Seasonal Summer Produce and Some Tasty Recipes

June is here and the official start to Summer is around the corner. Not only is Summer a lush, green, sunshine-filled time for us when we spend more time outdoors and have more energy thanks to that sunny Vitamin D, it is also a fantastic time for colorful, healthy produce! Eating seasonally is not only ideal for eating fresh, robust-flavored produce, but it is also healthier, saves money, and more!

OVERALL BENEFITS OF EATING SEASONALLY

  • MORE FLAVOR: Flavor is sacrificed when produce is picked before it is fully ripe. If your produce is coming from across the US or another country, it is picked too early and then packed up to travel, oftentimes sprayed with chemicals to prevent ripening when on-the-move.
  • MORE NUTRIENT-DENSE: When produce is picked before it’s ripe (in order for it to travel long distances,) the nutrients do not fully develop in the flesh of the fruit. When picked too early, they don’t have the sun to grow them into their full nutrient potential, which limits their full health benefits.
  • SAVES $: Produce in season is more abundant, so it is less per pound in the store. If you are buying produce that is out of season, it comes from a long distance and has added cost for the travel or measures taken to grow it locally in a greenhouse during off-seasons.
  • COMMUNITY: buying seasonally is most likely also buying local. That is a great way to support local CSAs, Farmer’s, and businesses.

SUMMER’S SEASONAL PRODUCE LIST

HERBS, SPICES/PEPPERS, + GREENS

BASIL

ARUGULA

PURSLANE

BUTTER LETTUCE

Butter lettuce is amazing to use as a wrap for tacos or as a low-carb bread alternative in so many circumstances!

SPINACH

JALAPENO PEPPERS

FRUITS

BERRIES: Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, + Cherries

STONE FRUITS: Peaches, Apricots, Nectarines, Plums

For info on the many health benefits of peaches, check out my blog

I love adding stone fruits to my salads, so using peach slices in a simple chicken salad is a fantastic way to change-it-up and add a dose of seasonal produce to a meal.

 

 

 

MELONS: Cantaloupe, Honeydew, + Watermelon

For plenty of refreshing watermelon recipes like grilled watermelon-feta salad, watermelon salsa, watermelon sorbet, and more, check out the health benefits blog for the summertime melon

 

 

 

 

ORANGES

FIGS

AVOCADOS

VEGGIES

CORN

Try my healthier take on Elotes for a great corn recipe this summer!

CAULIFLOWER

BELL PEPPERS

BROCCOLI

PADRON PEPPERSS

CUCUMBERS

GREEN BEANS + LONG BEANS

OKRA

 

RADISHES

I use radishes ALL of the time, but 2 of the more creative recipes using my favorite watermelon radishes are:

 

 

SUMMER SQUASH

ZUCCHINI

TOMATOES + TOMATILLOS

This easy to make instant pot recipe is a great #tacotuesday summer dish: Chicken Verde

CELERY

FENNEL

Antioxidant-Rich Blueberry + Blackberry Summer Salad

Antioxidant-Rich Blueberry + Blackberry Summer Salad

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups arugula, watercress, or baby bok choi
  • 6–8 large slices of avocado
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 3/4 cup cucumber, sliced
  • 1 TB mint, chopped
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

OPTIONAL ADD-ONS:

  • For Protein: sliced grilled steak, hard- or soft-boiled eggs
  • For Spice: pickled radish or red pepper flakes (off-sets the sweetness)

For the Dressing:

  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1/2 TB maple syrup
  • Salt + pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 TB hemp hearts

TO MAKE:

  1. Simply plate the salad ingredients + then mix the dressing in a small bowl. Dress when serving to keep the salad crisp.

Seriously Tasty Summer Salads

My Seriously Tasty Summer Salads

Summer produce is in full effect! Take advantage of the colorful, nutritious food that is readily available and seasonal right now and make one bowl wonderful salads like these! Check out the Summer Produce List I wrote with even more recipes linked!

These 6 salads are my ultimate go-to’s for a variety of flavors throughout the summer season!

 

GRILLED BALSAMIC STEAK SUMMER SALAD

FOR THE RECIPE

WATERMELON-FETA SUMMER SALAD

FOR THE RECIPE

ASIAN CHICKEN CHOPPED SALAD WITH CARROT-GINGER DRESSING

FOR THE RECIPE

SOBA NOODLE SESAME SALAD

FOR THE RECIPE

SMOKED TROUT SALAD WITH CREAMY LEMON DRESSING

FOR THE RECIPE

HEIRLOOM TOMATO + CHERRY SALAD WITH A SIMPLE LEMON DRESSING

Makes 2-3 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large Heirloom tomato, sliced
  • 1 cup Heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup cherries, halved
  • 2 cups micro greens or watercress
  • 1/3 cup Boursin cheese, forked into the salad

For the Dressing:

  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt + pepper

TO MAKE:

  1. Plate all of the ingredients and mix the salad ingredients in a small bowl

Grilled Balsamic Steak Summer Salad

Grilled Balsamic Steak Summer Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 30 minutes

Makes 2-3 servings

INGREDIENTS:

Marinade:

  • 1 lb lean steak, sliced
  • 2 TB balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TB Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

For the Salad:

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • 6 cups watercress
  • 1 corn on the cob, husk removed
  • Avocado oil spray-for cooking the corn

 

To Toss on Top, a Gremolata:

  • 2 TB basil leaves, minced
  • 2 TB parsley, minced – MY OWN PARSLEY
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 TB lemon zest

Simple Vinaigrette:

  • 3 TB balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp dijon mustard
  • Dash of salt and fresh ground black pepper

TO MAKE:

  1. Mix together the marinade ingredients in a bowl, pour over sliced steak in a bag, marinate chilled for 30 minutes (can be done overnight as well.)
  2. While marinating, prepare the salad veggies and mix the salad dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Heat the grill to medium heat.
  4. While it is heating, combine the basil, parsley, lemon zest, and garlic in a small bowl. Set aside.
  5. Toss the greens
  6. Spray the corn and thickly sliced red onion rings with oil and cook each side for 5 minutes or until grill marks form on the corn kernels and onion becomes charred brown. Remove, let cool slightly, then slice kernels off of the cob and into a large serving bowl and chop the onions and put them in the bowl with the corn.
  7. Place the steak on a grill pan – grill both sides 4-5 minutes for rare to medium rare. Reminder that it keeps cooking a few minutes after it is removed from the heat.
  8. Place the greens in the bowl with the corn and onion, add the gorgonzola, + tomatoes. Toss with half of the dressing mixed with half of the herb mix. Serve it beneath steak slices and drizzle with more of the dressing and sprinkle with more of the herb mix.

The Wonders of Watermelon and Tasty Recipes for Summer

The Wonders of Watermelon and Tasty Recipes for Summer

WATERMELON NUTRITION SCREENSHOT:

Watermelon is one of the most hydrating fruits because it is made of 92% water. This high water content not only gives your summer days a dose of water to hydrate, but also, fills you up thanks to the water and fiber content.

  • Filled with Vitamins C, A, B1, B5, and B6
  • Potassium and Magnesium
  • Watermelon is also high in carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lycopene.
  • As well as lesser known compounds like: citrulline, and cucurbitacin E

SECRET FACT:

Despite the sweetness,. Watermelon is one of the lowest sugar fruits. Even lower in sugar than berries. With 46 calories per cup, it is also a low-calorie sweet treat.

HEALTH BENEFIT SHOUT-OUTS

  • Lycopene and Cucurbitacin have been studied as anti-cancer compounds
  • Lycopene has been reported to aid with heart health by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Along with lycopene, the amino acid citrulline aids in heart health by increasing levels of nitric oxide in the blood vessels, which help them expand and reduce blood pressure.
  • Other supportive heart health contributors: magnesium, Vitamins A, B6, and C, and potassium
  • As a team, Vitamin C and lycopene are extremely helpful with lowering inflammation throughout the body that can lead to chronic diseases.
  • Beta-Carotene is supportive for overall eye health.

GRILLED WATERMELON + FETA SALAD

PREP TIME: 10 minutes | COOK TIME: 10-14 minutes  | TOTAL TIME: 20-24 minutes

makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

To Grill:

  • 2-cups-worth of watermelon slices-roughly 8 slices depending in the size. Chop into cubes after grilling.
  • 1/2 of a red onion, grilled in 4-inch thick rings, then chopped after cooking
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) Halloumi (whole feta cheese “brick,) then slice into strips after grilling

Mix With:

  • 2 TB mint, chopped (grown by me!)
  • 1/2 English cucumber, sliced + quartered
  • 1/2 pint Heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved

DRIZZLE WITH:

  • Extra virgin olive oil,
  • 1/2 of a lemon, and
  • Balsamic cream

TO MAKE:

  • Heat the grill or an indoor griddle to a medium heat.
  • Have a tray to sort all of the items and bring to the grill.
  • Place the watermelon slices on the tray.
  • Brush the cheese with olive oil and place on the tray.
  • Thickly slice the red onion, brush with oil, and place on the tray.

On the Grill:

  • Start with the onions. The onions will take about 5-7 minutes/side until desired char is achieved.
  • When flipping the onions, toss the cheese and watermelon slices on direct heat.
  • Cheese takes 2 minutes/side
  • Watermelon takes 2-3 minutes/side

Put Together:

  • Chop the watermelon and red onion, slice the cheese, + then mix with the remaining fresh ingredients, top with oil, lemon, + balsamic cream and enjoy!

RECOMMENDED TOOLS | PRODUCTS

  • I love my set of basting brushes to brush oil lightly onto produce or sauces onto foods while cooking- there are so many uses for them!
  • What is balsamic cream or glaze? This thick, rich, syrupy condiment is also called cream or balsamic reductions and is essentially is made by cooking/reducing down balsamic vinegar by one half its volume and some brands or chefs add flavors to it the creams as well. My favorite is Isola Imports.

NUTRITION:

1 serving = 1 cup of salad

132 Calories | 4g Fat | 16g Carbs | 1g Fiber | 5g Protein

WATERMELON + CORN SIMPLE SUMMER SALAD

PREP TIME: 10 minutes | TOTAL TIME: 10 minutes

makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

For the Salad:

  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup corn, sweet preferred + cooked or raw
  • 2 cups watermelon, cubed
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped

For the Dressing:

  • 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TB rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 limes, juiced
  • Dash of sea salt

TO MAKE:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing. Set aside.
    Chop and prepare ingredients for the salad and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Gently toss to mix together.
  3. Drizzle with dressing and lightly toss again.

NUTRITION:

1 serving = 1 cup of salad

98 Calories | 3g Fat | 18g Carbs | 3g Fiber | 2g Protein

WATERMELON SALSA

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 small watermelon, seeded + chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper, diced small
  • ½ orange bell pepper, diced small
  • ½ cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeds removed + minced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 TB cumin, ground
  • Dash of coarse-grained sea salt, to taste

TO MAKE:

  1. Simply chop, mix, + enjoy!

STACKED NO-COOKING NEEDED WATERMELON SKEWERS

Get some skewers + layer 2 rounds of this on each:

  • Watermelon, cubed
  • Fresh mozzarella, thick chunk or “balls”
  • Cucumber slice, cut thick
  • Prosciutto

Serve with:

  • Basil, coarsely chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic cream

WATERMELON SORBET

No-Sugar-Added or needed!

Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 Cups Watermelon, cubes
  • 1 tsp lime juice and 1 tsp lime zest
  • Optional: if this isn’t sweet enough for you, add in 2 TB or raw honey

TO MAKE:

  1. Blend together the watermelon + lime juice- pulse to achieve smooth consistency.  Stir in the zest.
  2. Pour mix into a freezer-friendly container and  freeze for 1 hour.
  3. Using a fork or butter knife, mix it up, then put it back in the freezer for another 3-4 hours before serving.