As the Summer heat increases, so does the call for refreshing and healthy snacks. Professional chefs and at-home cooks alike love to use organic, natural, and healthy ingredients, so we've compiled a list of our favorite healthy summer munchies. These snacks are simple to make - just like their simple, natural ingredients. Additionally, these summer nibbles are perfect for keeping around the house, at a summer picnic, a rooftop party, poolside, or any other fun occasion.
For starters, the avocado strawberry Caprese salad is a beautiful and refreshing salad packed with vitamins and nutrients. The only ingredients it requires are a quarter cup of balsamic vinegar, a cup of sliced strawberries, a cup of halved grape tomatoes, a cup of halved mini mozzarella balls, a diced avocado, and olive oil and chopped basil to taste. Bring the balsamic vinegar to a high simmer over medium heat and then reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for about nine minutes, until it shrinks in size and becomes a reduction. Then, combine all the other ingredients and drizzle with the balsamic reduction and a pinch of salt to finish off the colorful salad.
For something sweet and innovative, our favorite is key lime chia pudding. This easy recipes requires only a cup and a half of unsweetened coconut milk, half an avocado, a quarter cup of both lime juice and maple syrup, three tablespoons of coconut butter, and a pinch of sea salt, all of which are combined in a food processor. Then, add a quarter cup of chia seeds and let it sit overnight, and a healthy but fun snack will appear. This snack is especially great as a canvas for fun toppings, such as our favorites: dried berries, lime zest, and coconut whipped cream.
For a salty fix without the carbs, we love Parmesan zucchini fries. The only ingredients are two zucchinis, peeled and cut into strips, an egg, a half cup of Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste, and parsley for decoration. Whisk the egg in one bowl and put the Parmesan in another, and one by one dip the raw zucchini into the egg and then the Parmesan. Place the faux-breaded zucchini sticks on a baking tray in a 400 degree oven for about twenty minutes, and the results are crunchy and delicious. All of the french fry taste, with none of the guilt. We like to pair the fries with a dip made of greek yogurt, sriracha, and lime juice to give them a spicy and tangy kick.
For dessert, chocolate banana bites are our go-to for a taste of decadence and freshness. These delicious morsels only call for five ingredients: a half cup of pecans, a tablespoon of melted coconut oil, and sea salt, which are combined in a bowl so as to evenly coat the pecans and baked at 325 degrees for about fifteen minutes until they are toasted. Separately, melt six ounces of dark chocolate in a double boiler and then take two sliced bananas and dip them in the liquid chocolate, followed by the pecan pieces for crunchy textural interest. Store these bites in the freezer for a refreshing, tropical solution to a summer sweet tooth.
Four courses of deliciously nutritious snacks that won’t jeopardize bikini body season: Bon appetit!
By Emily Allen
Photo Courtesy of Blissful Basil and Two Peas & Their Pod