Summer Barbecue Menus (Paleo/AIP)
Hellooooo July 4th Partiers!
Yeah, I’m even talking to you AIPers and those on an elimination diet. I would argue that if you’re 1) working on your health, 2) trying to uncover food sensitivities, 3) addressing an autoimmune disease, or 4) trying to lose weight, it’s MORE important than ever to entertain and socialize.
Deciding to pursue health in a pretty unhealthy food culture can be isolating, but becoming the gatherer/host can prevent that from happening.
The truth is that real food, in season, prepared simply is The Best Food. Just ask chefs! And it just happens to also fit your health goals.
I got a gorgeous, luscious dose of real-food inspiration this week when I visited the garden of Ralph and Lindsay Bashioum. They love to cook and entertain and lucky for me, to share the bounty of their garden. I posted photos in my Instagram story and had several friends DM me and ask if I was in France! (I was in Wayzata…)
Ralph cares for fig, lemon, bay, peach, and plum trees (by moving them indoors for the winter) and plants slightly exotic ingredients like tarbais beans (for cassoulet), kiwis, and the star of his garden: a blanket of white alpine strawberries as ground cover under his apple trees.
The strawberries are creamy and even a bit savory. And of course, delicious. Aren’t they photogenic? I shared some with Zoe Francois and she took them with her to her Twin Cities Live strawberry shortcake demo. You can also catch them on the menu at Demi! I myself ate the charming (and slightly famous) little beauties out of hand, as dessert and for breakfast. Tellemont bon.
I share all of this to remind you that if you’re worried that your version of AIP, Paleo, or healthy eats is too boring for entertaining, fear not. Real food is hot. 😉 And I’ve got a few suggestions for pulling together an easy, work-ahead (working ahead is KEY, as you know, batch bosses!), big-flavor menu that anyone will think is celebratory.
I recorded a Facebook Live today sharing all of my entertaining tips, from what makes great cookout/hot day party food to how to design a balanced menu to links out to several recipes in the comments. It’s packed with info so make sure to watch! (Click here to see the full post with recipe links. You can catch the YouTube version here.)
To make this all as easy as possible for you – I got you! – here are three menu ideas to play with. See what you think!
Paleo/AIP Menu I: An American Classic
Note: Burgers are classic for a reason. Everyone loves them and they’re easy to make. To keep them AIP, I suggest making a pan of slowly caramelized onions to stand in for dairy (trust me, killicious) and making plantain tortillas to use as “buns.” They won’t really be buns, they’ll be quite thin, but they’re a nice delivery vehicle. Spread the batter a bit more thickly than you do for tortillas and bake them a bit longer. Or, just use lettuce leaves – I do love a lettuce-wrapped burger, especially with caramelized onions and pickles. To make GREAT burgers, use grass-fed beef that’s 20% fat (80/20). In a bowl, season the ground beef thoroughly with salt (and black pepper if you can eat it). Using your hands, gently mix in the seasonings. Then – again, gently – press meat into burgers. Don’t pack them tightly, it makes for tough burgers. I like to press the center of the burger a bit so they stay even while cooking.
Sweet Potato or Plantain Chips and Crudite with Guacamole, Fresh Fruit
Grass-fed beef burgers with plantain tortilla “buns” or lettuce leaves
Condiments: caramelized onions (use olive oil only), AIP ketchup, pickles
Abigail & Arthurs Kale Salad (for AIP, omit nuts & cheese and sub in dried cherries)
Blueberry Kuchen (feel free to press raw raspberries as well as blueberries into the tart and serve with coconut milk ice cream for some 🇺🇸 action!)
Paleo/AIP Menu II: An Asian Twist on an American Barbecue
Note: This menu can be Paleo or AIP or just GF – totally up to you. Include chiles if you can and make a big bowl of jasmine rice, if you like. For the Grilled Peaches, feel free to skip the ricotta (or coconut yogurt) given the Asian profile of the rest of the menu and just serve with prosciutto and basil. Feel free to add mint too. Yum!
Grilled Peaches with Ricotta, Crispy Prosciutto & Basil (Paleo, AIP-adaptable)
Vietnamese Pork Skewers
Jasmine Rice or Caulirice
Coconut Milk Panna Cotta (serve with raspberries and blueberries as well as the drizzle of maple syrup; Paleo/AIP) or
Healthy Maple-Bourbon Panna Cotta with Strawberry Jam & Black Pepper (Primal/GF)
Paleo/AIP Menu III: Ribstickin’!
Note: You can make an AIP version of the pesto by omitting seeds and dairy – it’s still GREAT. Toss with sweet potato starch (jap chae) noodles and sub in AIP-compliant add-ins like grilled asparagus or zucchini and olives. It’s a very adaptable salad! Make the kale salad AIP by omitting the breadcrumbs, chile flakes, and cheese and subbing in crispy fried capers and onions.
Shrimp Wrapped in Pancetta with Sage, Watermelon (with Salt!)
Easy Slow-Baked Ribs to Finish on the Grill (Paleo, AIP)
Pesto Pasta Salad (Gluten-Free) or
Raw Tuscan Kale Salad (Gluten-Free/Paleo-Adaptable/AIP-Adaptable)
Roasted Strawberry-Rhubarb Sorbet (Paleo/AIP)
OK! There you have it! Consider those menus to be templates and invite guests to fill in more dishes, of course. Mix and match if you like, they’re meant to get you rolling and creating on your own. Let me know if you have questions.