Nothing shouts summer like a slice of fresh watermelon or a pie crowned with succulent strawberries. Many fruits and vegetables reach their peak during the hotter months, practically begging to be eaten. Take advantage of Earth’s bounty this sunny season with these inspired spins on seven produce picks, with help from a vegetable spiralizer.
Spiralizers first hit the foodie scene when carb-shy consumers wanted a lighter alternative to pasta. Now a staple in kitchens across the country—with leading eateries featuring everything from beets to fennel in pretty twirls—this handy gadget takes old standards and slices them into shapes for spiralizer recipes worthy of Instagramming. From thick ribbons to skinny “linguini,” spiralizers put the fun back into munching. Use it for these fresh picks (and a host of others):
Whether you’re accustomed to eating zucchini battered and fried or only encounter it in minestrone every once in a while, now’s the time to seek out this super-healthy squash. Zucchini tastes best in summer, when it has a nice crisp and buttery finish. Rich in magnesium and potassium—both of which naturally support overall health and electrolytic balance—zucchini is low in saturated fat and high in fiber. In other words, you can fill up on this tasty morsel with a smidgen of the calories found in fettuccini. Try it as a faux-pasta: use a vegetable spiralizer (or julienne by hand), toss into a hot skillet with olive oil, and sauté until tender. Add garlic for an extra kick or top with parmesan.
Sweet potato fries are genius but there’s nothing quite like twirling this melt-in-your-mouth tuber around your fork like a bite of spaghetti. A superb source of beta carotene and Vitamin B, sweet potatoes encourage blood sugar regulation and antioxidant activity. Slice into shreds and sauté on low heat with heart-healthy olive oil and chopped garlic. Serve with carmelized onions, which enhance the root’s sweetness, or add a creamy sauce for some down-home comfort.
The snap of a fresh carrot might be one of the most satisfying sounds in the world. This nutritional powerhouse packs in an excellent array of vitamins and nutrients, including calcium and beta carotene, which organically supports vision and cholesterol levels. Give this humble veggie a starring role in a summery salad: spiralize and toss with lemon juice and raisins. Or go with grapes: mixed with orange juice and honey, it makes for a low-cal side that rivals even the richest desserts.
Crisp and refreshing, cucumbers are a go-to summer basic for a reason: they’re high in water content, which supports rehydration—key for those blazing days playing by the pool. A phytonutrient, they’re also rich in vitamin K, which encourages bone health. Ditch the potato salad at your next BBQ and dish out a nutritious side instead: use a vegetable spiralizer to create ribbons of cucumber, toss them with rice vinegar and fresh dill, let sit, and serve chilled.
Decorative or dipped in chocolate for some decadence, these gorgeous gems brim with antioxidants like Vitamin C and cinnamic acid, with associated benefits that include helping stave off colds and encouraging cellular regeneration. Abandon the thought of eating them canned in sugary syrup: spiral and sprinkle with cinnamon for a sweet treat, pair them with apples, or toss with cabbage, ginger, and cilantro for a one-of-a-kind slaw.
What’s summer without juicy melon? While melon balls have a certain charm, impress your friends—and kids—by spiralizing cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew instead. Low in fat but high in niacin, these Vitamin B-rich jewels are associated with decreasing inflammation. Top with cucumbers and feta, or drizzle with lemon for a revitalizing bite. Bonus points: no baking required.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” might be debatable, but there’s no doubt this fruit is beloved. While perfectly delicious straight from nature’s package, you can also dress them up in a number of fashions. Lemon adds zip, while cinnamon offers warmth (and an unbeatable aroma); julienned and tossed with diced chicken and curry creates a crunchy dish. High in antioxidants and flavonoids, apples support mental clarity—and baked in a pie always prompts a smile.