Look to edible flowers to add beauty, flavour, and elegance to healthy seasonal dishes. These six recipes will help you create not only pretty plates but delectable meals, perfectly suited for summer eating. Read on to discover delightful flavours, pretty plates, and a bouquet of benefits.
Pretty on the plate, this salad of delicate greens contains bright, juicy, tart sorrel; crisp radish; and delicate bachelor’s buttons. Despite the blue, pink, and purple hues of bachelor’s buttons, also known as cornflowers, their flavour is fresh and green. The dressing comes together with a bachelor’s button vinegar made in advance by infusing the flower heads into apple cider vinegar for a bright, subtly sweet flavour. If you can’t find bachelor’s buttons, you can use nasturtium or violas.
When the heat of summer has you ready to wilt, this refreshing summer gazpacho with watermelon, tomatoes, and almond is guaranteed to cool you down. Marigold petals are used to make a slightly spicy, peppery oil with mild notes of citrus; it’s used in the soup and as a beautiful edible garnish. Avoid the bases or “heels” of marigold flowers, as they can be quite bitter.
There’s one flower you may already have in your pantry. The thin red threads we know as saffron are the stigmas pulled from the centre of the saffron crocus. Saffron brings bright colour and subtle earthy and slightly grassy floral flavours to dishes and is frequently used in rice dishes of all kinds—from biryani to paella and risotto. Here, saffron is used with cinnamon, cloves, and orange to lend flavour and colour to quinoa along with a classic combination of almonds and currants.
Just as lavender grows alongside thyme and rosemary, it is often included with these herbs in the French dried herb mix called herbes de Provence, a classic seasoning for lamb. This recipe gets a double dose of lavender by using it first in a similarly inspired fresh herb rub to season lamb prior to cooking and then with the addition of a blueberry jus amped up with fragrant lavender. Dried lavender works best in this recipe; find it in your local specialty grocery and make sure to look for products marked “culinary grade.”
The simplicity of this layered dessert hides its deeper and more complex aromatic flavours. A cherry compote subtly scented with rose makes an exquisite combination with cardamom yogurt and a topping of ground pistachios and dried rose petals. When buying rose petals, look for dried ones grown for edible use.
You might think of protein as something you mainly get from a meal and, therefore, not a component of dessert. But, if you’re going to opt for dessert from time to time, why not consider working in ingredients that go big on this important macronutrient? It’s easier (and more delicious) than you may think! Protein is an essential part of every cell in your body and plays a starring role in bone, muscle, and skin health. So, certainly, you want to make sure you’re eating enough. And it’s best to spread protein intake throughout the day, since your body needs a continual supply. This is why it can be a great idea to try to include protein in your desserts. When protein is provided in sufficient amounts in a dessert, it may help you feel more satiated and help temper blood sugar swings. Plus, in many cases, that protein comes in a package of other nutritional benefits. For instance, if you’re eating a dessert made with protein-packed Greek yogurt, you’re not just getting protein; you’re getting all the yogurt’s bone-benefitting calcium and immune-boosting probiotics, too. Adding nuts to your dessert doesn’t just provide plant-based protein, but it also provides heart-healthy fats. Yes, desserts need not be just empty calories. Ready for a treat? These protein-filled desserts with a healthy twist are dietitian-approved—and delicious.
Tender tofu and fresh-tasting mango sauce combine to make a nutritious, Japanese-style dessert with little effort. But don’t worry: your dessert will not taste beany. Silken soft tofu has a rather neutral flavour. The key here is to use blocks of very soft tofu as opposed to firm or extra-firm versions. Silken tofu is undrained and unpressed tofu. It has the highest water content of all types of tofu and is made by coagulating soy milk without curdling it. It’s ultra-soft texture means it can be easily blended with other ingredients and used to boost protein numbers in puddings, cakes, tarts, ice cream, and even smoothies.
Fool is a classic English dessert made, traditionally, by folding a stewed fruit into a creamy, sweet custard. This modern take adds layers of sweet pumpkin flavour and swaps out much of the cream for higher-protein Greek yogurt. The crunchy chocolate topping is a special finishing touch. Beat it It’s the fat in cream that helps trap air bubbles that make it light and fluffy. If it gets too warm, the fat melts and the air escapes. Start with a cold bowl and beaters (or a cold balloon whisk, if you’re whipping by hand). Put your bowl (ideally a stainless one) and beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes before whipping. They’ll chill easily and help keep everything cool during the whipping process.
Blondies are basically “blonde brownies.” There is no cocoa or melted chocolate in the batter of a blondie. Here, the nutritionally lacklustre all-purpose flour is swapped out for puréed beans for a higher dose of protein. The end result is just as tender and chewy without any noticeable bean flavour. A great potluck dessert option, too. If desired, chopped nuts can be used instead of chocolate chips. Squeeze play To easily fit a piece of parchment paper into a baking dish, run it under cold water for a couple of seconds, scrunch it up, and then squeeze out the excess moisture. Now it will effortlessly form into the pan.