Spring is finally making its way into Summer - the sun is out more than it’s in (for now) and we’re embracing all that the warmer weather brings. When it comes to our diet, the way we eat also shifts with the seasons and this time of year might just be our favourite when it comes to food. Soups are ditched in favour of salads and fresh, healthy produce comes into its element during the summer months. With this in mind, we called on one of our most-trusted tastemakers - Danielle Copperman of quinoa-based granola brand, Qnola - to offer her take on sunshine eating. Danielle’s holistic approach to cooking has an emphasis on nutrition and punchy flavours - two things we’re craving as the weather hots up.
“My summer eating habits don’t differ much from any other time of the year, although I opt for much lighter, juicier and hydrating foods and anything that’s fresh and thriving in season” says Danielle, “I have more juices and smoothies, salads, homemade dips, fresh fruits and vegetables, seafood and loads of infused water.”
We asked Danielle what types of foods and ingredients she thinks are at their prime during the summer months. What’s in season and when? What should we be eating plenty of, health and wellbeing-wise?
“I recommend lots of food with high water content to keep you hydrated - even if you forget to keep on top of your water intake - such as cucumber, carrots, lettuce, courgette, spinach and broccoli” explains Danielle. “Try to look for local fruit and vegetables as they are always much tastier and can even be better for you when closer to their source and in their natural climate/environment.”
“I love that most natural summertime ingredients are juicy and high in water, as it genuinely feels like they were intended for us and are so intuitive and knowledgeable in knowing what’s suitable and supportive for our bodies at each time of the year. It’s so clever” she says.
Salads take centre stage as we forgo heartier fare in favour of bowl food with a bit more bite. “I make a lot of fresh colourful salads using lettuce, spinach, rocket and endive, which are light and crunchy but filled out with fresh vegetables; fruits and nuts and seeds can be really filling and provide for all your nutrient needs” says Danielle about her own summer eating habits. So in the spirit of seasonal salads, we’re sharing a barbecue-ready recipe from Danielle’s recently released book, Well Being. This sweet and savoury plate is packed with in-season fruit alongside fresh beetroot and bitter leaves. It also happens to be exactly what we’d like to be tucking into on a warm night with a chilled glass of rosé...
Peach, Beetroot, Cherry and Ginger Salad
“Beetroot has been used medicinally for years to heal ailments and is a trusty ingredient if you need a little boost in brainpower during the day (its nitrates increase blood flow to the brain). It is also one of the most versatile vegetables and can taste so different depending on how it’s prepared. It can provide a sweet crunch to salads in summer or form the foundations of something more warming like a curry during winter. Combined here with sweet and sour fruits and spices and creamy avocado, this salad is perfect for al fresco feasts, either as a main served with dips, or as a side salad for just about anything.”
4 peaches, stoned and sliced
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
100g corn salad or land cress
1 raw beetroot, thinly sliced
1 handful of fresh basil leaves
10 cherries, halved and stoned
2 carrots, grated, spiralised or thinly sliced with a julienne peeler
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of ground turmeric
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1⁄2 orange (optional)
2 avocados, cubed
In a large serving bowl, gently stir the peaches, ginger, corn salad or land cress, rocket, beetroot, basil, cherries, carrots, salt and turmeric until combined. Add the oil (and orange juice, if using) and toss to coat, then stir through the avocado. Serve with dips or dressings of choice and top with toasted nuts or seeds.
Try this with grilled peaches, quartered and roasted for 10–12 minutes at 200 degrees celsius or sear them in a hot griddle pan for 2–3 minutes on each side, until soft and marked slightly.
All images: Rita Platts