Creative, Seasonal, and Healthy Fourth of July Recipes…Yum!

It’s time to fire up the grill again! Time is flying by, and I feel as if it was just days ago that I posted grilling recipes and tips for Memorial Day. Well, it’s July already…and it’s time to focus on friends, family, food…and freedom!!

Visiting the Farmers Markets during the summer is the BEST! There are so many fruits and vegetables to choose from, so my biggest tip for Fourth of July is to fill your plate with lots of fresh produce! Not only is it delicious, but many vegetable and fruit-based dishes are low in calories, high in fiber, and bursting with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Of course, cole slaw, potato salads, burgers, and ribs are classic go-to grilling foods. However, instead of making hamburgers and hot dogs, why not try a black bean burger and dress it up with some fresh lettuce, tomato, onion, salsa, or guacamole? Instead of those greasy french fries, why not try a fresh fruit salad, made with watermelon, pineapple, cherries, grapes, and blueberries?


I was glancing through this season’s Edible Piedmont magazine (which is a great read!), and found two new cookbooks that are authored by local chefs in the Triangle area.

Sara Foster, author of Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen and owner of Foster’s Market has created a wonderful recipe for a fresh Watermelon and Tomato Salad.









In addition, Andrea Reusing, author of Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes and Chef at Lantern Restaurant in Chapel Hill, has created a recipe for Grilled Zucchini with Mint, Chile Oil, and Toasted Pine Nuts. Both of these recipes are listed below, and the recipes found in these cookbooks simplify local, fresh North Carolina flavors. These recipes are simple, nutritious, and perfect to serve as a summer side dish. Enjoy!

*Even the covers of these cookbook look delicious and enticing 🙂

Watermelon-Tomato Salad with Shaved Feta and Mint

Adapted from Sara Foster’s “Southern Kitchen Cookbook”

Serves: 6-8 guests


3 large heirloom tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks

4 cups cubed watermelon

1/2 cup fresh mint, roughlychopped

1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp. sherry vinegar

1 lime, juiced

Sea salt, ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup shaved fresh feta cheese

1 lime, cut into wedges


1. Combine the tomatoes, watermelon, mint, basil, olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl and toss to mix.

2. Cover and refrigerate for several hours.

3. Just before serving, sprinkle the feta over the salad and serve with lime wedges for squeezing and spritzing on top.

Grilled Zucchini with Mint, Chile Oil, and Toasted Pine Nuts

Adapted from Andrea Reusing’s “Cooking in the Moment”

Serves: 4 guests


1 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt, to taste

Chile oil

1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, torn into thin strips

2 heaping tbsp. shaved aged hard cheese, such as parmesean

Freshly ground black pepper


1. Prepare a charcoal grill. Brush each side of the zucchini slices with the oil and season with salt.

2. When the grill is very hot, but the flame has died down, and the coals are completely covered with ash, grill the zucchini on both sides until golden brown and just cooked through but still firm; usually 4-6 minutes.

3. Arrange the zucchini slices on a serving platter and drizzle with chile oil. Sprinkle with pine nuts, mint, cheese, and pepper.

Please share any healthy, local, and traditional recipes that you make on Fourth of July!


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