It’s a beautiful time of the year. We are coming to the close of August but not the end of summer. Summer fruits and vegetables are still producing; tomatoes, onions, beets, kale, peppers, and carrots are plentiful! Before we prepare our favorite pumpkin, butternut squash, apple, and pear recipes. Let’s take another look at some summer dishes that are light and easy; but so satisfying!
I love this dish; a little more exotic than coleslaw but still crunchy with a punch of spice, this salad will go with many of your dishes and is a great side to bring to late summer barbecues.
Kale and Bell Pepper Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing
2 bunches kale, washed and dried; ribs discarded; (sliced thin, like coleslaw)
1 yellow, orange, or red bell pepper, sliced thin
2 carrots; washed, peeled, and sliced thin
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup chopped unsalted peanuts, divided
2 T packed light brown sugar
½ teaspoon coarse salt
½ c. chopped scallions (optional)
- Add peanuts, brown sugar and salt, and apple cider vinegar to a food processor and pulse; slowly drizzle olive oil and pulse until smooth. Set aside.
- Add kale, bell pepper, and carrots to a large bowl and toss together.
- Pour dressing over vegetables. Garnish with remaining peanuts and chopped scallions.
Nutritional information: Calories 142; Fat 12.3 g; Carbohydrate 8.3 g; fiber 1.8g; Protein 2 g; Sodium 164 mg
Even though it’s summer, some back-to-school routines are kicking in, and evening meals are all about food that is quick, delicious, and healthy. The following recipe checks all of the boxes. Using a lower-sodium teriyaki or soy sauce will keep the sodium in check; chicken breasts will keep the saturated fat and calories lower; colorful vegetables will add fiber and other phytonutrients that our gut will thank us for! You can change the vegetables if you like, but keep it colorful.
Sheet Pan Teriyaki Chicken with Vegetables
½ cup low-sodium soy sauce or low-sodium teriyaki sauce
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. vinegar
3 cloves garlic grated or 1 tsp ground.
2 tsp fresh ginger or 1 tsp ground
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1-pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 c string beans, sugar snap peas, or snow peas
1 c. red, yellow, or orange bell pepper
½ c. yellow onion, julienne cut
½ c. chopped scallions
Place a large baking sheet in the oven; preheat to 400°F.
- In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, olive oil, brown sugar, garlic, vinegar, ginger, and crushed red pepper.
- Add chicken to half of the marinade overnight or for several hours.
- Add cut vegetables to the other half of the marinade.
- Remove the sheet pan from the oven and carefully arrange the chicken and vegetables, discarding excess marinade.
- Bake until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees and vegetables are browned.
- Remove from oven, sprinkle scallions over the mixture, and serve with brown rice or quinoa.
Nutritional information: Calories 340; Fat 14.5g; carbohydrate 15 g; sodium 409 mg; protein 36g.
Often sauces and glazes on vegetables mask the authentic taste of the vegetable. That may be helpful if you are not a fan of vegetables, but for vegetable lovers, the lemon and walnut oil in this recipe enhances the flavor of tender Brussels sprouts! Fresh lemon juice and zest are key to the depth of flavor.
Brussels Sprouts Roasted in Walnut oil and Lemon
1 pound Brussels Sprouts, washed, ends removed, and quartered
2 T Walnut oil
½ shallot, finely diced
1 tsp lemon zest
2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, convection if possible
- Wash and pat dry Brussels sprouts and place in a large bowl.
- Whisk together the walnut oil, shallots, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl, pour over Brussels sprouts, and toss to coat.
- Arrange Brussels sprouts in a single layer on a large baking sheet
- Roast for 14-20 minutes until lightly browned and fork tender
- Arrange on serving dish and garnish with lemon zest
Nutrition: Calories 147; Fat 11.6g; Carbohydrate 9 g; Fiber 3.8 g; Protein 4 g
I like this simple dish as a side, but I really like to use it as a base in meal preparation. The addition of a lean protein takes this from a carbohydrate-balanced side to a full-on hearty meal!
Spinach and Mushroom Quinoa Bowl
2 c. water
1 c. quinoa
2 T Olive oil
2 pounds spinach washed
1 garlic clove
8 oz. exotic mushroom blend
2 tsp thyme
1/3 cup parmesan
- Bring water to a boil, add quinoa, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender and all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat
- Heat olive oil in a skillet; sauté spinach until wilted
- Add garlic and cook for an additional minute; add mushrooms and cook until lightly browned; add the spinach back to the pan and mix with quinoa
- Eat alone as a side dish or add protein for a complete meal
Nutrition: Calories 175; Fat 8g; Carbohydrate 17 g; Protein 12 g; Fiber 6.5 g.
All of these dishes can be prepared ahead of time and used throughout the week. The chicken can be marinated overnight or several hours before cooking. If substituting shrimp for chicken, only marinate it for 20 to 30 minutes.
I hope you can hold onto summer for just a little longer and enjoy some of August’s fruits and vegetables. Be sure to include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in your eating pattern, and you’ll stay on the path to wellness!