Cold Meals for Hot Weather

July 28, 2012

Jonnell, Registered Dietitian

Preparing healthy meals can be a challenge during these hot summer months.  Most people (myself included) would prefer not to heat up the kitchen, but would still like to enjoy good tasting and nutritious meals.  Grilling can certainly help keep the kitchen cool, but some days nothing beats a refreshing, cold meal.  Salads fill that role well in the summer, especially with the current trend of pairing summer-fresh fruits and vegetables with whole grains such as barley, quinoa, and wheat berries to create salads that feel like a main course.  One way of including these grains into your diet over the summer is to choose 1 or 2 days of week and cook grains; they should be refrigerated as soon as done and used within 3-4 days.  Here are some ideas that I hope will inspire you to continue preparing healthy meals throughout the summer.

Breakfast:
Swiss Oatmeal

Serves 1

  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup skim milk, 1% milk, plain soy milk or plain almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup
  • ½ cup fresh fruit in bite-sized pieces or ¼ cup dried fruit
  • 1 tablespoon chopped nuts
  • Dash of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

Mix together oats, milk and agave in a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.  In the morning add fruit, nuts and cinnamon.

Lunch:
Hummus Wrap

Serves 1

  • 1 whole grain wrap or tortilla
  • ¼ cup hummus
  • 1 cup spinach
  • ½ cup vegetables (carrot, cucumber, tomato, onion, etc…)
  • ¼ cup Tzaziki sauce (see following recipe)

Spread hummus on wrap, arrange spinach and vegetables over hummus, drizzle with Tzaziki sauce and wrap.  If you’d prefer meat, purchase a pre-cooked chicken breast, slice and use about 2 ounces in place of the hummus.

Tzaziki Sauce
Serves 8 – 10

  • ½ grated peeled English cucumber
  • 2 cups plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Squeeze the grated cucumber in a clean dish towel to remove excess moisture.  Mix cucumber and remaining ingredients together in a small bowl, place in refrigerator and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.

This refreshing sauce can also be used as a vegetable dip.

Olive Open Face Sandwich
Serves 1

  • 2 tablespoons Jimtown Spicy Olive Spread
  • 1 thin slice Harmons Artisan Multigrain bread
  • 1 slice Boar’s Head Creamy Havarti cheese

This sandwich is great served with seasonal fresh fruit such as the delicious local cantaloupe available now.

Dinner:
Chef Evan’s Chilled Cucumber Tomato Soup
Serves 4

  • 2 English (hothouse) cucumbers, sliced
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • ½ cup no-sodium added chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fennel, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon mint, chopped
  • 4 ounces chevre

In a large container add all ingredients and refrigerate overnight.  The next day, puree all of the ingredients in a blender and strain to desired consistency (you can use a mesh sieve or cheesecloth in a colander for this step).  Season with salt and pepper and crumble 1 ounce of chevre onto each serving.

This delicious low-calorie soup (about 160 calories per serving) is a great way to help meet some of your vegetable needs for the day.  I’d recommend this as a side dish to be served along with a simple grain and bean salad.

Tuscan Tuna Salad
Serves 4

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can no-salt-added white beans (Cannellini or Great Northern), rinsed and drained
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley, preferably Italian flat-leaf
  • 1 12-ounce can (or two 6-ounce cans) chunk light tuna in water, drained and flaked

Whisk together oil, lemon juice, and garlic in a bowl. Add beans, tomatoes and parsley and toss together. Gently stir in tuna.