In addition to these recipes being fast, easy and cheap, they are also healthy. Make them ahead of time and they will keep cool and ready in the fridge. I focused on making these recipes affordable and manageable for the everyday busy cook.
I hope you find them helpful on those hot summer nights!
1. Waldorf Wrap– Who said turkey and cranberry are just to be enjoyed at Thanksgiving? It may be summer, but I still love these sweet and savory flavors.
2. Black Bean Wrap– Make this beautifully vegetarian recipe and get fiber-rich black beans into your diet. They have been proven to lower bad cholesterol. Add a side of salsa and baked chips to make it a satisfying meal.
3. Rainbow Wrap– Colorful food is not just for kids. Have fun with your food and make a rainbow with all the healthy veggies you are about to eat. Remember to have fun along the way.
4. Spring Rolls with Ponzu Sauce – Tired of eating salads? Wrap your veggies in thin rice paper wrappers. Crunchy carrots and cucumbers are refreshing and tasty dipped in a simple Ponzu sauce.
5. Vietnamese Fresh Roll – This vegan wrap is filled with tofu, jicama, carrots and cucumber. Topped with mint and Thai basil, it is restaurant-style without all the fuss (and the bill).
6. Lettuce Cups with Tuna Pesto Salad – The star of this recipe are some beautiful butter lettuce leaves. Pesto gets made with arugula and basil that you can mix with garbanzo beans and tuna and store in the fridge. When you’re ready, use the lettuce leaves like a taco and you’re ready to go.
7. Keto-Friendly Vietnamese Banh Mi Lettuce Cups – Using ground turkey is a great low-cost, lean protein to add to your shopping list. My favorite thing about it is that it is fast to cook. After you chop up all your veggies, this is a quick recipe to put together.
8. Tabuli – A family tradition and one of my favorites. Use bulgar wheat or cooked quinoa to make this lemon-y salad. It is always a refreshing salad on a hot day and sometimes I like to add a little more lemon juice on top when I take it out of the fridge.
9. Moroccan Carrot Salad – A few spices make these carrots shine a little more than they usually would. That doesn’t mean it’s not easy to make! Top with cilantro and mint and this is the perfect salad to bring to your next BBQ.
10. Soba Noodle Bento Lunch – There is something about soba noodles that are addicting. The texture and bite to them make them hold up better than a traditional pasta salad. Add seaweed, a hard-boiled egg or just some mixed veggies to make it a hearty meal.
11. Succotash – This mix of corn, beans, and fresh veggies has been enjoyed since Native Americans put it together. Celebrating the harvest, it’s healthy, fiber-rich, and uses fresh summer corn for a perfect summer dish.
12. Insalata Caprese – Italians are the best at keeping it simple. Fresh mozzarella may cost a little more, but its worth it. Mozzarella, tomato, and basil make up this salad, which is also celebrated by Italians as their flag colors. Add a simple pasta salad for a perfect dinner. And maybe a glass of white wine…
13. Greek Salad – Tomatoes and cucumbers are at their peak in summer. Go to your local farmer’s market to buy them and make an incredibly tasty salad. Lemon, feta, and fragrant oregano take you straight to the Greek Islands this summer.
14. Whole Wheat Pasta with Spinach-Basil Pesto – The ultimate green and guilt-free pasta. It’s whole wheat and the veggies are all in the sauce. I like to add a few cherry tomatoes for bursts of color. This one keeps really well in the fridge and pairs with grilled chicken or fish well.
15. Tossed Spinach Salad– This is just a simple salad with a light-mustard dressing. Sometimes its too hot in the summer to eat a heavy meal and this salad may be just what you want to keep it light.
16. Chocolate-Dipped Apricots – Just because it’s hot doesn’t mean there’s no room for dessert. Make these apricots a few hours in advance and put them in the fridge for after dinner. They have just enough chocolate and fruit balance to make it a light dessert.
17. Microwave-Baked Apple – I know this post is about low-cooking but this one takes just a couple minutes in the microwave. The result is so delicious and would be even better with ice cream.
18. Date-Almond Truffles – You may have to spend a little time rolling these, but they are totally raw and don’t require any cooking. With just a little honey, there is no added sugar and the sticky dates make these the perfect texture and sweetness. They keep a couple of weeks in the fridge, so maybe they can last you the summer. (ya right!)