Here in the Northeast, last weekend’s weather loudly heralded in the unofficial start of summer, and I have to admit it came upon me way too fast. Not that I didn’t relish the three days of 80-degree, sunny bliss, but somehow I wasn’t mentally prepared to throw the season’s first party. Without much new in the way of inspiration, I turned to a couple old faves, and asked my friends to help with the rest.
People are always surprised by butternut squash in a summer side dish, but if you can get your hands on some, I guarantee that my Tropical Butternut Squash Salad will be a hit wherever you take it this season. If not, sweet potato will work too. It boasts a light and tangy yogurt-based dressing, but light coconut milk will work just fine for the dairy-free crowd. We also had a green salad packed with fresh farmers market veggies and gluten-free tabbouleh made with quinoa.
I lied. A little. I did have one new idea. It involved shrimp, grapes and avocado. More on that later!
And yes, that would be a blissfully fresh blueberry mojito in the background. I am spoiled.
For a little Recipe Remix, I made Spicy Mango Turkey Burgers by mixing a batch of my Roasted Mango Habanero Salsa with 2 1/2 lbs of ground turkey, a splash of soy sauce and some steak seasoning. I served them up with my new favorite condiment, Roasted Tomatillo-Avocado Sauce. This combo was a huge hit all around!
For dessert, I served Leanne’s Nanaimo Bars which happen to be raw and vegan too. I’ve never had a non-raw, non-vegan nanaimo bar so I’m not really sure what they’re supposed to taste like, but these were absolutely heavenly – my friend Vanessa, a longtime lover of the real nanaimo bars wholeheartedly agreed (she claimed that the bottom and top layers were “accurate”, and the middle was “different” but still delightful.) Looking for a super-easy recipe that won’t fail to impress? This is it. I followed Leanne’s recipe pretty closely, only making a few small changes: I used cashew butter in the middle layer, and sweetened the top layer with a mixture of powdered erythritol and stevia. And you can bet I’ll be doing it again.
We all agreed that the nanaimo bars were a “sophisticated chocolate” so it was a good thing my friend Lindsay brought some brownies too. Because someone proved to be a real chocoholic. (I’m sure she would have gobbled up the nanaimo bars too, but we adults didn’t really want to share 😉 ) Why is it that only toddlers can pull off looking so cute with chocolate smeared all over? So not fair 😉
What’s been your favorite BBQ dish so far this year?