Summer means light, refreshing and delicious meals are back on the menu. Beat the heat with these easy and healthy recipes for the summer. These are perfect for those beautiful, sunny days when you don’t feel like spending too much time in the kitchen.
These recipes are easy to whip up without compromising on the taste. Here are ten healthy and cool recipes for the summer:
1. Mint and Mango Iced Tea
1 Mango, peeled, stoned, and chopped
100g granulated sugar
4 tsp green tea leaves (you can use loose leaf black tea if you prefer)
1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves
One lime or lemon, sliced
In a saucepan, add in 100 ml of water and half of the chopped mango. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes and then strain it through a sieve or a muslin cloth. Leave the strained mango liquid to cool.
Pour 500 ml of boiling water into a large heat-proof jug and add the tea leaves (green or black). Leave to steep for 5 minutes, then strain into another large pitcher and add 300 ml of cold water. Put the jug into the fridge to chill. Put the jug into the fridge to chill.
Once cold, add the strained mango syrup to the chilled tea along with the remaining half of the chopped mango, fresh mint, and lemon/lime slices. Fill the jug with ice, stir gently and serve.
2. Iced Latte
1 cup ice
4 oz espresso
3/4 cup whole milk
Sweetener of choice such as sugar, vanilla syrup, honey
Fill a tall glass with ice and pour in the espresso. Pour the milk and the sweetener into a jar till it’s about 3/4th full. Screw the lid on and shake the mixture till foamy milk forms. Pour this foamy milk into the glass of espresso and serve.
Deliciously cool Salads
1. Summer Salad
1 (5 ounces) package romaine lettuce
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup cashews
1 red apple, diced
One pear, cored and diced
¼ cup dried cranberries
For the dressing
2/3 cup vegetable oil
½ cup white sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
One tablespoon poppy seeds
Two teaspoons diced red onion
1 teaspoon salt
In a mason jar or a bowl, pour all the ingredients for the dressing and shake or whisk until evenly combined. Keep the salad dressing aside while the salad is being prepared.
For the salad, combine all the ingredients in a large salad bowl. Pour over the dressing just before serving and toss the salad gently.
2. Cucumber Salad
Two large cucumbers, deseeded (if preferred) and chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Apple cider vinegar or plain white vinegar
Fresh herbs – parsley, dill, or mint
A drizzle of honey
Firstly, sprinkle a good dash of salt over the chopped cucumbers, toss to coat, and place the cucumbers in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Then, drain the water from the cucumbers and set them aside.
In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, honey, and fresh herbs until it is a homogenous dressing.
Once the cucumbers are drained off, add them to a bowl along with the dressing and mix well. Serve within an hour.
Summer Main Courses
1. Fresh pesto pasta
Four medium cloves of garlic
Generous pinch coarse sea salt
3 ounces basil leaves
Two tablespoons pine nuts or almonds
2 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano/Grana Padano/Pecorino or any hard cheese
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
600 to 650 g pasta such as penne, linguine, or any available shape
For the pesto, add the garlic, basil leaves, salt, pine nuts/almonds, and cheese to a food processor. Blitz this mixture till reasonably smooth, then add the oil in a continuous trickle while on low speed. If the pesto is too thin, add in some more of all the ingredients till it is of the right consistency.
Bring a large pot of water to boil, sprinkle in a generous dash of salt and pour in the pasta. Cook according to the instructions given on the packet till al dente. Save around 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
In a pan, add the pesto, the reserved pasta water, and the cooked pasta. Mix till combined. Serve with a garnish of some extra grated cheese.
2. Thai Coconut Curry
For the Green Curry Paste:
One fresh stalk lemongrass, thinly sliced (or three tablespoons frozen)
1/4 can coconut milk
1 to 3 Thai green chilies or jalapeño
1 cup packed fresh cilantro/coriander leaves and stems
One shallot or a small onion, chopped
4 to 5 cloves garlic
One-piece galangal (or ginger), sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Two tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground white or black pepper
One teaspoon brown sugar or white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups cubed firm tofu or paneer (Indian cottage cheese)
3/4 can coconut milk
One green bell pepper, chopped into bite-size pieces
One large handful of cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh Thai basil (or sweet basil)
Blend all the curry paste ingredients in a blender till smooth.
In a large wok or pan, pour in 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil and then add the smooth paste. Stir fry for a minute or two till it starts fragranting. Add the tofu/paneer/chickpeas and stir well. After adding 1/2 cup of water, simmer it for 5 minutes.
Then, add the coconut milk and the vegetables and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes until they have softened. Test the salt and the spice and adjust according to your preference.
Garnish with fresh basil leaves and sliced red chilies for the added kick of heat.
1. Watermelon and mint granita
One large watermelon, roughly chopped
Juice of one lemon/lime
Sugar, according to taste
Bunch of fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
Blend or process all the ingredients in a blender/food processor till smooth puree forms.
Pour the mixture into a shallow pan. Freeze for about 3 hours till set. Scrape the frozen granita with a fork, mixing the firm part with the unfrozen. Return to the freezer till completely frozen.
To serve, scrape the granita with a fork till large ice crystals form. Spoon into bowls or glasses and serve immediately.
2. Lemon Bars
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup white sugar + 1½ cups white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour + ¼ cup all-purpose flour
Two lemons, juiced
Preheat the oven to 175o C.
In a bowl, blend the softened butter, 2 cups of flour, and 1/2 cup of sugar. Press the mixture into the bottom of an ungreased pan. Bake this for about 20 minutes in the preheated oven until firm and golden.
In another bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar and flour till combined, then whisk in the eggs and the lemon juice. Pour over the baked crust.
Preheat the oven, then bake for an additional 20 minutes. The bars will firm up as they cool. Cut into the desired shape once cooled and serve.
1. Instant chocolate ice cream
3 Ripe Bananas
3 tbsp Cocoa Powder
3-4 tsp Sugar, if required
Simply blend all the ingredients in a food processor or blender till smooth and creamy. Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container till ready to serve.
2. Yogurt and fruit parfait
Fruit such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches, banana, and even apple
Nuts like almonds, pecans, walnuts, or granola.
Layer all the ingredients, starting with the yogurt and topping it with the nuts/granola. Chill and serve!
Author Bio: Charlotte Lin is a content creator at escaperoom.com. She’s a passionate young woman, mother to an amazing nine-year-old, and an avid reader. Over the years, writing has helped her explore and understand the world as well as her own self. She loves to travel, meet new people, and spend quality time with her daughter. You can find her on LinkedIn.