Nutritionist Lucy Hyland

Enjoying your BBQ with tomato salsa sald

June 24, 2023
Posted by Lucy

Giant tomato salsa salad with lentils

It’s that time of year. Come hail or shine, we naturally start thinking about dusting off the barbeques for summer and firing them up for some seriously tasty meat and fish. However, burnt and char grilled meats do bring with them some health risks, particularly in the form of cancer causing agents calledheterocyclic amines (HCAs). Many cancer society’s around the world recommend people to avoid these so how can we enjoy our barbeque and still look after our health?

I believe that health is about enjoying a variety of foods; food brings us together as family and friends more than any other medium. So rather than avoiding the BBQ this summer, keep in mind some of these basic principles. In order to get the full picture, I got some great tips from BBQ expert Sebastian Schulze, the head chef at River Lee Hotel.

Firstly, remember to choose quality unprocessed fresh meats and fish for your feast. Marinating meat can help to greatly reduce the amount of HCAs produced by your char grilling and marinades made with acidic juices such as lemons or limes also make the meat easier to digest. Sebastian suggests using whole herbs, chilli or crushed garlic to impart the flavour. Marinating is best done up to 48 hours before cooking and remember to wipe all marinade off the meat before cooking.

Secondly, balance the BBQ meat with plenty of plant based foods. Foods such as fruits and vegetables are packed full of anti-oxidants which help to counteract any damage caused by burnt meats. Plant based foods such whole grains and beans and lentils, are packed full of fibre and these help to keep the meat moving through the digestive system nice and quickly – it saves the undigested meat hanging around in the system for too long and causing trouble!

Thirdly, your salad dressings and marinades can also be filled with immune boosting spices and herbs that support the livers in doing its detox work.Garlic, ginger, and curry powder not only add flavour, but they add a cancer-fighting punch of valuable nutrients. Other good choices include turmeric, basil, rosemary, and coriander. Even the simplest salad comes alive with fresh herbs chopped through it and Sebastian recommends wholegrain mustard for flavour. He warns to always roughly chop your herbs to keep in all of the flavour!

Enjoying your BBQ

Enjoying your BBQ


  • Serves 4
  • 12 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 tin of puy lentils (or other lentils)
  • 1 red onion – finely chopped
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • A bunch of mint leaves and parsley leaves
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • Life long health begins with one recipe but continues with a programme. Click HERE for more


  1. Drain the lentils and wash well.
  2. Chop the tomatoes into quarters.
  3. Place in a large bowl with the lentils and stir the finely chopped red onion gently.
  4. Sprinkle in the lemon juice, olive oil and roughly chopped mint and parsley leaves. Toss lightly.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. If possible leave in fridge covered for an hour or serve straight away.
  7. Wheat free, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free

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