Incorporate these trending ingredients in your late summer meals!
Fresh ingredients are in abundance this time of year so it’s time to pick some up for your next meal. When you learn to cook with fresh ingredients you’re improving your overall wellness, developing healthy eating habits, and creating delicious meals. Whether you have a garden, you hit the farmer’s market, or shop the perimeter of the grocery store, be sure to pick up these fresh ingredients to create a trendy and delicious summer dish!
Cucumbers are revitalizing and crisp and come along with so many health benefits. Since cucumbers are 96% water they are a great source of hydration, they are low in calories and have zero fat. They are crispy and fillin, just add a sprinkle of salt and you may just forget about salty snack foods! You can chomp on a whole, peeled, chilled cucumber for some relief from the heat. If you have a small headache sometimes all you need is a cucumber to help ease the pain. Cucumbers are plentiful during the summer months and they add a refreshing taste to any meal. You can add sliced cucumbers to sandwiches and green salads, or you can make a cucumber-dill salad or add them to Greek yogurt for a quick spin on Tzatziki sauce.
A seasonal pineapple is a sweet treat that can rival any candy fix you might be looking for. So don’t let the outside scare you, the health benefits of a pineapple outweigh the peeling process. Pineapples are rich in Vitamin C which boost the immune system plus they have loads of other vitamins and minerals. And, they taste great! Try pineapple papaya-slaw or pineapple pork chops!
Give a cheer for chickpeas! It’s about time these nutrient packed legumes got some love. They are nutty and creamy and also known as Garbanzo beans. Chickpeas are a great source of protein, low in fat and high in good fiber which is really good for bowel movements. And we’re talking easier and more often, and that is a relief. They can also help boost your mental health with a nutrient called choline which helps make important chemicals for memory, mood and other nervous system activity. You can add chickpeas to hot or cold meals like soups and salads.
4. Feta cheese
Opa! Coming from a Greek girl, a day without feta is a day wasted. Let me tell you why… feta has fewer calories than other cheeses, it has a number of B vitamins, calcium and protein, and it’s made from sheep’s milk so it’s easier to digest. It can also help promote good gut health because it contains probiotics. You can eat feta as a snack or add it to salads or as a topping on side dishes like these roasted sweet potatoes.
Basil is an herb that has a beautiful fragrance. You will see fresh basil plants are growing abundantly this time of year. Basil is full of antioxidants and anti-bacterial properties that can help maintain skin health, boost digestion and detoxify the body. Not only can it be eaten right off the plant you can add it to hot tea and cold water to give beverages a nice flavor. There are so many ways to use basil in your cooking from salads to sauces and other delicious recipes like Margherita pizza or pesto sauce.
If you want to try my recipe combining these ingredients, it’s easy. You can add the pineapple for a sweet surprise, or simply slice it up and eat it on the side! For the rest of the trending summer ingredients, just slice, chop, squeeze and mix together for a fresh summer salad. Enjoy!
Cucumber Feta Basil Chickpea Salad
- 1 large cucumber peeled and sliced
- 1 bunch basil leaves chopped
- 2 ounces feta cheese chopped
- 15 ounce can Chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 juice lemon
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp dried dill weed
- salt & pepper to taste
- Mix all ingredients together in a medium size bowl.
- season with salt, pepper and dill
- squeeze the juice of one lemon over all and add olive oil
- toss and serve