The only thing I like better than referring to summer in the past tense is referring to autumn in the present tense. Not built for hot weather, me.
What I do love about summer, though, is the food. Fresh cucumbers, salads with sun-ripened tomatoes, grilled eggplant, stuffed zucchini, buckets of garden veggies to pass out to neighbors and co-workers... it really doesn't get any better, in my book.
As someone who focuses a lot on seasonal eating, much of my diet the last several months has been salads and similar fresh-veg cold dishes. Therefore rather than presume to reinvent the wheel, I haven't been doing much posting. If I'm honest with you, I'll most likely never be one of those people who makes new dishes every week just to have something to post. Instead, you get my faves whenever I make them. Isn't that nice?
Anyway, now that summer's unofficially over, I thought I'd share with you my favorite hot-weather foods. You'll notice that all of them follow the same basic theme: quinoa or chickpeas, fruit or veg, possibly dressing. There's a few departures, but even as much as I tried to categorize them some fall into multiple categories.
Enough yammer, let's get down to it! I also plan to post a peaches & cream quinoa oatmeal in the next week, too, just as soon as I finish recovering from diverticulitis*.
(*I really cannot recommend any part of it, just FYI.)
I wanted to add in some of the stunning beautiful pictures that the recipe authors have on their pages, but almost none of them have their pictures watermarked and I didn't want to just steal their gorgeous work. But please, please let me encourage you to click through the links if only to enjoy the bright, cheery colors!
- Moroccan orange & olive salad
- I love the spicy, unexpected contrast of sweet oranges with sour olives. So exciting!
- Cucumber & strawberry poppyseed salad
- Who doesn't need more fruit in their salads?
- Balsamic watermelon chicken salad
- One of the few chicken salads I like. I normally feel like the whole point of salad is not to have to eat chicken, and indeed this is just as good without it.
- Raw pad thai salad
- Do yourself a favor and visit this recipe just to drink in the colors! Love this one.
- Southwestern chopped salad with cilantro-lime dressing
- Yummmm, corn on salad. Never get sick of it.
- Tomato and corn tabbouleh salad with kale
- See? Corn. Perfection.
- Watermelon salad with feta and almonds
- This is also really good with honeyed pecans or walnuts. Leave the tomatoes out if that part's weird for you.
- Roasted eggplant with chickpeas and yogurt tahini sauce
- A meal in itself. Love it.
- Miso-roasted eggplant
- Shiso is hard to find outside of specialty stores, so you may find that you just make the eggplant and sub in your favorite toppings. Think of it as a kind of squishy pizza.
- Roasted sweet potato salad with cranberry-chipotle dressing
- I could eat this as easily at Thanksgiving as I do in the summer. Yum.
- Oven-baked zucchini "chips"
- Oven fries from veggies are a classic.
- Thug Kitchen's chickpea tabbouleh
- Quick note: Thug Kitchen is my hero, but if strong language offends you then you'll want to give this one a skip. On the other hand if you, like myself, want all your recipes to sound like they're written by Quentin Tarantino, then this is well worth a click if only for the laughs.
- Mediterranean barley with chickpeas and arugula
- I seriously could eat chickpeas at every meal.
- Texas "caviar"
- Do everyone you know a favor and bring this to the next potluck. So, so addictive, and so healthy. Impossible to go wrong! I use it as dip or just eat it straight with a spoon.
- Edamame salad
- This is another super colorful salad: edamame, cranberries, carrots, peppers, corn (naturally), red onions, and sesame dressing. Flawless.
- Grilled eggplant and chickpea salad
- See what I mean? Chickpeas every day.
- Crunchy cashew Thai quinoa salad with ginger-peanut dressing
- Stop whatever you're doing and try this. Sooooo good.
- Greek pita chip nachos with chickpeas and quinoa (shown)
- My favorite. I'm probably making them tonight.
- Fruity couscous salad
- True, the recipe calls for couscous, but I usually use quinoa and adjust the liquid according to the box directions.
- Pumpkin quinoa salad
- Going to eat this every day all fall. True story.
- One pan Mexican quinoa
- I often make variants of this idea using biryani or tandoori-type spices. Maybe I'll post it soon!
- Quinoa, avocado, and spinach salad
- They have a dressing in the recipe, but you can sub your own if you prefer.
- Quinoa tabbouleh with chickpeas
- Are you noticing a trend here? What can I say, I like what I like. (What I like is chickpeas.)
- "The Best Ever" summer quinoa salad
- They might not even be exaggerating.
- Superfood salad
- Quinoa, corn, red onion, orange, avocado, black beans, and pomegranate. Life-changing.