Summertime is meant for spending time outdoors and spending as little time in the kitchen making hot food. Quick and easy summer recipes are my preferred method, especially with CONvergence in mind, picnics, and potlucks. I’ve compiled a few recipes from various sources that are amazingly delicious and pretty easy to make:
- Sandwiches of Sweet Tomato-Currant Chutney and Smoked Turkey Breast
- Crunchy Potato Salad
- Cucumber Cups with Picnic Tofu Salad
- Curried Carrot Dip
- Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
Sandwiches of Sweet Tomato-Currant Chutney and Smoked Turkey Breast
The chutney is something I make regularly, as it is super easy and it makes my house smell delightful. I found this recipe in Eating for IBS: 175 Delicious, Nutritious, Low-Fat, Low-Residue Recipes to Stabilize the Touchiest Tummy by Heather van Vorous. This has recipes for vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike and provides nutrient analyses for each recipe. This particular one I’ve adapted slightly from the recipe for my own tastes. The recipe calls for:
For the chutney:
- One 14-ounce can whole tomatoes with juice
- ½ large onion, chopped
- Zest and juice of one lemon
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons raisins, chopped
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
- ⅛ ground cinnamon
For the sandwich:
- 1 pound organic shaved smoked turkey breast
- Small bunch fresh basil leaves, washed, stems removed
- Two 12-inch, narrow French bread baguettes, halved horizontally, toasted
Combine all the chutney ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low for 40 minutes. It’s best when most of the liquid has evaporated. When it is room temperature, assemble your sandwich!
Here is where some of my changes come in. I used diced tomatoes instead of whole, and I never use basil leaves or baguettes. I use my favorite gluten-free, egg-free, and dairy-free bread (that’s also raisin cinnamon), along with some dairy- and soy-free cheese. I also don’t chop the raisins. Sometimes I add more cayenne or less, depending on who I might be sharing with. Adding the cheese (or your sliced meat of choice) prior to adding the chutney is recommended to hold in some of the juices so that the bread doesn’t become too soggy. It is absolutely delicious with some avocado on top, but I’d also recommend adding cilantro when sandwich assembling and toasting the bread of your choice. If you have any leftovers, it can stay in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three months, according to the cookbook. I tend to eat it too quickly to test this. Everyone I’ve served this to raves about it.
Crunchy Potato Salad
I made this for the first time for my birthday and it was a huge hit. Many of the ingredients were purchased at the Northeast Farmer’s Market. This is from The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and takes about 20 minutes to make. I love that it’s listed under the Fourth of July recipes. Here’s what it takes:
- 2 pounds baby red potatoes, cleaned
- ½ cup vegan mayonnaise, purchased or homemade
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons agave
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup thinly sliced, peeled carrots
- 3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
- 1 cup thinly sliced sugar snap peas
- Freshly ground black pepper
Once you’ve scrubbed the potatoes (best fresh from the market), place them in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil with high heat, reduce heat, and cover to help keep the heat inside. Simmer until they are easily pierced with a fork. Drain and let cool. While the potatoes are cooking and cooling, place the mayo, mustard, white wine vinegar, agave, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Combine well. Once the potatoes are cool, add them to the mixing bowl and coat the potatoes with the dressing. Then fold in the carrots, snow peas, and celery as well pepper to taste.
It says to chill for two hours first, but I found it tasted fine without chilling. I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was to have Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise on hand for the mayonnaise. This is a vegan mayo made from aquafaba (the cooking liquid of beans like chickpeas) and goes great in sandwiches and also in this recipe. (Sir Kensington’s also makes a chipotle vegan mayo for those of you who like things spicier.) This vegan mayo is good for those who are allergic or sensitive, like me, to soy. If you prefer to make your own, I highly recommend this recipe. Also, I used a honey purchased from a local guy who sells at the Market listed above.
The first time I made it, I felt like, while tasty, it was a little too soupy with the dressing. A few days later, I only had approximately ⅓ cup of the mayo. Everything else was kept about the same, but it was much less soupy and still delicious. I think you could easily adapt amount of the the celery, carrots, and sugar snap peas to suit your tastes.
Cucumber Cups with Tofu Picnic Salad
Here’s another one from Moskowitz’s cookbook. While it’s listed under the Easter foods, I think it’s a fine summer dish. I think it’s listed as such as an alternative to deviled eggs. The Picnic Tofu Salad looks like the whipped yellow centers that are so delicious in deviled eggs. The 11 ingredients are:
- Two English cucumbers, at least 12 inches long
- One 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu
- ¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- ¼ cup vegan mayo, purchased or homemade
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup chopped fresh dill, plus extra for garnish
- ¼ cup finely chopped dill pickles
- 1 small carrot, peeled
The instructions say to cut the cucumbers into two-inch sections. We did the first time around and decided they were too difficult to eat (neatly) this way. I strongly suggest one-inch sections instead; they’ll be much easier to bite into them. Use a spoon to scoop out one end of each section with about a quarter-inch-thick rim for the edges and a half-inch-thick base.
In a mixing bowl, mash the drained tofu with your hands or a masher. In a small bowl, combine the turmeric and hot water to get that orangey color. Add it, along with the mayo (Fabanaise highly recommended!), lemon juice, salt, and black pepper to taste. Grate the carrot in and combine. Adjust taste as needed. Then, scoop this mix and place into the cucumber cups with a dash of dill on top.
I don’t think it’s super important to use exactly English cucumbers—use what’s easiest for you (since it’s summer, market cucumbers are definitely a win here). If you don’t have lemon juice, white wine vinegar is an okay substitute. The pickles I bought from a vendor at the Midtown Farmer’s Market—store bought pickles can’t even compare to his. We added a little extra pickle “juice” here for flavor. If you really want to, a little paprika sprinkled on top would not go remiss.
My personal touch with this: The scooped out cucumber pits can be divided evenly into tall cups. Add water and serve as a drink to your guests. No waste!
Curried Carrot Dip
Occasionally, I participate in recipe swaps with friends who are typically vegan or vegetarian. This is the favorite one I’ve received as a participant. It’s incredibly versatile and everyone always loves it.
- 1 pound carrots, peeled
- ¼ cup roasted sunflower seeds
- 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Chop the carrots, add to a pot and cover with water. Boil the carrots until soft. While they are boiling, add the seeds into a food processor. Blend until they are crumbs. Then, add the remaining ingredients (including the cooled carrots) and blend until smooth and uniform. Transfer to a bowl or container. Enjoy!
I eat it with chips, with bananas, with cucumbers, on toast, and with celery.
Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
This is one that can be great for potlucks, picnics, CON attenders, or if you want it as a side to your breakfast eggs or your steak dinner. Personally, I could eat it just by itself. I found this recipe from a cookbook I picked up at Magers & Quinn ages ago, Recipes from the Root Cellar by Andrea Chesman. The focus of the book is obviously to incorporate plenty of vegetables, especially winter ones. However, many of the recipes are perfect year-round. This six-ingredient recipe includes:
- 2 pounds thin-skinned potatoes, cut into bit-size chunks
- 2 shallots, minced
- 2 teaspoons dried rosemary or thyme
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
The oven should be preheated to 400 degrees. Use a baking sheet and place a parchment sheet on top of it. In a large mixing bowl, combine the potatoes, shallots, herbs, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Toss gently. Once the potatoes are thoroughly coated, transferred to the pan and roast in the oven for 45-60 minutes. Turn occasionally. Serve hot (though cool is still tasty).
One of the reasons I love this recipe is that the potatoes and shallots are from the farmer’s market, and the rosemary is something I can easily get from my garden right outside of my kitchen. Fresh rosemary is delicious here, and the shallots provide a really nice flavor that is different from the garlic and onion flavors I so often see in roasted potatoes.
Obviously, these are all good as standalones, as sides, or combined like in my pictures for a fresh lunch.