By: Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA
Labor Day marks the end of the summer and for me it almost always feels bitter sweet. I think, “Where did the summer go?” and at the same time “I can’t wait for the leaves to change”. With endless trips to the beach, outdoor grilling and fun with family and friends you may have thought the summer festivities would never end! Let’s take advantage of these last few weeks of great weather with a festive Labor Day barbecue.
What’s on the menu?
Easy to prepare proteins like beef and fish as well as veggies work great on the grill – they’re easy, fast and delicious. But don’t think that fish is your only healthy option; lean protein, such as lean beef and poultry, provide essential nutrients to fuel activity and also help people consume more essential nutrients in fewer calories, while balancing their food intake with physical activity. Vegetarian? No problem, grill firm or extra firm tofu on a well greased grill grate; see recipe below.
Don’t forget you can marinate to maximize flavor and tenderness. Tender cuts of beef can marinate for 15 minutes to two hours for flavor. Less tender cuts, such as Flank, should be marinated for 6 hours, but not more than 24 hours.
Beef Fajita Salad With Mango-Serrano Vinaigrette
Total time: 50 minutes
Makes: 4 Servings
- 1 beef Top Sirloin Steak boneless, cut 1 inch thick (about 1 pound)
- 3 medium mangos, peeled, cut in half
- Olive oil
- 2 medium poblano peppers
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 large red onion (about 11 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 1 cup radishes, thinly sliced (about 1 bunch)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 to 2 serrano peppers
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Brush mangos lightly with oil. Place mangos and poblano peppers in center of grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill peppers, covered, 9 to 10 minutes (gas grill times remain the same) or until skins are completely blackened, turning occasionally. Grill mangos 8 to 14 minutes (gas grill times remain the same) or until very tender, turning occasionally. Place peppers in food-safe plastic bag; close bag. Let stand 15 minutes. Set mangos aside.
- Press black pepper evenly onto beef steak. Brush onion slices lightly with oil. Place steak in center of grid over medium, ash-covered coals; arrange onion slices around steak. Grill steak and onion, covered, 11 to 15 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 13 to 16 minutes) or until steak is medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness and onion is tender, turning occasionally. Keep warm.
- Meanwhile, prepare Vinaigrette. Cut grilled mangos into 3/4-inch pieces. Combine 1/2 cup mango, lime juice, water and serrano peppers in food processor container. Cover; process until smooth. With motor running, slowly add oil through opening in cover, processing until well blended. Season with salt, as desired. Set aside.
- Remove and discard skins, stems and seeds from poblano peppers; cut into 3/4-inch pieces. Carve steak into slices. Cut onion slices in half. Place beef, remaining mango pieces, onion, peppers and radishes on serving platter. Season with salt, as desired. Drizzle salad with vinaigrette; toss lightly to coat. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Recipe: Beef It’s What’s for Dinner®
Total time: 30 minutes
Makes: 6 Servings
- 2 teaspoons Paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 (14 ounce) packages extra-firm or firm water packed tofu, drained
- 2/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
- 6 tablespoons sliced scallions or chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
- Preheat grill to medium-high.
- Combine paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cumin, coriander and turmeric in a small bowl. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, lime-juice and the spic mixture; cook, stirring, until sizzling and fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
- Slice each tofu block crosswise into 6 slices; pat dry. Use about 3 tablespoons of the spiced oil to brush both sides of the tofu slices; sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoons salt. (Reserve the remaining spiced oil).
- Oil the grill rack (see tip). Grill the tofu until it has grill marks and is heated through, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Combine yogurt with the reserved spiced oil in a small bowl. Serve the grilled tofu with the yogurt sauce, garnished with scallions (or cilantro), if desired.
Nutrition Per serving: 173 Calories; 13 g Fat; 2 g Sat; 7 g Mono; 1 mg Cholesterol; 6 g Carbohydrates; 12 g Protein; 2 g Fiber; 419 mg Sodium; 224 mg Potassium
Kitchen Tip: To oil a grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.)