Summer Alfresco Bites

Hello beautiful people!


I’ve finally made it up to Wisconsin! Wooo!!!!

Bring on the boating, and the sunshine. Pour me a cold adult bevvy, and turn that cell phone on “airplane mode!”

Because I am ON VACATION!!

But seriously, I am so excited to be at my family reunion. We’re about as “off the grid” as you can get in 2018. I mean, this place barely gets cell phone reception!

It’s just us and nature 🙂

So tonight, being Independence Day, we’re having a BBQ cookout! As one does, of course, on America’s birthday.

There will be brats, baked beans, burgers and beer.

So I always like to whip up something that is…a little…*ahem*… healthier.

And these little al fresco bites are perrrrrfect for a potluck, or a summertime cookout.

I mean, gosh – I love summer. The days are long, the produce fresh and succulent, and you can eat outside!! So these recipes highlight all the fresh flavors of summer tomatoes, basil, asparagus.

So whether you’re having a Fourth of July celebration, a church picnic, or just an outdoor party to enjoy to the summertime, here are some delicious bites – that are also a great addition to any dinner!

I made: Roasted Red Pepper Wrapped Asparagus Spears; Red Pepper Bundles; and Vegan Caprese Skewers!

And they’re all Grain and Gluten Free, Vegan, Paleo, and Specific Carb Diet friendly!

Here’s What you Need: (Makes 3 side-dish portions)
1 red pepper, roasted and sliced (homemade, or jarred)
1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise on a mandoline slicer
1 tomato, seeded & sliced in wedges
~ 12 basil leaves
1/2 bundle of asparagus, grilled
1/4 cup Pine Nuts, toasted
salt and pepper

1 part lemon juice
3 parts good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
salt and pepper

mandoine slicer (or vegetable peeler)
good chef’s knife
nonstick grill pan
medium-sized bowl
plastic wrap

If roasting your own red pepper: Set the pepper on a gas flame burner, and turn it with tongs until it is completely charred. Then, put it in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap so that the steam loosens the skin. Then, after about 15 minutes, the charred skin peels right off (use your hands or paper towels). You’re left with a wonderful roasted pepper! (If you don’t have a gas flame, you can do the same right under the broiler.) After you peel the skin and take out the seeds, slice the flesh into thin strips.

Prep all the veggies. (Be careful when using the mandoline! Use the hand guard!!) You’re going for super-super-thin slices of zucchini!

Toss the asparagus and zucchini in 1 Tbsp EVOO, salt and pepper. Also, toast the pine nuts in a dry pan over medium-low heat until they become fragrant. (Careful, they burn easily!) And whisk the dressing ingredients together.

Heat a grill pan until it is screaming’ hot. Grill the asparagus about 4 minutes per side, until tender-crisp and bright green. Then, grill the zucchini ribbons, about 1-1.5 minutes per side.

To assemble:

Asparagus Spears:
Wrap each grilled asparagus spear with one roasted red pepper strip.

Red Pepper Bundles:
Wrap 2 roasted red pepper strips in one grilled zucchini strip.

Caprese Skewers:
On a wooden skewer, alternate tomato-basil-rolled up zucchini.

Drizzle everything with the dressing, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and garnish with toasted pine nuts!

These bites were awesome! They wee each unique and distinctly delicious!

The asparagus spears were wonderful. Tender-crisp with a smokey flavor from the grill. And the smokey-sweet roasted red pepper accented the earthy spears beautifully.

The Red Pepper Bundles were delightful! The sweet and smokey red peppers were highlighted by the lemon and olive oil.

And finally, the Caprese Skewers. These were my favorite! The juicy tomatoes with the basil was out of this world! I know, it’s a tried and true flavor combo, but it’s just so good! And the addition of the smokey, chewy zucchini and toasted pine nuts really sent it over the top and added another depth of flavor.

And they were so pretty too! I’d love to serve these at a party 🙂

Alright, hope you’re enjoying your day off!

Happy Birthday America!!

What are your Independence Day traditions? Fireworks? S’mores? Family reunion? 

I’ll see you tomorrow on my podcast, “Oh What a Beautiful Morning!” – or right here for programming as usual!


A big thank you to my foundational sponsor, BetterHelp Online Therapy. I can’t begin to express how beneficial therapy was for my recovery from anorexia.  Speak with an online therapist. Or check out content about eating disorders from BetterHelp.

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48 responses to “Summer Alfresco Bites”

  1. Happy freedom from them pesky Americans day 😂 oh my gosh you look stunning in the photo 😍😭 how come you say 4th of July then write it July 4th? Also love you so much ❤️❤️

    • Haha thanks Benjamin! What a kind thing to say! That’s a great question – and I honestly don’t know! Haha Hugs and love xox

  2. You are not off the grid of you are posting, lol.
    A happy 4th to you, family reunions are the best, even if you might need alcohol to get through them sometimes!

    • Haha true that true that. We’ve got pretty good wifi at the house. Thanks! Oh I love my fam reunions. Such great times 🙂 hehe Hugs and love xox

  3. Total yummmms!! Hugs and Happy 4th!! NYC was awesome this year!! It wasn’t since my trip there in 92 that I actually bought more LPs than CDs. It was so much fun finding recordings that had been long forgotten on cd that were on LP from the late 80s/early 90s, long put away as CDs were taking over. RMM recordings, Merengue, etc.. It was fantastic!! I had great food too; pasteles for lunch, arroz con pollo for dinner. It was so hot I had a Mango lemondade and a Pina Colada type drink minus rum, at the Boricua Fest. Great music too!! Besitos y Abrazos!!

  4. I know you enjoyed your July 4 with family and the food illustrates you were well looked after with the food. I’m with you, a holiday is not a holiday with the cell phone constantly beeping. 🙂

  5. Fun times! Yummy. I hope you had a nice holiday. We relaxed at home, enjoyed a rare day off in the middle of the week! We went for a bike ride around the neighborhood, had hot dogs for dinner, and watched a few movies!

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