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How to have a gut-nourshing BBQ

Gut Health Tips • Nutrition

July is here, and many of you are probably getting ready to host or attend a BBQ, which is why we thought it was time to ask our gut health specialist for some ideas for incorporating gut-nourishing foods into your next BBQ.

When the sun is shining it makes many of us want to get the BBQ fired up and there is nothing better than gathering friends and family to enjoy some alfresco dining. Given some thoughtful decisions on what you are going to prepare you can also make this one that is nourishing for your gut too…


BBQs tend to be synonymous with grilled meat in abundance but actually, we can reframe this so that plants become the main star of the show and meat is more of a side dish. The more creative, colourful, and flavoursome we can get the better!

With this variety and diversity of different colours and types of vegetables, it also brings in a whole lot of fibre for our gut microbes as well as polyphenols which are the special chemicals that essentially give plants their colour and which also exert a positive influence on our microbiome. Adding in extra herbs and spices increases the polyphenols further and brings in even more flavour.

What’s more, polyphenols inhibit the production of Heterocyclic Amines (HCA’s) that are produced when food, especially meat, is cooked to a very high temperature. The longer it is cooked the higher the more HCA’s so you really want to avoid blackening anything. Colour is the aim of the game here and I have a few ideas below to get you started…

Few ideas to get you started

  • Roasted butternut squash with dill, parsley, pomegranate seeds and lemon tahini dressing (see further below)

  • Grilled courgette slices, asparagus, rocket leaves, and mint with basil pesto dressing (also see below) topped with shaved parmesan

  • Baby leaf spinach, avocado slices and toasted pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil dressing 

  • Shaved fennel, quinoa, capers, chopped almonds, olives and fresh parsley with a dressing of apple cider vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil 

  • Cherry tomatoes, white beans, sliced spring onions and basil leaves with a dressing of lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil - option to add chunks of burrata

From Eve Kaliniks E-book


You cannot beat a good potato salad at any BBQ. This is simply baby new potatoes, mixed with pumpkin, hemp and sunflower seeds, sliced gherkins (try to get the unpasteurised ones for fermented benefits), rocket, parsley and mint with a dressing of tahini and lemon juice. Deeelish. 

And whilst we are on the subject of fermented veg don’t forget about others like sauerkraut and kimchi which bring in extra gut-nourishing benefits so you could showcase them with one or both of the below sesame-inspired ideas…


  • Wild or brown rice, kimchi (use a quarter of the amount ratio to grain). Add sliced spring onions and a dressing of sesame oil and soy sauce dressing with sesame seeds to finish

  • Miso slaw, finely slice carrots and fennel, add sauerkraut and a dressing of white miso paste, mirin, soy or tamari, sesame oil and add sesame seeds.


Getting the party started at any BBQ usually means chips & dips. Making your own can be really simple, tastier and more nutritious. Often the ready-made versions can be loaded with unhealthy oils, sugar, sweeteners and other artificial ingredients that are not so hot for our gut.

A simple guacamole or salsa are really easy and you can also make your own hummus with the use of a food processor and a few ingredients. 


Kale chips can be a nice way to get in extra veg and fibre rather than the beige potato versions. Or you can slice veg like celeriac and courgettes into batons, coat in some arrowroot or corn flour, season and bake in the oven until they get nice and crispy! 

Other dip ideas could include those based on beetroot or red pepper. You can find her Broccoli almond and artichoke, raw beets dip and chipotle red pepper dip recipes in her first book BE GOOD TO YOUR GUT if you want further inspiration.

  • Soy sauce, tomato paste, mirin, sesame oil, ginger and garlic

  • Miso paste, mirin, sesame oil

  • Smoked paprika, cumin, ground coriander, lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of chilli

  • Rosemary (or thyme), garlic, lemon juice and olive oil 

  • Peanut butter, tomato paste, soy sauce, smoked paprika, white wine vinegar and rapeseed oil

    You can also get saucy with your sauces to dress your vegetables or have alongside your meat and here are some of my suggestions...

  • Miso kefir - mix miso paste, milk or coconut kefir and a dash of sesame oil

  • Tahini & lemon dressing - mix tahini, and lemon juice and add water to thin 

  • Miso sesame - mix the miso paste, sesame paste (or tahini), mirin and soy and add water to thin

  • Pesto dressing - add extra olive oil and lemon juice to pesto and voila!


Burgers are one of the simplest things to make and can be super nutritious versus some of the pre-made stuff that uses a lot of fillers and cheap ingredients. Use good quality organic grass-fed meat, and egg to bind and season and that's really all you need as a base recipe.

However, if you want to make things a little spicier why not add in some chilli flakes, or perhaps cumin and paprika for smokier flavours. Herbs are also a welcome addition and I reckon parsley or coriander taste great in the mix. 

Of course, meat isn’t the only option as you can make some really tasty plant-based versions which your gut microbes will love too.


With the BBQ in full swing and the sun shining it may also be the time to kick back with a drink and as it goes red wine, in moderation, does have bonafide gut health benefits. It also can also help with neutralising some of those pesky HCA’s. And if you really want to toast your gut you could try kombucha which is a non-alcoholic fermented green tea - add a shot of gin if you want to make this more of a cocktail.

Eve Kalinik, Gut Health Specialist

Nutritional Therapist, Author and Podcaster, Eve Kalinik believes that having a healthy gut is fundamental to our overall well-being. She is a registered member of (BANT)(CNHC) and accredited by (IFM).