Blog | Rachel Begun, MS, RD

Three Sides for Your Next Barbecue

We are half-way through summer and well into barbecue season.  I don’t know about you, but we’ve hosted many barbecues so far.  I’ve played around with several recipes for delicious, gluten-free sides and these three seem to be the favorites.  I’m sharing them with you, whether you are hosting your own barbecue or want to bring a healthy, gluten-free option to a friend’s house.

Cole Slaw with Toasted Sesame Oil Vinaigrette
We eat this salad all summer long.  I make a big batch on weekends so that it can last throughout (most of) the week as a quick side or snack.  The toasted sesame oil makes for great flavor and a healthier option to those cole slaws drowned in mayonnaise.


3 cups green cabbage, finely sliced
2 cups red cabbage, finely sliced
2 small carrots, grated
1/2 red bell pepper, finely sliced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, finely sliced
2 scallions, finely sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt

Combine the red and green cabbages, carrots, bell peppers, scallions and cilantro in a large bowl until evenly distributed.  Whisk together the toasted sesame oil, vinegar, maple syrup and salt in a separate bowl.  Toss the the vinaigrette with the vegetables.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes before serving.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Dill Vinaigrette
This simple recipe is a no-brainer for enjoying summer’s bounty of delicious heirloom tomatoes.  The more colors the better!


2 1/2 lbs. heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1-inch wedges
1 pint assorted color cherry tomatoes, halved

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place all tomatoes into a large bowl.  Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil and dill in a small bowl.  Mix the dill vinaigrette with the tomatoes.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
I love this no-mayo potato salad.   The mustard vinaigrette is picked up nicely by the potatoes and the celery and scallions provide a nice crunch, a texture that plays well with the soft potatoes.  And for those of you who think potatoes are an empty-calorie starch, I am here to tell you that potatoes are loaded with nutrients, namely fiber, potassium and vitamin C.  Did you know that fiber and potassium are two of the four nutrients most likely to be missing from the average American diet?  You can get a nice dose of both in this delicious, no-mayo potato salad.


2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, washed
1 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup celery, thin slice
1/3 cup scallions, thin slice
1/4 cup parsley, minced
Freshly ground pepper

Place the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with cold water by 2 inches, add salt and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium, partially cover the pan, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.  Cut into 1-inch chunks.

Whisk together the lime juice, vinegar, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir until the salt dissolves.  Add the mustard and continue to whisk.  Pour in the olive oil gradually until blended.  Mix the dressing with the warm potatoes.

After the potatoes have cooled, mix in the celery, scallions and parsley, and season to taste with the freshly ground pepper.

Meatless Monday Cookouts

Dish with vegetable kebab

How many days a week do you eat chicken, turkey, beef or other meat product?



Every day?

Meatless Mondays are a great way to get more plant-based foods into your diet. It’s not only good for your body, it’s good for the planet. Did you know that 34 countries participate in Meatless Mondays across the globe? Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or just want to eat more plant-baed foods, here are suggestions for making your next Meatless Monday cookout tasty and nutritious.

You might be thinking, “But what will we grill?” One of my dad’s favorites to make when entertaining are veggie kabobs consisting of baby red potatoes, red onion, red peppers and white button mushrooms. Alright, that’s a little white lie – my dad’s creations may also contain beef chunks, but I’m censoring that ingredient for this post! Dad will understand.

Grilled zucchini, corn on the cob, or eggplant wedges on the grill drizzled with some olive oil also satisfy.

One of my own standbys is a chilled gluten-free quinoa, kalamata olive and veggie salad. Perfect for your picnic table! Toss any veggie combo (such as red onion; orange, red, yellow bell peppers, zucchini, cucumber, tomato) into a quinoa base and sprinkle with olive oil and mint sprigs. Other gluten-free grains that work well are basmati or brown rice. Add feta if desired – and if you’re not vegan!

Interested in adding a little creativity to your green salad? Me, too. One of my favorites involves taking pitted and halved cherries and cooking them gently with olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar until they become soft. Toss the cherries with chopped endive, escarole or a combination of both, and some toasted hazelnuts.

Find inspiration at your local farmers market, too. Experiment with different nuts and seeds in your salad, plus fresh herbs, greens and more. Have you made a salad of spinach leaves lately? Arugula? Kale? Mustard greens?

Green salads with fruit such as strawberries, blueberries or tangerine slices are always a hit. Why not mix it up with greens, peach slices and dates for a change of pace? The following Stone Fruit Salad serves approximately 6:


1 ½ cups thinly sliced leek, divided
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 ripe peach, pitted chopped
2 ripe peaches, sliced
6 cups frisée greens
3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
¼ cup dates, pitted and chopped


1. Place 1 tablespoon of the leek, plus the water, white wine vinegar, olive oil and 1 ripe peach into a blender and process until smooth.

2. Combine the frisée and the remaining leek in a large bowl, and toss with the dressing made in step 1.

3. Place 1 cup frisée mixture on each of 6 plates. Top each serving with about 1/3 cup of the sliced peaches, about 1 teaspoon of almonds, and 1 ½ teaspoons of dates.

Lastly, I wanted to share Rachel’s favorite Shades of Green Salad with kale, cucumber and avocado. The salad also calls for cayenne for a little heat and hemp seeds for crunch. The hemp provides a good dose of protein (5g in just 2 tablespoons), and omega-3s (for anti-inflammation and immune health).

What is your favorite summertime Meatless Monday dish? Please share!


Krista Ulatowski, MPH, RDN, is based in Seattle, where she practices in the areas of nutrition writing, marketing and social media. She also counsels clients in weight loss and corporate wellness settings. Follow her at @PhytoK or send an email:


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