When the thermometer soars, the kitchen is the last place that any of us wants to spend time. Turning on the oven can overheat your kitchen and raise your utility bills.
Planning your menu around fresh fruits and vegetables can lower your grocery bills, aid in weight loss, and increase your body’s ability to fight disease.Thankfully, seasonal produce also lends itself well to recipes, which don’t require the use of an oven (and sometimes no heat source at all.)
So, if you can’t take the heat (and who can?), then let’s get out of the kitchen!
This post is sponsored by Garden Spot Vegetable Farm. Located in Princeville, Illinois, owner, Jim Buckley and his family, cultivate 34 acres of vegetables and 375 fruit trees. Garden Spot is a no-spray farm, offering a variety of CSA packages. Check their Facebook page for current programs and options for available produce.
(Posts on Under the Median contain affiliate links. To read our complete affiliate policy, click here. When you make a purchase through one of our links, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you.)
They come in all shapes and sizes. Although lettuce or other greens are traditionally considered to be the base of a great salad, you can also begin with zoodles, veggies, rice, noodles, or other hearty grains.
Greek Zoodle Salad
If you are ready for a low-carb alternative to noodles, then discovering zoodles will change your life! Zoodles are simply spiralized summer squash. Generally zucchini is the squash of choice, but its close cousin, yellow summer squash can be easily substituted.
Served cold, this Greek zoodle salad requires absolutely no heating. I ate it by the bowlful and then guarded the leftovers to see that no one else tried to get them.
Addictive! Plain and simple. Once you start eating, just get a big bowl and fill it up. You’ll thank me later. If you like the salty, sweet taste of a good vinegar and oil dressing, then this is the salad for you.
Picnic caviar also incredibly versatile. I sub whatever in-season veggies (or sometimes fruits like blueberries) that I have on hand. You’ll want to blanch green beans and fresh corn before adding.
Farmers Market Ceviche
I make ceviche – a lot! – for two reasons. One: It is incredibly easy. You literally dice vegetables and fruits and add a splash of citrus. Done! Two: You can use whatever ingredients you have on hand. When I look in my fridge and find small portions of four or five different types of produce, then putting them together in this salad not only cleans out my fridge, it helps me avoid wasting food. Love it!
Cold Noodle Bowl with Sriracha Peanut Crumble
This recipe comes courtesy of It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken.
Just because we are not turning up the actual heat in the kitchen doesn’t mean we are not turning up the spicy heat! A base of cold noodles is adorned by fresh veg and a sriracha-infused peanut topping. Yes! Pass me a big bowl, please!
Greek Pasta Salad
If you are avoiding carbs, no worries. I made this with gluten-free pasta. Barilla red lentil pasta is my favorite. Even after cooking, it retains its structure and is available from Amazon.
Vegetarian Brown Rice Bowl
Here’s another “clean out the fridge” recipe. Main dish “bowl recipes” allow you to put bits and pieces of leftovers out on the table and allow each family member to make their bowl to their own liking.
In this case, I started with a base of romaine lettuce and then added brown rice, leftover stir fry, riced cauliflower, sunflower seeds, and red pepper hummus. Drizzle a little homemade salad dressing over the top, and lunch is served!
Rainbow Riced Vegetables
Did you know you can make your own version of cauliflower pearls for a fraction of the price you are paying in the store? I make a big batch of riced vegetables whenever I have a big head of cabbage or cauliflower in the fridge.
There is no written recipe. I literally throw a variety of hard vegetables into the food processor or grate them by hand. Once I have a large bowlful, I can use them in any number of recipes. It’s amazingly yummy and ridiculously easy.
It’s quick and easy when you use your food processor. You can also vary the ingredients based on what you have on hand. I always begin with a healthy amount of cabbage and cauliflower. My favorite add-ins include: onion, broccoli, and carrots.
You can do any number of things with this mixture. Add a tangy homemade dressing and you have slaw. Give it a quick cook over high heat and add soy sauce and spices for a stir fry. Cook it with a creamy white sauce and you have a dynamite baked potato topping.
Quick and Easy No-Oil Cabbage Slaw
If you like the crisp texture of raw cabbage slaw, but not the oily consistency of traditional dressings, then this no-oil cabbage slaw is for you. I created this recipe a couple of years ago specifically because I wanted slaw without that icky oily feeling in my mouth. You get all the flavors, without all the added calories from oils.
Hummus, Avocado, and Tomato Sandwiches
I got hooked on this decadent combination when I found hummus on markdown at Kroger for 49¢ per container. At that unheard of price, I bought fifteen of them, freezing much of it for later use and then creating a video and post called “9 Quick and Easy Ways to Use Hummus.”
No vegan kitchen is complete without a great recipe for chickpea salad. Also known as, tuno salad, and “better than tuna” salad. No matter what you call it, this tasty sandwich filling is easy to make and delicious. Perfect for a picnic or lunch on a hot summer day.
We sometimes forget that soup can be served cold and tastes amazing, especially if it is a creamy vegetable or fruit-based concoction. Yes! Fruit soup is often served as a first course, meant to prepare the palate for the rest of the meal.
Asparagus Ends Soup
Served hot or cold, creamy asparagus ends soup tastes amazing! When serving cold, swirl in a tablespoon or two of plain yogurt. Yum!
Straight from the streets of Seville, it doesn’t get any better than this. Cool, fresh and flavorful! Olé!