons of sugar (shocker!), sodium or even MSG (known to cause a host of health problems). This is my go-to rub as it’s easy, doesn’t contain any sugar and is super flavorful with a slight spicy kick to it. Rub it on anything you’re grilling for amazing flavor.
Now that you’ve got an arsenal of tasty, delicious flavor optimizers to last you all summer long — I’d love to hear from you what your healthy BBQ go-to’s are? Please comment below for more healthy summer inspo for everyone!