A few days back, we took to Instagram and asked you to share your best healthy desserts of the summer by using the hashtag #FoodNetworkFaves. And my — oh, my — did you deliver. Our feed was studded with fruity treats, home-baked confections and more good-for-you sweets that prove this summer was the sweetest yet. Here are some of our favorites.
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It’s time to make room in your cabinet for cashews. Almonds may be the go-to nut, but when it comes to versatility in the kitchen, cashews win hands down. With one bite of the swoonworthy blueberry swirl creamsicles, you’ll get a taste of the creaminess.
Want homemade yogurt without the wait? Cashews to the rescue. Blended together with coconut meat and probiotics, then lightly sweetened with agave, they make a creamy, full-bodied dairy-free yogurt like you’ve never tasted. Or, stick to something savory and use chopped cashews and mushrooms in place of ground beef for tacos. Together, they make a healthy ingredient swap that mimics the real deal. Read more
Few things are better than biting into a ripe and juicy peach. This fragrant stone fruit, with its pink-yellow flesh, has come to embody the carefree spirit of summer. Lucky for us, peaches are at their prime at this very moment, with their peak season beginning in July and lasting through August. If you’re heading to the farmers market, choose peaches with a fresh and floral aroma. The flesh should yield a bit when pressed gently, so avoid any peaches that are rock-hard or mushy. Even if you aren’t working with fresh fruit straight from the tree (frozen peaches and preserves can add great flavor to dishes), it’s still a good time to play up the universally recognized flavor, whether you’re making a cobbler, salad or smoothie. Give summer the last hurrah it deserves with these seven good-for-you meals featuring one of the season’s most-loved fruits.
Grilled Peaches with Cinnamon-Sugar Butter
You’ve probably had grilled vegetables more times than you can count, but how about grilled peaches? Bobby Flay turns to the sweet ripe fruit to make this low-calorie dessert in just 15 minutes. After a quick turn on the grill, each peach half is topped with cinnamon-sugar butter for a juicy, no-fuss treat.
The avocado may seem destined for guacamole stardom (it plays the role perfectly), but there’s much more this healthy fruit can bring to your recipes. It not only gives any dish a creamy texture, but also adds a great airiness.
Give classic hummus a velvety twist, swap not-so-healthy Nutella for an addictively rich chocolate-hazelnut spread (ideal as a topping on rice cakes or for dipping into with your favorite fruit) or toss cubes of avocado with shrimp for a new take on classic shrimp cocktail. Read more
Getting back into the swing of the school year takes time. Just getting the kids out the door with their teeth brushed, shoes on and homework in tow is an ambitious feat to pull off every day — and you better bet sitting down to a nice family breakfast straight out of the movies isn’t about to become a daily ritual either. Make busy mornings a whole lot easier by dropping the kids off at school — or the bus stop — with healthy take-to-school breakfast recipes that will keep them full and focused until lunchtime.
Take the stress out of mornings by baking at night or during the weekend. Ellie Krieger’s easy, no-butter Apple Muffins are made with whole-wheat pastry flour and loaded up with nourishing pecans and chunks of Golden Delicious apples. Ellie swaps the butter out for applesauce, which keeps the muffins moist and fruity without adding fat. Send your little ones off with these muffins and they’ll be set for the morning.
There’s no need to pass on dessert when the temperature rises. Instead of sweating it out in the kitchen, opt for these sweet (and better-for-you) recipes with no cooking required. Read more
There’s no need to slave over a hot stove during the dog days of summer. These healthy dinners are ready to go without lighting a flame. Read more
Even during the hot summer months, pasta is king in my house. My Italian heritage seems to dictate that I eat some variation of pasta a few times per week, so I almost always include at least one serving of vegetables to get more nutrition into my meal. For this one-pot pasta dinner, you’ll use in-season tomatoes for the sauce. To increase fiber intake, opt for whole-wheat pasta over the traditional white noodles. If you dislike whole-wheat pasta, try a blend of white and whole-wheat noodles, or add in another serving of vegetables with your white pasta to create more nutritional balance. Read more
The thing we love most about zucchini is that it refuses to be labeled. In a culinary context, this firm summer squash is treated as a vegetable, often prepared as a savory main or side dish. But botanically, zucchini is classified as a fruit — and more specifically as a type of berry — which perhaps explains why you’ll find this fiber-packed jack-of-all-trades in sweet breads and pastries too. Few other vegetables can boast the same level of versatility. Luckily for us, the prime season is long — it begins in June and peaks in late August, so make sure you squeeze in a trip to the farmers market before the month is over. Whether it’s lightly seasoned and grilled until smoky or grated into fine shreds to be hidden in baked goods, there’s no boundary this hearty summer squash can’t conquer. See for yourself with these 10 in-season zucchini recipes for casserole, zucchini bread and more.
Zucchini “Hash Browns” and Eggs
Diced zucchini stands in for potatoes in this hearty breakfast hash from Food Network Kitchen. When sauteed, the zucchini takes on the same fork-tender quality as pan-fried potatoes, but without the heavy dose of starch.
There’s no denying that slow-cooked meats doused in barbecue sauce have a way of tugging at our heartstrings. It’s simply too difficult to resist the beckoning aroma of juicy ribs, pulled pork and smoked brisket wafting through the air. But the love turns sour when suddenly we find said meats tugging at the seams of our clothes. The solution? Don’t resist it. You don’t need to, because with a few simple modifications, you can turn your barbecue favorites into lean and wholesome meals. Besides, these are the final weeks of summer; we should be enjoying as many outdoor feasts as we can. Follow these five simple tips for preparing mouthwatering barbecue with the same bold flavors you’re used to, but with less sugar and fat.
1. Go lean.
When shopping for your barbecue, choosing a cut of meat with less fat doesn’t automatically equal less flavor. Exhibit A: Food Network Kitchen’s Pulled Pork (pictured at top) simmered in a tangy vinegar-molasses sauce. Although the fatty shoulder is the most-common cut used in a classic pulled pork recipe, the lean tenderloin yields a sandwich that’s just as succulent.