Every now and again, I come across a vegetable dish that makes me think I could be a very happy vegetarian. From a hearty summer white bean ragout to balsamic-glazed roasted beets, here are a few of my favorites.
This quick ragout of white beans and sweet summer tomatoes might just be my favorite recipe of the summer. The tomatoes — just barely cooked — burst in your mouth when you bite into them, while fresh herbs and a splash of balsamic vinegar liven the dish up. Serve with toasted garlic bread for sopping up the broth. GET THE RECIPE
Next time you’re asked to bring a veggie or salad to a get-together, try these sweet and smoky bell peppers topped with feta, toasted pine nuts, basil and olives. The salad looks gorgeous on a platter and is delicious with toasted pita bread. GET THE RECIPE
In this recipe, broccoli florets are tossed in a sweet, spicy and smoky chipotle-honey butter before roasting. It’s as delicious as it sounds, and the broccoli has enough flavor to carry an entire meal. GET THE RECIPE
This summery dish of sautéed zucchini, burst cherry tomatoes and meltingly sweet red onions is one of those dishes where the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts. Make it now before the season ends! GET THE RECIPE
Combining veggies in a side dish makes them so much more interesting. In this simple and elegant dish, sweet green peas and asparagus are quickly sautéed with butter, shallots, and a touch of honey. GET THE RECIPE
If you’re a beet lover like I am, you are going to love (and maybe even obsess over) these simply prepared beets. They’re oven-roasted, which intensifies their natural sweetness, and then tossed in a tart and syrupy balsamic reduction. GET THE RECIPE
Strawberry Limeade Cake is a complete delight to the senses. A wonderful choice for a summer birthday.
For the Cake:
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 stick salted butter
2 tablespoons lime zest
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup lime juice
2-4 drops green food coloring
For the Frosting:
3/4 cup salted butter, (12 tablespoons)
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup frozen sweetened strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
5-6 cups powdered sugar
For the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 2 (8 inch) round cake pans and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine cake flour and baking powder. Set aside.
In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter, sugar, and lemon zest on medium speed for two minutes, until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating and scraping the sides of the bowl after each. Add lime juice and mix until smooth.
Add flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture alternately, starting and ending with flour. Stir in a few drops of green food coloring. Give the batter a good stir from the bottom, then pour evenly into prepared pans.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched in the center.
Remove from oven and let cool in pans for about 7 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
For the Frosting:
In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth.
Add pureed strawberry mixture, beating on low until smooth.
Add 5 cups powdered sugar and continue beating on low until JUST mixed.
Increase mixer speed to high and beat for one minute. If frosting is too thin, add additional cup of powdered sugar.
Assemble the Cake:
Carefully level cooled cakes with a serrated knife, then frost and assemble. Keep uneaten cake stored in the refrigerator.
Because when you have zero time in your day and need to grab something fast, you’ll go for the peanut butter cup every damn time. BUT if you already have something satisfying and better for you on hand: snack win!
HOWEVER, if you hear one more person call a handful of almonds a snack, you can rightfully throw it in their face.
Here are 23 better, more interesting options that will awaken your starving soul.
They’ve all been made (and devoured) by real, seriously healthy people who say things like “satiety” and “fuel your body.” Steal their snackspiration so you’ll never have to go head-to-head with the vending machine again.
1. Open-Faced PB & Blueberries
“This is one of my favorite snacks. Almond butter is a great way to start the day with some awesome protein. And blueberries are my favorite fruit because they’re super low in sugar. When I eat bread it’s ONLY Ezekiel, which is a sprouted grain bread that has no yeast.” —Gabrielle Bernstein, author of Miracles Now
2. Egg and Apple Combo
Courtesy of Aaron Flores
“Eating should stimulate all of our senses, and a perfectly cooked hard-boiled egg is about as good as it gets for me. Paired with a green apple, this is the perfect snack to satisfy any hunger and please your palate as well.” —Aaron Flores, RDN, California-based nutritionist specializing in intuitive eating and Healthy at Every Size (HAES)
3. Spiced Apple Chips
“The recipe is incredibly simple — only very thinly sliced apples sprinkled with a little apple pie spice and popped in the oven on a low temperature for a couple hours. The outcome is nutritious and delicious and a great substitute for fried chips. My husband and I brought a bunch of them hiking with us — they make a great portable snack.” —Anne Mauney, MPH, RD, founder of fANNEtasticfood.com
4. Avocado Toast
Courtesy of Amelia Winslow
“My favorite way to eat avocados is smashed onto toast with a sprinkle of salt and a few red pepper flakes. If I’m really hungry I add a fried egg. The healthy fat from avocado plus carbohydrates from bread makes it ultra-satisfying and always delicious.” —Amelia Winslow, MS, MPH, nutritionist and founder of Eating Made Easy
5. Spicy And Sweet Roasted Chickpeas
Courtesy of Nita Sharda
“I like this as a snack for when I’m craving something savory. The crunchy bite size peas are also loaded with protein and fiber, so a little goes a long way.” —Nita Sharda, RD, owner of Carrots and Cake Balanced Nutrition Consulting (See the full recipe here.)
6. Banana Nut Toast
Courtesy of Anjali Shah
“This is a slice of sprouted wheat bread with ½ tablespoon almond butter, ½ tablespoon peanut butter, ¼ sliced banana and 1 teaspoon chopped walnuts on top — with an optional sprinkle of cinnamon and drizzle of honey. This delicious snack packs a protein and fiber punch guaranteed to keep you full in between meals.” —Anjali Shah, board certified health coach and founder of The Picky Eater
7. A Makeshift Pudding Cup
“Greek yogurt mixed with some chocolate protein powder and raspberries makes for a perfect high-protein snack under 200 calories. You’re getting a good source of probiotics from the Greek yogurt, antioxidants and fiber from the raspberries, and an extra boost of protein from half a scoop of whey protein.” —Katie Yip, New York City-based Pilates teacher
8. Miso Zoodle Soup
“I love noodle soup, but most are just carb bombs in a bowl. I used my new spiralizer to make zucchini noodles, then whipped up miso broth, which contains probiotics that boost gut health by supporting digestion, and then tossed in some carrots, mushrooms, ginger, and spinach.” —Michele Promaulayko, editor-in-chief of Yahoo Health and author of the new book 20 Pounds Younger
“These no-bake snack balls are made with antioxidant-rich frozen wild blueberries. If you eat them right away they are super cold and refreshing, but if you let them thaw a bit they are melt-in-your-mouth delicious!” (See the full recipe here.) —Danielle Omar, MS, RD
10. A Picturesque Cheese Plate
“This is a simple, on-the-fly appetizer made up of stuff I had in the fridge — olives, grape tomatoes, caper berries. Anchoring the plate is a hunk of feta cheese that I dressed up with some chopped oregano from the garden and red onion.” —Monica Reinagel, licensed nutritionist and host of the Nutrition Diva podcast
11. Fruit Pizza
“This watermelon ‘pizza’ is a perfect low-calorie treat that satisfies the sweet tooth, replenishes your muscles, and hydrates your body. Ideal for a hot summer day, a party snack, or post-workout, since it will help replenish glycogen stores in your muscles and aid recovery. Both the watermelon and banana also help with bloating! ” —Idalis Velazquez, NASM-CPT, founder of IV Fitness
12. A Loaded Sweet Potato
Courtesy of Anjali Prasertong
“My favorite mid-morning snack is a leftover roasted sweet potato, split open and stuffed with a couple dollops of plain Greek yogurt. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll sprinkle it with furikake, a super-flavorful Japanese seasoning mix with toasted nori and sesame seeds. With all the protein, healthy carbs, and fiber, it’s a snack that keeps me satisfied for hours.” —Anjali Prasertong, contributing editor at The Kitchn and graduate student studying to become a registered dietitian
13. A Fruit Smoothie That Only Looks Like a Daiquiri
“California Sunshine Smoothie! Yummy — 139 calories and 7 grams of fiber. Try it! All organic: 10 strawberries, 1 orange, ½ a medium banana, 1 cup of ice, and water!” —Jeanette Jenkins, president of The Hollywood Trainer
14. Cheese, Crackers, Tomatoes, and Veggies
“This great combination keeps you full and promotes satiety. Protein comes from the delicious mozzarella cheese (a low-fat selection), the fiber comes from the high-fiber crackers (one with 5 grams of fiber or more), and vegetables!” —Shelly Marie Redmond, RD, author of Eat Well and Be Fabulous
“A good, satisfying, filling snack and the tasty health benefits of cinnamon and SunButter — a healthy option for anyone with nut allergies. It also has more unsaturated fat, magnesium, iron, zinc, and vitamin E than peanut butter.” —David Kirsch, celebrity trainer and founder of David Kirsch Wellness
17. Cheddar Kale Chips
“Dedicated to all the people who are over ridiculously priced kale chips. These savory chips make for the perfect snack, and won’t hurt your pockets.” (See the full recipe here.) —Wendy Lopez, nutritionist, and Jessica Jones, MS, RD, co-hosts of Food Heaven Made Easy
18. A Cookie You Can Make IN A PAN
“Cookies have been a great tool for me when I train really hard in the gym and need a carbohydrate or sugar boost to refuel my muscle and liver glycogen. Often store-bought cookies are too high in fat to be a good post-workout tool. Therefore, I get creative in my kitchen and got obsessed with a cookie that gets cooked in a pan. I dreamed of something that was part pancake, part gooey and crunchy cookie! This is ¼ cup quick-cooking oats, 1 tablespoon coconut flour, 1 tablespoon agave nectar, 1 whole egg, 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder, Stevia-sweetened chocolate chips, and a dash of salt. Stir it up and add a splash of milk if needed for consistency. Cook in a nonstick pan sprayed with coconut oil. Cook on low and flip when it starts to bubble — just like when cooking pancakes. It’s only 330 calories!” —Holly Perkins, CSCS, author of the upcoming Lift to Get Lean
19. Crudités For One
“This is what I typically eat as a mid-morning snack. It is carrot sticks, celery sticks, half an avocado, beetroot, and spinach, accompanied with almond butter and cottage cheese. This gives the perfect balance of protein and veggies to keep me satisfied and full until the next meal.” —Aina Hussain, registered nutritionist and founder of The Fruitful Foodie
20. Cauliflower Fries
From her Instagram: “I just made French fries out of cauliflower and @questnutrition protein powder. Hey! Don’t say ew until you try it. It’s seriously amazing!” (See the full recipe here.) —Cassey Ho, creator of POP Pilates
21. This Bright and Cheery Deliciousness
“I love because it I looove fresh fruit and veggies — and goat cheese and avocado call my name regularly! It’s a perfect mini meal or snack, because it’s packed with nutrients including antioxidants and fiber to help keep you full. Plus the healthy fat in avocado provides satiety, and who doesn’t love the sweetness of mango and taste of goat cheese? The combo may seem funny, but it is a real food combo that is a winning gem. Promise!” —Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, author of The New You and Improved Diet
22. Kale Guacamole Wraps
“Just wilt kale or any other leafy green by soaking in warm water for a few minutes, then stuff with whatever you want and enjoy!” (See the full recipe here.) —Wendy Lopez, nutritionist, and Jessica Jones, MS, RD, co-hosts of Food Heaven Made Easy
23. A Smoothie In A Bowl
Courtesy of Kath Younger
“One of my favorite snacks is a smoothie made with oats served in a bowl. This one is a cup of frozen berries, half a banana, a cup of milk, and a quarter cup of oats thrown in a blender, then topped with toasted buckwheat and nut butter. The oats give the smoothie a nice doughy taste, plus they amp up the nutrition with extra fiber and energy! And enjoying it as a ‘soup’ means I savor every last bite.” —Kath Younger, RD, founder of Kath Eats Real Food
Love the idea of cooking with homegrown herbs and veggies, but aren’t a genius in the garden? Don’t worry: these 10 options are simple to grow even if you lack a green thumb. Most can be grown in containersas well as in the ground, and can be adapted to different planting zones, which range from 10 in the deep South to 3 up in the North. Check the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to learn yours.
Chives have a reputation for being the number-one easy-to-grow herb, with the ability to tolerate a variety of soil and light conditions. They do best in zones 3 to 9—everywhere except extreme desert or cold climates—and thrive in full sunlight, though they can handle partial shade. They like relatively well-draining soil, but otherwise aren’t too picky. Plant them in containers or in the ground. As a bonus, their pink-purple flowers are pretty.
Mint is so easy to grow, it can even get a little out of hand. It’s an excellent choice for a container garden, since the pot keeps mint’s aggressive nature in check. Varieties include peppermint (best for zones 3 to 8), spearmint (best for zones 5 to 10), apple mint (best for zones 5 to 10) and lemon mint (best for zones 5 to 9. Peppermint is the most popular and versatile.
Plant mint after the last frost if you live in a zone that experiences winter. Otherwise, it’s fine to plant mint throughout the season. Morning sun, afternoon shade, and rich, well-draining soil are its favorite conditions, but it will grow relatively well even if you can’t give it a perfect environment.
Harvest mint sprigs before the plant begins to flower, and prolong the life of your harvest season by pinching off the flowers as soon as you see them.
Not quite as foolproof as chives and mint, but still pretty simple—and a delicious addition to all kinds of dishes, especially Mexican. Cilantro likes soil with good drainage and full sun, and grows quickly in spring and fall, when the weather is cooler. In hot weather, cilantro can “bolt,” meaning it grows very tall very fast, and produces flowers while the leaves lose their taste. Bonnie Plants recommends giving cilantro “its own patch in the garden where you can harvest, then ignore, then harvest again.” The seeds that appear on cilantro stalks, by the way, are coriander. You should harvest them, too!
You can also plant cilantro in a pot: Sunset magazine recommends “a bowl-shaped container at least 18 inches wide and 8 to 10 inches deep.”
Basil is a crowd-pleaser, excellent for summer pastas and a tomato’s best friend. Plant basil in full sun, keep the soil moist and you’ll have an ample supply of leaves. It works in pots, and even indoors on a sunny windowsill. Pinch off the flowers when they appear to prolong your harvest.
With its little lavender flowers and delicate leaves, thyme is lovely as well as fragrant. It’s an easy-going perennial—just put it in full sun and give it relatively dry soil. (As a Mediterranean herb, it prefers conditions on the warm and arid side.) Thyme thrives best in zones 5 to 9. To harvest, snip a few stems at a time. Even the flowers are edible when freshly bloomed.
This evergreen is a good choice for containers, and if you live in a frost-free climate, you can plant and grow it any time of year. Or, if you place your rosemary in a small pot, you can simply bring it indoors for the winter. Like thyme, rosemary is a Mediterranean plant and prefers hot, dry conditions. It thrives best in six to eight hours of full sun, and in slightly sandy soil.
Plant them in containers or beds—either way, tomatoes are easy to grow and add bright color to your garden. They enjoy full sun and rich soil with lots of compost. Water them well—about 2 inches per week during the summer, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. With dozens of varieties from heirloom to cherry, tomatoes also offer tons of options, and can be adapted to virtually any growing zone. For an easy way to start your own tomato container garden, check out this tutorial, courtesy of ApartmentTherapy.com.
It’s hard to imagine a fresher salad than one that you snip directly from your garden. With its frilly leaves, lettuce is a beautiful plant, and good news: it’s one of the simpler veggies to grow. If you’re using beds, you can easily tuck lettuce among flowers, and it does well in container gardens, too. It prefers full sun, but—unlike most other vegetables—it doesn’t mind a little shade. Moist, rich soil with good drainage will help your lettuce thrive. It does best in temperatures on the cooler side, between 45 to 80 degrees, making spring and fall the most ideal times for planting.
Add some crunch to your salads and a colorful garnish to all kinds of plates. Radishes do well in gardens and containers alike, and can grow fast—in as little as three weeks. In fact, they’re so famous for their quick, easy growth that pro gardeners often recommend them as good first plants for kids. Six hours of sun per day is ideal, and you should water them in moderation. Radishes are available in numerous varieties—experiment with heirloom types for fun colors and shapes.
Zucchini squash, yellow squash, round squash, oval squash, tromboncino squash—all are types of summer squash, and all are easy-growing, productive plants. Summer squash are fans of good sun, good drainage and compost. Since they’re relatively large plants, they’re usually planted in beds, spaced widely (3 to 6 feet) apart, but certain varieties will work in containers, too. Make sure you don’t miss out on the tasty edible blossoms, which you should pick off when they’re still fresh. You’ll want to harvest the squash itself regularly once it appears, to keep the plant from getting weighed down.
1) It travels well. If it won’t make it through an hour on the passenger seat of your car while you swerve through summer traffic, it doesn’t make the cut.
2) It can be stored and served at room temperature. Heating it up when you get to the party is too much of an imposition on your host. And, refrigerator space is limited and, frankly, better used for beer.
3) It doesn’t take long to make. You have a party to get to.
Lettuce salads can be a mess to toss when you’re making a big one for a large group of people. Also, they wilt when they sit out for too long. Caprese stays fresh for hours, and the vinaigrette and basil continue to flavor the tomatoes as it sits. Recipe here.
I understand that roasted potatoes don’t scream “summer” but really, does anything pair better with grilled steak? Roast ‘em the night before and refrigerate, but make sure they have enough time to come to room temperature before serving. Recipe here.
In the summer of 2010, I traveled to Idaho to visit my grand parents at their lake cabin and took a side trip to Montana’s Yellowstone Park. That was definitely the most incredible part of the trip. Overall, Montana had a very rugged, natural beauty. It was like nothing I had seen before back in the Northeast and I treasured everything I saw there.
Yellowstone was akin to going to another planet. Everywhere I looked, there was steam rising from mysterious looking, bubbling pools and magnificent vistas of mountains. Apparently, the pools were sulfur springs and animals gathered around them for warmth during the winter months.While driving around in Yellowstone, my family and I also saw tons of buffalo walking alongside the road. It was like they could care less about the presence of humans. We were in their territory. In the picture I took above, there is one lying down by one of the sulfur springs.
I stayed at the Old Faithful Inn during my trip. The rooms are pretty old-fashioned and spare but visitors at the inn get to see the famous Old Faithful geyser. Interestingly enough, it starts off slowly and then eventually builds up to a powerful jet of water. It is very much like a water version of a volcano. Besides the Old Faithful attraction, the food is also quite tasty — I highly recommend their buffalo steaks.
For anyone who likes nature, Yellowstone is a unique place to go to. It has everything from petrified trees to intriguing rock formations. There’s nothing quite like it.
Ohh could I use an infusion of warm weather right about now. This crazy winter weather has got us all wishing for the slightest visit from spring. But no such luck. Well pictures will have to do. Here are some of the best views from around the world. Enjoy!