We are finally feeling the summer heat, and that means dining al fresco on the deck; snacking by the pool; grilling in the backyard, and partaking in a little neighborly potluck.
Now as much as we love a freshly grilled burger when we’re looking to beat the summer heat, we prefer food that’s a bit lighter and healthier. After all, it is beach season. So if you’re looking for some healthy, sustainable menu options this summer, then we have some tasty ideas straight from the garden.
No muss, no fuss menu
When you’re cooking in the summer you want to keep things simple. Fresh veggies are the perfect ingredient to throw on the grill, toss in a salad, or dip into a cool sauce. We want you to enjoy the party, so here are some easy recipes that will have you spending less time in the prep kitchen and more time in the pool.
Beet the heat with this deliciously herb-infused Marinated Beet dish. You need 3 beets; sliced. You’ll place the beets in a marinade of 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp fresh rosemary, 1 crushed garlic clove, ½ tsp of Herbes de Provence. Let beets marinate for 20-30 minutes. Wrap beets in a large piece of foil. Be sure to cover beets in marinade. Place foil packet on grill, and cook for about 20-25 minutes. Et Voila! Veggies are served.
User submission @esker3
To market, to farmer’s market!
When prepping for the summer barbecue, you could go to the grocery store, or you could consider shopping locally and visiting your local farmer’s market. Not only will you find fresh produce, but you’ll discover diverse products that are sure to spark some culinary creativity. In addition to buying organic, you’re also helping local businesses. Now that sounds delicious, doesn’t it?
Add some color and starch to your grill with Sweet Potato and Veggie Skewers: All you need are sweet potatoes, bell peppers (of all colors), red onion, zucchini and mushrooms. Be sure to bake or microwave the sweet potatoes so that they are just soft enough to cube. Chop veggies into bit size cubes, and then start loading your skewers. Brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. For some heat, you can add paprika and garlic powder, or if you want to add a bit of the island into your kabobs then add some jerk seasoning. Sprinkle your spices over the skewers. Cook on medium heat on your grill. Remove when veggies are tender, and have a slight char. Enjoy!
If you’re busy shuttling the kids to soccer practice, or reciting your personal mantra at yoga and can’t make it to the weekend farmer’s market then never fear…there’s an online co-op for that. With just a quick internet search you should be able to find a cooperative that can deliver the freshest of summer veggies and fruit right to your door. You’re still supporting local growers, and you’re able to do it without leaving your home. Can we get an A-Yum?
Bring a taste of Mexican street food into your yard with Elote! Here’s what you need: 4 husked ears of corn . ¼ cup of Cilantro (optional to taste); 1 lime; 2 lime wedges. Condiments: 1 Red chili powder; Condiments: 1 cup Parmesan. For a more authentic taste, you can substitute cotija cheese; 1 ½ cups sour cream; ½ cup of mayonnaise. Grill corn on each side until you have a slight char. Spread condiments on corn and sprinkle with red chili powder, lime juice and cilantro. Enjoy!
Arroyo Vista at the Woodlands. Simi Valley, CA.
Perhaps you have the green thumb bug, or are just a bit mulch-curious? Then you have everything that you need to watch your very own garden grow. Whether your yard is big or small you can grow everything from tomatoes to herbs to carrots. Imagine craving a salad, and being able to slide open the patio door to pick your own ingredients? Love the idea of gardening but prefer the communal experience? Seek out agrarian communities like Springtime at Harvest where you’ll be able to trade packets of seeds with neighbors in your very own community garden. Sounds like a homegrown run to us.
Add some sweetness to your barbeque with Roasted Carrots with a Sweet Soy Glaze. Cut carrots in large slices on a bias. Season with salt and brush with olive oil. Roast carrots on the grill for 45-60 minutes which will give them a nice caramelized crust. Brush carrots with glaze made from ¼ cup honey, ¼ cup soy sauce, 1 tsp minced garlic, ½ tsp grated ginger and ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes.
We hope we’ve whetted your appetite and gotten you thinking green (veggies). Now that you’re summer menu ready, we’ll see you around the backyard grill this season.