Growing up it seemed every weekend my family was having a cookout. Friends would come over for some grilling out, swimming and of course only the adults indulged in some beers. But that is what summer reminds me of, grilling on my families deck, just enjoying being with friends.
So when my friend Haley came for her first DC visit with Emma on her way to Maine for grad school, I thought it was only fitting that we recreate a cookout, albeit in my apartment! Growing up Haley was a vegetarian, and Emma wasn’t, but now it’s the opposite. Go figure. So no matter what, I knew I was making something veggie friendly.
This meal is a great no stress meal for having people over. It does take some prep tine in that you need to slice the sweet potatoes and chop up some veggies for the burgers, but once that it is done it is a breeze! And as a side note: cooking with Haley and Emma was a bit distracting…so sorry for the lack of pics!
To start, cut up a bunch of sweet potatoes. Simply toss with some olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. You toss them in the oven to bake for about 45 minutes.
While they are cooking, whip up the two sauces for this meal. First a dipping sauce for the fries, a garlic and basil mayo. In a bowl, just combine some salt, low-fat mayo, garlic and lemon juice.
Then make the sauce for the burgers. We’ll top them off with a blue cheese sauce. In another bowl combine some nonfat plain yogurt, I used Greek yogurt, some crumbled blue cheese and a bit of balsamic vinegar.
Place both sauces in the fridge while you cook up your burgers and toppings.
Preheat your grill to medium-high.
Toss the Portobello mushrooms, chopped tomatoes and onions with some olive oil and salt.
Then place all the veggies on the grill to cook. Flipping the veggies once to cook both sides.
Once everything is cooked through, set up your burgers, and serve with fries and sauces!
Even Haley and Emma were excited!
Sweet Potato Fries (adapted from Giada De Laurentiis and the Food Network)
5 sweet potatoes, cut into 1 by 5 inch “fries”
3 tbsps olive oil
2 tbsps chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp lemon juice, fresh
Pre-heat oven to 400°
Cover baking sheets with foil and arrange sweet potatoes and toss with olive oil. Bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.
In a bowl, combine basil, kosher salt, mayo, garlic and lemon juice and whisk together to combine.
Serve sweet potatoes with dipping sauce
Yields 4 to 6 servings
1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt (Greek Style)
3 tbsps crumbled blue cheese
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Combine yogurt, blue cheese and vinegar in a small bowl and stir to combine with a fork
Yields 1 tbsp servings
3 tsps olive oil
4 whole-wheat buns
2 tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch slices
4 portobello mushroom caps
1 sweet onion, cut into 1/2 inch slices
Salt to taste
Preheat grill to medium-high heat
Toss tomatoes, onions and mushrooms with olive oil. Season with salt.
Oil your grill. I simply used cooking spray, because I was using a George Foreman, but it wouldn’t be safe to do that with a normal grill!
Cooke the veggies, about 1 minute per side for the tomatoes, 3 to 5 minutes per side for the mushrooms and onions.
To assemble your burgers, spread the cheese sauce on the bun tops and divide up the mushrooms, tomatoes and onions among the burger bottoms.
Yields 4 “burgers”