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'Biggest Loser' Chef Shares 4 of Her "Hottest" Grilling Recipes

These healthy Devin Alexander dishes are easy to make and full of flavor

appetizers of grilled shrimp atop a cucumber slice and guacamole

Photo by Mittera

En español | Of the many traditions taking a back seat this summer, thankfully, backyard (or balcony) grilling doesn't have to be one of them. Sure, we may not be having the entire neighborhood or extended family over, but there's no reason not to fire up the grill and invite a couple of friends to come by for some socially distanced fun over easy and decadent bites.

Shrimp & Guacamole Bites

I serve these crazy yummy and insanely easy morsels at parties (and to my family) all the time. They are truly one of my favorite in-a-hurry appetizers or snacks, and they're always a huge hit. They look so elegant that people often comment that I must have spent a lot of time making them. In fact, they come together in minutes.

Ingredients

  • 12 large shrimp (preferably wild caught)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt-free Mexican or Southwest seasoning
  • 1/16 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  • 1 medium English cucumber
  • 6 tablespoons prepared guacamole (look for a natural one that is as light as possible and without a lot of sodium)

Preheat a grill to high.

Peel all but the tail off the shell off the shrimp and devein by cutting a slit down the back and then running under cold water. Dry well with paper towels. Add the shrimp to a small bowl and toss them in the olive oil, seasoning and salt. Place them side by side on the grill so they do not touch. Grill until they are no longer translucent, about one minute per side.

Meanwhile, run the tines of a fork from one end of the cucumber to the other in a straight line, tearing into the skin slightly to score it (when it's cut you'll have a cool pattern; visit devinalexander.com/diabetes for a video demonstration). Rotate the cucumber and repeat running the fork down the length of the cucumber, keeping the score marks close together, to create a visible pattern. Repeat all the way around the cucumber. Cut the end from the cucumber on a slight diagonal and discard it. Then, cut 12 (about 1/4-inch thick, not thicker) cucumber slices on a slight diagonal (to yield about 6 ounces of cucumber slices total). Reserve any remaining cucumber for another recipe.

Place the cucumber slices side by side on a serving platter. Add 1/2 tablespoon of the guacamole to the center of each slice. Place one shrimp on each so that it's standing up with the tail nearly at the top. Enjoy immediately.

Makes 4 servings. Each (3 piece serving) has: 90 calories, 4 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 65 mg cholesterol, 160 mg sodium, 150 mg potassium, 4 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 1 g sugars, 10 g protein, 95 mg phosphorus

Recipe compliments of Devin Alexander from You Can Have It! copyright 2018.

devin alexander holds a plate with a burger on it

Photo by Summer Syed

Pesto Margarita Portobello Burger

Mushrooms are like sponges; when they're run under water, they soak it up, losing much of their flavor. So instead of washing the Portobello mushroom in this recipe (or any other), use a mushroom brush to clean it with just a touch of water. You can use a damp paper towel if you don't have this type of brush on hand.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 portobello mushroom (about 2 3/4 ounces)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt-free garlic-and-herb bread seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste, if desired
  • 1 (3/4 ounce) slice reduced fat provolone cheese (preferably natural)
  • 1 sprouted grain hamburger bun
  • 2 tablespoons bottled yogurt-based pesto or green goddess salad dressing (look for it in the refrigerated section of the produce area)
  • 3 small or 1 large (1/4 inch thick) tomato slices (preferably heirloom tomatoes)

Preheat a grill to high.

Lightly mist the portobello mushroom with spray and season it with the seasoning and pepper. Place it on the grill, gills side down, and turn the heat to low, if possible, or place it away from direct flame. Grill the mushroom until it is warmed throughout and tender, about 1 to 3 minutes per side. After you flip it, top with the cheese slice.

In the last minute of cooking, add the bun halves to the grill, insides facing down and away from a direct flame, for about 30 seconds to one minute. Watch carefully so buns don't burn — you just want them very lightly toasted.

Place the bun bottom on a plate. Add the grilled portobello, cheese side up. Carefully, using the back of a spoon, spread the pesto over the cheese. Place the tomato slices evenly over top. Add the bun top and enjoy immediately.

Makes 1 serving: 300 calories, 9 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 440 mg sodium, 620 mg potassium, 40 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 3 g sugars, 19 g protein, 360 mg phosphorus

Recipe adapted from Devin Alexander's You Can Have It! copyright 2018.

flatbread pizza with chicken caramelized onions and bleu cheese

Photo by Theresa Rafetto

Grilled Chicken and Caramelized Onion Flatbread with Blue Cheese

If you're making this pizza on a charcoal grill, heat the coals until they are hot and covered with gray ash. Then, for best results, place the crust on the grill about five inches from coals. Cover and grill for 3 to 4 minutes.

Easier Than Caramelized Onions

Caramelized onions are such a great accompaniment to so many dishes. But I never order them out because they're almost guaranteed to be doused in oil or butter. Here, I make them much lighter, but still get that to-die-for flavor that I so love (and that you likely will, too).

Ingredients

  • 2 medium onions (any variety; about 1 1/4 pounds), very thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the onions on the baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over them and season them with salt and pepper. Toss them well. Spread them evenly over the baking sheet. Bake them for 20-22 minutes, turning about every 5 minutes, until the onions are cooked through and caramelized (soft and lightly browned).

Makes 4 servings. Each (about 1/4 cup) serving has: 35 calories, trace protein, 3 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat, trace saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, <1 g fiber, 1 mg sodium

Recipe from I Can't Believe It's Not Fattening! By Devin Alexander.

Ingredients

  • 1 (10 ounce) Boboli whole-wheat pizza crust
  • Olive oil spray
  • 8 ounces lean grilled chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • “Easier Than Caramelized Onions,” see recipe below
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 1/2 ounces (about 1/3 cup) reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles

Preheat a grill to medium heat.

Lightly mist the bottom of the crust with spray. Place the crust on a metal pizza peel or cookie sheet without a lip.

Top the crust evenly with the chicken, followed by the onions, the rosemary, and the blue cheese.

Carefully slide the pizza onto the grill. Grill it (watching carefully) until the cheese melts and the dough is crisped, but not burned, for about 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully slide it back onto the peel or sheet (you may want to use tongs to drag it on) and let stand 5 minutes. Slice into 16 squares and serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings. Each (2-piece*) serving has: 160 calories, 12 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 19 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 278 mg sodium

*Note: nutrition information based on 2 average-sized slices; corner pieces will be smaller

Recipe adapted from I Can't Believe It's Not Fattening by Devin Alexander.

plate of grilled ahi tuna topped with tapenade

Photo by Summer Syed

Grilled Ahi with Olive Tomato Tapenade

This recipe sounds super gourmet, but is quite easy. Serve it with a big Greek side salad or some grilled bell peppers, onions and asparagus.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium Roma or plum tomato (about 2 ounces), cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons black olive tapenade*
  • 1 (4-ounce) sashimi-grade ahi tuna steak
  • Olive oil spray
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat a grill to high.

Mix the tomatoes and the tapenade in a small bowl.

Lightly mist both sides of the tuna steak with spray, then season both sides with salt and pepper. Grill it just until the outside is grilled (this dish is meant to be made sushi style), about 45 to 90 seconds. Flip the steak and repeat on the other side. Carefully (without burning yourself) sear the edges in same fashion, if desired.

Transfer the tuna to a serving plate. Top it with the tapenade mixture. Enjoy immediately.

Each (1 tapenade-topped tuna filet) has: 190 calories, 5 g fat, 1.1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 45 mg cholesterol, 380 mg sodium, 620 mg potassium, 4 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g sugars, 27 g protein, 320 mg phosphorus

Cook's Notes

*Look for a black olive tapenade that is relatively low in fat and calories. The one I use has 4 g of fat per 2 tablespoon serving.

Recipe compliments of Devin Alexander from You Can Have It! copyright 2018, American Diabetes Association.

Devin Alexander is a multitime New York Times best-selling author and celebrity chef who has maintained a 70-pound weight loss for decades while eating her decadent creations. Visit devinalexander.com for more.

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