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Healthy Summer Cooking

Summer is the season for fresh, delicious produce. From traditional fruits and vegetables, like corn-on-the-cob and watermelon, to the not-so-common ones, such as the tomatillo and the passion fruit, everything seems to be ripe and abundant. To help you figure out what you can do with all of these seasonal goodies, here are some healthy summer recipes from WakeMed chef Jennifer Leamons. Enjoy! 

Passion Fruit Salsa
(For fish, chicken or pork)
Yield: 20 servings


  • 5 tomatillos
  • 2 ripe passion fruits
  • 1 large ripe tomato 
  • ½ a green pepper
  • ½ a small onion
  • ½ a jalapeño
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • ¼  cup cilantro
  • ½ a lime
  • ¼ tsp. ground cumin
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method of Preparation:
1. Wash all vegetables, toss in olive oil and roast in oven on 400 degrees for 10 mins.
2. While hot, transfer vegetables from pan to food processor and pulse five times.
3. Add cilantro and pulse until you reach consistency you like (chunky vs. smooth).
4. Season with salt & pepper and top your favorite protein or taco .

Grilled Spicy Corn on Cob
Yield: 8 servings


  • 8 ears corn-on-the-cob
  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp. chipotle powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 cup mayonaise
  • ½ cup grated Cotija cheese or Parmesan cheese
  • 8 tsp. hot sauce (Cholula is good!)
  • Lime wedges

Method of Preparation:
1. Combine well in a bowl: butter, lime juice, chipotle, onion and garlic powder, salt & pepper and cumin.
2. Corn: Peel back husk but don’t take off cob; remove all silk.
3. Using a pastry brush, brush the butter mixture all over the corn. Pull the husk back up over the kernels again.
4. Wrap each corn cob in aluminum foil individually and place on a hot grill, turning over after 5 minutes. Cook on other side for 5 minutes.
5. Peel back the husk and grill kernels directly on grill grates for a minute or until you reach a nice char.
6. Remove from heat and slather with mayo. Sprinkle cheese generously all over mayo; top with hot sauce and lime juice, if desired.

Watermelon & Basil Salad
Yield: 1 Salad


  • 1 cup pea shoots
  • ¾ cup watermelon, cubed
  • 1 oz feta cheese
  • 5 grape tomatoes, halved
  • 5 large basil leaves, torn 
  • 3 mint leaves, torn
  • 2 scallions, tops only, thin sliced
  • ¼ of a yellow pepper, medium dice
  • 2 radishes, thin sliced
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • ¼ tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp. honey

Method of Preparation:
1. Wash all vegetables and cut as suggested above. Toss pea shoots, basil and mint together, and put on plate.
2. Scatter watermelon cubes, grape tomatoes, yellow peppers and radishes in appealing presentation.
3. Sprinkle feta cheese and scallions on top.
4. In a bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, Dijon and honey, whisk together. Slowly drizzle in oil until vinaigrette forms.
5. Lightly drizzle over entire salad and enjoy!