The hot weather brings plenty of garden fresh (and other) goodies to your table. Rather than a slab of meat or a monster patty alongside some gluey potato salad, let your taste buds explore some alternatives.
1. EASY GREENS: Many types of lettuce are rich in vitamins A, C and K and iron. Sweet and tender, pile some fresh greens on a sandwich or add a few layers under meat or veggies.
2. BOUNTIFUL BERRIES: There is no such thing as a berry that’s bad for you. All berries have vitamins C and K and manganese and lots of dietary fibre. Adaptable as a savoury meat sauce, they also make a terrific dessert, cooked or raw. The purple and blue hue of berries is a cue that they’re packed with antioxidants.
3. SUMMER’S ZUCCHINI: Packing a vitamin-A punch, never has a veggie been more versatile. Slice and grill it, marinate in vinaigrette, grate and freeze it in one-cup portions to have on hand for adding body to soup or moisture to muffins.
4. EXCELLENT EGGPLANT: Another good source of vitamin K, eggplant is great grilled or sliced super-thin and marinated. It will help you stay full for a while.
5. BEST BEEF: Loaded with iron and made of pure protein, steak from the barbecue is a summer treat. Grill one medium rare, and let it stand under a tinfoil tent for a few minutes. Slice it finely against the grain and serve about three or four ounces atop your favourite salad.
6. SUPER SLUSHIE: Add to a blender two tablespoons of orange or other frozen juice concentrate, half a dozen ice cubes, a cup of water, and two cups of any of the following fruits: fresh or frozen berries, watermelon, banana, ripe peach, ripe pear, mango. Puree and enjoy, serves four.
7. COOL DIPS: Packaged dips are a big source of hidden fat, sugar and salt; make your own instead. Serve a plate of chopped veggies with a cool dip: hummus; mashed roasted eggplant and garlic; or tzatziki (Greek-style yoghurt mixed with grated cucumber and grated garlic).
8. SWEETER SALSA: A sweet summer treat is chilled salsa. Dice four tomatoes, one avocado, one mango and half a small red onion. Add some minced cilantro, garlic and jalapeno pepper according to your taste. Dress it with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of canola oil. Serve with salt-free tortilla chips or top a leafy salad with a couple of tablespoons of it. Allrecipes.com
9. L’EAU! We are blessed with an abundance of clean water, which flows freely from taps. Avoid the pricey stuff from the vending machine and bring your own bottle.
10. ICE CREAM: C’mon, it’s summer. Live a little.