Fourth Of July Favorites With Gavan Murphy

Grilling genius and chef extraordinaire, Gavan Murphy is back with more healthy and yummy recipes! Since Fourth of July weekend is upon us, it’s a perfect time to try these fresh dishes for your holiday picnics and parties.


Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pesto Green Beans


  • 3 lbs. heirloom tomatoes – make the trip to your Farmers’ Market–def worth it for these!
  • 1 lb French beans – trimmed

Cilantro Pesto: Makes 2 cups (extra for another time)

  • 2 bunches cilantro – packed
  • 2 cups baby spinach – packed
  • 1 lemon – zested
  • 1/2 lemon – juiced
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts – toast in a dry heated saute pan for 3-4 minutes stirring periodically until browned
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan (low fat preferably)
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Add all pesto ingredients in a food processor, except for olive oil.
  • Blend and while blitzing gradually pour in olive oil.
  • Season with ¼ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper.
  • Blanch the beans in a pot of boiling salted water for 30 seconds until bright green color.
  • Drain and refresh in bowl of ice water until completely chilled, drain.

To assemble salad: Lay slices of the heirlooms around platter. Toss the french beans in enough pesto to coat and lay in middle of platter. Drizzle a little pesto over each tomato and season with S&P to taste. That’s it! Don’t be afraid to try all the colors of heirloom tomatoes. Ask your local vendor which ones will be the best and tuck in!


Citrus Grilled Shrimp Skewers

There’s a lot to be said for the simplicity not to mention the fact that it’s healthy and tasty.


Serves 4

  • 1 1/2 lbs medium wild shrimp (peeled & deveined, P&D’s)
  • 1 orange zested & juiced
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 2 tbsp. fresh ginger – grated
  • Drizzle olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste


When I’m grilling I like to keep things as simple as possible. This is a very straightforward recipe. I use this more as a glaze than a marinade. You have to be careful when marinading shrimp in citrus as it begins to cook the shrimp so you can’t leave them sitting for too long. I’ve always preferred to just brush them as I’m grilling but it’s up to yourself.

It’s very important to make sure your grill is hot. Brush one side with your glaze and lay that side down on the grill for 2 mins. You want to hear the ‘sizzle’ when you put them on there. Shrimp cooks really quickly so be careful not over-cook them as there’s nothing worse. Brush the other side and once ready flip them over for another couple of mins.

Serve with some freshly grilled seasonal veg or a beautiful salad.


Almond Panna Cotta with Cherries


Serves 6

  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • 2 1/4 tsp dried unflavoured gelatin
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp almond essence
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 4 tbsp organic honey


Pour 1/4 cup milk in a small bowl and add the gelatin. Stir and let stand until gelatin dissolves. Heat almond milk, remaining 1 3/4 cups milk and honey in a saucepan over medium low heat. Simmer until warm but not boiling. Add both extracts and stir. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile heat the gelatin mixture in a pan over medium heat until dissolved, 1 minute. Stir into milk mixture and whisk together. Let stand for 20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes. After time has passed divide mixture into whatever serving dishes you decide. I used martini glasses. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and pop in the fridge for at least 4 hours up to over night to set.

Cherry Garnish:

  • 1/2 lb fresh organic cherries, pitted, halved
  • 1 tbsp Frangelico or almond liquor
  • drizzle organic honey
  • Mix all the above together in a bowl and let sit for at least 30 minutes up to a day ahead.

Garnish with cherries just before serving.

Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.