Memorial Day signifies the kickoff to summer, the first long warm-weather weekend, and of course—most importantly—remembrance of past sacrifices service men and women have made to keep us safe. For many, including us Spartans, it's an important holiday. But, with the current pandemic and social distancing, we do have to get creative about how we celebrate this year. The good news? By this point, you're a pro at virtual parties, so why not throw an epic Memorial Day grill out and invite your friends and family to join you from their own backyards?
Food prep—from hitting the grocery store to cooking—is a whole new ballgame these days. But, fear not. We've got you covered with simple, healthy Spartan-approved Memorial Day grilling recipes (from pros and SGX coaches!) that pack a punch of powerhouse nutrients. Even if you don't have all of the ingredients, or need to get inventive with substitutes, these recipes are easy enough to adjust, and will inspire you to use what you have on hand.
#BeUnbreakable this Memorial Day weekend, and don't let the pandemic hold your grilling game back. (Plus, share these recipes with your Mem-Day-BBQ crew in advance, so your virtual party buddies can indulge, too.)
Epic Memorial Day Grilling Recipes: Use this BBQ Menu to Inspire Your Stay-At-Home Celebration
SALADS & SIDES
Easy Bean Salad
TRY IT: From Spartan Pro Cali Schweikhart
WHY SHE LOVES IT: "Beans are an amazing source of plant-based protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. Beans can also help to stabilize blood sugar, and are also high in vitamins such as folate, which is important for the growth and function of cells in your body. Plus, the olive oil is a natural anti-inflammatory agent and an excellent source of monounsaturated fats. So on top of tasting amazing, this bean salad is some of the best training and recovery fuel you could eat!"
- 1 can shoe-peg corn
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can dark red kidney beans
- 1 can chickpeas
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 small onion, diced
- olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, basil, oregano to taste
- Combine all beans and corn in a bowl.
- Rinse and strain to remove any access liquid from the cans.
- Add the tomatoes, onion, oil, balsamic, and seasonings.
- Toss it up and it's ready to go!
Watermelon Arugula Salad
TRY IT: From Spartan Pro Jamie Brusa
WHY SHE LOVES IT: "This salad is a summertime favorite for me and my husband, Patrick. It is colorful, refreshing, and packed with nutrients. The arugula offers a peppery taste, is high in potassium, magnesium, iron, and vitamins A and C. Blueberries bring in a sweet and slightly tart accent and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and watermelon provides a source of lycopene (which can help boost immunity)."
- 1 small watermelon cut up into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup arugula (packed down)
- Fresh spearmint leaves to taste
- ½ cup blueberries
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Feta cheese (optional)
- Combine watermelon, arugula, mint leaves, and blueberries in a large bowl.
- Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and mix well.
Avocado Smoothie Bowl
TRY IT: From Spartan SGX Coach Imad Al Din
WHY HE LOVES IT: "It's very easy to prepare, plus you can play with the toppings (adding anything like honey, almond flakes, coconut flakes, chia seed, mango)—just add more colors. This recipe contains healthy fats and quality carbohydrates, you won’t feel full after eating it, and [you can make it sweet] as it replaces sugar cravings."
- 1 avocado, ripe
- Toppings, your choice: chia seeds, honey, almond flakes, dried fruit (basically any pantry staples that sounds good, works!)
- Cut and pit the avocado, and scoop out the flesh into a small bowl. Mash with a fork until it's relatively creamy.
- Add your toppings. Drizzle with honey.
Related: Baked Avocado & Acorn Squash Fries
Baked White-Fish Marinara
TRY IT: From Spartan SGX Coach Gino Meriano
WHY HE LOVES IT: No grill? No problem. "So in fact, you can cook this on the grill or in the oven—in Italy, we used to cook it in a fire stove, old-school style, which appealed to me. I like to try different ways to cook this [read: versatility] and have made this recipe in the oven, on the grill and even a smoker."
Ingredients: (serves 4)
- 4 Fillets of any white fish you like (try cod!)
- 10-14 small roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 3/4 tsp oregano
- 3/4 tsp basil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- dash hot pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
- In a medium bowl add tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt, hot pepper flakes, Italian parsley and olive oil. Mix gently to combine.
- Line a large baking pan with parchment paper (big enough to fold over the fish). Place the fish fillet in the pan—it's OK if they are touching. Top fish with tomato mixture, drizzle with olive oil and fold the parchment paper to cover the fish.
- Bake in the oven for approximately 20-25 minutes. Uncover and drain excess water, raise heat to 400° and continue to bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
The Ultimate Veggie Burger
TRY IT: From Spartan Pro Lindsay Webster
WHY SHE LOVES IT: "These are my favorite veggie burgers, with my modification of adding some small diced portobello mushrooms for extra moisture. These burgers are a staple in our home! [My husband] Ryan Atkins and I aren't vegetarians, but we try to eat vegetarian about five days a week because we find that keeps us feeling and firing at our best in training. Sometimes though, you just want a burger! These are great on a grill, or they're also great in the winter just pan fried or baked in the oven. They also freeze really well, so I typically freeze the leftover burger patties and we have them ready-made whenever we want an easy meal."
Ingredients: (makes 12 burgers)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 close garlic, minced
- 2 portobello mushrooms, diced
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
- 1- 19 oz can black beans, drained, rinsed and roughly pureed
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/4 cup parsley or cilantro, chopped
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/2 cup almonds, roasted and chopped
- 1 cup sunflower seeds, roasted and chopped
- 3 cups fine bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 5 eggs
- 2 cups carrots, grated
- 2 cups oats
- flour for dredging
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- In a large skillet, sauté onions, mushrooms and garlic in oil.
- Place in a large mixing bowl and let it cool a little.
- Add remaining ingredients. Mix well and shape into patties.
- Dredge patties lightly in flour.
- Toss right on the grill at 400°F for 4-5 minutes each side. Or heat vegetable oil in a large pan to brown the burgers on both sides.
(Note: A food processor comes in handy with this one.)
Salmon — Icelandic Style
TRY IT: From Spartan SGX Coach Ólafía Kvaran
WHY SHE LOVES IT: "I love Salmon because it's healthy and nutritious. Very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, it's an excellent source of high quality protein that provides all of the essential amino acids. It has a lot of vitamins and minerals such as, A, B and D vitamins, magnesium, potassium and more. I choose salmon because its easily digested and I feel good after the meal. It prepares me well for my next workout—and I like to add carbohydrates (like sweet potatoes) to the meal for extra energy."
Ingredients: (serves 4)
- 2 lb Atlantic Salmon, boneless
- 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
- 2 tbsp freshly squeeze lemon juice
- 2 tsp lime zest
- Salt and black pepper
- Put the fish skin-side down on a piece of aluminum foil (for the grill) or baking tray (for the oven).
- Mix all ingredients together and gently rub the blend onto the fish.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook in the oven (at 350°F for 20 minutes) or the BBQ (at 400°F, for 15 minutes)
- Drizzle in Lemon Pepper Sauce (below) when ready to serve.
Lemon Pepper Sauce:
- 250 g / 9 oz greek yogurt
- 2tbsp Maple Syrup
- Lemon zest from ½ lemon
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon pepper
- ½ tsp salt
Mix together and serve chilled.
Related: Salmon: Food of the Week
DESSERTS & SWEET SNACKS
TRY IT: From Us
WHY WE LOVE IT: Sometimes you just need a little sweet treat, and this Cantaloupe Popsicle Recipe hits the spot. Not only are these tasty chillers rich in vitamins A and C, but they're also a solid source of potassium (the great recovery nutrient), and super easy to make. Plus, they're gluten free, vegetarian, and gives ice cream a run for its money in flavor.
- 1 cantaloupe
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Slice the cantaloupe in half, remove the seeds and scoop out the meat and place in a blender.
- Add remaining ingredients to blender and blend.
- Pour puree into Popsicle molds and freeze. No molds? Try an ice-cube tray with toothpicks.
Triple Banana Cinnamon Smoothie
TRY IT: From Spartan Pro Myriam Guillot-Boisset
WHY SHE LOVES IT: "This one is full of energy and full of potassium! Eat a bowl of this and you'll be ready for a 60-mile bike ride."
- 8 fresh bananas, in pieces
- 3 dry bananas, in pieces
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Blend four of the fresh bananas together with cinnamon.
- Mix all together with the other chunks of fresh and dry banana in a big bowl. Pour to serve. Simple, but delicious and nourishing.
You already know how much we're into non-alcoholic beer, because (let's face it) booze really sets you back. But you don't have to stick to water—especially when there's a holiday to celebrate. Instead, take your sippers up a notch and kick back with a cold one from our partner, Athletic Brewing Company. Our favorite go-to is the N/A Run Wild IPA: non-alcoholic, and brewed with a blend of five varieties of Northwest hops that carries just enough bitterness to overtake its malty undernotes. Plus, it’s only 70 calories (most IPAs run 150+) so you can feel good knowing you’re not overindulging.