[Recipes] Salads And Cold Soups Are Perfect For Hot Summer Meals

With the summer heat, the last thing anyone wants to do is slave in the kitchen or turn the oven on. It is already scorching hot outside and the only thing the body is craving is a way to cool down with some nourishment. That is why salads and cold soups are the perfect options to make during summer dinners. The best part is that they are both easy to prepare and can be used with as many or as little ingredients as you like.

Salads

Salads are perfect for the summer not just because they help you cool down but because of all the produce that is available this season. Lettuce, cabbage, arugula, corn, cucumber and tomatoes are only a few favorites from the list to choose from. They are also very easy to make because you can simply pick your favorite vegetables and even fruit, put them together and you have a salad. Lemons, limes and other citrus fruits are perfect in dressing. See the recipe for my favorite Lemon Tahini Coconut Oil Dressing below.

Salads are perfect on their own or paired with protein like black beans, chicken, or salmon. Honestly, the variety is endless and can be tailored to your own preferences. Try a spinach salad with red onions, strawberries, blueberries, and tuna for a sweet and flavorful twist. To really enjoy summer, try a simple heirloom tomato salad with red onion, grilled chicken and freshly chopped basil and parsley.

Lemon Tahini Coconut Oil Dressing

Ingredients:

1 cup melted coconut oil

4 tbsp. tahini

1tbsp. dried herbs to season to your taste (I use Braggs 24 herb blend)

11/2 tsp Dion mustard

4-6 drops liquid stevia (to your taste)

Juice of 2 lemons

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Combine ingredients in a glass jar. Mix up well before using.

Cold Soups  

Most cold soups only require a food processor or high-speed blender. Unless you want to get even richer cold soups by cooking some potatoes or other vegetables and chilling the soup overnight. To keep cold soups healthy and full of nutrients avoid heavy creams or other dairy products and stick to in season and locally grown produce. If you want a thicker and more satisfying cold soup blend in bread or avocado to replace the dairy.

For a quick and refreshing gazpacho recipe, all you will need are three tomatoes, two cucumbers, one green bell pepper, one red bell pepper, a small red onion and a few cloves garlic. Peel, deseed and dice all the ingredients and add to a blender with three cups of tomato juice. Blend until smooth and season with salt and pepper.

My favorite Pineapple Cucumber Gazpacho recipe includes 1 long English cucumber,1 sweet pepper (deseeded), 2 green onions, 1 avocado or 1 tbsp. avocado oil and half of a fresh ripe pineapple peeled and cubed (you can use canned pineapple too). Blend this together with 1 cup of pineapple juice or water and enjoy!

Salads and cold soups are a great way to spend less time in the kitchen while consuming the best source of nutrients the earth has to offer. You will not only stay cool, but you will also stay healthy and maybe even lose a few pounds if you need too.

 

Eating Local And Seasonal In Summer Is Easy

Summer is here! The gardens are growing and producing.  Also your local farmer’s markets are open and packed full of fresh fruits and vegetables. Summer is the season of abundance and the time to make fresh and simple meals to stay cool and hydrated. It is by far the easiest time of year to support your local economy by buying and eating seasonal fruits and vegetables locally. Also it’s the best time of year for growing your own food and saving money.

If you ever wanted to hop on the trend of growing your own food and eating locally and in season then summertime is the perfect time to do it. Farmers markets have just opened their doors and have an abundance of produce provided by local farmers. The delights to choose from during the summer are practically never-ending. From tomatoes to strawberries and summer squash to blueberries it’s all colorful and delicious.

The following are a few favorites to look out for this season:

  • Carrots – Carrots are high in fiber, vitamin A, and beta-carotene which helps support eye health and regulates blood sugar. To get the most nutrients from this vegetable simply eat it raw. Orange isn’t the only color to look out for there are also purple, red, and yellow carrots.
  • Peas – Peas are a great addition to your menu. There is the regular garden peas plus there is the snow peas with the edible pods. They’re both full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
  • Leafy Greens – Greens for your fresh salads like lettuce, baby kale and swiss chard. A bowl full of leafy greens can do wonders for your overall health and there is such a huge variety of edible greens in the summer.
  • Cucumber – Cucumbers add lots of hydration and a nice crunch to your salads. Due to their high-water content cucumbers are perfect for combating the hot summer weather and provide nourishment to your skin.
  • Tomatoes – There is nothing like a vine ripened tomato! There is not only the red tomatoes but yellow, orange purple and even a green striped one! They come in all sizes from the cherry tomatoes to the big beefsteak varieties. Not only are they delicious and nutritious but they have outstanding antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities.

The best part about growing and eating your own food or eating seasonal and local produce is that it’s extremely affordable and provides the best nutrients and flavor. Local produce offers the highest vitamins and nutrients because they require little transportation compared to produce at grocery stores. Farmers markets also have more variety and abundance compared to grocery stores which help eliminate costs.

With the large variety of fruits and vegetables in season during summer, your menu options will never end, and you will stay satisfied. It is also a great way to stay healthy and lose a few pounds if you need too. Eat the fruits and vegetables this season raw or use them to make smoothies, salads, juices and even cold soups.