Memorial Day Menu

The Physicians Committee

Food for Life

Memorial Day Menu

Barbecue mushroomsThese healthful Memorial Day barbecue and picnic recipes avoid the carcinogens that form when meat is barbecued. We also have a variety of high-fiber, low-fat recipes that can be added to any of your meals. The key is to incorporate fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables into your recipes and to keep your recipes simple. Tips like using vegetable broth in place of oil or creamed cashews in place of dairy products in soups make for tasty, yet healthy versions of traditional favorites. For more tips like this, click here.


Shredded Barbecue

Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue-Style Baked Tofu
Grilled Peaches with Sweet Balsamic Glaze

Summer Pasta and Bean Salad with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil

Fruit Kabobs with Peach Cream Dip

Shredded Barbecue

This recipe works best when you can smoke the seitan before shredding it. By letting the seitan sit in the Barbecue Sauce for at least an hour, it achieves a tender, pulled texture. Seitan makes for a wonderfully healthy substitute for meats and is versatile enough to be used in a lot of ways.

Makes 4 servings

1 batch Barbecue Sauce

3 cups baked shredded seitan made with the following mix:

2 cups vital wheat gluten

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

11/2 cups water

1/4 cup low-sodium tamari

2 tablespoons vegetarian “oyster” sauce

2 tablespoons tahini

Make the Barbecue Sauce according to the instructions.

Start by assembling the dry mix of wheat gluten powder, spices, and herbs. Combine the water, tamari, “oyster” sauce, and tahini. Add this to the dry mix, knead everything together, and bake the seitan.

Once it cools, shred the seitan in a food processor. Add this to the Barbecue Sauce and simmer it over low heat for at least 15 minutes. It does even better in a slow cooker overnight.

Serve this as is or on toasted whole-wheat buns.

Per serving (1/4 recipe): calories: 243; fat: 2 g; calories from fat: 7%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 28 g; carbohydrates: 40 g; sugar: 21 g; fiber: 6 g; sodium: 723 mg

Recipe from Jason Wyrick

Barbecue Sauce

This sauce is to be used with the Shredded Barbecue recipe.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, sliced

2 cups crushed fire-roasted tomatoes

1/4 cup prepared yellow mustard

2 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup

Juice of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Options: 1 tablespoon peanut butter; 1/2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke

Over medium heat, sauté the onion until it softens. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 more minute. Add the rest of the ingredients, simmering them for about 5 minutes, then puree.

The optional ingredients should be added when the bulk of the ingredients are added to the barbecue sauce.

Making It Simple: Simply add all the ingredients to a blender before cooking anything and puree them. Then pour the sauce into a pot and simmer for at least 5 minutes, but preferably simmering it over a very low heat for at least 30 minutes.

The Gourmet Touch: If you can get your hands on berbere, an Ethiopian curry powder, add about 1 tablespoon to the sauce. The flavor is powerful and rich and complements ingredients like sweet potatoes and Portobello mushrooms.

Per serving (1/2-cup): calories: 100; fat: 0.5 g; calories from fat: 4%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 3 g; carbohydrates: 35 g; sugar: 13 g; fiber: 3 g; sodium: 413 mg

Recipe from Jason Wyrick

Barbecue-Style Baked Tofu


The tofu in this dish is best grilled but can also be baked easily. You’ll find that making your own barbecue sauce is both easy and economical. To add even more heat to the barbecue sauce, throw in some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

Makes 6 1/4 slice servings

1 pound firm fresh tofu

1/4 cup ketchup (or substitute 1/4 cup tomato paste)

1/4 cup apple juice concentrate

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 scant pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste

Press tofu if necessary: Line a baking sheet with a clean dish towel. Cut tofu into 6 equal-sized slices (each slice should be about 1/4-inch) and place on the dish towel in a single layer. Cover with a second clean dishtowel and top with a cutting board. Place several heavy objects (canned food, books, jars of beans) on the cutting board. Let stand 30 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare barbeque sauce. Combine ketchup or tomato paste, apple juice concentrate, vinegar, soy sauce, onion and garlic powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in a small measuring cup or mixing bowl.

Remove tofu from the press and pat dry. Carefully arrange in a sandwich-sized zip-top bag and add marinade. Seal the bag, and then carefully massage it so that all the tofu slices are coated with marinade. Refrigerate 4 hours or more (overnight is ideal), turning the bag occasionally to keep all the slices coated.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Remove tofu from bag and place it in a glass baking dish. Drizzle with any remaining sauce and bake, uncovered, until dry and deep golden brown, about 35 minutes.

Per 1/4 inch slice: calories: 87; fat: 3.3 g; saturated fat: 0.7 g; calories from fat: 33.6%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 6.7 g; carbohydrate: 9.4 g; sugar: 6.9 g; fiber: 0.9 g; sodium: 212 mg; calcium: 159 mg; iron: 1.5 mg; vitamin C: 2 mg; beta-carotene: 60 mcg; vitamin E: 0.2 mg

Recipe from Jennifer Raymond, M.S., R.D. found in Healthy Eating for Life for Children by Amy Lanou, Ph.D


Grilled Peaches with Sweet Balsamic Glaze

Grilled peachesIn this delightful recipe, two techniques—grilling and reduction—create a dessert that is bursting with flavor, bringing out the best of each ingredient. When grilled, peaches become almost caramelized, creating a sensationally sweet flavor without added sugars. By boiling the balsamic vinegar and reducing it by half, the vinegar transforms to smooth flavorful syrup. With just five ingredients, this dessert is a spectacular finish to any meal.

Makes 4 servings

4 ripe peaches, halved and pitted

nonstick cooking spray

1/2 cup good quality balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon agave or other liquid sweetener (maple syrup, brown rice syrup, etc.)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon almond extract

fresh mint sprigs

Heat a gas grill to medium-high. Coat peach halves with cooking spray (use about 2 sprays per peach half).

Place peaches cut side down on the grill and grill for about 4 to 5 minutes per side until grill marks appear and peaches are slightly softened.

While peaches are grilling, prepare the glaze. Add vinegar to a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil vinegar until it is reduced by half and looks thick. Add agave, lemon juice, and almond extract.

Remove peaches from the grill and place cut side up on a dessert dish. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and garnish with a mint sprig.

Per serving (1/8 recipe): calories: 88; fat: 0.1 g; saturated fat: 0 g; calories from fat: 1.2%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 1 g; carbohydrate: 20.1 g; sugar: 16.6 g; fiber: 2.6 g; sodium: 15 mg; calcium: 16 mg; iron: 0.9 mg; vitamin C: 6.7 mg; beta-carotene: 524 mcg; vitamin E: 1 mg

Recipe from The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook by Dr. Neal Barnard and Robyn Webb


Summer Pasta and Bean Salad with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil

Pasta Salad

I made this recipe with the fresh basil and tomatoes from the farmer’s market, it’s delicious and a snap to make. This is a great dish to share at picnics or potlucks.

Makes six 1 1/2-cup servings

8 ounces dry whole-wheat rotini or other shaped pasta

2 large tomatoes, chopped

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

3 green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1 15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

kosher or sea salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse.

Combine pasta with remaining ingredients and let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature prior to serving.

Per serving (1/8 of recipe): calories: 219; fat: 0.9 g; saturated fat: 0.2 g; calories from fat: 3.5%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 11.2 g; carbohydrate: 44.7 g; sugar: 4.1 g; fiber: 7.2 g; sodium: 232 mg; calcium: 84 mg; iron: 3.4 mg; vitamin C: 10.5 mg; beta-carotene: 437 mcg; vitamin E: 1.2 mg

Recipe from The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook by Dr. Neal Barnard and Robyn Webb

Fruit Kabobs with Peach Cream Dip

You will love these tasty kabobs. The peach cream flavor is our favorite, but lemon is great, too. For your kabobs, any fruit will do.

Makes 6 servings

1 cup purple seedless grapes

1 cup chopped fresh mango

2 oranges

2 bananas

1 apple

2 6-ounce containers low-fat peach-flavored soy yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoon cinnamon

Chop fruit into chunks or rounds so that they feed easily onto a skewer.

In a small bowl, mix yogurt, vanilla, and cinnamon.

Place 6 to 8 pieces of fruit on each skewer and serve with yogurt dip.

Per serving (1/6 of recipe): calories: 161; fat: 1.1 g; saturated fat: 0.2 g; calories from fat: 5.6%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 2.6 g; carbohydrate: 38.6 g; sugar: 26.2 g; fiber: 4.5 g; sodium: 2 mg; calcium: 135 mg; iron: 0.8 mg; vitamin C: 40.2 mg; beta-carotene: 83 mcg; vitamin E: 0.7 mg

Recipe from The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook by Dr. Neal Barnard and Robyn Webb

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