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Summer is a season filled with yummy foods, but most of the time they involve firing up the grill, which in 90-degree heat can be brutal — or even impossible if you don’t have access to one. Luckily, summer is also filled with cool, crisp and refreshing foods that will reinvigorate our taste buds. Ice cream, gazpachos, cold dips and crisp salads are all wonderful ways to cool down and help us feel like we have some semblance of control over the invading heat.
Seafood tastes better in the summer, but you don’t need to have a crawfish boil or go through the laborious process of shucking oysters to get your shellfish fix. This chilled crab dip is ready in 10 minutes and requires no heat during the preparation process.
Sure, classic deviled eggs are always a good idea, but if there’s one ingredient that can make our most favorite appetizers shine, it’s Buffalo sauce. Mix the condiment with chicken and bleu cheese and whip it together with hard-boiled egg yolks for a new take on two favorite apps.
Light, satisfying and easy to make; skewers are a crowd favorite during warm weather. But you don’t need the grill to make great skewers; just add some tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese and you’ve got a refreshing combo for the ages.
There are plenty of ways to make a great potato salad for cookouts, picnics and more. If you prefer a light potato salad, try cutting back on mayo and adding dill, dijon mustard and lemon.
There’s plenty of ways to make coleslaw that goes beyond the usual shredded carrot-and-cabbage combo. Adding kale to the mix is an easy way to bring an earthy, vitamin-packed element to the timeless no-cook side dish.
Another way to take coleslaw to the next level is to try something other than mayonnaise as a base. This Asian-inspired slaw uses rice vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil, adding an umami flavor to the cabbage and carrots.
A simple yet refreshing side dish to serve on hot nights, creamed cucumbers require few ingredients and minimal prep. Sour cream, dill, cider vinegar and sugar coat the cucumbers, and onions give the dish a dynamic blend of sweet, sour and fresh flavors.
Looking for an easy weeknight dinner side? Pasta salad is a no-brainer. Use store-bought dressing or make Italian vinaigrette from scratch and toss it into a combination of rotini, veggies, olives and more. Make this on Sunday (or the coolest day of the week) and keep it in your fridge for a last-minute accompaniment to burgers and brats.
Watermelon is the perfect way to cool down during summer. Serve the refreshing, juicy melon with cucumber, feta cheese, mint and avocado to make an incredible summer salad for you and your guests.
Ceviche is a delicacy in Peru, where the popular dish originated. Bite-sized pieces of fresh fish fillets are cured in a citrus juice like lemon or lime. Here, it’s served with red onion, bell pepper, fresh jalapeno and cilantro.
Get the most out of your potato salad by straying from the predictable combinations. This recipe mixes the starch with pickled onions and scallions, and uses aioli instead of plain mayo to achieve the classic creamy consistency.
Sesame noodles can be found on the menus of your favorite restaurants, but you can easily make the dish at home fuss-free. This recipe suggests you serve the noodles cold (perfect for summer!) by running them under cold water and tossing them with sesame oil and peanut sauce.
Looking for a quick lunch option that will keep you feeling cool and full on hot days? Try this farro and chickpea salad. Just add the ingredients to a mason jar and bring it with you to the office, school, park or wherever else you’re jetting off to.
Whitefish salad is one of the best recipes for seafood fans, because it can be made with a variety of fish like cod tilapia, flounder, halibut, snapper and haddock. No matter which type of fish you choose, mix it together with mayo, celery and lemon juice for one perfect dip or sandwich spread.
Whether you’re a fan of egg salad or if you have avoided it in the past, this recipe will be welcome to all. Using avocado instead of mayonnaise keeps the egg salad light without sacrificing its creaminess, while the sriracha adds a little spice.
If you want to achieve the flavor of your favorite takeout meals without breaking the bank, this dish is the way to go. The lo mein noodles give the meal the feeling of takeout, while the marinated beef gives it the comfort of home cooking.
Sprinkle some curry powder into your chicken salad to add a unique blend of heat and savory flavors that pair well with the neutral protein. Toss in sliced apples, grapes and celery for a crunchy, sweet bite.
If you want to turn dinner at home into a 5-star experience, try your hand at sushi! Making it from scratch might seem daunting but if you have a bamboo mat handy, it’s easier than it seems. Head over to your local Asian market to pick up the fixings, which include ingredients like tempura flakes and daikon cress.
Cooking something simple and kid-friendly for dinner isn’t always easy, especially when you’re trying to avoid the oven. Enter pinwheels. The meat and cheese sandwiches take just 10 minutes to prepare and are fun to make with your kids.
Eggs are a great breakfast option, but they require using the stove. Get your morning protein a different way with this tropical smoothie bowl. The base is a blend of bananas, blueberries and pineapple that’s topped off with coconut, granola and extra fruit.
Sure, eating fruit from a bowl is great, but having it in dessert? Even better. This frozen fruit custard is made with strawberries, which are in their prime during June.
Key lime pie, one of the most iconic pies around, is given a new spin in this recipe that adds chocolate to the crust. The filling of key lime pie needs to be refrigerated overnight before being added to the crust, making it the perfect treat to cool down with this summer.
Get your fruits and vegetables in one star-studded dessert. These blackberry and sweet potato ice pops are the perfect blend of sweet and tart flavors.
Sushi for dessert is the next big thing. OK, so it’s not actually sushi, but it is shaped like it! Coconut milk, rice, vinegar and salt are boiled until the milk is absorbed. Once the rice is cool, form it into rectangular shapes, top with mango slices and chill.
If you’re hosting a summer party and want to impress your guests, this pomegranate mascarpone cheesecake is the perfect option. The light and airy dessert gets a sweet-tart pop of flavor and color from the addition of pomegranate seeds. It’s one of many impressive desserts you should try making this summer.
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