It’s always a good day for a farmers market.  In Chicago, the markets are in full swing from May through October with over 70 vendors bringing organic fruits, vegetables, grass fed meat, gourmet cheeses and baked goods to neighborhoods across the whole city.  (See where to find Chicago Farmers Markets here.)   As I perused one of my faves in Lincoln Square nestled on the northside of Chicago, I was amazed at the bevy of colorful produce just ripe for eating!

I am thrilled to participate in this month’s Recipe Redux:  Fresh from the Garden!  As the season of bountiful produce has arrived, this month’s charge -  to show how you are using fresh July fruits and veggies.  My pleasure to patronize my local farmers.  I have to admit that I want a backyard garden, but have not taken the time nor committed the patience to cultivate one. . . (maybe next year!)

The hardest part is deciding which produce to use first.  From the tart cherries to the lovely radishes to the crisp cucumbers, there are so many delicious and nutritious culinary adventures awaiting.  I marveled at the delicate herbs like fresh basil, tarragon and chives, as well as the huge heads of cabbage and batches of carrots lined up like soldiers.

LetterGlowImage.jpgToday, I am going to toss together chopped cucumbers, radishes, Roma tomatoes, cherries and basil with a bowl of black beans and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a crunchy, light and hydrating salad - perfect for a hot summer afternoon like today with temps in the 80s (finally, summer has arrived!).




Makes about 3 servings (1/2 - 3/4 cup each)


1-15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 medium cucumber, unpeeled, chopped

2 small Roma tomatoes, chopped

2 radishes, chopped

1/4 cup tart cherries, pitted and chopped

3 large fresh basil leaves, chopped

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

A dash of salt and black pepper


Put all ingredients in order in a medium bowl and toss gently.  Enjoy in a whole grain pita or folded into a wrap or by itself with a glass of sparkling water with lime.  Enjoy!

Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 302, Total Fat: 10 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 41 mg, Carbohydrates: 42 g, Dietary Fiber: 13 g, Sugars: 6 g, Protein: 13 g

Enjoy eating simply,


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