/ by Nasreen Omran, dietetic intern at the UK Markey Cancer Center
Summer has a wide, tasty range of seasonal fruits and vegetables to choose from and to include in your favorite dishes. Cooking with seasonal fruits and vegetables not only tastes better, but it’s also better for your health as well because they are fresher and have a higher nutritional value.
Incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet is vital because they are filled with essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and disease-fighting phytochemicals. Eating fruits and vegetables on a daily basis can help lower your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.
With the season in mind, I have highlighted two of my own favorite dishes that make summer fruits and vegetables the stars of each.
Tomato, Watermelon and Feta Skewers with Mint
Nothing says summertime like watermelon. Watermelon is an excellent treat when it’s hot outside. It is low in calories and contains lycopene and Vitamin C, antioxidants that help boost the immune system.
- 2 large tomatoes, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 lbs. 1-inch watermelon cubes
- 8 oz. feta cheese cubed
- 2 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 36 three-inch skewers
- Gently toss together tomatoes and next six ingredients in a large bowl.
- Cover and chill 30 minutes to one hour.
- Thread one tomato piece, one watermelon cube and one feta cube onto a skewer. Place in a serving bowl. Repeat with remaining skewers.
- Drizzle with remaining marinade, and serve immediately.
Roasted Garlic Squash and Zucchini
- 2 small zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
- 2 small yellow squash, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
- 14 oz. small cherry tomatoes sliced in halves
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup finely shredded Parmesan Cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Line an 18 by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, garlic and Italian seasoning. (If possible, let rest 5-10 minutes to allow flavors to infuse into oil.)
- Place zucchini, squash and tomatoes in a large mixing bowl. Pour olive oil mixture over top and gently toss with hands to evenly coat.
- Pour onto prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer. Season with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle Parmesan over the top of each. Roast in preheated oven 25-30 minutes until veggies are tender and parmesan is golden brown.
- Garnish with parsley if desired and serve warm.