Fresh and Light Southern Summer Feast

Summer is finally here, and I have the perfect bite of warmth for y’all with my fresh and light Southern summer recipes.

If any of you have been down South, you know we seem to have a real fondness for frying. You name it and we will fry it. This is great news if you’re a fryer…you’ll never be out of work down here. But this is horrible news if you’re gluten free or you have celiac disease trying to eat your way around town. So I’ve decided to lighten up a few of my Southern favorites.

Fried Green Tomatoes

For my first dish, I’ve taken a particularly gluten-y recipe that is very traditional in New Orleans and gave it a deliciously gluten free makeover: my fried green tomatoes. I’ve paired them with a bright cilantro slaw for extra crunch. To top all this, I’ve given the traditional heavy remoulade sauce a nice and healthy makeover, using ripened avocado to give this a beautifully thick and creamy consistency without using a gallon of mayo.

Yep, it is possible to lighten up some good ol’ Southern classics. Green tomatoes are literally just un-ripened tomatoes that have been picked before they turned the lovely red color we are all familiar with. These green ’maters are found all over grocery stores in the South, but if you have a hard time finding them…feel free to use a regular tomato. Just be sure it’s as hard and un-ripe as possible. Also, be sure to give it a good 15 minutes with the salt and paper towel trick to really help draw out any extra moisture. Remember, when frying anything, moisture is not a friend. Lastly, try to find a finely ground cornmeal or grit for this dish. I so hope you enjoy taking a gluten-free bite out of this traditional Southern favorite. Click here for the recipe.

Grilled Peach and Avocado Salad with Lemon Shrimp and Homemade Honey Mustard Dressing

Next up we have a true bite of summer with my Grilled Peach and Avocado Salad With Lemon Shrimp and Homemade Honey Mustard Dressing. To tie this all together, I’ve made a deliciously easy Honey Mustard Dressing that is so good, you could put it on an old boot and make it tasty (please don’t attempt this, though).  Summer and peaches go hand in hand.

Some of my most favorite summer memories as a child were sitting on our porch eating fresh peaches from the local farm, juices dripping down my arm…great stuff. Like me, I’m sure you never thought to grill those peaches until now. Trust me, it just makes them all the more sweet and juicy. They won’t need long on the grill, just a minute or 2 on each side to get some color on them. You’re going to love the fresh flavors of this salad. For the shrimp, be sure not to let them marinate too long in the lemon juice mixture, as this will start to cook the shrimp. So, give them just a quick marinade and whack ‘em on that grill. I so hope this becomes a family go-to for the summer salad team. Click here for the recipe.

Easy Bananas Foster Sundaes

Bananas Foster Sundae

Lastly, I’ve taken a true New Orleans classic and simplified it to be more home-friendly. It is still full of all the incredible flavors, just easy to make. This is my Easy Bananas Foster Sundaes. Now, of course I would love to say I flambé bananas in rum at home table-side for my guests to make this dessert as traditionally as possible. I’d also love to say I won the lottery. There is a reason this decadent dish is usually made at a restaurant by a trained professional with all the flambé experience necessary.

But that is not real life, so why not make a super-easy and flavorful recipe like this to pop on top of some ice cream for a real treat. Trust me, people will still be impressed…and you’ll get to keep your eyebrows. It’s a win-win.

Feel free to substitute coconut oil for the butter if dairy is an issue. Also, you can substitute your favorite coconut milk ice cream for the dairy ice cream, too. You can use either walnuts or pecans for this dish, or if you want to take it on a tropical twist, try some chopped macadamia nuts.  I know you are going to love these divine li’l sundaes. Click here for the recipe.

Here’s to a very happy and healthy summer, everyone, and remember you can help raise celiac awareness every day in your daily lives. Just live and eat happily and let everyone ask why you are so darn awesome. Then you can give them the honest answer…“because I’m special. I have celiac!” Big love and happy eating to all!

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