It’s The Berries! Seasonal Recipes Featuring Fresh & Ready Ingredients

It’s The Berries! by Dana Carpender in the June 2013 issue of CarbSmart Magazine.

Back in the Roaring Twenties, if you wanted to say something was the best, popular slang was “It’s the berries!” And no wonder. Who doesn’t like berries? Too, they’re still a seasonal treat, if only because out-of-season berries are pretty terrible. Take advantage of the season!

Technically, there are a whole lot more berries than most of us realize – bananas, avocados, tomatoes, pumpkins, even coffee beans are on the list. But when we say “berries” we generally mean small, sweet, soft fruits, and especially the ones that have “berry” in their names: Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and, if you have a good local farmer’s market, gooseberries. These summer treats are low in sugar and loaded with antioxidants.

1/2 cup blueberries has 41 calories, with 10 grams of carb and 2 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of 8 grams. Research suggests that blueberry antioxidants help prevent macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, two of the most common causes of blindness.

1/2 cup raspberries will have 31 calories, with 7 grams of carb and 4 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of just 3 grams.

1/2 cup blackberries will have 37 calories,
with 9 grams of carb
and 4 grams fiber, for a
usable carb count of 5
grams. Both raspberries
and blackberries are good
sources of ellagic acid, an antioxidant that slows
cancer growth in lab animals.
6 medium strawberries will have just
22 calories, with 5 grams of carb
and 2 grams fiber, for a usable
carb count of 3 grams. Have a few
more! Strawberries are a terrific
source of vitamin C, and also
contain ellagic acid.
1/2 cup of gooseberries will have 33
calories, with 8 grams of
carb and 3 grams of fiber,
for a usable carb count of
5 grams.

Because berries are soft, skinless
fruits, they absorb pesticides and
other chemicals readily, and you can’t
peel them to remove toxins. It’s worth
the extra cost to buy organic berries.
* If hot summer mornings make bacon
and eggs unappealing, stir a few berries
into full-fat Greek yogurt – I like
Artemis from Greek Gods brand, which
has extra cream added. Or you could
throw them both in the blender with
a little cream or coconut milk and the
sweetener of your choice, for a smoothie.
* One of the simplest summer desserts I
know is also one of the most popular –
and fun! Whip heavy cream with a little
sweetener and vanilla (I would use French
vanilla liquid stevia extract) until stiff.
Put the whipped cream in the dip bowl
of your chip-and-dip, and surround with
whole strawberries. Let everyone dip
their strawberries in the whipped cream.
* Or you can go old school: Puree your
berries and fold them casually into
sweetened whipped cream, leaving streaks
of puree. This is a “fool,” an old-fashioned
English dessert. Pretty in parfait glasses!

This beautiful, unusual salad is a great side dish
with any grilled poultry or fish, but if you add diced,
cooked chicken it makes a great main dish salad, too.
2 cauliflower, head
2 cup chopped walnuts
2 cup chopped parsley
4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 green bell pepper
2 red bell pepper
3 cup diced red onion
2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon or spicy brown mustard
6 ounces blueberries
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Trim the leaves and the very bottom of the stem
off your half-cauliflower, then whack the rest into
chunks and run it through the shredding blade of
your food processor. Put the resulting “cauli-rice” in
a microwaveable casserole with a lid (or, better yet,
a microwave steamer), add a few tablespoons of
water, cover, and nuke on high for 6 minutes.
(Cooking with Bestselling Author Dana Carpender)
3. Spread your walnuts on in a shallow baking tin and
slide them into the oven. Set timer for 7 minutes.
4. Now for everything else: Chop your parsley and
basil, dice your peppers and onion, and throw all
this in a big mixing bowl.
5. When the microwave beeps, immediately uncover
and drain the cauliflower. Let it cool a bit so it
doesn’t cook your other vegetables or melt your
cheese. Stirring now and then will help it cool
faster, by letting out the steam.
6. While the cauliflower is cooling, measure the
olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and mustard into your
blender, and run it for a few seconds.
7. Okay, cauliflower’s cooled a bit. Add it to the
mixing bowl, pour on the dressing, and stir it up
till everything is evenly mixed and coated with
8. Now stir in the blueberries and feta.
Chill salad for several hours, then take out of the
fridge for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Makes 8 servings, each with: 248 Calories;
22g Fat (77.0% calories from fat); 6g Protein; 9g
Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 7g usable carb.

An elegant summer lunch – could be tripled or
quadrupled for a bridal shower or other event.
Do everything up to shredding the lettuce and
assembling the salads ahead, and it’s quick-andeasy
to get on the table, too.
4 cup hazelnuts
1 pound asparagus
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 bunch scallions
2 celery ribs
Creamy Raspberry Dressing (recipe below)
12 cups shredded lettuce – romaine is good, but
spring mix, red leaf, or butter lettuce would
work, too.
6 ounces raspberries
1. Preheat oven to 350. Spread hazelnuts on a
shallow baking tin, put ‘em in the oven, and set
your timer for 8 minutes.
2. Snap the ends off your asparagus where they
want to break naturally. Steam lightly – I give
mine 4-5 minutes in the microwave. You want it
brilliantly green and tender-crisp.
3. While that’s happening, dice your chicken – I
used a rotisseried chicken from the grocery store,
and it worked wonderfully. Throw it in a mixing
4. When the microwave beeps, pull out the
asparagus, uncover and drain. If you’re planning
on serving your salad soon, you could stash it in
the fridge for a few minutes to speed cooling.
5. Slice your scallions thin, including the crisp part
of the green shoot. Dice your celery. Add these
to the chicken in the mixing bowl
6. Cut your asparagus into 1” lengths, and add to
the chicken and veggies.
7. Somewhere in here your oven timer will beep.
Pull out your hazelnuts and let ‘em cool for a few
8. At this point, if you haven’t made your dressing
yet, it’s time. Should take all of five minutes.
9. Pour half of the dressing over the chicken
mixture, and stir to coat. Reserve the rest of the
10. Make beds of the lettuce on four plates. Pile
the chicken mixture on top, dividing it equally
between the four.
11. Coarsely chop your hazelnuts.
12. Now drizzle more dressing over each salad,
and top each with 10-12 raspberries and a
tablespoon of chopped hazelnuts. Serve
4 servings, each with: 522 Calories;
40g Fat (66.9% calories from fat); 27g Protein; 18g
Carbohydrate; 8g Dietary Fiber; 10g usable carb.

2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cup sour cream
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 drops liquid stevia extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Just put everything in your blender, and run
till it’s combined and creamy. Store in a lidded
container in the fridge, of course.
Makes about 3/4 cup, or 6 servings of
2 tablespoons, each with: 103 Calories;
11g Fat (93.8% calories from fat);
trace Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber
NOTE: I’ve seen raspberry vinegar with added
sugar, so read the labels.

Strawberries marinated in balsamic vinegar is
a classic old recipe. When I saw Dark Chocolate
Infused Balsamic, I knew I had to try a new twist!
1 pound strawberries
2 tablespoons chocolate-infused
balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Swerve, or sweetener of choice to
equal 2 tablespoons sugar.
Simple as can be: Hull the strawberries and slice
‘em in quarters. Drizzle on the balsamic vinegar
and sprinkle on the Swerve or other sweetener. Stir
it all up till the berries are evenly coated. Now let
it all marinate for an hour before serving. That’s it!
Although a little whipped cream certainly wouldn’t
come amiss. Maybe a fresh mint leaf to make it look
6 servings, each with: 22 Calories;
trace Fat (8.5% calories from fat);
trace Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber;
3g usable carbohydrate
NOTES : Feel free to adjust the Swerve or other
sweetener to the sweetness of your berries.
This carb count is necessarily approximate, because
different brands of balsamic vinegar have different
carb counts – they vary from about 4 grams per
tablespoon up to 10. But at a teaspoon of vinegar
per serving, it’s not going to be sky-high, no matter
what brand you use.
If you can’t find chocolate-infused balsamic
vinegar locally, you can buy it online – like
everything else in the world.

Check Also

Things Take Time Podcast

How’s Your New Year’s Resolution? Remember Things Take Time – CarbSmart Podcast Episode 6

So how are those Low-Carb New Year's resolutions coming? I'd like to add one to them if you don't mind. Be patient. Remember Things Take Time. Impatience is the death of most diet and exercise regimens, whether undertaken for the new year or at any other time. In our podcast, Dana Carpender examines the expectations of Low-Carb Resolutions and how to turn them into Low-Carb Reality.

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