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The last thing I want to do on a sweltering summer night is preheat the oven. As much as I love to cook, once the temperature starts to climb, standing over a hot stove makes concocting a meal seem like a real chore. This time of year, I want to enjoy practically effortless healthful fare without heating up my kitchen.

Fortunately, some of the summer’s best produce is on display at local farmers’ markets in July and August. Those plump tomatoes and juicy peaches are at their peak this time of year, so I don’t need to fuss with them too much for their flavors to shine.

These are the simple recipes I rely on in the summertime. Try them out, and you too can enjoy the best of this bountiful season without turning on your stove or oven. These meals are fast, fresh, and flavorful, and they won’t leave you stuck with a pile of pots and pans at the end — so you can get back outside to enjoy more of these endless summer nights.

The New Caprese Salad

Makes two servings
Prep time: 10 minutes

A plate of a caprese salad with sliced peaches.

Tomatoes and peaches both sweeten and soften as they ripen. To make your perfect pick, squeeze the fruit gently — it should have just a little give to it.

Vinaigrette

  • 3 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Salad

  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 medium peaches, sliced
  • 10–15 basil leaves
  • 6 oz. burrata cheese, cut into pieces

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine vinaigrette ingredients and whisk thoroughly until blended.
  2. Place sliced tomatoes on a large plate and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Add peaches and basil leaves and gently toss to coat.
  3. Top with burrata.
  4. Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad and serve.

White Bean and Tuna Salad

Makes four servings
Prep time: 10 minutes

A bowl of white bean and tuna salad.

A good starting formula for homemade salad dressing is one part acid to three parts fat. It’s a flexible ratio, so taste and adjust the flavor as needed.

Dressing

  • 3 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbs. mayonnaise
  • 2 tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbs. minced fresh dill
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Salad

  • 6 cups tightly packed arugula
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 15-oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 5-oz. can sustainably caught tuna, drained and flaked
  • 8 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients and whisk thoroughly until blended.
  2. Put the arugula, red onion, white beans, tuna, and cherry tomatoes in a large bowl and toss gently to combine.
  3. Drizzle about half the dressing over the salad and toss again to coat. Divide into bowls and top with more dressing to taste.

Chilled Cucumber-Cantaloupe Blender Soup

Makes two servings
Prep time: 10 minutes

Three bowls of cucumber and cantaloupe blender soup.

The colder your soup is, the less salty it will taste. Adjust seasoning again just before serving.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped cantaloupe
  • 1 cup chopped English cucumber
  • 2 tbs. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. lime zest
  • 1 tsp. chili paste
  • 1/4 cup plain, full-fat Greek yogurt or coconut cream
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tbs. fresh mint, chopped

Directions

  1. Place cantaloupe, cucumber, lime juice, lime zest, and chili paste in a blender, and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl; discard pulp.
  3. Add Greek yogurt or coconut cream and salt, then whisk to combine. Taste — you may want to add another squeeze of lime juice or a pinch of sea salt.
  4. Chill soup for two to three hours. Garnish with fresh mint and serve cold.

Curried Chickpea Salad

Makes two servings
Prep time: 10 minutes

A plate of curried chickpea salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 tsp. red or yellow curry paste
  • 1/4 cup plain, full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbs. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Seed crackers or Bibb lettuce for serving

Directions

  1. Place the drained chickpeas in a large bowl, and use a fork to mash about half of them for texture. Add cucumber, cilantro, and carrots, and stir to combine.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together curry paste, Greek yogurt, lime juice, sea salt, and pepper. Add yogurt mixture to the veggie mixture and mix well.
  3. Serve with seed crackers for scooping or wrapped in Bibb lettuce leaves.

Rainbow Poke Bowls

Makes two servings
Prep time: 10 minutes, plus 30 minutes marinating time

Two poke bowls that include salmon, edamame, zucchini, avocado and pickled carrots, radishes, and ginger.

If you have a local fish market or food co-op, you can find high-quality salmon there. Ask which one your fishmonger would be comfortable eating raw.

Marinade

  •  1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. chili paste
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds

Bowls

  • 1/2 lb. high-quality raw sockeye salmon, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 medium zucchini, ribboned
  • 1/2 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  • 1 medium avocado, sliced
  • Pickled vegetables, such as carrots, radishes, and ginger

Directions

  1. In a small airtight container, whisk marinade ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  2. Add cubed salmon and stir to coat.
  3. Seal and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Divide marinated fish between two bowls with zucchini ribbons, edamame, avocado slices, and pickled vegetables of your choice.

WEB EXTRA!

Quick Pickles

The main difference between quick pickling and regular pickling is that quick pickles aren’t canned in a hot-water bath, which means they must be kept in the refrigerator and eaten within two months.

A jar of pickled vegetables and a container of pickled ginger on a table.

Quick-Pickled Ginger

Makes about 1 1/2 cups
Prep time: five minutes, plus 30 minutes to brine and a week or more pickling time

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tbs. sugar
  • 2 tbs. plus 1 tsp. kosher salt

Directions

  1. Wash a 1-pint wide-mouth canning jar and lid in hot soapy water and let air dry.
  2. Place sliced ginger in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. kosher salt and toss to coat. Let sit 30 minutes to soften.
  3. Pack ginger into the canning jar. In a spare jar or other airtight container, combine water, vinegar, sugar, and remaining 2 tbs. salt. Seal and shake vigorously until the salt and sugar dissolve. Pour brine mixture over the ginger to cover completely.
  4. Tap jar on the counter to release any air bubbles. Top off with more brine if necessary, then secure the lid and place in the refrigerator. Leave the jar in the fridge for at least a week before tasting. Pickled ginger will mellow in taste as it ages and will last up to two months in the refrigerator.

Quick-Pickled Veggies

Makes about 1 1/2 cups
Prep time: five minutes, plus 48 hours or more pickling time

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced carrots or radishes, whole green beans, asparagus stalks, cauliflower florets, or other vegetable of choice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tbs. sugar
  • 2 tbs. kosher salt
  • Optional: 1 tsp. peppercorns, 2 small chili peppers, 2 smashed garlic cloves, 2 smashed lemongrass stalks, or other herbs and spices of choice

Directions

  1. Wash a 1-pint wide-mouth canning jar and lid in hot soapy water and let dry.
  2. Pack sliced vegetables into the jar with any additional herbs or spices. In a spare jar or other airtight container, combine water, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Seal and shake vigorously until the salt and sugar dissolve. Pour brine mixture over the vegetables to cover completely.
  3. Tap jar on the counter to release any air bubbles. Top with more brine if necessary, then secure the lid and place in the refrigerator. Leave the jar in the fridge for at least 48 hours before tasting. The pickles will become more flavorful as they age. Quick pickles will last up to one month in the refrigerator.

This article originally appeared in Experience LifeLife Time’s whole-life health and fitness magazine.

Photos by: Andrea D’Agosto; Prop Styling: Alicia Buszczak; Food Stylist: Paul Jackman
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