When it is hot outside, many of us don’t want to heat up the kitchen cooking up a hot meal. Many of us want something light and cool but sometimes the calories from these foods can add up quick like mayonnaise, cheese and ice cream.  And for some of us our family members may scream “Not salad again”, even though many of us can eat them for every meal. If you are looking for a few new ideas, you have stopped by the right place! I used the abundance of my summer garden and the local farmers’ markets as the foundation for these menus. I hope that you enjoy these 3 light and cool easy healthy dinner recipes that are quick and easy and flavorful! You can also use them for lunch recipe ideas also.

Cool Summer Menu Idea #1

Amazing Fruit and Nut Wrap

Grape Tomatoes

Snow Peas

Mixed Olives

Amazing Fruit and Nut Wrap

When my family and I first moved to Asheville, there was an adorable little place called Pineapple Jacks’s which was a smoothie and sandwich shop in my neighborhood. I absolutely loved their fruit and nut wrap among many other menu items! They are no longer here so this is is my version of their wrap. Use whatever greens are in season, in the picture above I used arugula and cucumbers from our garden. Make the poppy seed dressing below.

Makes 4 wraps.

4 whole wheat tortillas

2 cups of salad greens

1/3 cup of pistachios, 1/3 cup almonds, and 1/3 cup walnuts

Approximately 1/3 cup of red onion

1/2 cup sliced cucumbers

1/2 avocado sliced thin

Approximately 1/3 cup dried cranberries (but fresh local blueberries would be wonderful too)

1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese (optional)

You can also add additional protein if you want!

On the flour tortilla add the vegetables, nuts, fruit and cheese in no particular order. Add a little dressing and wrap it up!

Poppy Seed Dressing

You should have some leftovers of this dressing to top a summer salad. I make this dressing ahead of time so the dried poppy seeds can soak up some of the ingredients.

Juice from one lemon

2 tablespoon honey

1/3 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons of poppy seeds

pinch of salt

Mix together and let set for at least 30 minutes and pour over your fruit, nut sandwich or salad.

Fruit and Nut Wrap

Try this sandwich and it will melt your heart!

 

 

Cool Summer Menu Idea #2

 

Vietnamese Bun

Real Fruit Popsicles or small bowl of fresh fruit.

 

It is not a bun at all but it is real tasty!

It is not a bun at all but it is real tasty!

Vegetarian Vietnamese Bun

“Bun” for the Vietnamese means thin rice noodles. Traditionally, it is often made with pork but this version is made with either Smiling Hara Tempeh or No Evil Foods Plant meat. It contains a plentiful amount of the local produce of summer!

Makes 4 servings

10 ounces Smiling Hara Tempeh, No Evil Foods plant meat (you can also use pork, chicken or other protein)

4 cups lettuce or other salad greens (I used arugula from my garden)

2 thinly sliced carrots

1 red bell pepper thinly sliced

1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro

2 slices green onion (optional)

1 cup napa or other cabbage, thinly sliced

1/2 roasted peanuts

Rice noodles (I used Annie Chuns)

Vietnamese Bun Sauce

1/4 cup lime juice

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon sriracha hot sauce or one of my favorite local brands Smoking J’s (use more if you like the heat)

1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon of sugar

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon of soy sauce

Cut up and saute tempeh, plant meat or other protein choice in a skillet in a little bit of oil or other protein ahead of time and chop up all the ingredients. Prepare rice noodles according to directions be careful to not overcook. Drain well and let cool. In a large bowl layer noodles, lettuce, cabbage, red bell, carrots, and green onion. Add your choice of protein and top with cilantro and peanuts. Add dressing on top. Toss it around in your bowl and eat! This is a summer sensation that I truly love and hope you will too!Smiling Hara Tempeh

 

Cool Summer Meal Idea # 3

Hummus Sandwich in a Pita with your choice of veggies

Greek Salad

Sliced melon

Hummus Sandwich with local melon.

Make some hummus sandwiches and layer local veggies in there for a salad in a pita that your family will love! Add local melon!

Hummus Sandwich

Hummus is a bean spread made with tahini which is a sesame butter (think of peanut butter made with sesame seeds), traditionally garbanzo beans, lemon juice, garlic and seasonings which is whipped up in a food processor. It is very easy to make a stays fresh in the refrigerator for several days. It is also readily available at most grocery stores. In Asheville, we are fortunate to have Roots Hummus which is made right here and has a wide variety of flavors. I recently tried their lima bean and it was wonderful! The blend of tahini and the lima bean is a great combination even for those of use who don’t typically eat lima beans!

To make the sandwiches:

Makes 4 sandwich halves.

1 package of hummus or a batch from your kitchen

Sliced tomatoes

Sliced cucumbers

Lettuce

Sliced onions

Fresh sprouts (I use the local brand Sunny Creek Farm )

Sliced avocados

Slice pita in half and carefully slice in the pita so you can add the fixins. Carefully layer the ingredients.

This Greek salad is refreshing and filling.

This Greek salad is refreshing and filling.

Greek Salad

What makes this salad is the fresh local produce my homemade Greek dressing! I mentioned that your family might get tired of salads but I can never tire of this Greek salad! If you won’t to skip the cheese, you can add a vegetarian substitute like nuts!

Makes 4 servings of salad

4 cups of salad greens

1 large tomato, chopped

1 large cucumber, sliced

1 red onion, sliced

20 Greek olives of your choice

1/2 cup feta cheese (there are several local creameries in Western North Carolina that have some great options)

Lemony Greek Salad Dressing

This dressing allows you to make this salad twice and dress it!

Juice from 1 lemon

1/2 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon oregano leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix ingredients and lightly toss the salad with about 1 tablespoon per serving.

I hope that you enjoy these easy vegetarian recipes! Local produce makes the best choice for a healthy body! Summertime is my favorite time to relax and hang out in the yard and feel carefree! Hope that you are having a good summer and doing what you can to stay healthy and happy!

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