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The sun is shining, the weather is warm, and the kids are out of school. That can only mean one thing: summer is here!
With summer comes a slew of cookouts, potlucks, and barbeques that you’ll need to bring food for. It’s also the time of year when your family has more time to sit down and share a meal.
If you’re looking for some quick and easy dishes that are packed with nutritious ingredients, you’re in the right place! Keep reading for some healthy summer recipes that will keep you energized and ready for fun in the sun.
Summer Cooking Techniques
The heat of summer has officially arrived, which means it’s time to say “see you later” to your oven. Instead, we’ll be moving to skillets, grilling, and open fires. Mix in some refreshing no-cook dishes and you’ll be on your way to quick, easy, and healthy dinners that don’t raise your air conditioning costs.
But if you think your grilling plans have to take a rain check because of a sudden thunderstorm, think again. If you stock one of the best ceramic grill pans in your kitchen, you can still enjoy perfectly grilled meats, veggies, and fruits from your stovetop. Now—let’s move on to the recipes!
1. Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl
If you live somewhere with access to a fresh fish market, this ahi poke bowl is a great way to kick off your healthy summer eating. If you can, splurge on sushi-grade tuna (sometimes called sashimi-grade). This high-quality fish is intended for raw consumption and is often sold at Japanese markets.
Cut the tuna into bite-sized pieces and marinate it for at least 15 minutes in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, green onions, red pepper flakes, and fresh ginger. Serve the tuna on a bed of rice and top with avocado, cucumber, edamame, shredded carrots, radishes, and toasted sesame seeds. This quick, colorful dish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower triglycerides and reduce inflammation.
2. Mango Salsa
Get a taste of the tropics with nothing more than five minutes and a cutting board! All you need to make this sweet and spicy side dish is mango, cucumber, red onion, a jalapeno pepper, and fresh cilantro. Dice all of the ingredients and toss them in a bowl with salt, pepper, and lime juice to taste.
Let the salsa sit for an hour in the fridge before serving to let the flavors meld together. This mango salsa goes great with tortilla chips, on top of salads, or as a topping on tacos.
3. Jazzed-Up Corn on the Cob
Nothing says summer like corn on the cob that’s been grilled or roasted over an open fire. Slather on some butter and sprinkle a bit of salt, and you have yourself a treat that pleases all ages. But sometimes even a classic like this can use some jazzing up, and homemade flavored butter is the way to go.
If you’re feeling spicy, try making a jalapeno-lime butter. Just put one stick of butter in a food processor with the juice and zest of a lime, a seeded jalapeno, a clove of garlic, and a dash of paprika. Pulse the ingredients until they’re smooth, and store the butter in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
Or, mix things up even more with sun-dried tomato butter. Follow the same process as before, but add 2 ounces of sun-dried tomatoes and some chopped basil and parsley instead.
4. Grilled Vegetables with Balsamic
Grilled vegetables are a great way to make sure that even your picky eaters are getting their daily servings of greens. These are made extra tasty by a sweet balsamic marinade. Choose any of your favorite vegetables—carrots, onions, zucchini, and mushrooms work great on the grill.
Add a 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar to a saucepan with a tablespoon each of honey and brown sugar and simmer it until it forms a thick glaze. While that’s cooking, add another 1/2 cup of balsamic to a gallon-sized bag or sealable container with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and 1/4 cup olive oil. Marinate the vegetables in this mixture for at least 30 minutes.
Put the marinated veggies on the grill and brush them with the balsamic glaze. Cook for 3-5 minutes per side until they’re lightly browned, and serve immediately.
5. Watermelon Salad
Watermelon is a summertime staple, but it’s easily turned into a fancy adult dish as well. Cube a watermelon into bite-sized pieces and toss it with chopped cucumber, mint, basil, and crumbled feta.
Then, drizzle the salad with balsamic and olive oil, adding salt and pepper to taste. Voila, a sweet and salty dish, fit for even the most sophisticated palate—in five minutes or less! And as an added bonus, watermelon is high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and can help you stave off dehydration in the heat.
6. Thai Beef Salad
This flavorful salad is the perfect way to reimagine the traditional grilled flank steak. Start by marinating the meat overnight in a mixture of lime juice, soy sauce, sesame or canola oil, minced garlic, red curry paste, fresh ginger, and brown sugar. Save out some of the marinade liquid to use as dressing on the salad.
The next day, grill the beef until medium-rare and then cut it into thin slices. Serve on top of a mixed-green salad with sliced shallots, cilantro, basil, and shredded carrots. Top with the remaining dressing and slivered almonds or cashews if desired.
7. Zucchini Sushi
Ready for the easiest and healthiest sushi roll you’ve ever tried? Start by thinly slicing a zucchini lengthwise using a vegetable peeler or mandolin. Then, lay the strips out on top of a paper towel while you prep the filling.
In a mixing bowl, combine four ounces of softened cream cheese with one teaspoon each of sriracha and lime juice. Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese mixture on each of the zucchini strips.
Next, place your desired fillings on one side of the zucchini and roll it tightly toward the empty side. Try adding carrots, crab meat, avocado, and cucumbers for a dish inspired by the classic California roll. Top the sushi with toasted sesame seeds and serve cold.
Try out These Healthy Summer Recipes Tonight!
Whether you’re having a backyard cookout or just feeding your family, these healthy summer recipes are sure to be a hit. For more tips on staying healthy and living your best life this summer, be sure to check out the rest of our blog!