As we make our way into the last month of summer, when the sun continues to stifle more than it soothes, keeping hydrated and cool becomes the go-to option. And while these warm months encourage us to find shadier tuck-aways (hammock under a tree, anyone?), they also invite us to step outside the retreat of our shelter and try something new.
Food, with its diversity in texture, flavor, and nutritional value, is a great avenue for exploration. So grab your fedora (or chifon turban a-la Hepburn), invite the gang, and indulge in these cooling foods during the last month of summer.
Fruits with Tajin
One takeaway from warmer temperatures is the sumptuous abundance in mother nature’s bounty. Ripe and tender for the taking, these are the months to nourish yourself with mangoes, papaya, and watermelon.
The perfect pair for the sweetness of fruit is Tajin- a blend of lime, mild chili peppers, and sea salt. So take a walk to the local bodega and savor this sweet and salty treat that hails from Mexico.
Anything with Feta or Ricotta
Since summer is the natural season for fresh goat milk and sheep milk, this is the time to say yes to feta and ricotta cheese. Pair the sweetness of watermelon (which naturally keeps you hydrated) with the tangy richness of feta. Drizzle a little lemon and olive oil, and you’re golden.
Skip the tomatoes and opt for the earthiness of beets atop creamy goat cheese. This root vegetable takes center stage, with it’s ruby red, bulbous exterior and buttery texture. Drizzle with balsamic reduction for a kick of sweetness that rounds out this beauty atop a toasted baguette.
Tenderness and charred edges meet here to bring you a treat from summer heaven. When you add the convenience of finger foods and the nostalgia of sizzling grill marks, there is no denying this summer treat. Remember, skin-on helps the eggplant keep its shape on the grill. So brush a little olive oil and experiment with slice thickness too (the thinner the slice, the crispier the bite).
Arugula & Peach Salad with Balsamic Drizzle
Imagine the hot months of the Georgia heat and you’re likely to picture the juicy and delectable aromas of a summer peach. Paired with the peppery spice of arugula makes for a satisfying blend of sweet and spice. Add balsamic drizzle and a squeeze of lemon for a balanced flavor profile.
Fruity Frozen Pops – a twist on the classic Paleta
Skip the high-fructose corn syrup and make your own pops with fruit juice, fruit puree, and slices of fresh fruit. Add unsweetened coconut milk for a creamy flavor and freeze overnight for a cooling treat the next day.
Honeydew, Mint, & Basil Salad
Again, pairing the slightly peppery flavor of basil with the sweetness of honeydew make for a savory and luscious combination. For a more refreshing take on this sweet dish, garnish with mint ribbons.
Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Basil
Ditch the heaviness of bread and opt for the light and crisp bite of a lettuce wrap. When you add sautéed shrimp (or baked tofu), sliced cucumber, carrot, and basil, each bite is as refreshing as it is filling. Dips are up to you! You can opt for soy-sauce-solo or make a Thai peanut dipping sauce with peanut butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, fresh ginger, and garlic. Who said lettuce wraps have to be boring?
Yogurt, Cucumber, & Dill Salad
Keep cool with this creamy and crunchy salad that’s both good for digestive health and a worthy pairing for protein. Add minced garlic for a pungent kick that blends so well with yogurt and don’t forget to garnish with mint.
Roasted Poblano Peppers
The rich, mellow flavor of poblano peppers make them a favorite in Mexico!
With thick walls, these peppers pack a mild punch and are sure to keep you full as you take on your summer activities. Rub whole poblanos with oil and roast for 30-45 minutes, until all sides are charred. High in iron and vitamin A, pop a poblano (or four)! No one’s going to blame you.
Image Credit: Pixabay