Your favorite beverage is good for a lot more than quenching your thirst on a summer day and giving you the confidence to approach beautiful women. In fact, it’s perhaps the most underrated cooking ingredient in your kitchen. Beer can replace some or all of the liquid—water, stock, or wine—in practically any recipe, adding its own unique flavor without adding many calories and boosting your antioxidant intake. So while you’re drinking suds anyway, save some for the recipes that follow all of which have significant health benefits and will change your opinion of beer as a mere empty-calorie indulgence food. Truth be told, you can have your drink and eat it, too.

Bison Beer Burgers with Beer-Caramelized Onions

Makes: 4 Servings

1 tbsp butter
1  large yellow onion, thinly sliced
2  tsp brown sugar Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup dark beer, plus additional 1/3 cup
1 tsp whole-grain Dijon mustard
1  lb ground bison
2  garlic cloves, finely chopped
1  tbsp tomato paste
2  tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp paprika
4 whole-grain buns, preferably toasted
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1  cup roasted red pepper, sliced
2  cups baby spinach

1. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in brown sugar and a couple of pinches each of salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 cup beer, raise heat to medium, and cook until little beer remains. Stir in mustard.
2. Preheat grill to medium high. In a large bowl, gently mix together bison, 1/3 cup beer, garlic, tomato paste, Worcestershire, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Form into 4 patties. Grill for 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
3. Serve burgers on toasted buns and topped with barbecue sauce, caramelized onion, roasted red pepper, and spinach.

Nutrition (per serving) 378 calories, 28g protein, 32g carbs, 15g fat

Pork Salad with Mustard-Beer Dressing

Makes: 4 Servings

Ingredients For The Dressing:
3 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
3/4 cup wheat, lager, or fruit beer
1/4 cup apple-cider vinegar
2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped

For The Salad:
1 lb pork tenderloin
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 cups salad greens
1 apple, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in beer, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. Simmer until reduced to 1⁄2 cup, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and add remaining oil, mustard, lemon zest, and thyme and stir to blend. Let cool.
2. Preheat grill to medium high. Season tenderloin with salt and pepper. Grill pork, turning frequently until done, about 15 minutes. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes and then slice.
3. Divide salad greens among serving plates and top with pork slices, apple, red pepper, and walnuts. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Nutrition (per serving): 344 calories, 27g protein, 17g carbs, 18g fat

Beer-Braised Chicken Tacos

Makes: 4 Servings

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1  small onion, chopped
2  garlic cloves, chopped
1 chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce, minced
1 tsp dried oregano 1/2 tsp cumin powder 1/4 tsp salt
1 cup Mexican beer
Juice of 1 lime
8 corn tortillas, warmed
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, sliced
3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and sear until browned on both sides. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
2. Add onion to skillet and cook until softened. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add chipotle pepper, oregano, cumin, and salt; heat for 30 seconds. Stir in beer, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet.
3. Return chicken to skillet. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until chicken is tender, turning over once. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and slice thinly.
4. Add lime juice to skillet and stir; raise heat to medium high and cook for 10 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in chicken.
5. Divide the chicken evenly among warm tortillas. Top with tomato, avocado, sour cream, and cilantro.

Nutrition (per serving): 427 calories, 28g protein, 33g carbs, 20g fat

Beer-Steamed Mussels

Makes: 4 Servings

2 tsp olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup amber or lager beer
2 14.5-oz cans fire-roasted tomatoes Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 lbs mussels, rinsed
3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

1) Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and heat for 1 minute.
2) Stir in beer, tomatoes, lemon juice, chili flakes, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
3) Add mussels, cover, and raise heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the shells have popped open. Discard any mussels that have not opened. Stir in parsley.
4) Divide mussels and broth among serving bowls. Serve with slices of crusty bread, if desired.

Nutrition (per serving): 253 calories, 28g protein, 20g carbs, 7g fat


Yogurt Bowls with Beer-Chocolate Sauce

Makes: 4 Servings

1/2 cup Guinness or other stout beer
1/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla extract salt, to taste
2 oz dark chocolate (60–70% cocoa), chopped
2 cups plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 cup raspberries

1) In a small saucepan, whisk together beer, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until completely melted. (If allowed to cool, warm for about 30 seconds in the microwave to re-melt.)
2) Place yogurt in serving bowls and top with chocolate sauce and raspberries.

Nutrition (per serving): 216 calories, 12g protein, 29g carbs, 6g fat.