With 4th of July approaching, we challenged ourselves to create a quick-and-easy, patriotic menu using ultra-healthy ingredients. The hitch? We could only spend $25 and most everything had to be red, white, and blue. Heeding the healthy edict to shop the perimeter of the grocery store, we hit the produce aisle, stocking up on in-season berries, watermelon, and grape tomatoes (which also happened to be on sale — score!) and a few cheeses from the dairy aisle. The result is a colorful menu that serves a small crowd and makes the most of the season, the holiday, and your budget. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
Five Things You’ll Need From the Store: Watermelon (small or half of a large one), Blueberries (a quart), Strawberries (a quart), Cheese (a block of feta and small mozzarella balls), Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
And Just Three Things to Grab from Home: Bread, Basil, Skewer Sticks
Light up your picnic table with these easy and festive fruit “pops” that kids and adults will gobble up fast. There’s hardly any work involved; just slice watermelon and use a cookie cutter to punch star shapes in the fruit.
To make it: Grab a skewer and thread five to six blueberries on it, then top with a watermelon star. Serve them on a decorative platter or in a glass — and watch them disappear!
Food on a stick is universally beloved, and these tomato, mozzarella, and basil skewers are no exception. This meatless option means there’s very little prep and zero cooking involved, which is perfect on a hot summer day when the last thing you want to do is man the grill.
To make it: Just pop mini mozzarella balls, grape or cherry tomatoes, and folded basil leaves onto a skewer and you — and your guests — are good to go.
Star Spangled Salad
Craving sweet and salty? You can have it both ways! Move over, salted caramel and chocolate chip cookies — we’ve got a healthier combo that satisfies like a main dish, but tastes like a decadent dessert.
To make it: Combine sweet sliced strawberries, blueberries, and salty cubed feta cheese in a serving bowl. For added flavor, we added a sprinkling of basil from our herb garden. To make the basil ribbons, stack individual basil leaves on top of one another, roll them up, and then slice into ribbons with a very sharp knife.
Red, White, and Blueschetta
If you love Spanish pan con tomate (bread smashed with garlic and tomato), your taste buds are in for a treat! Our Red, White, and Blueschetta is bursting with flavor and made with just four simple ingredients: toasted whole-grain bread, feta cheese, blueberries, and grape tomatoes. One of our coworkers called it “a flavor explosion in my mouth,” and we agree.
To make it: Cut the tomatoes in half and combine with the cheese and berries in a bowl; store in the fridge for a half hour. The acid from the tomatoes will fuse with the blueberries and feta to create a sweet, salty, and savory snack that’s still quite healthy. Spoon the mixture on the toasted bread and serve.
Red, White & Bubbly Sparkler
It’s not a party without raising a festive and bubbly glass with friends and family on the 4th. Set up a cocktail station with club soda, liquor, champagne, ice, and — you guessed it! — sliced fruit. We broke out the mason jars and striped straws for a vintage-picnic feel, but any glass will do. Teetotalers and kids can opt for fruit and club soda, while other guests craft their own vodka sodas or champagne sparklers. Happy birthday, USA!
To make it: Add cut-up fruit, ice, and then the bubbly drink of your choice.