Nothing says summer like grilling burgers and barbecue chicken in the backyard. A healthy BBQ is a fun and delicious time, but sometimes we all misjudge and cook more than everyone eats—and you’re left consuming leftovers for the entire week.
Luckily you don’t have to eat the same exact meal for days straight. There are lots of ways to turn cookout stars into completely new, healthy meals for lunch, dinner, and even breakfast. Bookmark this page because you’re sure to love and be inspired by the ideas below.
Pulled BBQ Chicken Lettuce Wrap
Toss diced leftover chicken with honey mustard sauce. Place in large lettuce leaves and top with sliced tomato and avocado. “Kick it up a notch with crumbled blue cheese,” says Juan Muñoz, executive chef of Proper Food, an elevated grab-and-go chain.
Top greens with leftover chicken, tomatoes, red onion, blue cheese, and corn kernels from corn on the cob. Drizzle with a healthy DIY ranch dressing made with Greek yogurt. (To cut kernels from the cob, use Muñoz’s mess-free method: Take a large bowl and place a smaller bowl or coffee mug face-down in the middle. Lay a wet towel on top of that. Place the flat end of a corn cob on that base so you can hold the cob vertically. Using a knife, cut the kernels off from top to bottom. Rotate the entire large bowl and keep slicing kernels off like this. When done, all the corn will be in the towel, which you can bunch together to transfer.)
BBQ Chicken Pizza
Top fresh or store-bought whole-wheat crust (or cauliflower crust) with a thin layer of barbecue sauce. Add diced leftover chicken, sliced onions, spinach, and cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Grilled Hanger Steak Salad
Combine arugula, grilled onions, cooked farro, pickled parsley, and roasted garlic. Top with sliced steak and drizzle with black pepper and lemon vinaigrette, Muñoz suggests.
Grilled Hanger Steak Dinner Plate
Roast potatoes tossed in garlic powder and onion powder, sauté kale, and reheat the steak. To serve, top the steak with your favorite pesto, Muñoz says.
Toss lettuce with kernels from corn on the cob, chopped tomato, and diced avocado. Top with leftover sliced steak and lime-cilantro vinaigrette.
Sauté sliced onions, any color bell peppers, and summer squash. Fill tortillas with veggies and leftover sliced steak. Top with guacamole, if desired.
Hamburgers, Turkey Burgers, and Chicken Burgers
Muñoz suggests sautéing finely diced sweet potatoes and onion with garlic, then adding crumbled burger, spinach, and egg whites or whole eggs. Scramble everything together.
Combine crumbled burger with cooked brown rice or quinoa and any seasonings. Stuff halved bell peppers with mixture and top with shredded cheese. Bake until peppers are soft and cheese is melted.
Plant-Based Burger Taco Salad
Sauté onion and garlic, then add crumbled veggie burger and chili powder to make taco “meat”, Muñoz says. Divide romaine lettuce between plates or bowls and add “meat”, black beans, diced tomatoes, guacamole, and cheese, if desired. Top with a lime vinaigrette.
Black Bean Breakfast Burger
Reheat a black bean burger. Place in an English muffin with a fried egg, lettuce, sliced tomato, and sliced avocado.
Corn on the Cob
Roasted Corn Vegan Soup
Blanch lots of onions, then add corn kernels and veggie stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes. In batches, transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer soup back to the original pot and add salt, pepper, and a tiny bit of agave to taste, Muñoz says.
Toss freshly cooked or leftover grilled portabellas and poblano peppers with lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. In a separate bowl, mix leftover corn kernels, halved cherry tomatoes, salsa verde, and cilantro. Top tortillas with veggies, corn-tomato salsa, and sliced avocado.
Quinoa and Corn Salad
Cut the kernels from the cob. Toss with cooked quinoa, parsley, chopped roasted peppers, toasted almond slivers, and a lemon-herb vinaigrette, Muñoz suggests. Top with feta cheese, if desired.
Grilled Veggie Scramble
Scramble egg whites or whole eggs with leftover grilled vegetables. Top with tarragon, chives, and parmesan cheese. Finish with olive oil and fleur de sel, Muñoz says.
Grilled Veggie Wrap
Spread your favorite hummus on a whole-wheat tortilla. Add leftover grilled vegetables, arugula, cooked quinoa, Greek yogurt mixed with lemon juice, and feta, if desired, Muñoz suggests.
Grilled Veggie Pasta Salad
Mix cooked whole-wheat pasta, leftover grilled vegetables, and balsamic vinaigrette. Toss with fresh basil and parmesan, if desired.
Combine cubed watermelon, crumbled feta, and minced jalapeño. Toss with olive oil, lime juice, and salt. Add chopped fresh mint and toss again.
Blend watermelon, kefir, strawberries, cucumber, and fresh mint, if desired.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.