Healthy BBQ Sides: Simple Slaw, Spinach Falafels and a BBQ Sauce

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With summer well and truly underway, our weekends seem to be filled with parties and BBQs, come rain or shine! But with so many to attend, and so little time to get organised after a working week, it can be a nightmare trying to work out what to bring as your contribution to the outdoor feast.

We know all too well that classic British host response of “oh don’t bring anything, just yourself is enough” which translates as “please bring at least a dish.” So, on that note, here are a couple of easy, delicious, and super nutritious sides that are a perfect contribution to any summer party or BBQ – sure to wow and satisfy any host. Free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar, both the dishes are also vegan – and, if I do say so myself, utterly scrumptious and guaranteed to make you the best guest ever!



(Makes about two medium portions)

A twist on the classic coleslaw, this highly nutritious, colourful and crunchy salad can be whipped up in 10 minutes and makes a perfect accompaniment to grilled meats or veggies. Red cabbage is a serious superfood: it is packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and is low in calories and a fantastic source of fibre. Plus it’s a beautiful colour!


  • 2 medium-sized carrots (grated)
  • ¼ red cabbage (finely sliced)
  • 1 clove of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp of sesame oil
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tbsp of honey (or use agave syrup if full vegan)
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes (about 8)
  • 1 yellow pepper (finely sliced)
  • 1 tbsp of chopped peanuts
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli powder or 1 fresh chilli (chopped)
  • a pinch of salt and pepper


  1. Grate the carrots into a bowl, and add the chopped red cabbage, garlic, chopped tomatoes, and yellow pepper.
  2. In a separate bowl make the dressing - mix the honey, sesame oil, chilli, salt and pepper and squeeze in the lime juice.
  3. Pour the dressing over the raw vegetables, stir well until combined and then top off with a sprinkle of peanuts and sesame seeds.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

(Makes about 12)

Fragrant and filling, these protein-packed babies are divine and so quick and easy to make – you’ll wonder why you ever ate store-bought falafels!


  • 2 ½ cups of chickpeas
  • 1 big handful of fresh spinach
  • 1 tbsp of pine nuts (or chopped pistachios also work well)
  • 1 large handful of fresh coriander (or 1tsp of coriander powder)
  • 1 clove of garlic (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 tbsp of tahini
  • 1 tbsp of sesame seeds
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • a pinch of salt and pepper


  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper and pre-heat the oven to 190 C.
  2. If you are using canned chickpeas, drain and rinse them well and place them in a food processor or blender.
  3. Add in all the rest of the ingredients whizz together until well combined but not too much as you don’t want the mixture to become like a past – we still have to roll these falafel babies.
  4. Once the mixture is a nice mince-like consistency, take a tablespoon and scoop out a spoonful at a time, rolling it around with your hands to form little balls – and don’t worry if they are not perfectly round/all the same size, as they will still taste delicious!
  5. Place the balls on the lined tray and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and let them cool for about 5 minutes before eating or storing.
  7. N.B. These can be kept in the fridge for about 3 days and in the freezer for about a month.


  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2/3 cup water
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup molasses (unsulfured)
  • 2 teaspoons all natural hickory liquid smoke
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle powder


In a large saucepan, combine all the ingredients and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool and use immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to use.


Barbecue sauce keeps in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

By Amelia Stewart of Cook First. For more of Amelia's delightful recipes, please visit

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