A Hearty, Healthy Barbeque for Dad this Father’s Day

By Sharon Palmer, RD

With Father’s Day this month and summer not far behind, it’s the perfect time to bust out the barbeque. Nothing appeals to a man’s taste buds more than the classic, smoky flavors of a barbeque inspired meal. An additional bonus is that many barbeque inspired recipes use tomato products, giving you more bang for your buck from a nutrition standpoint.

By using tomato sauce and tomato paste in your Father’s Day recipes, you’re not only giving Dad the gift of a delicious meal, you’re also giving him the gift of health. Consuming tomato products has been linked to a laundry list of benefits including improved bone health, lower risk for certain cancers, and improved heart health.

So dish up, turn on some classic music Dad will love, and enjoy these hearty meals with your family.


Whisky BBQ Chicken

Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes, Cook Time: 10 minutes

Step aside traditional hamburgers and hot dogs! This good and good-for-you barbequed chicken will be sure to satisfy all members of the family.

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts , halved and pounded
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons whiskey
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dark molasses
  • ½ tablespoon ground red chile pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Add onions and sauté until golden. Stir in water, tomato paste, vinegar, brown sugar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, whiskey, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, dark molasses, and ground chile pepper. Bring mixture to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 ¼ hours uncovered, or until sauce thickens. Remove sauce from heat and divide it equally.

Add chicken breasts to first reserved portion of sauce and allow to marinate for about 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Remove the marinated chicken from the fridge and place on a preheated grill. Grill each breast for 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Brush the remaining sauce onto the chicken while it’s grilling, just before you serve them.

Makes 4 servings

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories: 394, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 110 mg, Sodium: 435mg, Carbohydrates: 42g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 37g, Protein: 24g, Vitamin A: 9%, Vitamin C: 15%, Calcium: 7%, Iron: 17%

Smoky BBQ Beans

Prep Time: 20 minutes, Cook Time: 8 hours

The combination of beans and tomato sauce makes this recipe a nutrition superstar. It’s also downright delicious. Using this method to cook your beans allows you to sleep, work, or play while they simmer. 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2Tablespoons dark molasses (or maple syrup because I never have molasses)
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • Dash of Tabasco (or cayenne pepper, depending on how spicy you want them)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb. dried pinto beans, soaked overnight with bayleaf

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onions and garlic and sauté until golden.  Add remaining ingredients, including beans and bring to boil.

Reduce heat and simmer several hours covered. Makes 12 servings.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories: 190, Fat: 2.5g, Saturated Fat: 0g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 170mg, Carbohydrates: 32g, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 9g, Protein: 9g, Vitamin A: 2%, Vitamin C: 10%, Calcium: 6%, Iron: 15%


 Sharon Palmer, RD

Food/Nutrition Writer

Author of the upcoming book, The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for Achieving Optimal Health, Beginning Today (The Experiment, 2012)

Editor, Environmental Nutrition