By Jenna Weber

There’s no better way to soak in long summer nights than barbecuing with friends. I’ve created a budget-friendly, lightened-up menu of BBQ classics, so you can still enjoy burgers, pasta salads, and dessert without doing any damage to your waistline—or your wallet. So jot down this grocery list, invite over a few friends, and fire up the grill!

Grocery list:1 pound lean ground turkeyEggsOld Bay seasoning1 jalapeno8 ounces whole-wheat spiral pastaCake flourSoy milkVanilla extractApple cider vinegarHershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder (Special Dark makes all the difference. Trust me!)Dark-chocolate chips1 red bell pepper1 stalk celery3 small radishes1 jar kalamata olivesCrumbled feta cheeseWhole-grain buns1 package Swiss cheeseLettuceTomatoOnionMustardKetchup

 

 

 

 

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Turkey Jalapeno Swiss BurgersA great way to lighten up your average burger! I love the extra kick from the jalapeno.Makes 4 burgers

1 pound lean ground turkey1 egg, beaten1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning1/2 teaspoon sea salt1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced4 whole-grain buns4 slices Swiss cheeseLettuce, tomato, onionMustardKetchup

Preheat grill.

Combine the ground turkey, beaten egg, seasonings, and jalapeno together in a large bowl and mix well.

Divide meat into four patties, each about the size of your palm (4 ounces). Grill each burger for about 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Top burger with cheese for the last 2 minutes of grilling time. Serve on a bun layered with veggies, mustard, and ketchup.

 

 

 

 

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Lightened-Up Pasta SaladDitch the heavy mayo dressing and instead serve your family this Greek-inspired salad. It's full of fiber and healthy fats.Serves 4-6

8 ounces whole-wheat spiral pasta, cooked according to package directions2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar2 hard boiled eggs, chopped1 red bell pepper, chopped1 stalk celery, chopped3 small radishes, sliced thin1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped1/2 cup crumbled feta cheeseSea salt and pepper, pinch

In a small bowl, combine olive oil and vinegar and whisk well.

In another larger bowl, combine cooked pasta, chopped egg, bell pepper, celery, radishes, olives, and feta cheese. Drizzle with dressing and toss well. Season with salt and pepper.

This salad is best made ahead of time so the flavors can mingle. I recommend preparing it at least 4 hours before serving, or better yet—overnight.

 

 

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Basic (Vegan) Chocolate CakeThe perfect ending to a lightened-up family dinner. This cake is my absolute favorite dessert and is incredibly simple to prepare.

1 cup cake flour1 cup soy milk1 teaspoon vanilla extract1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar1/3 cup Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder1/2 cup dark-chocolate chips3/4 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon baking powder1/4 teaspoon salt1/3 cup canola oil3/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray two 8-inch cake rounds with nonstick spray and set aside. In a small bowl combine soy milk, vanilla extract, and apple cider vinegar, and set aside for 5 minutes to let curdle. Add sugar and oil and mix well.

In another bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cocoa powder. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Once cool, smother with your favorite vegan frosting and consume.

Read Jenna’s daily food and fitness blog, Eat, Live, Run.