Summertime means long, hot days and lighter meals, making use of all the delicious fresh produce that the season brings. Convenient meals don’t need to be unhealthy either – fresh summer salads and BBQ grills lend themselves to yummy al fresco eating, without worrying about your waistline.
Here are a few quick and easy recipe ideas to keep your family cool, happy and relaxed this summer!
1. Two-step Middle Eastern Rice Salad (Vegan)
(Photo by Jim Bathi via Health.com)
This super easy recipe contains all the essentials you need for a delicious summer salad. Swap white rice for brown rice for more nutritional value and munch on chickpeas for a big kick in protein and iron. Did you know that one cup of chickpeas meets more than 25% of a woman’s daily iron needs and more than 50% of a man’s needs? Make this salad in bulk amounts and pack for work or school lunches.
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ onion, thinly sliced
- 1 (450g) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup chopped pitted dates
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Heat oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook for 5 minutes or until onion begins to brown. Remove from heat and stir in chickpeas, cumin, and salt. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
- Combine cooked rice, onion-chickpea mixture, dates, mint, and parsley in a large bowl. Toss well until thoroughly combined. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Original recipe idea from Health.com
2. Spicy Fish and Mango Salsa
(Photo via Women’s Health & Fitness)
Having people over for a relaxing outdoor dinner party? This simple yet sophisticated meal will be sure to satisfy your guests. Fish is full of protein, vitamin D and most importantly, essential omega-3’s. Mangos are also one of the most delicious tropical fruits available in Queensland at this time of year, boasting essential A,B and C vitamins.
- Olive oil
- 2 fish fillets (about 200g)
- 1 mango
- 1 Lebanese cucumber, sliced
- ½ green or red capsicum char-grilled and cut into thin strips
- 2 tbsp fresh lime or lemon juice
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- Peel mango and slice into thin strips. Place into a bowl with sliced capsicum and cucumber.
- In a small bowl, mix together lemon juice, ginger, soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce. Set aside while cooking fish.
- Preheat a chargrill or barbecue. Rub fish fillets with olive oil and cook over high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked.
- Place some salad on each plate and top with cooked fish fillet.
- Drizzle dressing over fish and serve.
Original recipe idea from Women’s Health & Fitness.
3. Delicious Mexican Bowl (Vegetarian)
(Photo by Lizzie Fuhr, FitSugar via Popsugar)
Raise your hand if you like Mexican food! Making summer lunches just got a whole lot easier with this no-bake simple layered dish. The best part? It’s super healthy and full of energy-boosting, heart-nourishing ingredients. For example, did you know that avocados contain more than 20 vitamins and minerals while tomatoes offer a variety of health-benefiting phytonutrients?
- 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 2 avocados, mashed well
- 1 cup low-fat Greek yoghurt
- ⅔ cup black beans
- ½ cup diced tomatoes
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Sliced black olives and spring onions to garnish
- Spread chopped lettuce at the bottom of a large bowl.
- Add the avocado layer on top, and smooth out with a spoon.
- Spoon Greek yogurt layer, and smooth if necessary.
- Layer black beans, then diced tomatoes on top.
- Sprinkle cheese, and add olives and spring onion.
Original recipe idea from Popsugar.
4. Simple Chia Seed Pudding (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
(Photo by Angela Liddon via Oh She Glows)
Perfect for breakfast or an after-dinner treat, this sweet pudding will be sure to turn your bad day into a good one. Plus it’s vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free and refined sugar-free – so you don’t even need to feel guilty while indulging! You can garnish your pudding with whatever takes your fancy. Some toppings that we like are blueberries, raspberries, goji berries, coconut flakes, banana, watermelon, pineapple and cacao.
For the chia pudding:
- 3 cups unsweetened almond milk
- ½ cup chia seeds
- 1-3 tsp pure maple syrup, to taste
- Fresh fruit
- Coconut flakes
- Pure maple syrup
- Nuts and seeds
- Banana Soft Serve
- Whisk the almond milk, chia seeds, and sweetener together in a large bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes and then whisk again (this just helps prevent clumping).
- Cover and chill in the fridge for 2.5 – 3 hours. It helps to stir the mixture every so often during this time, but don’t worry if you can’t!
- Stir well before serving. Portion into bowls and add your desired toppings. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Original recipe by Oh She Glows.