Wellness | Healthy, Fresh and Delicious Summer Recipes
By: Christina Rico, Health Coach & Personal Trainer
Summer is one of my favorite seasons of the year, and it's not because of the backyard barbecues and sunny afternoons spent at the beach—though I love summer for those reasons too. Since I enjoy cooking and experimenting with wholesome ingredients, I love summer for the abundance of fresh produce available! Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals, which are an important part of a healthy and active lifestyle. So, you can bet I get excited when the markets are full of fresh produce.
My perfect summer afternoon involves lounging outside in the beautiful sunshine with my family, while enjoying a fresh and nutritious homemade meal. The summer months are a great time to take advantage of the weather and cook outdoors, instead of using the oven and heating up the house. During these warm months, I like to prepare meals that involve little use of the stove, if any at all. The grill is my go-to appliance for cooking nutritious and delicious meals. You might be surprised how many foods you can prepare without ever touching the stove.
Next time you host a dinner party, surprise your family and friends with these delicious and healthy dishes, that don't even require you to turn on the oven!
Begin your dinner with this tasty fresh fig, pear and walnut salad. While dried figs may be substituted in this salad so you can enjoy it year-round, fresh figs are abundant during the summer months, so I would take advantage of them while you can. Salads are full of nutrient dense fruits and vegetables, and they are a refreshing way to start any meal. You can even add grilled chicken to the top of this salad for a complete entree.
Next up, feast your eyes on this tasty piece of fish and crisp asparagus. This dish is extremely versatile because you can choose any combination of fish and vegetables to wrap in foil and toss on the grill. I call this entree a “meal in foil.” All you have to do is select your protein and vegetables, wrap it in foil, and place it on the grill to cook. Depending on your protein source, you will have a complete meal ready to eat in less than 30 minutes from start to finish. Not to mention, it will be packed with nutrients from the vegetables and full of flavor.
Remember to save room for dessert because you won't want to miss out on these fresh and fruity popsicles! Popsicles are easy to make, and any combination of your favorite fruits will be delightful. These treats are naturally sweetened and packed with protein because they are made with greek yogurt. For a dairy free version, simply swap the greek yogurt with 100% coconut milk.
I found these popsicle molds at the 99¢ Only Stores for a buck, and I have used them on numerous occasions. If you do not have a mold, you can also use a Dixie cup and popsicle stick.
Fig, Pear, Walnut Salad
3 cups mixed greens, chopped (kale, arugula, spinach)
3 fresh figs, sliced
1 small pear, sliced
2 tablespoon chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (optional)
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a large bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients together. Toss to combine.
2. For the dressing, whisk the olive oil and balsamic vinegar together in a small bowl.
3. Add salt and pepper and season to your liking.
4. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad. Enjoy!
Grilled Fish in Foil
1 - 4 ounces salmon (or your favorite fish)
3 asparagus spears
1 zucchini, chopped
1 lemon slice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon seasoning blend (rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Turn on your grill, and allow it to preheat while you prepare your foil packets.
2. Spray a large piece of aluminum foil with non-stick cooking spray (optional)
3. Place the fish fillet in the center of the foil.
4. Lay a lemon slice on top of the fish. 5. Arrange the asparagus and zucchini (or vegetables of choice) on top of and around the fish fillet.
6. Drizzle with lemon juice.
7. Generously sprinkle the fish and vegetables with a seasoning blend, salt and pepper.
8. Fold up the sides of the foil, so everything is covered, and seal the top closed.
9. Place on the grill for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.
10. Be careful when you open the packet, so the juices do not spill out.
11. This meal can be enjoyed straight from the foil packet or transferred to a plate.
1 ½ cup 0% plain greek yogurt
3 tablespoons honey
10 fresh strawberries
1. Using a food processor or bullet, pulse your strawberries until they are blended but still have chunks throughout.
2. Whisk the honey into your greek yogurt.
3. Spoon strawberries into the mold, alternating between the plain greek yogurt and honey mixture.
4. Place your popsicle stick into the mold, once it is filled. Do not fill all the way up, to avoid spillage.
5. Put the mold in the freezer on a flat surface. The popsicle should be done in two to four hours.
6. Run the mold under warm water to release the popsicle!
If you are interested in creating these recipes for your family and want to know where to find the best local produce, be sure to check out our Guide to Inland Empire Farmers' Markets that are open during the summer!