Hi Friends! Today, I'm sharing my favorite easy and delicious summer recipes to cool you off in this triple-digit heat, well, if you're anywhere like SoCal! These are my go to recipes that I prepare all the time in the summer. And, trust me when I say easy, I mean reallllly easy, which is a big plus. And, it doesn't require much of stove usage. I mean who wants to stand over the stove or turn the oven on in this heat? Definitely, not me. So, with that said, let's get started with these yummy and healthy recipes.
First off, this refreshing watermelon cheese pizza.
Watermelon Cheese Pizza
Yield: 2 servings
- Watermelon slice, cut 1-inch thick
- 1/4 cup shredded asiago cheese (used in this recipe) or Feta cheese if you prefer
- 4 to 5 Kalamata olives, sliced
- Basil for garnish
- Slice the widest part of a round watermelon in half. Lay the flat side down on a cutting board and cut a 1-inch thick slice. Cut into 4 wedges.
- Place them on a round dish like a pizza and top with cheese, olives and basil leaves for garnish.
You could always try the salad version if you preferred. Just simply cut the watermelon slice into 1 inch cubes and toss the ingredients together. Voila! Same yummy taste with a different appearance.
Next, we have the cucumber and yogurt salad, also known as Jajik in Armenian or Tzatziki in Greek. One of my favorites growing up. It brings back so many memories of my childhood years every time I make this. And, until today this salad is a must a few times a week if not daily.
Cucumber and Yogurt Salad
Yield: about 4 servings
- 2 cups yogurt (Trader Joe's Organic European Style Plain Whole Milk Yogurt)
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (more if needed)
- 1 English cucumber, washed and peeled
- 1 tablespoon dried mint
- Cut the cucumber in quarters, lengthwise. Slice each section into thin pieces.
- In a bowl, add the yogurt. If you're using Greek yogurt (thicker consistency) add about 1/2 a cup of cold water to bring the yogurt to smooth and creamy texture.
- Add cucumbers, garlic, salt, and mint to yogurt and stir.
- Cover and refrigerate.
- Serve cold and enjoy.
Another favorite summer recipe that is a staple appetizer or side dish in my household is a caprese salad with a twist. There are so many versions of caprese recipes, but my absolute favorite is the following with Israeli couscous. When I first discovered Israeli couscous at Trader Joe's, I seriously could not stop experimenting with this versatile ingredient. I would add it to all and any salad or soup dish I made. They're like tiny pearl pastas that's the perfect addition to any dish you want to make more filling. And, for the last few years, this dish has been a favorite of mine.
Israeli Couscous Caprese Salad
Yield: 4-6 servings
- 1 box Trader Joe's Israeli Couscous
- 1 cup pearl tomatoes (Feel free to use chopped tomatoes if you prefer)
- 1 cup cubed mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves (I prefer whole leaves, but feel free to chop them)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
- Pinch of sugar, optional and to taste
- Cook Israeli couscous according to package and place cooked couscous in a large bowl.
- Add all remaining ingredients and toss well to combine.
- Taste and see if salad needs more vinegar, salt, etc. and season or tweak accordingly.
- Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.
You can always add variations or substitute ingredients and make it different each time like I do. Sometimes, depending on my cravings, I'll add sliced Kalamata olives or chopped cucumbers. Or, toasted pine nuts as a topping when you want that nutty crunch in there. Or, even Italian dressing or balsamic vinaigrette in replace of red wine vinegar. The options are endless.
I hope you all enjoyed my favorite summer recipes. I would love to hear what you think if you happen to recreate it for your family.