Summer Fresh Side Dishes

Summer Fresh Side Dishes

By: Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA

 On the East Coast, we are fortunate to have a variety of locally grown produce options available to us.  From peaches, blueberries, and tomatoes, to green peppers, corn and eggplant! There’s no shortage of good for you fruits and veggies here!

  • Local produce is a nutrition powerhouse, since it has a shorter distance to travel from farm to store, it is less likely that the nutritive value will have decreased.
  • Food that has a longer distance to travel will lose more nutrients along the way.
  • Local produce is full of flavor, it’s picked at its peak of ripeness and can often make it to shelf within 24 hours – now that’s fresh!

Why purchase locally grown?

It’s seasonal which translates to freshness: Although you can find many fruits and vegetables such as strawberries for instance year round, they are not at their “in-season” best in January. However, when they are at their seasonal peak, they are full of flavor and color which means they’ll taste their best! 

Local food benefits the environment and wildlife. Well-managed farms provide ecosystem services: they conserve fertile soil, protect water sources, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. The farm environment is a patchwork of fields, meadows, woods, ponds and buildings that provide habitat for wildlife in our communities.*

*Source: University of Vermont. Cultivating Healthy Communities extension.

Vegetable Saute

Easy Summer Vegetable Sauté

Prep: 10 to 15 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Makes: 8 (1 cup) servings


  • 2 Ears fresh Corn
  • 1 medium sized Eggplant, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 2 Green Bell Peppers, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Cooking spray


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add corn, cover pot and turn off heat.
  2. Meanwhile heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over eggplant and season with salt & pepper. Spray skillet with cooking spray and add eggplant; cook until soft, tossing frequently. About 5 to 7 minutes. Remove eggplant to a plate and set aside.
  3. Spray skillet, add peppers, and onions, cook until soft, about 7 minutes. You may cover the skillet at this step to create moisture in the pan if needed. Now add eggplant back into skillet along with corn kernels. Cook for 2 minutes and now add in tomatoes. Season with kosher salt, pepper and oregano.
  4. Once warmed through, (about 3 to 4 minutes) remove from heat and serve. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Nutrition Information:

74 calories; 13g carbohydrate; 2g fat; 2g protein; 129mg sodium; 4g fiber

Recipe by: Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA