Now that summer is in full swing, it’s a great time to get fresh vegetables. From now until autumn, gardens, farms and farmer’s markets will overflow with great fresh produce. If you haven’t tried using fresh local produce, then you’re missing out on a myriad of flavor. Using top-notch ingredients adds infinite flavor to any dish. If you want to avoid the costs of more expensive produce, try growing your own. There’s still time for start growing late-season vegetables like tomatoes and peppers if you hurry. If cost and time is an issue, grow your own herbs. Herbs like basil, oregano and chives are relatively inexpensive, easy to grow even indoors and add a huge splash of flavor to all dishes, even ones with supermarket vegetables. Keep in mind, buying locally grown vegetables supports smaller farmers in your community, who often grow organically, and the produce’s flavor is usually worth the extra cost.
Even if you have great fresh vegetables in hand, how do you prepare them? Try these great recipes to stay healthy, nutritionally sound and well-fed all summer long.
I was lucky enough to grow up down the street from a small farm. Every summer, my mother would make me bike there to pick up armfuls of fresh sweet corn. The corn we got didn’t need much embellishment, but this recipe adds a nice tang hot off the grill.
Fresh vegetables already have an unbelievable sweetness, and grilling brings out and heightens the natural sugars in the vegetables without taking away excess nutrients or adding calories.
While traveling through rural Wisconsin a few years back with some friends of mine, we stopped at a small roadside farm and picked up some vegetables. The asparagus they had there was so sweet, I was eating it raw and popping it in my mouth like potato chips. This simple vegetable recipe highlights the beautiful natural flavors in both asparagus and red peppers.
If you’ve never cooked with eggplant before, the vegetable has a smooth, almost creamy texture and an uncanny ability to work well with almost any flavor combination. Try this spicy recipe to see eggplant’s versatility and to taste its possibilities.
Hummus is a childhood favorite of mine and a delicious dip for any summer party. Many stores now carry flavored hummus, but you can make a better version at home with fresh carrots.
If you can stand cooking indoors this summer, then steaming is a great choice. Steaming cooks vegetables thoroughly and evenly while leaving in nutrients. Artichokes are delicious, but can be notoriously difficult to cook and eat. If you get your hands on really fresh artichokes, you can’t go wrong with this recipe.
Brussels sprouts are really just tiny cabbages. Not the most popular vegetable to eat raw, but once cooked transform into a new delicious entity. This simple recipe would also work for the grill.
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