What’s one thing that makes you know you’re in the midst of summer? For me it’s a trip to the cape. We just returned from a few days in Wellfleet, which were spectacular and filled with good food, good friends and some much needed extra sleep! Besides a good trip to Cape Cod, I’m clear that summer is in full swing when the local stone fruit shows up in abundance in farmers markets and the grocery store features local stone fruit. My favorite of the bunch is nectarines. When perfectly ripe, they are sweet and juicy, but still a bit tangy. If you’re looking for more ways to use nectarines, try this recipe for nectarine salad.
Delicious summer produce brings nectarine salad to life.
Aside from their good taste, there are many other reasons to eat nectarines. Nectarines are low in calories and high in nutrition making them an excellent choice for those watching their waistlines but still interested in participating in summer’s sweet treats. One large nectarine contains 16% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin C, plus a good amount of potassium, fiber and even 2 grams of protein. Benefits of eating nectarines include better cell functioning, improved cardiovascular and digestive health, and protection from free radicals . Stone fruits contain antioxidants that have been proven effective in combating some obesity related complications, macular degeneration and the prevention of cancer. Consumption of nectarines also strengthens the immune system, promotes youthful skin and helps to maintain electrolyte balance in the body.
Fresh ingredients from a summer farmer’s market.
Nectarine Salad is such a fun, colorful and tasty idea!! Pairing nectarines with other produce that’s available right now in farmers markets makes the most sense. Cucumbers, arugula, tomatoes. Check. Check. Check. Fresh herbs….of course!! Since nectarines can be very juicy, there wasn’t so much a need to add a dressing to this salad as there was to add some seasoning that would compliment the burst of summer that was developing, and bring out some of the flavors that were already present.
Lime zest adds to the tang from the sumac for a delicious nectarine salad.
Have you ever noticed that sprinkling cinnamon on a somewhat sweet food, makes it taste even sweeter? Cinnamon brings out the sweetness and makes us believe there’s some sugar in there with that sprinkle of cinnamon. Sumac is a middle eastern spice that has a tart, almost sour element that gives things the “salt and vinegar” flavor that you find on chips (that lip smacking highly addictive flavor), and I knew it would be perfect paired with this nectarine salad to give it a tang that makes you keep coming back for more. A bit more tang from a burst of citrus—-lime zest and lime juice—-tempered by the cinnamon and a hint of optional heat (hello my good friend crushed red pepper flakes) and bam….truly delicious. I added fresh arugula, because I love the peppery taste, but romaine would also be a good choice with these ingredients.
Middle Eastern Spices jazz up this Nectarine Salad.
If you’re still wondering about the sumac, and if it’s worth the investment, let me share a few health benefits with you. Studies show that sumac has exceptionally high antioxidant properties, can lower levels of blood glucose, and cholesterol levels. Plus, here are some other things you can do with sumac if you buy it:. Sprinkle it on air popped popcorn, add it to Greek salad dressing, sprinkle onto some savory oatmeal, sprinkle on top of hummus, add to Israeli chopped salad, sprinkle onto sliced fruit, it’s a great addition to roasted root veggies…..and my favorite: add the sumac to the salt when making these sweet potato fries.
Sumac, herbs and arugula add to the flavor of this nectarine salad.
To me, this is summer on a plate. Sweet, tangy, crunchy, colorful…..super tasty, super healthy. What more could you ask for in a summer salad that uses fresh and local produce? If you’re thinking this salad looks awesome, but it’s missing the cheese, try adding avocado instead…..you’ll get the satisfaction and satiety factor from the healthy fats without the guilt/upset belly/added sodium.
Nectarines and sumac for a simple summer salad.
The flavors in the nectarine salad are so yummy, you may want to turn this into a salsa instead. Super simple: omit the arugula (or romaine), chop everything into smaller dice and leave out the olive oil. Everything else remains the same. Delish, and a perfect topping for a summer veggie taco!!