Summer days (and nights) call for refreshing, light meals that require little or no advance planning. Much of the time, a salad of the leafy variety will hit the spot, but it might not be substantial enough to get you through to the next meal. Here, chickpeas replace the lettuce in this Greek salad, transforming the dish into a meal that’s ideal for lunch or dinner.
Peaches have a subtle flavor that can easily be masked by stronger ones, so if you want the peach to shine, stick to ingredients that enhance their floral quality.
Here, I add a pinch of fresh ginger, vanilla and a touch of honey — along with soaked cashews, which create a velvety texture when blended with fruit. Freezing the peaches beforehand results in an ultra-thick and creamy smoothie that goes down well on hot, humid days.
Zucchini are available year-round, but the summer growing season brings an abundance of all shapes and sizes of summer squash, from crookneck to pattypan to eight-ball. If you have a garden, you will be inundated with the green and golden vegetables right through October. This flavorful bread offers a great way to bring any type of zucchini or summer squash into your breakfast routine.
When it comes to quick sweet treats to beat the heat, nothing is as fast and satisfying as a scoop of this all-fruit “ice cream.” It’s pretty amazing how frozen bananas develop a lusciously thick and smooth consistency after a minute in the food processor. There’s no need for a high-powdered blender to achieve impressive results — nor any need for cream or sugar. Try making this with frozen peaches, mangoes, raspberries or apricots in place of the blueberries. You can also flavor it with cinnamon, cardamom or orange zest. Just be sure to have spoons at the ready, as this cool treat melts fast.
Frozen Blueberry and Banana “Ice Cream”
When the bananas are sliced prior to freezing, they create a super-thick consistency in less time, which prevents the mixture from thinning due to over-blending. If you only have whole frozen bananas, cut or break them into pieces before blending. Read more
In this salad, raw asparagus spears are shaved into long ribbons and then tossed in a rich, flavorful dressing made from pine nuts, lemon, olive oil and Parmesan. It’s the kind of dressing that could double as a simple pasta sauce — and in fact, when it’s tossed with the long, wide asparagus ribbons, the dish is reminiscent of fettuccine.
Refreshing, ice-cold and perfectly sweet, this drink is actually more like a shake than a smoothie. Made with nut milk and coconut ice cream, it has all of the components of a classic shake but without the dairy — although the coconut ice cream is so rich and creamy, you would never know.
Handsome fresh spears of asparagus are now in markets everywhere, promising effortless meals that sum up spring perfectly. This simple braise of leeks and asparagus is exactly that: an easy-to-assemble bowl of spring flavors. The addition of a poached egg completes the meal, enveloping the vegetables in a creamy yolk.
You’ll want to get out your best grassy olive oil here, as it doesn’t get cooked but instead cloaks the vegetables and brings all of the flavors together. If ramps grow in your area, you might try swapping them in place of the leeks. (You will want to cut their stems thin, as ramps need longer to cook than leeks.) This braise is also the perfect vehicle for other spring vegetables, like peas, pea shoots, watercress and spinach.
These mini cakes are a lot like macaroons: Crisp on the outside, thanks to plenty of almond meal, and tender inside, from the combination of maple syrup and coconut oil. Not only are these little cakes dairy- and gluten-free but they’re also packed with nutritious ingredients, including chia seeds, flaxseeds, and flours ground from whole grains and nuts.
Packed with fava beans, fresh herbs and peas, this salad will bring spring to the table in an instant. Mint, dill and scallions complement the ever-so-slightly-sweet flavor of the brown-rice vinegar seasoning, creating a bright and refreshing marinade for the salad. Quinoa provides the ideal texture and background, with plenty of protein and nutrients, making this salad a complete meal. Other spring vegetables can easily be added to the mix: Try blanched asparagus, radishes or sugar snap peas. Read more
Millet is a small, round, gluten-free grain that cooks up light and fluffy in just 20 minutes. When cooked fresh, it has an earthy flavor and almost creamy mouthfeel. With its mild flavor and lovely sunny color, millet is an ideal grain for sweet and savory recipes.