IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Healthy cookout recipes: Purple slaw, kale pasta salad and sausage

Joy Bauer is celebrating Memorial Day the healthy way with purple super-slaw, poultry dogs in sweet potato "buns" and kale-pesto macaroni salad.
/ Source: TODAY

Now that warmer weather is finally here, I'm predicting lots of barbecues in our future! Enjoying mouthwatering food in the great outdoors with quality friends and family is one of my favorite parts of the season — because what's not to love?! If you're hosting a start-of-summer shindig, try whipping up these tasty recipes that are chock-full of feel-good ingredients and palate-pleasing flavors.

Poultry Sausage in Sweet Potato "Buns"

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

If you love hot dogs (and three-day weekends), then you'll flip for this fun, festive and drool-worthy alternative. I use a lean, nitrate-free, poultry sausage since it contains more than twice the protein and less than half the saturated fat found in most packaged hot dogs. Then I serve it inside a baked sweet potato "bun" and load on the sauerkraut and mustard. The end result is a protein-rich dish that also contains filling fiber and gut-health promoting probiotics. Let's get grilling!

Get the recipe here.

Kale-Pesto Macaroni Salad

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

In place of traditional mayo-mixed macaroni salad, I'm serving up a nutrient-rich pesto dish that's packed with aromatic basil and crazy-good-for-you kale. I also love blending heart-healthy toasted almonds or walnuts into this recipe, but you can easily make it nut-free by swapping in pumpkin seeds. Pro tip: I toss in a single, small ice cube while blending my pesto to maintain the bright green color. Mix it with whole grain elbows and enjoy your delicious macaroni hot or cold — either way this dish serves a crowd with ease, and your guests will be returning for seconds, guaranteed.

Get the recipe here.

Joy Bauer's Purple Super-Slaw

No cookout is complete without crunchy coleslaw. My version is a cinch to make and allows veggie superstars — hello cabbage and carrots! — to shine. I utilize purple cabbage since it contains powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins, which may enhance memory and help reduce the risk of certain cancers. As an added bonus, I also piled on purple-red grapes and red onion for an extra pop of vibrant color (plus delicious flavor and extra nutrition). This scrumptious side is party-perfect and each hearty serving provides four grams of fiber for only 60 calories. Pass the super-slaw!

For healthy tips, follow Joy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and check out her upcoming kid's book "Yummy Yoga."