BiotiQuest® Gut Health & Probiotics Blog with Martha Carlin

5 Gut-Friendly BBQ Recipes for Summer + BiotiQuest®

Martha Carlin | Jun 23, 2021 | 2 minutes read

As we step into the full swing of summer, you may find yourself enjoying the sunshine with family and friends around the grill!

De-stressing with loved ones, getting your vitamin D, time in nature ... all great things for your microbiome health. But one thing that’s not very gut-friendly? The typical American cookout menu.

It’s usually packed with inflammatory foods like sugar and processed items, artificial flavors and preservatives, and low-quality meat. All of which can harm your gut, and lead to chronic health issues if consumed often.

So today, just in time to plan your summer gatherings, we’ve rounded up five delicious and flavorful gut-friendly recipes to bring to your next barbecue:


The Drink: Watermelon Juice (from Eating Well)

Simple and refreshing, nothing says summer like watermelon! If you want to jazz up this drink and add a powerful probiotic, try adding a splash of kombucha.


  • 1 (6 pound) seedless watermelon

  • ¼ cup lime juice


Cut watermelon in half. Using a large spoon, scoop out and reserve the pink flesh (you will have about 8 cups). Discard rind. Process the watermelon and lime juice in a blender (in batches if necessary) until smooth and frothy, about 30 seconds. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a pitcher, pressing with a spoon to release juices. Discard solids. Pour the juice into 4 ice-filled glasses.


The Salad: Massaged Kale Salad (from Nutrition Stripped)

Made with kale as the base, which is full of fiber and vitamin A, this salad can be customized based on your preferences! Try the classic made with omega-3 rich walnuts, a zesty vegan Caesar, or the Cobb for a boost of protein.


  • 2-3 cups Massaged Kale Salad recipe below
  • 3 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • garlic, optional


Prepare massaged kale salad and set aside in a serving bowl. In a blender or food processor, combine avocado, hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, and optional garlic and a dash of apple cider vinegar. Blend together for a thick and creamy dressing. Pour over kale and combine, then top with chickpeas. If you’d like to add another protein source instead of a vegetarian-friendly protein, try grilled chicken. Enjoy!


The Side Dish: Homemade Sauerkraut (from Minimalist Baker)

This tangy, crunchy sauerkraut is not only filled with gut-friendly probiotics and easy to make, but it’s also versatile. You can add it to a sandwich or wrap, toss it in a salad, or simply enjoy on it’s own!


  • 8 cups red or green cabbage (finely grated or chopped)
  • 1 ½ – 2 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1 small beet (finely shredded)
  • 3 whole carrots (finely shredded)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh ginger (shredded / grated)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh turmeric (shredded / grated)
  • 4 cloves garlic (finely minced)
Add finely grated cabbage to a large mixing bowl and top with 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt (or the lower end of the suggested range if making a different batch size). Wash hands thoroughly and massage cabbage for ten minutes. The cabbage should start softening, shrinking in size, and releasing water (see photo). Continue massaging until this happens. Add shredded beet, carrot, ginger, turmeric, and garlic and massage once more with clean hands for 4-5 minutes until thoroughly combined (see photo). Then taste test and adjust flavor, adding more salt for saltiness, grated ginger for more zing, or garlic for more intense garlic flavor. Use your clean hands to put the sauerkraut mixture into your sterilized jars and press down firmly to pack. There should be enough liquid from the massaging to rise up and cover the vegetables. If this doesn’t happen, top with filtered water until covered (it is unlikely that you will need to add water). Also, make sure there is plenty of room (about 1 ½ inches) between the contents and the lid so it has room to expand. Seal with a lid and set on the counter where there’s not much direct sun exposure or in a cabinet. The ideal temperature for fermentation is above 65 degrees F (18 C), so try to keep your environment on the warmer side to encourage proper fermentation. Fermentation can happen as quickly as 24 hours if your space is hot, or it can take as long as 2 weeks, (again, depending on the environment). We found our sweet spot to be about 10 days. During this fermentation process, open your jars once per day to release air (you should feel pressure release and see air bubbles when you open the jars). Press down with a sterilized object such as a spoon or the bottom of a drinking glass to ensure that the vegetables are still completely covered in the liquid. Doing so helps encourage proper fermentation.
The longer it sits and ferments, the tangier it will become, so sample occasionally with a clean utensil to test and see if it is at the right stage for you. Once it has reached the desired tanginess, cover securely and transfer to the fridge, where it should keep at least 3 months and up to 6 months. When serving, don’t double dip to avoid contamination.

The Main Dish: Grilled Honey Glazed Salmon (from Dr. Axe)

Instead of the standard burger or hot dog, grilled salmon can be a great gut-healthy swap to try. Made with garlic and ginger, this recipe brings the flavor and fights inflammation.


¼ cup honey
4 minced garlic cloves
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon melted ghee
¼ cup coconut aminos
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 pounds wild caught Alaskan salmon


In a small pan, whisk together honey, garlic, ginger, ghee, coconut aminos, thyme, salt and pepper. Place salmon into pan and coat with mixture. Refrigerate for 15 minutes, flip salmon in pan and recoat other side. Refrigerate for another 15 minutes. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat and lightly oil grate. Remove salmon from marinade, shake off excess, and discard remaining marinade. Grill until internal temperature reaches 145 F, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve hot immediately.


The Dessert: Strawberry Lemon Kefir Pie (from Cultured Food Life)

Made with probiotic-rich kefir and without any refined sugar, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better gut-friendly summer dessert than this strawberry lemon kefir pie. Bonus: no need to use the oven on a hot summer day!


  • Crust

    • 1 cup Sprouted Graham Crackers  (You can use regular graham crackers too)
    • 1/4 cup butter  melted


    • 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin  or 2 packs unflavored gelatin
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 1 cup Kefir
    • 8 ounces cream cheese
    • 1 small lemon  zest and juice
    • 1-2 cups strawberries  chopped
    • 1/2 cup honey  or Stevia



Place all ingredients for crust in a food processor. Process for 1 minute or until blended well. Press into pie pan.
Place milk and gelatin in a pan and heat until gelatin is dissolved and it comes to a boil. Cool for 5 minutes. Place cream cheese and milk in food processor with lemon zest and juice and process for 30 seconds or until thoroughly mixed. Before you add kefir, make sure that your mixture is cool and not hot. You don't want to kill the good bacteria in the kefir. Add kefir and honey to the cream cheese mixture and process until thoroughly mixed, about 15 to 20 seconds. Pour into pie crust. Chill for about an hour or until firm. Place strawberries on top. Garnish with fresh basil.

Enjoy your Summer BBQ!

Gut-friendly meals don’t have to be boring or bland, in fact, far from it.You can take great care of your health, while enjoying plenty of summer cookouts.

And if you do find yourself eating foods you don’t usually eat or more sugar than usual, don’t forget to take your Sugar Shift to head-off inflammation and restore your digestive health!

With gratitude,

Martha Carlin photo Martha Carlin, is a “Citizen Scientist”, systems thinker, wife of Parkinson’s warrior, John Carlin, and founder of The BioCollective , a microbiome company expanding the reach of science and BiotiQuest, the first of it’s kind probiotic line. Since John’s diagnosis in 2002, Martha began learning the science of agriculture, nutrition, environment, infectious disease, Parkinson’s pathology and much more. In 2014, when the first research was published showing a connection between the gut bacteria and the two phenotypes of Parkinson’s, Martha quit her former career as a business turnaround expert and founded The BioCollective to accelerate the discovery of the impact of gut health on all human disease. Martha was a speaker at the White House 2016 Microbiome Initiative launch, challenging the scientific community to “think in a broader context”. Her systems thinking background and experience has led to collaborations across the scientific spectrum from neuroscience to engineering to infectious disease. She is a respected out of the box problem solver in the microbiome field and brings a unique perspective to helping others understand the connections from the soil to the food to our guts and our brains.

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