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Caprese quinoa salad

MAIN DISHES

Basic Better Burger

With a few tweaks, you can rethink the old paradigm and create a burger with an eye toward nutrition.

a hamburger

Makes 4 servings •  Prep time 10 minutes •  Cook time 10 minutes

  • 1 lb. grassfed ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup diced mushrooms
  • 1 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbs. fresh thyme
  • 1 tbs. ghee or highheat oil

This recipe originally appeared in “The Better Burger.”

  1. Place the beef, egg, mushrooms, Worcestershire, and thyme in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix the ingredients gently but thoroughly.
  2. Divide the mixture into four equal portions, then shape into ¾-inch-thick patties. Use your thumb to make an indentation in the center of each burger.

To grill: Preheat the grill on high heat. Oil the grate, place the burgers on it, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for three to four minutes per side, until a meat thermometer inserted into the center reads 160 degrees F.

To cook on the stovetop: Preheat a 12-inch cast-iron or stainless-steel pan over medium-high heat for one to two minutes until hot. Add ghee and tilt to coat the pan. Place the patties in the pan, leaving 1 to 2 inches of space between them. Cook for two minutes, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for two minutes more. Flip and cook an additional four minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the center reads 160 degrees F.

FLAVOR EQUATION

Use this template to customize your burger toppings:

1 lb. base + ¼ cup veggie + 1 tsp. salt or 1 tbs. salty condiment + 2 tsp. dried (or 2–3 tbs. fresh) herbs or spices + toppings

Photography by: Andrea D’Agosto; Prop Styling: Alicia Buszcak; Food Stylist: Paul Jackman

Steak Skewers With Harissa

Homemade harissa — a zesty North African chili paste — is the key to these ribeye-steak skewers.

Steak skewers on a grill.

Makes 4 skewers •  Prep time 30 minutes •  Cook time 10 minutes

For the Skewers

  • 1 lb. ribeye steak
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbs. fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tbs. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

For the Harissa

  • 1 tsp. red-chili flakes
  • ½ tsp. ground coriander
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. caraway seeds
  • 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1½ tsp. tomato paste
  • ½ cup jarred roasted red bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 2 tbs. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. sea salt

This recipe originally appeared in “Campfire Cuisine.”

  1. Trim any fat off the steak and cut meat into 1-inch cubes. Place into a 1-gallon food-storage bag.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk oil, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pour over the cubed steak and seal the bag. Massage contents so the steak is evenly coated. Keep chilled.
  3. For the harissa, combine the chili flakes, coriander, cumin, and caraway seeds. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the spice mixture until fragrant, about two minutes. Add the oil and onion and cook until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste, and cook for another minute. Add the chopped roasted peppers and mash the mixture with a fork until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and salt. Spoon into an airtight container and keep chilled until ready to use.

Photo by: Dirty Gourmet

Pesto Salmon With Asparagus

Make this meal on one-sheet or on the grill and enjoy the bright flavors from the pesto and fresh lemon juice.

Pesto Salmon With Asparagus

Makes 4 servings •  Prep time 10 minutes •  Cook time 15 to 18 minutes

  • 4 (4 oz.) salmon filets, skin on
  • 1 large bunch of asparagus (about 20 spears), ends trimmed
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • ¼ cup pesto sauce (see below)
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Himalayan or Celtic sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

For the Pesto Sauce

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup pine nuts or cashews
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2–3 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp. Himalayan or Celtic sea salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • Optional: 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast

This recipe is excerpted from Life Time’s first-ever cookbook, 1-2-12.

  1. Make the pesto sauce: Use a food processor to combine all ingredients.
  2. If you’re cooking the salmon in the oven, proceed with the following steps: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the salmon and asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. If the asparagus spears are thick, halve them lengthwise first.
  3. Evenly divide the pesto on top of the salmon filets. Drizzle the lemon juice over the salmon and asparagus and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 15 to 18 minutes, until the salmon flakes easily.
  4. If you’re cooking the salmon on the grill, proceed with the following steps: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet. If the asparagus spears are thick, halve them lengthwise first.
  5. Drizzle the salmon and asparagus with the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Brush some of the pesto on the skinless side of the salmon, reserving some of the pesto for later use.
  6. Leave the salmon at room temperature while the grill heats. Roast the asparagus for 15 to 18 minutes.
  7. Sear the salmon, skinless side down first. Close the grill lid. Cook for one to three minutes, depending on the thickness of the filets. (Try not to move them until you’re ready to flip them over to help keep them in one piece.)
  8. Using tongs and a metal spatula, carefully turn the fish over so that the skin side is down, and reduce the heat to medium. For charcoal grills, finish cooking over indirect heat furthest from the coals. Close the grill lid and finish cooking for another five minutes, depending on the thickness of the filets. The salmon should be just barely opaque and will start to flake along the center of the filet when done. Top the cooked salmon with the remainder of the pesto.

SIDE DISHES

Charred Romaine With Lemony Goddess Dressing

Romaine becomes heartier and earthier in just a few minutes on the grill. Serve each diner one romaine half on a plate, with a steak knife for carving.

grilled romaine lettuce with lemony dressing

Makes 4 servings •  Prep time 10 minutes •  Cook time 15 minutes

  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • ½ cup packed fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 2 tbs. lemon juice
  • 5 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. sea salt, plus one pinch, divided
  • 2 romaine hearts
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup pitted kalamata olives, halved

This recipe originally appeared in “6 Vegan Grill Recipes.”

  1. In a food-processor bowl, place the garlic, parsley, and tarragon and process until finely minced. With the machine running, gradually drizzle in the lemon juice and then 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the pepper and ½ teaspoon of salt and process until mixed. Pour the dressing into a small bowl.
  2. Preheat the grill to medium-high. Trim the base of each romaine heart, leaving the stem intact. Slice each romaine heart in half lengthwise. Place the four halves on a plate, cut side up, and brush with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
  3. When the grill is hot, oil the grate with the remaining olive oil. Place the romaine on the grill, cut side down. Grill for two to three minutes, pressing down lightly with tongs occasionally, until the romaine is marked and softened. Turn the romaine with your tongs and cook for about two minutes longer.
  4. Transfer to a plate and top with the tomato halves and olives. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Photos: Andrea D’Agosto; Prop Styling: Alicia Buszczak; Food Stylist: Paul Jackman

Grilled Watermelon and Cucumber Salad

Pair with red onion and basil for a quick summer salad.

grilled watermen salad

Makes 6 servings •  Prep time 10 minutes •  Cook time 20 minutes

  • 1 small watermelon (about 5 to 6 lb.)
  • 3 tbs. lemon juice
  • 3 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs. honey
  • 1 medium cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • ½ cup julienned fresh basil
  • ½ tsp. coarse salt

This recipe originally appeared in “6 Vegan Grill Recipes.”

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high.
  2. Cut the melon in half, then cut the halves into 1-inch slices and place on a platter. In a medium bowl, whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, and honey. Brush the melon slices with the dressing. Reserve remaining dressing.
  3. When the grill is hot, oil the grate. Grill melon slices until marked, about two to three minutes per side. Transfer to the platter.
  4. When the melon is just cool enough to handle, cut off the rind and cube the flesh.
  5. In a large bowl, place the watermelon, cucumber, red onions, and basil. Drizzle the remaining lemon dressing over the watermelon mixture, sprinkle with coarse salt, and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Quick Tip: Seed your cucumber in a snap: Cut it in half lengthwise, then press a spoon into the seed channel in the center and gently scoop out the seeds.

Photos: Andrea D’Agosto; Prop Styling: Alicia Buszczak; Food Stylist: Paul Jackman

Caprese Quinoa Salad

The ultimate healthy side dish for outdoor dining parties.

Caprese quinoa salad

Makes 4 servings •  Prep time 10 minutes •  Cook time 15 to 20 minutes

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Himalayan or Celtic salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, julienned
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella, diced into 1/4-inch cubes (omit if vegan or dairy-free)

This recipe is excerpted from Life Time’s first-ever cookbook, 1-2-12.

  1. Cook the quinoa according to package directions.
  2. Whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss with the cooked quinoa and halved tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Once the mixture cools, gently fold in the basil and mozzarella cubes.

Gluten-Free Pasta Salad

Made with chickpea pasta, this high-protein salad combines a variety of veggies — including cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onion — with feta cheese and a tangy Greek-inspired dressing.

pasta salad with veggies and feta

Makes 8 servings •  Prep time 15 minutes •  Cook time 8 minutes

For the Salad

  • 12 oz. short chickpea pasta (such as shells, elbows, or fusilli)
  • 1 medium English cucumber, diced
  • 1½ cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • ¼ cup pitted green olives, chopped
  • ⅓ cup finely diced red onion
  • ¼ cup loosely packed parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 6 oz. crumbled feta cheese
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Dressing

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbs. red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper

This recipe originally appeared in “5 Picnic Salad Recipes.”

  1. Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Add the chickpea pasta and cook according to package directions. Once it’s al dente, strain and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking.
  3. Prepare the dressing: Whisk the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, oregano, salt, and pepper in a small bowl until combined.
  4. Prepare the salad: Place the cooled pasta in a large bowl and pour the dressing over it; stir to coat the pasta.
  5. Add the cucumber, tomatoes, olives, red onion, parsley, and crumbled feta, and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as needed.
  6. Refrigerate for one hour before serving, then enjoy within four days.

Photography: Terry Brennan; Stylist: Betsy Nelson

Grilled Corn With Ancho-Lime Mayo and Cilantro

This take on Mexican street corn pairs a spicy mayo with grilled corn.

Cobs of grilled corn with ancho-lime mayo and cilantro.

Makes 6 ears •  Prep time 10 minutes •  Cook time 15 to 20 minutes

For the Spicy Mayo

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbs. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. ancho chili powder

For the Corn

  • 6 ears corn, shucked
  • 2 tbs. butter, cut into 6 pats
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup cilantro leaves, chopped

This recipe originally appeared in “Campfire Cuisine.”

  1. Make the spicy mayo: In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the mayonnaise, lime juice, and chili powder. Spoon into an airtight container and keep chilled until ready to use.
  2. Spread a pat of butter on each ear of corn and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then wrap them individually in aluminum foil.
  3. Grill the corn for about 15 minutes, rotating several times.
  4. Unwrap an ear and check for doneness: Corn is ready when the kernels have a little give to them; you may have to taste test the ear to be sure. It’s OK if you get a few charred spots.
  5. Slather the corn with spicy mayo and sprinkle with cilantro. Add an extra dash of chili powder if desired. Serve.

Photo by: Dirty Gourmet

DESSERT

Rainbow Ice Pops

This recipe is a healthy twist on the classic Bomb Pop.

homemade bomb pop recipe

Makes 10 servings •  Prep time 60 minutes •  Cook time 6 hours freeze time

Red

  • 2 cups hulled strawberries, thawed if frozen
  • ¼ cup apple juice
  • 2 tbs. honey

Orange

  • 2 cups mango cubes, thawed if frozen
  • ¼ cup coconut milk

Purple

  • 2 cups blackberries, thawed if frozen
  • ¼ cup apple juice
  • 2 tbs. honey

This recipe originally appeared in “Chill Out! 9 Delicious and Healthy Ice Pop Recipes.”

  1. Set up popsicle molds for 10 pops.
  2. Place the strawberries, apple juice, and honey in a blender and secure the lid. Blend on high until very smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
  3. Measure about 1 ½ tablespoons of the strawberry purée into each mold; freeze until a layer of ice has formed on top, about 20 minutes.
  4. Place the mango cubes and coconut milk in the blender and blend on high until very smooth.
  5. Take the pops out of the freezer and measure 1 ½ tablespoons of mango purée into each. Return to the freezer for about 20 minutes.
  6. Repeat with blackberry purée. Insert popsicle sticks into the pops and freeze until solid, about another five hours.

Photography by: Terry Brennan; Food Styling: Betsy Nelson.

Grilled Peaches With Almond Cream

Peaches and cream — vegan cream! — is the perfect sweet end to a summer BBQ.

grilled peaches with cream

Makes 8 servings •  Prep time 10 minutes •  Cook time 15 minutes

  • 3 ¼ cups water, divided
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbs. refined coconut oil
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 4 large peaches, halved and pitted
  • Avocado oil for the grill
  • Ground cinnamon to taste
  • Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

This recipe originally appeared in “6 Vegan Grill Recipes.”

  1. Preheat the gas grill to high, or build an indirect fire in the charcoal grill: Pile the coals on one side so you have a hot side for searing and a cool side where you can cook the delicate peaches.
  2. In a small pot, bring three cups of water to a boil, then add the almonds. Boil the almonds for five minutes. Drain the almonds in a wire mesh strainer.
  3. In a high-speed blender, place the drained almonds, remaining ¼ cup water, maple syrup, coconut oil, and salt. Secure the lid and blend, scraping down the sides as needed, until the mixture is creamy. Add the lemon zest and blend to mix. Pour into a small bowl.
  4. When the grill is hot, oil the grate, then place the peaches, cut side down, on the cooler side of the grate. Turn the peaches every two minutes for about six minutes, finishing with the cut side up.
  5. When the peach juices are bubbling, spoon a heaping tablespoon of almond cream into each one. Leave the peaches on the grill just long enough to warm the almond cream, about another minute or two.
  6. Transfer to plates and serve each peach half with a pinch of cinnamon and a sprig of mint.

Photos: Andrea D’Agosto; Prop Styling: Alicia Buszczak; Food Stylist: Paul Jackman

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