When it’s hot — and we mean 100-plus-degrees hot — the last thing you want to do during the summer months is eat a heavy meal or get the meat sweats. And as for turning on the oven? Forget about it. Instead, we turn to crisp, fruity salads, light garden pastas with fresh veggies, seafood and citrus-based dishes. And who has the best, summer-appropriate recipes? Food Network star and cookbook author Ina Garten, of course.
Summer garden pasta
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Easiest, freshest summer dinner ever. For my Summer Garden Pasta, I marinate cherry tomatoes, basil and garlic in olive oil for four hours, then boil a pound of angel hair pasta (it cooks in only THREE minutes!), and add it to the tomatoes with lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Dinner is ready! (Recipe is available on barefootcontessa.com.) #BCAtHome
Garten shared this delightful video on Instagram two years ago, and we’re still all about this light, refreshing and incredibly simple garden pasta salad. It calls for just eight ingredients: angel hair pasta, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese.
This isn’t your grandma’s summer pasta salad. For starters, swap the pasta for shrimp, and mix with vinegar, Dijon mustard, lemon, mayo, dill leaves, red onion, celery and more.
Bay scallop ceviche
Even if you’re slightly intimidated by scallops, this bay scallop ceviche recipe is definitely approachable — and easy to prepare. Because no cooking or grilling is involved, it’s very important to buy fresh scallops. Toss the scallops in lime juice and salt, and let it sit at room temperature for one hour. Then, mix with the rest of the ingredients, and you’re ready to eat.
Corn & avocado salad
You can never have too many salads over the summer, and this one is both easy to make and great to bring to a potluck as a side dish. Be warned, though: The minced jalapeño peppers give this corn and avocado salad a tiny kick.
Broccoli with bow ties & peas
Pick up fresh broccoli from the farmer’s market this weekend and pair it with bow-tie pasta and peas. The secret to this recipe? Cook the pasta in the same water you used to cook the broccoli.
Greek mezze platter
Entertaining friends? Prepare this Greek mezze platter, which includes herbed feta, red peppers, grapes leaves, hummus, pine nuts, pita chips and more. Though it really only takes about 15 minutes to prepare, you’ll need just over four hours to marinate the feta with thyme, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, fresh thyme, green olives and olive oil.
Lemon chicken breasts
Who could possibly resist juicy chicken breasts simmering in white wine, lemon juice, oregano and thyme? And Gartner’s recipe is one that anyone can make — really.
Arugula with prosciutto & burrata
Strips of prosciutto and chunks of burrata sitting atop a bed of arugula moistened with a mixture of vinegar, mustard, egg yolk and garlic? We’ll eat all four servings in one sitting, thanks.
Grilled salmon sandwiches
Skip the chicken salad sandwich this summer and opt for grilled salmon sandwiches instead. Garten’s recipe calls for fresh salmon fillets slathered with a sauce made with mayo, sour cream, white wine vinegar, basil leaves, fresh dill, capers and chopped scallions.
Caesar club sandwich
Why eat a Caesar salad in a bowl when you can eat it between two slices of bread? What we love about Garten’s recipe is the addition of pancetta.
Niman Ranch burgers
On the weekends when you do fire up the grill, go out of your way to pick up Niman Ranch beef — or other grass-fed premium beef — and grill a handful of these burgers. Served on English muffins, these aren’t your average cheeseburgers.