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Chef Jamika Pessoa shares her healthy spin for a balanced summer barbecue

Apr 17, 2023

Jamika Pessoa is a classically trained chef and television host, dishing up recipes where "Caribbean heat meets Southern sweet."

Her mouthwatering recipes offer bold flavors and unexpected twists for meals for any occasion. She launched her career on Food Network's "Next Food Network Star" in 2009 as a "fan favorite" contestant, and now appears regularly on "Good Morning America," among other programs.

Check out her recipes for healthier barbecue options for your summer.

Makes 10-12 sliders


1 ½ -2 pounds plant-based ground beef

Cooking spray

Muffin tin pan

12 brioche slider buns

½ cup barbecue sauce

Optional toppings: Lettuce, tomato slices, pickle slices, onions, etc.

For spice mix

2 teaspoons ground allspice

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground thyme

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper


Preheat grill to 375-400 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine spices to create jerk spice mix and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine plant-based ground beef with three tablespoons of spice mix. Mix well.

Coat muffin tins with cooking spray. Using a measuring cup, press ¼ cup of seasoned ground beef into each tin.

Place pan on grill. Close grill lid and cook sliders for 6-8 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine barbeque sauce with one tablespoon of jerk spice mix. While still in muffin tins, spoon about a tablespoon of sauce on top of each slider and cook for an additional minute.Carefully remove pan from grill and ease sliders out onto buns. Top sliders with any additional toppings of your choice and enjoy!

Serves 10-12 people


2 pounds bite-size red potatoes, washed, cut into halves

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

Wooden skewers

For dressing:

½ cup crumbled feta cheese

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons lemon juice

½ cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt

1/3 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley


In a microwave-safe bowl, combine cut red potatoes, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Microwave for 5-6 minutes or until potatoes are just slightly fork tender. (They will cook more on the grill.) You do not want potatoes breaking apart. Remove bowl from microwave and set aside for 1-2 minutes. Carefully remove plastic wrap from bowl and allow potatoes to rest until cool to the touch.

Preheat grill to approximately 375-400 degrees F.

Arrange 4 or 5 potatoes on skewers with cut side exposed. Place potato skewers on the grill, cut side down. Grill for 4-5 minutes per side or until potatoes are tender and grill marks appear. Once done, remove skewers from grill and arrange on a platter.

To make dressing, combine all ingredients except parsley in a blender. Blend until combined and smooth.

Drizzle dressing over potato skewers when ready to serve. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Serves 6-8 people


6-8 bananas (not too ripe)

¼ cup maple syrup

Cooking spray

Banana Split toppings may include:

Frozen yogurt or ice cream

Vanilla yogurt

Chopped nuts

Chocolate sauce

Caramel sauce

Maraschino cherries

Whipped cream

Fresh fruits

Dried fruits


Preheat grill to 350-400 degrees F.

Using a sharp knife, cut end tips off of bananas then split banana down the middle lengthwise. Leave banana inside of peel. Evenly brush the cut side of banana with maple syrup.

Lightly coat the grill with cooking spray. (If using an outdoor grill, spray the side of grill away from any direct flames.)

Place the cut side of banana down directly on grill. Grill for 2-3 minutes or until grill marks appear. Remove from grill and set aside.

Arrange banana split toppings of your choice into small bowls. When ready to serve, remove grilled bananas from the peel. Serve 2 bananas halves in a bowl and load on your toppings.

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