Independence Day Gatherings

Independence Day Gatherings! 

By Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA

Happy Independence Day!  There’s nothing like an outdoor barbeque to make you feel like summer is in full swing. This year, keep your eye healthy choices and add in plenty of fresh and seasonal ingredients to your outdoor barbecue.

Here are some tips to get the party started! 

When Grilling meats and other proteins choose lean cuts , remove skin from poultry and trim visible fat from beef. 

  • Grill veggie burgers, turkey and chicken burgers and even tofu for delicious additions to your barbecue!
  • Meats should be completed thawed before cooking for proper flavor and even cooking.

Don’t forget about food safety. 

  • Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meats and vegetables.
  • Cook steaks to 145 degrees Fahrenheit, 160 degrees for ground meats (hamburgers) and 165 degrees for chicken.
  • Refrigerate foods after two hours or less.

Instead of heavy potato and pasta salads, opt for a fresh vegetable forward pasta salad brimming with summer’s best produce.

Tuna-Veggie Pasta Salad 

This pasta salad is brimming with fresh flavor and the perfect addition to your Independence Day get-together! 

Tuna Pasta Veggie Salad

Active Prep: 15 to 20 minutes

Makes: 10 cups


  • 8 ounces Banza® Rotini (chickpea pasta)*
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 Orange or Yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • ½ red onion, minced
  • 2 (5 ounce) cans Bumble Bee Tuna in olive oil, drained
  • Fresh herbs such as basil, parsley or cilantro, chopped
  • Salt & pepper


  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2-1 tsp kosher salt*
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional if you like some heat)


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, prep all vegetables…cutting up tomatoes through celery.
  3. Place all ingredients into a large bowl. Season lightly with salt & pepper. Add balsamic vinaigrette, toss to combine. Chill for one hour before serving.
  4. Sprinkle fresh basil over top just before serving.

* I’m using garbanzo bean pasta for a boost of protein and to make it gluten-free friendly. Feel free to use wheat pasta if desired. 


Recipe by Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA