When it comes to dining, we tend to eat with our eyes first - the brighter the red, the deeper the purple, the richer the green, the more appetizing we find our fruits and vegetables. Generally speaking, these brilliant hues shouldn’t just signal “nutritious,” but also “delicious!” In other words, healthy foods and tasty foods are one in the same, or at least can be when you know what to look for when shopping for ingredients and how to prepare them.
One sure-fire way to obtain maximum flavor from produce is to buy fresh and in season. To get in the habit of doing so, instead of looking for a recipe you want to make and then going shopping for those ingredients, think about which ingredients are readily available and in abundance at that time of year (which - bonus! - will be more affordable than off-season produce). From there, look for recipes that incorporate those particular ingredients.
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If you live somewhere like California, where just about every crop is in season year round, this is easy. If not, simply bookmark any great recipes you come across for later in the year when you know there will be a surplus of certain ingredients.
This Tomato, Cucumber and Avocado Salad takes advantage of peak summer ingredients. It combines juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumber and pungent red onion in a bright herbal dressing for an ultra-refreshing summer salad.
Tomatoes, in particular, are best when bought in season. When selecting your tomatoes, opt for those that are rich in color (red, green, purple or yellow), and most importantly, that smell delicious - these are the fruits that will be bursting with juicy flavor as opposed to those which are tough, bland and watery.
For this recipe, use a mix of whichever tomato varieties look good at the market, be it heirloom, Roma, cherry, beefsteak or another type; the assortment of different shades and shapes will only add to the beauty of the salad.
The humble tomato packs quite the health punch – it is a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A and potassium. In this recipe, tomatoes are paired with cucumbers, which are fibrous and low in calories. Tossed in dressing of fresh and dried herbs, this salad is complex and rich in flavor without needing much salt of fat.
Fresh salads like this one taste great as a side to this slow cooker beef with root veggies
This dish, which is as beautiful as it is nourishing, is the perfect summer side to serve at a barbecue. It also makes a nice light lunch, or could be served alongside a couple of poached eggs and toast for a hearty breakfast.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
15 ounces tomatoes, halved or quartered (depending on size)
15 ounces cucumber (about 2 cucumbers), halved lengthways and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh dill, roughly chopped
In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, lime juice, oregano, salt and pepper to combine.
In a large bowl, toss red onion, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, mint and dill with dressing. Transfer to a serving platter and finish with another squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of salt and pepper. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 2 days.