Especially if they’re grilling, people often spend so much time focusing on summer entrées that they put little thought into side dishes—beyond opening a bag of chips, of course. And that’s unfortunate, because Americans get too few fresh vegetables and fruits in their diets as it is, and side dishes are the perfect way to add more.
Emphasizing quick and creative food combinations that take full advantage of summer’s abundance of ripe, fresh produce is an excellent strategy during blazing-hot days when you want to keep cooking to a bare minimum. Having a few flavorful side items on hand can even make a nice, light meal. To prepare low-fuss, seasonal side dishes, try these tips:
Refreshing Summer Vegetable Salad*
Makes 4 Salads
This quick and easy-to-prepare salad is bursting with the taste of summer from assorted seasonal vegetables and fresh basil.
10 organic cherry tomatoes, quartered
10 organic pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
1 medium organic cucumber, chopped
¼ organic red pepper, chopped
1 cup organic spinach leaves2 handfuls organic fresh basil
2 Tbs. pine nuts
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
2 Tbs. organic extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Sea salt & black pepper to taste
*Recipe reprinted from the Going Against the Grain Group, 2012.
PER SERVING: 142 cal; 2g pro; 13g total fat (2g sat fat); 6g carb; 0mg chol; 163mg sod; 2g fiber; 2g sugar
Melissa Diane Smith, a nutritionist who specializes in personalizing the gluten-free diet, offers long-distance telephone counseling and coaching services to clients internationally. She is the author of Going Against the Grain and Gluten Free Throughout the Year: A Two-Year, Month-to-Month Guide for Healthy Eating. To learn about her online Going Against the Grain Group or her free newsletter, visit againstthegrainnutrition.com. For info about her books and her long-distance consultations and nutrition coaching programs, visit melissadianesmith.com.By Melissa Diane Smith