Everyone knows that locally sourced produce is more appealing, more nutritious and more sustainable. But putting it on your menu can also save time and money. “Fresher food is not just better, it’s often easier to prepare,” says Amy Gorin, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, media personality and writer. When it comes to using summer’s bounty, there’s no need for complicated preparations or loading on a lot of butter or sauce. This time of year, you can allow seasonal produce to shine through without much additional effort.
Adding fresh and seasonal items to your menu will resonate with contemporary diners, many of whom seek out menus that feature selections from local farms. “People are concerned not only with eating healthy, but with eating deliciously,” Gorin says. “They want to make the most of their calories by choosing menu items that are flavor-packed and nutrient-dense.” This time of year, it’s easy to add corn, watermelon, berries, peppers and tomatoes to many dishes on your menu.
Fresh new ideas
Here are some summertime suggestions for getting more produce on the menu:
Appetizers: Flatbreads are an ideal “blank canvas” for whatever seasonal produce you’ve sourced, such as Flatout® Flatbreads. “I like to quarter fresh figs, lay them on a flatbread, drizzle with honey and then crumble on a nice soft cheese, then grill or bake until warm,” Gorin says.
Entrées and Salads: “Veggie kebabs are a great non-meat item for the grill,” she suggests. For side dishes, don’t forget to give grilled corn a try for an upcoming special. It can be cut off the cob after cooking and combined with diced cherry tomatoes, cilantro, honey and lime juice, then tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette, for a super-seasonal salad.
Dessert: “Grilled fruits are easy, elegant and delicious,” Gorin says. “Try peaches, pineapple or figs. After grilling, drizzle with a reduced balsamic vinegar sauce and then plate—it’s that easy!”