Does heat + humidity + hectic summer schedules have you running away from your kitchen? No worries – we have a solution! Turning on your stove isn’t the only way to create healthy meals. Summer’s bounty is full of fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs making this the perfect time to step out of your usual meal prep routine and experiment with no-cook recipes. The key is to use fresh, colorful ingredients, and let the seasonal flavors of summer shine through.
Here are some ideas to keep your brow cool as a cucumber [pun completely intended]:
COLD SUMMER SOUPS
No-cook soups are a lighter alternative to traditional cooked soups. They are also great way to use up all those beautiful veggies that you couldn’t resist at your local farmer’s market. Our Yellow Pepper Gazpacho recipe just may become your new summer favorite – sippable, portable, simple, AND delicious.
Combining colorful fresh and cooked vegetables, leafy greens, and herbs is the way to go – the variety of textures and colors keeps it interesting and healthy. Don’t be shy about chopping up last night’s leftover vegetables or opening a can of beans and tossing with greens and a tangy dressing. Karen Kelly, one of our meal plan contributors, nails it here with her Summer Chickpea Salad.
COOL VEGETABLE NOODLES
Whether you spiralize your own, or purchase ready made, veggie noodles are a no-cook alternative to summer pastas dishes. Vegetable noodles made with zucchini can be used in any recipe that calls for pasta. The trick for zucchini noodles is to “sweat” them for about 20 minutes first – sprinkle with salt, place in colander, and drain. Pat dry before tossing with your favorite sauce. Registered Dietitian and meal plan contributor EA Stewart, AKA The Spicy RD, puts a new twist on the pasta-pesto combo, Raw Zucchini Noodles with Lemony Avocado Pesto using zucchini noodles with a pesto of creamy avocado and lemon.
MUDDLED FRUIT BEVERAGES
It is important to stay hydrated on hot summer days. For a refreshing twist from your water canteen try this recipe, Kombucha with Muddled Fruit, using effervescent kombucha as a base. Bonus – kombucha is fermented tea that contains gut-healthy probiotics. Kick up the flavor with crushed fruit, fresh herbs and a squeeze of citrus. This also makes and excellent mocktail option!
Written by Ellen Petrosino, Dietetic Intern
Reviewed and edited by Jeanne Petrucci, MS, RDN