Summer has arrived – hooray! The warmer days, longer nights, and high spirits create the perfect setting for, you guessed it, everyone’s favourite Aussie tradition. The Barbeque. If you’re planning on hosting an outdoor lunch or dinner this season, it’s time to start planning the ultimate feast to impress your mates! And, being the ‘responsible’ host you are, we’re sure you’d like to care you’re the health of your guests, as well as their appetites.

There are two pieces of information you need to know before planning your healthy BBQ menu:

1.  Unfortunately, the World Health Organisation has linked snags, scotch fillets and fatty cuts of red meat with higher rates of bowel cancer, and other forms of chronic disease. Furthermore, carcinogenic substances HCAs and PAHs are produced when you cook your meat at a high temperature or on an open flame. Some people have a genetic sensitivity to HCAs, increasing their risk. Mysteriously, although barbecuing chicken and seafood produces large amounts of HCAs, these don’t seem to be associated with increased cancer risk

  1. It is safe, and recommended, to use extra virgin olive oil for BBQ cooking

That’s right, extra virgin olive oil is the perfect choice for your BBQ feast. It has a high level of protective antioxidants and a low level of free fatty acids, making it predominantly stable at high heat. On average, it has a smoke point of 220C, and BBQ will usually reach a maximum of 180C.

Now, to help you accomplish a delicious, healthy barbeque spread that feeds 6 people, we have listed five easy recipes that will see you through from start to finish.

Starter: Summer Bruschetta
Dice 4 ripe tomatoes and place into a bowl with 1tbs extra virgin olive oil and 1tbs red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and leave to marinate. Meanwhile, lightly brush 6 small slices of traditional sourdough bread with extra virgin olive oil, one side only. Grill on a hot BBQ, olive oil side down, for 2 minutes, or until charred lightly. Remove, and top each slice with the tomato mixture, crumbled fetta, and chopped basil leaves.

Starter: Grilled Mexican corn with pecorino cheese
Boil six mini corn cobs in a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes, or until corn is cooked. Drain. This can be done in advance. When ready, brush each cob lightly with extra virgin olive oil, and season lightly with paprika. Grill on a hot BBQ, turning, for a few minutes or to your liking. Remove and roll in finely grated pecorino cheese and coriander flakes. Squeeze of lime to serve.


Main: Lemongrass and ginger salmon skewers
Dice 3 skinless salmon fillets into cubes. In a large bowl, whisk 2tbs soy sauce, 1tsp seasame oil, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, 1tsp ginger paste, 1tsp lemongrass paste and ½ tsp chilli flakes (optional). Toss the salmon in the marinade and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer. When ready to cook, thread cubes of salmon onto 6 skewers and brush with remaining marinade. Grease BBQ plate with extra virgin olive oil and cook skewers, turning, for 5 minutes, or until cooked to your liking.


Main: BBQ Turkey burgers
Mix 500g lean turkey mince with 1tsp Worcestershire sauce, 85g sourdough breadcrumbs, 1tbs chopped coriander, ½ diced red onion, 1 crushed garlic clove, and salt and pepper to taste. Form into six burgers, then chill until ready to cook. Heat your BBQ. Brush the burgers lightly with extra virgin olive oil, to keep them from sticking. Cook for 7-8 mins on each side until cooked through. Serve with multigrain rolls, fresh leaves, sliced tomatoes, sliced beetroot and avocado


Side: Summer slaw salad
To give your BBQ a break! Whisk together ¼ cup natural yoghurt, 2tbs orange juice, 2 tsp water and 1tsp honey for the dressing. In a large bowl, add 2 cups of grated carrot, 2 cups of shredded cabbage, 100g of thinly sliced snow peas (topped and tailed). Toss through yoghurt dressing and season with salt and pepper.

Dessert: Grilled pineapple and summer berries with natural yoghurt
Dice half a pineapple. Grill the pineapple, turning, for a few minutes or until caramelized. Place into a large bowl with sliced strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Scoop out some fresh passionfruit and squeeze some fresh orange juice (or a little Cointreau!). Serve with natural yoghurt.