Eating outdoors is one of summer’s simple pleasures. But, cooking outdoors sometimes strips away the creativity and healthy approach you might feel in the safety of your kitchen. If you’ve ever resorted to hot dogs, packaged veggie burgers and potato chips – listen up! You can do better than that. Keep meat eaters and vegetarians content with a fresh take on burgers and kabobs.

How to BBQ Like a (Bison) Boss and Please Vegetarians Too!

Make Bison Burgers.

It’s time to chuck the ground chuck and give beef the boot. Bison meat is generally leaner than beef. Along with having a bold taste, bison is a good source of Omega-3 fats, protein, zinc, iron and Vitamin B12.

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Because bison meat is lean, unlike beef, it dries out if just slapped on the grill. To keep it juicy, spray each side of your patty with olive oil after seasoning the meat – and then place it on the grill.

Be sure to present a nice platter of traditional toppings, but with a little flair (so the vegetarians in the crowd can build an interesting sandwich). The only place for iceberg lettuce is as a substitute for buns if you have friends who are allergic to gluten. Otherwise, offer-up some fresh spinach leaves or an intriguing mix of greens to put on your burgers. Now is the season for garden fresh tomatoes and onions. Get a couple of heirloom tomatoes to add color and diverse flavor.

Instead of putting out mayo and worrying about it spoiling, you’ll be surprised how many guests go for a slice of vitamin-rich avocado for its creamy texture. Have spicy Dijon mustard on hand for a no-calorie, no-fat hit of flavor and finesse. And, forget the ubiquitous slices of American cheese. Make a plate with Havarti, provolone, feta and/or blue cheese.

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Create Community with Kabobs.

Spearing veggies will save you time, minimize the worry about foodborne illness that can arise when sides sit in the sun and, most importantly, bring your friends together – carnivores and vegetarians alike! Guests can commune at the backyard table by constructing and customizing their own kabobs. Get all the pieces together before everyone arrives so you can be out of the kitchen and ready to mingle. Y’all can chat away while piercing and dressing those veggies. Pop them on the grill for about 15 min. Then munch away.

1) Soak bamboo skewers in water.
2) Cut vegetables into 1 to 1 ½ inch chunks.
Mushrooms, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, onion, eggplant, zucchini and cherry
tomatoes are all good choices.
3) Make a couple of marinades to provide choice for guests. Double the recipes if needed:

Lemon Garlic
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)
– ½- 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano or cilantro
– 2-3 cloves crushed garlic (to taste)
– Salt and black pepper to taste

Balsamic Vinegar, Dijon & Dill
– 4 tablespoons olive oil
– 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
– 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
– 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
– 2 cloves crushed garlic
– Salt and black pepper to taste