Everyone loves a good cookout. It brings the neighbors together and helps you get outside to enjoy the sun. The best thing about a cookout, though, is that it’s an easy way to entertain. Everyone brings a few dishes to make the meal so you can whip up a quick dish and be straight out the door and off to the party. What better way is there, really, to spend a Friday afternoon in the Summer?
A grill in the yard
And a guy at the grill
And people at the pool
The cookout’s going well
But the happiest person
We’ll see this eve
Is the guy with not one plate of food-
I love my cookouts! But I do try to avoid the urge to pig out on tons of servings of food. Instead, I like to have a small amount of everything. The cole slaw, the burgers, everything. But it all fits on one plate because I just have one spoonful of everything (though for the burger you really have to get a whole burger.)
But if you are like me, you have been beyond frustrated at your last few cookouts because your favorite cookout classics are out of your reach. Whether you have food allergies or health concerns, cookout dishes are traditionally the opposite of healthy. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. You can have your icebox pie and cole slaw and barbeque burgers without worry that you’ll cause yourself an upset stomach or worse and ruin the party.
I am certain you’ll be able to find one dish that you love the flavor of, and lucky for both of us we can enjoy it knowing we have a meal that is tasty and healthy to boot. If you email this post to your friends, maybe you can even convince them to make some of these dishes instead of the classics, and the whole cookout would be healthy! Who knows, it could happen, right?
For The Grill
Carmelized Onion Burger Patties
I love a good hamburger a few times a Summer. There’s just something about a burger that makes you think of childhood and family get togethers. You can still have that joy as an adult by having your family over for a cookout and grilling up some easy paleo hamburger patties from Joyful Healthy Eats.
The recipe suggests you top the burgers off with avocado, which is a real crowd pleaser and adds some healthy fats to your meal so you can eat less and be more full for longer.
For those who dislike avocado: I’ll let you in on a little secret, shall I? I don’t actually like avocado. I just can’t get over how sickly looking and unpleasant the color is, and then the texture makes me think even more of those things. If your tastebuds are as freakish as mine and you don’t love the food that seems to live in everyone else’s heart, though, you can easily skip the avocado.
Chickpea Burgers for Vegetarians
Sadly, cookouts have few options for vegetarians and vegans. Your options dwindle to almost zero if you are combining multiple food restrictions, like going keto, paleo, and vegetarian. That’s way too much work for me personally. But if that describes you, or you just like to include more veggies in your diet like I do, then these chickpea burgers from Pure Ella are perfect!
Hamburger Buns done Paleo Keto
Hamburger buns that are sturdy enough to hold all the fixin’s and don’t involve any gluten or dairy? Is it possible? Yes. Yes it is. And it’s been done and the recipe has been made. Check out Wholesum Yum’s site for the recipe for hamburger buns.
Low Carb Ribs
These ribs from My PCOS Kitchen are perfect for paleo keto eaters!
Smoked chicken is something fairly universal across all the different diet limitations people can have. This particular recipe from Our Paleo Life involves bacon, which is clearly not appropriate for certain religions or calorie based diets, so if that means some people at the cookout will be left out it’s easy to just skip the bacon on a few of them.
Stick some kebobs on the grill. Everyone likes cubed steak and halved mushrooms and onion chunks on their skewers, but you can mix it up with other veggies or slather on some barbeque sauce (from Low Carb Yum)
This buffalo sauce from What Great Grandma Ate is amazing. Amazing! You can put this on grilled food, or set it out in a bowl as a dip for the veggie tray. Either way, it will be popular. Everyone loves buffalo sauce!
Pasta and Salads
Zoodles are an amazing invention! And everyone loves buffalo sauce! You’ll want to try out this recipe from Living Loving Paleo pronto.
Zoodle Pasta Salad
Classic pasta salad- without the noodles!
This pasta salad from Paleo Bailey doesn’t have any noodles or zoodles at all! It’s pure veggie and chicken, so you can get that kick of flavor without spending time spiralizing or hand chopping veggies into noodle shapes.
Try Paleo Cupboard’s classic cole slaw recipe. Cole slaw should always be paleo if it’s made with a traditional mayo dressing, but some recipes are less than helpful so it’s best to try a specifically paleo recipe.
Paleo Curry Egg Salad
- Egg salad is awesome. You can fight me on this one. But you know what’s even more awesome? Curry egg salad. Grab the recipe from The Real Food Doctors here. You can get your dose of healthy fats and eggy goodness from this classic salad without any of the weird preservatives and junk grocery stores put into theirs.
Chips and Dip
Veggetable Chips Recipe
You can still eat chips even if you are focusing on your health! Making veggie chips in your oven or air fryer is a great way to eat whole foods, but Making chips in your skillet filled with a real oil (I’d suggest sunflower or olive oil) is a great way to be get more of those fats in for keto life! Try this veggie chip recipe from Peace Love and Low Carb.
Dairy Free Ranch Dip
My favorite dip for chips is always going to be sour cream and onion, which is easily done paleo. But when you want a dip that is paleo and keto, it gets harder.
I need my healthy fats. In fact my doctor usually scolds me whenever I visit him that I am not getting the amount of fat in my diet my body prefers (my body and health conditions call for a high fat diet, a moderate fat diet is probably the thing to aim for brain health in the majority of people though if you track your macros) so I keep trying to find recipes that will help me get more, and paleo sour cream recipes don’t really cut it for that.
This ranch dip, however, is awesome. It’s made of real foods and healthy fats. Plus, I can’t think of anything that better suits a classic American cookout than ranch. And if you don’t bring chips to the party, you can be extra classy and bring dipping veggies with paleo ranch dip instead of the stuff full of hydrogenated and not healthy oils that are included in store bought veggie trays. This ranch dip comes from Paleo Running Mama.
Try this Mint Lemonade from Chocolate and Zuchini. I would suggest adding 3 teaspoons of honey per glass (or to taste) to this mixture as it is completely unsweetened, probably on account of how the rest of the world has a different definition of what lemonade is from Americans. (I know! I was so shocked as well! I thought lemonade was a global thing and everyone referred to a sweetened uncarbonated lemon juice when they said it.) but you could also just embrace this unique recipe as-is and drink it like a bracingly sour infused water!
DIY Natural Probiotic Rootbeer
A quick note: rootbeer is a completely non-alcoholic drink. It’s a classic American invention that was originally marketed as a health drink, though the kind of rootbeer you can buy in grocery stores is anything but.
It is possible to get the healthy version though! You can have rootbeer that is actually healthy for you. Shocking, right? Well, traditional rootbeer was a fermented drink, and it has a lot of the same health benefits of kombucha, though in my opinion much better flavor! Try this recipe from Wellness Mama to get your soda fix.
DIY Natural Lemon Lime Soda
Or you can try out this natural lemon lime soda from Modern Life Survivalist. This Sprite copycat recipe uses real ingredients to recreate this soda pop favorite. If you like your pop but are concerned by stevia, you can use natural coconut sugar instead.
Natural Fruit Popsicles
Who doesn’t love a good home made popsicle? I grew up dairy free because of casein intolerance back in those dark days when nothing in grocery stores had ingredients listed and everyone thought a parent was abusive if they kept their kid away from a certain ingredient just because it made them throw up every time they ate it. I’m so glad we’ve progressed so much with food allergies!
But all of that is to say that popsicles are my Summer treat of choice. Whole fruit popsicles were the only thing my Mom could safely buy for us as kids, and eating them now is a special experience that other tasty frozen treats like icecream can’t touch. To me popsicles aren’t just dessert, they are a reminder of afternoons blowing bubbles and getting hugs from my parents. To celebrate that my top dessert recipes for a cookout are popsicles!
Whether you go for the Strawberry Popsicles from Sugar Free Mom or you are more of a peach kind of person and want to try the Peach Popsicles from Healthy Sweet Eats, you can make some memories like mine at your next cookout.
If you don’t have a popsicle mold, though, no worries! You can use a mini loaf pan instead and just put in your sticks in the “wrong way”- it will still taste great and be handheld, so who cares? You can also use a muffin pan and stick tongue depressors or lolly pop sticks in that.
Raw Icebox Chocolate Pie
The ultimate in Icebox pies would definitely be a raw treat. Eating raw means skipping heat during the entire baking process, which is just great for the terrible humidity many suffer through in Summer. Even if you have air conditioning, why make it work harder when you can skip out on using an oven in the first place?
This german chocolate pie (Americans call chocolate, coconut, and nuts mixed together German, whether it’s German Chocolate pie or German Chocolate cake. Not really sure why!) by Unconventional Baker is tasty and healthy.
Berries and Dairy Free Cream
I think everyone loves fresh fruit and cream, and it’s just about the easiest thing you could make for a cookout or any other potluck. This strawberries and cream recipe from Fed and Fit will fulfill all your tasty fruit dreams! Be sure when you get to the host’s house that you put the paleo whipped cream into the fridge until it’s time for dessert so it doesn’t melt!