By now, most of us have experienced the blazing heat, humidity, and sun of summer. Think back to the last heat wave — now what did you have for dinner? If you’re like me, you probably found yourself trying to come up with a quick, cool, and refreshing dish you could put together without getting near the toaster or stove… or you may have found yourself seeking refuge in the blast-chiller-like temperatures of your local go-to restaurant and shelling out the bucks for a family meal out.
The next time the temperatures climb over 95, forget dining out and instead fix something light, healthy, and delicious for the family at home. Cool gazpacho is easy to make and refreshing — plus, if you make extra, it’s perfect for lunch the next day. If you have kids, they’ll love designing and rolling their own wraps and sandwiches. Just two of you? Pop open an ice-cold bottle of white or rosé and enjoy a platter of chilled Mediterranean dips and spreads. Craving protein? Why not try a cold crab and avocado salad, or a tuna ceviche with cilantro and soy? Whatever you choose, plate it up then go enjoy it in the coolest part of your house.
This salad is sweet and savory, full of protein, and low in calories — a great, satisfying meal for those days when you really don’t feel like cooking.
The great thing about avocado tartines (aka avocado toast) is that the creative possibilities are near-endless. Top yours with thin slices of roast beef and red onion or with slices of hard-boiled egg and juicy heirloom tomatoes. You can even set out a variety of toppings and let everyone create their own.
A simple baguette is a delicious thing. Crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, filled with spicy Dijon mustard, ham, provolone, and thinly sliced, crunchy apples, this sandwich pairs nicely with a green salad for a lovely, simple, no-cook meal.
When it gets really hot, nothing beats a healthy and refreshing salad that won't weigh you down when it comes to dinner for two. Instead of heating the dressing as this recipe calls for (which just helps to wilt the greens), just combine the ingredients in a jar and shake well — no need to turn on the stove!
Cold, creamy, and full of fresh vegetables, this velvety soup is perfect for a hot summer night. Try serving it with a crusty multi-grain baguette for a healthy and delicious dinner.
There is nothing better than a light and refreshing traditional Greek salad. Prepare a large bowl for two to share, along with some fresh pitas or multi-grain bread. Need something more substantial? Pick up grilled chicken at the market (remember, you're not cooking) — or cooked shrimp or canned chickpeas — and serve on top or to the side for more protein.
This interesting version of gazpacho uses a plethora of delicious green vegetables in place of the standard tomatoes, to create a delicious and refreshing green soup that’s perfect for summer. Pair it with some toasted, seasoned breadcrumbs for a truly delicious soup sensation.
This hearty Italian sandwich is both filling and delicious when served lightly chilled. Plus, it’s great to serve a crowd — just ask the gang to bring over the beer. Looking to round out the meal? Serve a slice of the sandwich alongside some tossed greens.
Labneh is a cheese-like type of strained yogurt commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking. If you can’t find it in stores, you can use cream cheese instead.
This is a fun way to get your family involved in preparing dinner. Set out only healthy ingredients and then give the kids free reign to create their own concoction as you rest easy knowing they’ll be eating something nutritious.
Start with flour tortillas (or fresh bread, if you wish) and a couple of spreads, like pesto, cream cheese, or white bean dip. Pick up some cold cuts at the market, or stick with oil-packed tuna, ricotta cheese, or your favorite chicken salad. Top with your favorite vegetables, like sliced tomatoes, roasted red peppers, lettuce, sliced cucumber, avocado, or shredded carrot. Have kids? Tightly roll their sandwich and slice it into 3/4-inch-thick slices for something more manageable for little hands to grip.
When it's too hot to cook, a platter of dips, vegetables, and flatbreads is perfect to serve a crowd, as everyone can help themselves to what they like and however much they please. Start with hummus and fresh pitas or store-bought pita crisps. Round out the meal with other cool dips like tzatziki, dukkah, and muhammara. And if you don’t mind boiling water, throw in a hearty tabbouleh.
When you have a fresh, ripe tomato from the garden, nothing is more satisfying that this simple Italian salad. While this recipe calls for layering fresh basil with slices of fresh mozzarella and tomato slices, you could also drizzle basil pesto on top — or add a garnish of extra-virgin olive oil and syrupy balsamic vinegar. Be sure to serve this along with fresh bread, so you can mop up the leftover juices.
This salad highlights the nutty flavor of raw artichokes and pairs deliciously with sun-dried tomatoes and briny black olives. Served with some toasted sourdough, drizzled with olive oil, this salad is a perfect no-cook dinner.
Here is a tasty, raw, vegan salad that is a perfect way to incorporate seasonal vegetables into your diet.
This sweet and savory ricotta toast is great if you want something unusual, delicious, and satisfying. Enjoy this with a fresh, green salad for an effortless meal that is full of flavor.
When making ceviche, choose only the freshest quality fish you can buy and be sure your avocados are ripe (they taste best at room temperature). Don’t like tuna? Try making a scallop ceviche, or one with salmon. Round out the meal with a spring salad and crisp flatbreads.
If you want ceviche without the fish, this is the recipe for you. It is full of zesty, citrus flavors, and you won’t miss the seafood at all.
This wrap was inspired by a desire to make a wrap with vegetarian protein that is also high in fiber. The result is a delicious Greek-inspired wrap that carnivores, omnivores, and vegetarians can enjoy together.
Served with a hunk of store-bought fresh bread, plenty of feta, and a good olive oil for dipping, this is a refreshing dinner option that is super-satisfying to eat at the end of a scorching hot day. For more easy warm-weather cooking, consider turning to the grill to whip up something delicious outside of the confines of a stuffy kitchen. No grill yet? Don’t worry, grilling doesn’t have to cost you a fortune — these are the best affordable backyard grills!
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