Are you looking for ways to eat well without heating up the kitchen? Salads are great, but if you’re pretty active you need something more substantial than lettuce, tomatoes and cukes to keep your energy up. In fact, we all need some protein and fat in the mix of every meal.
I’d like to give you three of my go-to recipes for easy summer cooking and a little explanation of why I’ve chosen them for you. The first two, once prepared, can be easily transported in containers if you plan to eat away from home. Leftovers are delicious.
Quinoa is an ancient Peruvian whole grain that cooks up in just a few minutes. Its fluffy texture mixes well with vegetables and even fruits, so the variations in the way you can use it are endless. It is a complex carbohydrate, which means it gives you lasting energy and it is a complete protein. Here’s my favorite tabouli recipe:
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained 2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt and more to taste 2 lemons, juiced
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves, chopped 2 chopped mint leaves
large ripe tomato, chopped 1 medium cucumber, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, minced Freshly ground black pepper
Bring the quinoa, water and salt to a boil in a heavy saucepan.
Cover and turn to lowest heat. Cook undisturbed for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let quinoa steam for 5 more minutes.
Fluff it with a fork. Transfer the hot quinoa into the bowl.
In a bowl combine the rest of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Gently mix the quinoa into the vegetables. Chill for 30 minutes.
Be sure to use fresh lemons. The fresh lemon is what makes this dish so flavorful.
Spiced Cold-Tossed Broccoli
Here’s a different way of preparing broccoli, adding a little spice to make life nice. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos is a soy-based vegetable protein that tastes much like soy sauce but with a little less sodium.
1 Bunch of Broccoli (about 1 pound) ¼ cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or tamari
1 t.. maple syrup 2 T rice vinegar
2 T. unrefined Sesame oil 1 T. Minced fresh ginger
1 T. Minced garlic ¾ t. chile pepper flakes
Peel tough skin from the broccoli stalks. Cut off florets and cut into small floret pieces. Cut stalks on the diagonal into 1 inch pieces. Heat large pot of water until boiling. Add broccoli and boil for about 3 minutes, or until tender. Drain in colander, and refresh under cold running water to keep bright green color. Drain and place in bowl.
Combine Braggs, syrup, and rice vinegar in a small bowl and stir to dissolve sugar.
Heat a wok until hot, add sesame oil. Add ginger, garlic and chile pepper flakes. Stir fry for about 10 seconds.
Add sauce mixture, stir fry(constant stirring) for 30 seconds.
Pour over broccoli and toss to coat.
Before serving, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or chill in refrigerator.
This banana kale smoothie hits all of the nutritional expectations you might have for a basic green smoothie. Blend until smooth for a refreshiing and fast breakfast, You can substitute spinach or parsley fo rthe kale and mix in whatever fruits you like.
⅓ cup water 1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups baby kale (chopped) ½ banana
1-2 scoops hemp protein powder ½ cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
What are your favorite meal prep techniques in the summer? Do you cook out on the grill? Eat raw? Harvest your food right from your garden? Join in the conversation and share your summer eating stories.
You can find more recipes here