When beautiful summer days are upon us, avoiding cranking up the stove keeps your home cooler. So, here are some recipes to keep you (and your kitchen) from roasting.
These tasty recipes are sure to keep you cool this summer. Some require a little time at the stove, but you can prepare them the night before (when it’s cooler) and enjoy them chilled from the fridge the next day.
Just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean soup season has to end. There are plenty of cold soup options out there. Here are a few favorites.
If you’ve never had it before, gazpacho is a chilled vegetable-based soup, perfect for fresh garden veggies (including those you picked up at the farmer’s market). Not only does it make a great meal on its own, but you can also serve it as a side dish or an appetizer.
All you need is a blender, a refrigerator, and some fresh veggies. Here’s an easy recipe for gazpacho—tweak it with your own vegetable favorites.
- Peel, and then cut up 4 large tomatoes (cutting them into quarters is good—they don’t have to be finely diced). Scrape out the seeds before sticking them in the blender.
- Add about 1 cup of chopped onion; 2 tbsp each of fresh parsley and olive oil; 1 tbsp each of lemon juice and salt; 1 cup of vegetable stock, and 2 peeled cloves of minced garlic.
- Blend these ingredients until they’re smooth.
- Pour the blending puree into a dish with a lid, and then stir in an additional 1/2 cup each of diced tomatoes, diced cucumber, diced red pepper, and diced red onion.
- Put the lid on and chill in the refrigerator until it’s time to eat!
If you find you like this simple recipe, you’ll be excited to know gazpacho is a popular dish, and there are hundreds of variant recipes online you can try.
There are melon soups of all kinds. Some are meant for winter, while others are perfect for summer. Watermelon, of course, makes a great melon soup, but this recipe is for a cooling and refreshing cantaloupe soup.
- Begin by peeling and seeding 1 cantaloupe. Cube it and place it in your food processor.
- Add 1/2 cup of orange juice and blend until smooth.
- Put the puree in a bowl; add 1 tbsp of lemon juice, 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, and 1-1/2 cups of orange juice. Stir and refrigerate.
While cantaloupe is a staple for summer soups, you can find recipes with all kinds of variations, like three melon soups, soups that incorporate mint and cucumber, and more.
Salad is an easy summer option. You can adjust the serving size to make it a full meal or a side to complement one of the other recipes we’ve given you.
Fruit and Chicken Salads
Salads don’t have to be all-veggies, all-the-time. Check out any restaurant menu during the summer, and you’re sure to see salads containing things like blueberries and strawberries, and often with some meat in the mix, as well.
There’s a trick to making a proper fruit-enhanced salad, though. While this isn’t a step-by-step recipe, here are some things to keep in mind when adding fruit to your salad:
- Go meatless or use mellow-flavored meat (like chicken) that goes well with fruit flavors.
- Tomatoes are fruit, but they don’t tend to taste all that great with other fruits.
- Replace things like tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers with extra fruit, nuts, or seeds. Dried fruit is also good in salads.
- Use the right dressing. Ranch is a little too thick for a fruit-enhanced salad. Instead, use a nice balsamic or fruit vinaigrette.
Again, if you find you like this style of salad, there’s no shortage of recipes floating around.
Fresh Veggie Salads
If old-fashioned veggie salads are more your thing, start experimenting with more vegetables. Fiber-rich veggies—like broccoli, cauliflower, and bell peppers—more easily fill you up (with or without meat) if dining on salad alone.
If you want some extra crunch (as if those cruciferous veggies we already mentioned weren’t crunchy enough), consider adding some nuts or sunflower seeds instead of bacon bits or croutons. Nuts and seeds give you an extra protein boost and some more energy.
Summer is the time for grilled burgers and hot dogs, but sometimes, it’s too hot to stand outside over the grill. On the hottest days, consider these easy sandwiches, which don’t require much heat (and, if they do, you can prep the night before).
Chicken Salad Sandwich
There’s no need to cook any chicken to make a chicken salad sandwich. Pick up a rotisserie chicken or buy some canned (it’s not as bad as it sounds).
- Remove the skin from the rotisserie chicken and chop it up. Place it in a bowl big enough to add the rest of the ingredients.
- Add 1/2 cup each of diced celery and mayo (your choice as to which type), and 1/3 cup of diced onion. Some people add carrots, others add black olives, and there are even others who add diced apples.
- Season with 1 tsp each of granulated garlic and salt. Add a pinch of paprika and pepper to taste.
- Mix it all up and spread it on your chosen bread. You can throw on some lettuce, tomato, or other garnishments of your choice.
Chicken salad sandwiches are a classic summer lunch staple and offer a good chunk of protein too.
Egg Salad Sandwich
This recipe requires a little stove time—just enough to hard boil some eggs on the stovetop. After that, it’s all about cool summer sandwiches. To make four egg salad sandwiches, here’s what you need to do.
- Chop up 6 hard-boiled eggs and put them aside.
- In a bowl, mix 1 tbsp each of lemon juice and mustard, 1/4 cup of mayo, and 1 tsp each of salt and pepper.
- Mix in the eggs, 1/2 cup of chopped celery, and 1/4 cup of chopped green onion.
- Once it’s all blended, put it on your favorite bread, and enjoy.
You can easily tweak the flavor by using different mustards or adding additional seasonings.
Having a pool party? Enjoying some iced sun tea? Cucumber sandwiches are the perfect finger food to keep you cool.
You can make a tasty cucumber sandwich with four simple ingredients.
- Mix one packet of ranch dressing mix with one packet of cream cheese.
- Smear it on your choice of bread (rye works wonderfully).
- Slice some cucumber (the thinner, the better) and put it on the smeared bread.
- Cut the sandwiches into bite-size portions.
If you want more control over the flavor profile, you can skip the ranch dressing and add in your own dill or other seasonings.
While you probably won’t want to fill yourself up on a hot day, you still might want a side to go with your fruit salad or something cool alongside your grilled burger. Here are a couple of easy side recipes to help you stay chilled during the summer.
While you’ll need to boil some potatoes for this, letting your tater salad sit in the fridge overnight will help the flavors meld together.
You can make a classic-style potato salad with only four ingredients. This recipe yields enough for six people.
- Dice and boil 3 lbs. of Yukon gold potatoes. It should take about 5 to 10 minutes for them to be ready.
- Drain the boiled potatoes and put them in a large mixing bowl.
- Add 1 cup of sour cream, 1/4 cup of mayo, 4 diced green onions, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix it and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
As with most of our summer staples, there’s plenty of room for variation. If you’re looking for an extra flavor punch, mix in some bacon—a go-to choice in many popular potato salad recipes.
This is another instance where you’ll need to heat the stovetop a little, but most noodles take under 10 minutes to be al dente. This easy pasta salad recipe makes enough to share at a potluck or bonfire.
- Cook 1 lb. of pasta (spirals and bowties work great). Rinse the pasta in cold water, and then put it in a serving bowl.
- Add 3 small peppers (one each of yellow, red, and orange) with the seeds removed and diced; 1 chopped cucumber; 1 jar of drained and chopped artichoke hearts; 1 pint of halved cherry tomatoes; 1/3 cup of finely chopped basil; 1 cup each of feta cheese and balsamic dressing; salt and pepper to taste and mix.
- Refrigerate before serving.
Pasta salads are a nice addition to summer meals and a great take-some-leftovers-to-work option. You get the filling pasta experience in a cool, summer-friendly package.
With these simple recipes, you can keep the heat out of your kitchen and stay cool this summer, while still enjoying some delicious meals.