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Home / Healthy Grilling Recipes for Your Memorial Day Menu

Healthy Grilling Recipes for Your Memorial Day Menu



Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to grilling season. It’s the perfect time to gather with loved ones, enjoy the warmer weather, and indulge in delicious grilled foods. According to WalletHub, an estimated 7 billion hot dogs (818 per second) are consumed between Memorial Day and Labor Day. While meat-forward grilled options are popular, many barbecue attendants enjoy some plants on the grill too. A 2017 survey of Americans who recently attended a barbecue found that 50% of respondents said they prefer grilling vegetables. Vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, onions, asparagus, and corn cook quickly and add a punch of fiber and antioxidants to any meal. Skewers are a great option to mix meats and veggies and are easily customizable to an individual’s preference. Try one of these mouthwatering and unique skewer pairings:

Shawarma-inspired Veggie-Loaded Chicken Skewers – Serves 4-6

This shawarma marinade is easy to put together and full of flavor. The chicken is marinated for 2 hours, while vegetables are added later to prevent losing water. 

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds chicken breast, cut into 1.5-inch cubes
  • 12 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed, halved
  • 1 red onion, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 14-ounce canned artichoke, in water, quartered
  • Metal or wood skewers 
  • Spray oil.
  • Toum, for serving 
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • Chopped parsley, for serving

Instructions:

  1. If using wood skewers, soak for at least 30 minutes before skewering ingredients.
  2. In a bowl, prepare the marinade. Add olive oil, lemon juice, spices, brown sugar, and salt and pepper to taste, then whisk to combine. 
  3. In a zippable bag, add marinade and chicken. Marinate chicken for 2 hours, then add vegetables and marinate for another 15 minutes. 
  4. Skewer all ingredients. Heat the grill and prepare grates with spray oil. Grill skewers until the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165 degrees F, flipping occasionally to achieve grill marks on all sides. 
  5. Serve grilled skewers with toum, lemon wedges and garnish with chopped parsley.

Topical Citrus-glazed Salmon Skewers – Serves 4

Citrusy flavors and salmon go hand-in-hand for a tasty aftermath. In this recipe, salmon is marinated then skewered and grilled to perfection with cherry tomatoes and pineapple for a tropical element.

Ingredients:

  • 20 ounces of salmon, cut into 1.5-inch cubes
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into 1.5-inch cubes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Juice and zest from ½ orange
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt to taste
  • Metal or wood skewers 
  • Spray oil

Instructions:

  1. If using wood skewers, soak for at least 30 minutes before skewering ingredients.
    1. In a bowl, prepare the marinade. Whisk together all ingredients except salmon, cherry tomatoes, and pineapple. 
    1. In a gallon-sized zip bag or container, cover salmon, cherry tomatoes, and pineapple with marinade. Marinate for 30 minutes and skewer ingredients.
    1. Prepare grill grates with spray oil. On a hot grill, grill, flipping occasionally, until salmon reaches desired internal temperature. Salmon tastes great at 125 degrees F. 

Grilled Caprese Skewers – Makes 8 Skewers

Just because cheese melts doesn’t mean it doesn’t belong on the grill. In this recipe, preparation is key to perfectly grilled mozzarella cheese. Wrapping mozzarella in prosciutto prevents a melty mess on the grill grates and adds an interesting smoky kick to traditional caprese flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 8 Campari tomatoes
  • 8 slices fresh mozzarella
  • 8 slices prosciutto
  • 16 fresh basil leaves
  • Small metal or wood skewers 
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic reduction
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. If using wood skewers, soak for at least 30 minutes before skewering ingredients.
  2. Wrap mozzarella slices in 1 slice of prosciutto each. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up.
  3. Skewer one tomato with one prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella slice. Grill immediately over a hot grill prepared with spray oil. Grill for a few minutes until grill marks appear.
  4. Once skewers have cooled enough to handle, add basil leaves and serve. Drizzle some olive oil and balsamic reduction on top. Add coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Shanthi Appelö is a registered dietitian and health and wellness spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan based in Detroit. Passionate about the science of nutrition and behavior, Shanthi has experience working in clinical nutrition, public health and teaching in the university setting. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, exploring the outdoors, working on art and spending time with family. For more recipes and health information, visit ahealthiermichigan.org.