This time of year, a bowl of sliced fresh tomatoes and a simple dressing can become a delicious meal in itself. Once you’ve had your fill of tomatoes dressed with the classic olive oil and balsamic or red-wine vinegar, try this recipe for a change of pace.
When apricots are ripe and at their peak, they have an irresistible tart, tangy and almost floral flavor. And because the flesh of an apricot is quite thick, the fruit makes a great addition to smoothies, requiring little more to achieve a velvety consistency.
To make this particular smoothie substantial enough for breakfast, I also like to add in oats and yogurt. Rolled oats may seem like an odd ingredient to use in smoothies, but when soaked and blended, they deliver creamy texture and earthy flavor — plus added fiber. The result is a smoothie that will keep you going until lunch.
When summer produce is at its peak, it needs little more than the addition of a few seasonings for the flavors to really shine. Here, cucumbers, summer squash and tomatoes are blended into three simple soups accented with herbs and enriched with avocados and nuts.
Chilled soups are not only the ideal starter for a summer dinner party, but they’re also perfect for sipping as a healthy snack on hot days, offering a savory change of pace to the usual fruit smoothies. These chilled soups are best made ahead so they can thoroughly chill in the fridge. They will keep well for up to up to 4 days.
In an effort to reduce sugar and sweeteners in general, I recently decided to divert my craving for granola by making toasted muesli. (It’s true that granola can be made by baking the oats in just oil, but I find the mix looks a little lackluster without the shine of maple syrup.) Since plain old muesli was not going to suffice, I decided on toasting it. Getting a rich golden color on the oats is the key to yielding a granola-like result without oil, sugar, maple syrup or honey.
The toasted oats and seeds taste delicious with large shards of fragrant coconut and buttery macadamias. Adding fresh sliced figs and berries adds juice and a subtle sweet flavor to the mix. The muesli stores well (up to three weeks) and will see you through many mornings.
Juicy cherries, creamy coconut milk and a generous amount of vanilla come together to create a delicious frozen dessert that’s ideal for scorching days. These are not your regular pops loaded with refined sugar. Small amounts of honey and maple syrup give just the right amount of sweetness and pair well with both the fruit and the vanilla-bean-flecked coconut milk. The pops are quick and easy to put together, and it’s also fun to experiment with layering the ingredients to create different patterns. The only difficult part is waiting for them to freeze!
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.