Healthy Recipes Using Fresh Seasonal Produce

fresh produce

The summer season is the best time to get fresh produce—farmers markets, CSAs, and orchards are open and filled with fruits, vegetables, proteins, and more. Frederick County is home to more than 181,500 acres of farmland, so you can get locally sourced food while supporting your community. Using these products, you can make delicious, fresh, and healthy meals for the entire family.

  1. Arugula

Arugula is in season from May to September. It’s a peppery, distinctive-tasting green that’s usually used for salads. This nutrient-dense food is high in fiber and a good source of calcium, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin K.

Arugula is delicious raw, but it can also be used as a topping for sandwiches, wraps, and pizza. Try this easy arugula salad with lemon balsamic dressing. It’s packed with delicious carrots, tomatoes, and chopped nuts.

In the mood for something heartier? Try this arugula pesto pizza. Your whole family will love this healthy version of a comfort food classic.

  1. Broccoli

Broccoli is in season from June to November. Broccoli is great for your heart health, eye health, and immune system. It’s packed with a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, including vitamin C. In fact, just half a cup of broccoli provides more than 80% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C.

Broccoli can be baked, steamed, boiled, microwaved—you name it. While the vegetable is often eaten as a side, it can be the main component of some delicious meals.

Try this chicken and broccoli stir-fry. While most stir-fry sauces are filled with sugar, this one is completely sugar-free. You can eat it on its own or serve it over cauliflower rice for a more filling meal. It’s a quick and delicious way to feed the family.

  1. Eggplant

You’ll find eggplant in season from July through October. Eggplant, often considered a vegetable, is technically a fruit. They’re rich in fiber and vitamin K and low in carbs and calories. Eggplants are also high in antioxidants, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Eggplant is delicious whether it’s baked, roasted, grilled, or stuffed. Its hearty texture makes it a great replacement for meats. Try this eggplant gyro marinated in lemon, garlic, coriander, cumin, and oregano and topped with tzatziki. This grilled eggplant and tomato pasta is another great dinner option—combining smoky eggplant and sweet tomatoes over whole wheat pasta.

  1. Zucchini

Zucchini is its freshest from July through September. It contains a slew of beneficial vitamins and minerals including fiber, manganese, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, copper, vitamin K, iron, calcium, zinc, and more! Its high concentration of vitamin A helps support healthy vision and your immune system.

Zucchini is extremely versatile—it can be cooked in many ways and used in many kinds of dishes. Try this quick, four-ingredient garlic chicken zoodle recipe. Zoodles (zucchini noodles) are the perfect replacement for pasta when you’re trying to cut back on carbs and up your vegetable intake.

For a snack, try these zucchini parmesan crisps instead of high-fat potato chips. You only need a few ingredients, and you won’t miss the unhealthy snacks you replace.

  1. Bell Peppers

Peak season for bell peppers (also known as sweet peppers) runs from July through September. Bell peppers are low in calories and high in fiber. They’re loaded with vitamins and minerals including potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and more. Bell peppers are one of the richest dietary sources of vitamin C—one medium-sized bell pepper provides 169% of your recommended daily intake.

For a healthy meal sure to fill you up, try these quinoa stuffed peppers, full of Mediterranean flavors like lemon, parsley, and feta. This recipe is vegetarian, but you can add ground chicken or lean ground beef if you prefer.

For something light, bright, and easy to grab, try these BBQ summer spring rolls. They’re filled with smoky hummus, bell peppers, carrots, lettuce, cucumber, and zucchini.

With easy access to so many great seasonal fruits and vegetables, making healthy meals is a breeze. Interested in seeing what else is in season? Check out Homegrown Frederick’s harvest calendar.

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