Spice Up Your Summer Recipes: 5 Classic Northwest Ingredients

Healthy Recipes Wednesday, July 17, 2013 Written by

From the fresh-caught fish at Seattle’s Pike Place Market, to the tents of fresh produce lining the streets of the Portland Farmers Market, there’s no question the Pacific Northwest gives us plenty to work with in the kitchen. To kick start summer, we’re shining a light on our favorite local ingredients to help inspire a season that’s filled with healthy and fresh food, al fresco dining and fun new recipes.

Dungeness crab

Fresh seafood is a Northwest tradition and Dungeness crab is a big part of that history. Even though we’re approaching the end of the season, you can still find fresh Dungeness crab in markets across Washington and Oregon. For a healthy alternative to the usual fried crab cakes, try baking them instead–just make sure they reach an internal temperature of 155 degrees. This is a great way to maintain the flavor of the crab – without dramatically increasing the calorie and fat content. Get more crab cake tips and recipes.


Many Northwesterners swear by the huckleberry. Related to the blueberry, huckleberries are in season from late July to mid-September and have a taste that’s all their own. You can generally substitute huckleberries for blueberries in any recipe. While they make a great snack, try adding the berries to plan, low-fat yogurt. It’s a healthy snack or desert that will satisfy your sweet cravings.


Summer is a great time to try a new fish recipe. Fire up the grill and prepare a few salmon filets with lemon slices and chopped garlic. Cook for a few minutes on each side and you’ll have a tasty dinner that’s a lot better for you than a charred hot dog.


This tasty fruit comes in season only during the summer, so you owe it to yourself to stop by a local market or pull over at one of the many fruit stands across Eastern Washington to purchase a bag. Plus, cherries are packed with healthy nutrients, including antioxidants and beta carotene. If you want to spice up your salads, check out this cherry balsamic vinaigrette recipe. Toss with some mixed greens and you’ve got yourself a healthy and refreshing summer lunch!


When you’re at the market next, be sure to pick up some fresh mushrooms. During the summer, chanterelles and porcinis are in season. Add these ‘shrooms to your favorite summer recipe to flavor up a dish. You can even add them to soup for a subtle, deep flavor.

These ingredients represent just a tiny fraction of the delicious food that helps makes the Pacific Northwest so special. What will you add to your summer dishes?