Summer is a time meant for using foods that are fresh from the garden, the farmer’s market, and the perimeter of the supermarket (where the fresh, not frozen or processed) fare resides. But that doesn’t mean every meal need be a salad or a smoothie. Here, we highlight some of our favorite tried-and-true takes on healthy, or at least healthier options, all of which are easy enough to whip up for a weeknight meal. We haven’t eliminated favorite ingredients – you’ll still see pasta, cheese, and yes, even Chinese food, but each of these recipes is a lightened up version of a classic.
We made this slow cooker cashew chicken last week and are already planning to make it a regular in our rotation. Leave out the cashews if you don’t like nuts, and serve over “riced” cauliflower (just grate cauliflower, microwave for two minutes, and voila!) that we’d lightly pan-fried for a play on healthy fried rice.
These hearty veggie “Buddha Bowls” are in weekly rotation for nights when I don’t want to cook. Whip up a batch of brown rice early in the week, and cheat with frozen veggies if you wish. I sometimes even use leftover veggies from the night before. Trader Joe’s makes the best goddess dressing, but you can whip up your own with water, lemon, and a bit of tahini paste if you can’t find it.
Jicama, a root vegetable from Mexico similar in quality to a sweet potato, makes this fajita-like dish both paleo friendly and low carb. We love the flavor of jicama, which reminds us of a cross between a mild apple and a potato in flavor, but crisp and crunchy in texture.
Miso, found in small tubs in your larger grocer’s cold section or a specialty store, is a common ingredient in our fridge for everything from ramen to marinades. This simple fish dish, which calls to mind much more indulgent dinners, works well as a single pan dish that is ready in 10 minutes flat.
Use cauliflower to bulk up your traditional mac and cheese recipe as a way to cut carbs and sneak in veggies. We don’t mind eliminating pasta entirely (or subbing out half for cauliflower) in this lightened up version of a classic.
Okay, so this one is a salad, but it’s delicious! Crispy pancetta (or use bacon if you prefer) gives this a salty crunch, and creamy mozzarella (or burrata) lends a punch of flavor. Use peppery arugula, and fresh garden tomatoes, and serve with a loaf of crusty bread. This is one salad that won’t make you miss a main course.