Labor Day Grillin’ & Chillin’

Assorted delicious grilled meat with vegetable over the coals on a barbecue


Labor Day marks the end of the summer and for me it almost always feels bitter sweet. I think, “Where did the summer go?” and at the same time “I can’t wait for the leaves to change ”. With endless trips to the beach, outdoor grilling and fun with family and friends you may have thought the summer festivities would never end! Let’s take advantage of these last few weeks of great weather with a festive Labor Day barbecue.

What’s on the menu?

Easy to prepare proteins like beef and fish as well as veggies work great on the grill – they’re easy, fast and delicious. But don’t think that fish is your only healthy option; lean protein, such as lean beef and poultry, provide essential nutrients to fuel activity and also help people consume more essential nutrients in fewer calories, while balancing their food intake with physical activity.  Vegetarian? No problem, grill firm or extra firm tofu on a well greased grill grate; see recipe below.

Grilling Tip!

Don’t forget you can marinate to maximize flavor and tenderness. Tender cuts of beef can marinate for 15 minutes to two hours for flavor. Less tender cuts, such as Flank, should be marinated for 6 hours, but not more than 24 hours.

Tandoori Tofu

Makes: 6 Servings

Total time: 30 minutes


  • 2 teaspoons Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 (14 ounce) packages extra-firm or firm water packed tofu, drained
  • 2/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 6 tablespoons sliced scallions or chopped fresh cilantro for garnish


  1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
  2. Combine paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cumin, coriander and turmeric in a small bowl. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, lime-juice and the spic mixture; cook, stirring, until sizzling and fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
  3. Slice each tofu block crosswise into 6 slices; pat dry. Use about 3 tablespoons of the spiced oil to brush both sides of the tofu slices; sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoons salt. (Reserve the remaining spiced oil).
  4. Oil the grill rack (see tip). Grill the tofu until it has grill marks and is heated through, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  5. Combine yogurt with the reserved spiced oil in a small bowl. Serve the grilled tofu with the yogurt sauce, garnished with scallions (or cilantro), if desired.

Nutrition Per serving: 173 Calories; 13 g Fat; 2 g Sat; 7 g Mono; 1 mg Cholesterol; 6 g Carbohydrates; 12 g Protein; 2 g Fiber; 419 mg Sodium; 224 mg Potassium

Tips & Notes

Kitchen Tip: To oil a grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.)


Churrasco Steak Sandwich

Makes: 4 Servings

Total time: 35-40 minutes


  • 16-ounces Top Sirloin Steak boneless, 1 inch thick
  • 1 -1/2 cups lightly packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 whole grain rolls, split, toasted
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut in half
  • 4 slices provolone, manchego, or Chihuahua cheese


  1. Place parsley and 4 cloves garlic in food processor or blender container. Cover; process until finely chopped. Add lime juice, oil and salt; process just until blended. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Mince remaining clove garlic and rub over both sides of beef steak. Places steak in center of grid over medium-heat grill. Arrange bell pepper around steak.
  3. Grill steak, covered 13 to 16 minutes for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally. Grill bell pepper 6 to 8 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally.
  4. Carve Steak into thin slices. Cut pepper halves into strips. Season beef and peppers with salt and pepper. Spread cut sides of rolls with parsley mixture. Evenly layer beef, pepper strips and cheese over parsley mixture. Close sandwich. Place sandwiches back on grill; grill, covered, 2 to 3 minutes.


Nutrition information: 539 calories; 24 g fat (9 g saturated fat; 9 g monounsaturated fat); 89 mg cholesterol; 780 mg sodium; 39 g carbohydrate; 3.5 g fiber; 41 g protein; 14.7 mg niacin; 0.7 mg vitamin B6; 1.9 mcg vitamin B12; 4.9 mg iron; 35.1 mcg selenium; 6.1 mg zinc; 109.1 mg choline.

This recipe is an excellent source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron, selenium, zinc and choline; and a good source of fiber.

Recipe source: