Special to The Sun
Summer fills farmers’ markets and grocery stores with fresh, colorful vegetables picked at the peak of ripeness. From red tomatoes and yellow sweet corn to dark green kale, the options are endless. To inspire people to make the most of the season — and get the benefits of eating more vegetables — the experts in the McCormick Kitchens are providing great flavor ideas to savor the season’s produce.
“The colorful vegetables displayed on farm stands in the summer are a great source of inspiration; I’m constantly thinking about how to pair these fresh vegetables with herbs and spices that allow the produce to really pop on the palate,” said McCormick Chef Kevan Vetter. “One of my favorite, easy summer recipes combines fresh green beans with thyme, rosemary and balsamic vinegar for a bright, summer side.”
There are many ways to enjoy vegetables — fresh cut, steamed, sautéed or grilled — and many more ways to add flavor. Get a little creative and experiment with some favorite herbs and spices or seasoning blends. For example, instead of the typical tossed salad, turn up the flavor and the heat by making a grilled romaine and summer vegetable salad infused with garlic and basil.
“Taking advantage of nutrient-rich summer produce is great for your taste buds and your overall health,” says registered dietitian Dr. Wendy Bazilian. “I change-up the usual summer squash sautéed and create a zesty Greek salad by slicing fresh summer squash into thin ribbons using a vegetable peeler and mixing it with tomatoes and olives. To ensure it bursts with flavor not sodium or excess fat, I toss it in a simple vinaigrette using basil, garlic and oregano.”
To create mouthwatering dishes with the summer’s bounty, try these fresh, flavorful ideas from the McCormick Kitchens:
• Grilled Romaine & Vegetable Salad with Balsamic Herb Vinaigrette: Up the flavor without adding fat by firing up the grill and infusing the flavors of garlic and basil to bell peppers, Romaine lettuce, asparagus, tomatoes and mushrooms for a smoky rendition of a classic salad.
• Greek Squash Ribbon Salad: Slice squash into paper-thin “ribbons” using a vegetable peeler or mandoline. Mix with tomatoes, onion, feta and olives in Greek vinaigrette made with oregano, basil, mint and pepper for an appealing summertime salad.
• Penne Pasta Salad with Spinach and Tomatoes: Tomatoes add juicy, rich flavor to pasta salads. Try adding them to penne pasta along with spinach, mozzarella and Italian spices to create a Tuscan-inspired pasta salad.
• Kale Salad with Asian Vinaigrette: Save on sodium by making a salad dressing with sesame, ginger and garlic. Pair with kale, sweet mandarin oranges and sliced almonds for a deliciously hearty salad.
• Herbed Green Beans: Simply steam green beans until tender-crisp, season with rosemary and thyme and add a tangy sweetness with balsamic vinegar for a simple crowd pleaser.
• Edamame and Sweet Corn Salad: Edamame pairs beautifully with summer corn and bell peppers. Toss with olive oil, black pepper and sea salt for a light salad.
• Vegetable Saute: As easy as 1-2-3, sprinkle fresh veggies with McCormick® Perfect Pinch® Vegetable Seasoning and sauté in olive oil for 3 minutes.
To see these full recipes and more creative ideas to prepare delicious seasonal vegetables, visit www.McCormick.com or www.Facebook.com/McCormickSpice or join McCormick on Pinterest at www.Pinterest.com/mccormickspices. Look for McCormick Spices in the spice aisle of supermarkets and mass merchandisers nationwide.