Come August, we find ourselves craving routine, normalcy, and above all else, a home-cooked meal. Don't get us wrong—we love the neverending stream of restaurant meals and cocktails that come with summertime, but it's no secret that chefs use more butter, salt, and oil in even their healthiest dishes than you ever would at home. So when we stumbled upon healthy, doctor-approved recipes on Harvard Health, we were intrigued.
Formulated by physician and writer Monique Tello, MD, MPH, the below recipes were designed to encourage people to cook at home—meaning they're nutritious and insanely easy to prepare. "We already know that the more people cook at home, the healthier their diet, the fewer calories they consume, and the less likely they are to be obese or develop type 2 diabetes," she writes. "A growing body of scientific evidence supports teaching patients how to cook meals at home as an effective medical intervention for improving diet quality, weight loss, and diabetes prevention."
Below, find two of the recipes she's been recommending to her clients to encourage them to cook more healthy meals at home.
Grilled Zucchini With Red, Green, and Yellow Pepper Sauce
Ingredients for the dish
6 firm medium zucchini, sliced diagonally into thin rounds
1/4 tsp Atlantic sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp unrefined canola oil
Ingredients for the sauce:
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup unsweetened white rice vinegar
Pinch Atlantic sea salt
Pinch ground black pepper
1 tbsp unsweetened date honey
1 small clove of garlic, crushed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 medium green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
Slice zucchini. Place zucchini rounds in a medium bowl, mix with salt and pepper, and toss with oil to coat.
Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, roast zucchini rounds for about one to two minutes on each side, until dark lines appear. Transfer to a large bowl.
Prepare sauce in a small bowl, mix together olive oil, lemon juice, and vinegar until combined. Add salt, pepper, and date honey, and mix until combined.
Add garlic, onion, and parsley, and mix well. Add peppers and mix again.
Pour pepper mixture over zucchinis, and let sit for about 30 minutes, to allow flavors to blend.
Serve at room temperature.
Make Your Own Soft Tacos
1 15-oz. can of unsalted black beans
1 can corn niblets, unsalted
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup of salsa (fresh or jarred)
1 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds), unsalted
1/2 cup green olives (optional)
8-12 corn tortillas (made without lard)
Dice the avocado and gently mix with the lemon juice.
Heat the beans in the microwave or the stovetop; stir.
Heat the tortillas (I wrap them in a clean towel and zap them in the microwave on high for 30 seconds).
Set out all ingredients on the counter (or table) and let everyone put together their own healthy tacos.
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