During the Summer months, we often find ourselves naturally eating meals that are much lighter than those we eat in winter. This is often because eating heavy food when the weather’s warm makes us feel overly bloated, and because many of these lighter ingredients – greens, fresh fruits and vegetables, for example – have high water contents and are therefore much more refreshing. If only we craved these fresh ingredients all year round! Here at NetCost Market, we’ve got three easy, quick, and light summer recipes to keep you feeling refreshed during the summer heat!
Cucumber salad with ginger pork
This quick and easy summer salad is packed full of protein yet is light and refreshing. Cucumber, mint, and cilantro all give it that summer feel, and the ginger means it has a little summer zing!
1 cup cooked brown rice (white rice is also fine), 1 tbsp. vegetable oil, 1lb. ground pork, 2 cloves garlic – chopped, 1 small red chili – chopped, 2 ½ tbsp. grated fresh ginger, 2 tbsp. soy sauce, 4 tbsp. fresh lime juice, 1 tsp. brown sugar, 1 English cucumber – thinly sliced, 2 scallions – thinly sliced, 1 cup fresh cilantro, ½ cup fresh mint.
- Put a skillet on medium heat. Add the vegetable oil and the pork. Cook until the meat is browned.
- Toss with garlic, red chili, and 2 tbsp. of the grated ginger. Remove from the heat and then toss with 2 tbsp. lime juice and 1 tbsp. soy sauce.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp. lime juice, 1 tbsp. soy sauce, ½ tbsp. grated ginger, and the brown sugar. Toss together with the cucumber and scallions, and then fold in the cilantro and mint. Serve salad with the pork over the rice.
Summer spaghetti with pesto
Italy is known for its long summers, and it’s also known for having some of the best food in the world. This recipe combines the two, making a brilliantly light summer version of a classic Italian pasta dish!
1 lb. spaghetti – uncooked, 2 ears of corn – shucked, 1 medium yellow squash – cut into ½-inch thick slices, 1 medium zucchini – cut into ½-inch thick slices, 1 small bell pepper – deseeded and cut into sixths, 4 green onions – sliced, 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 lemon, ½ cup pesto, 1 pt. cherry tomatoes – halved, ¼ cup fresh parsley – chopped.
- Get a grill going on medium heat. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to the label and then drain and let cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the corn, squash, zucchini, bell pepper, and onions with the oil and ½ tsp. of salt and pepper until totally coated.
- Grill the corn until it starts to char. Then grill the squash, zucchini, and bell pepper until grill marks appear.
- Grill the onions until they are slightly charred.
- In a large bowl, grate ½ tbsp. zest from the lemon and then squeeze in 2 tbsp. juice. Whisk this together with the pesto and ½ tbsp salt and pepper.
- Cut off the kernels of the corn and then roughly chop the squash, zucchini, pepper, and onion. Add them to the bowl of pesto and then add the pesto and tomatoes.
- Mix together before adding the spaghetti and tossing all until fully mixed!
Classic lentil and chickpea salad with halloumi
If you haven’t had halloumi, well you’re certainly missing out! This goat and sheep’s-milk cheese is designed for grilling, and it makes a great topper to salads or meat alternative in burgers! This salad is a classic in the Mediterranean and Middle-East.
Salad: 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 red onion – halved and sliced, 10 cherry tomatoes, 2 tsp. harissa paste, 10 ounces of cooked beluga lentils, juice of half a lemon, 10-ounce block of halloumi – cut into ¼-inch thick slices, 1 can chickpeas – drained and rinsed, a small bunch of mint – roughly chopped, a small bunch of parsley – roughly chopped.
Dressing: 1 tbsp. tahini, 3 tbsp. Greek yogurt, 3 tsp. harissa paste, 1 tsp. runny honey, juice ½ lemon, a ½ clove of garlic – crushed.
- Get a pan going on medium heat and cook the onion until soft. Next, stir in the tomatoes and cook until they start to break down.
- Stir in the harissa paste, lentils, and lemon juice. Cook for 10 minutes, season with salt and pepper and allow to cool.
- Whisk together ingredients for the dressing with some water – enough to make a nice dressing consistency.
- Fry the halloumi slices until golden brown on both sides. Set to one side.
- Toss the chickpeas and half of the fresh herbs with the lentil mixture.
- On a large platter, add the lentil mixture, and then top with some dressing. Then, add the halloumi and garnish with the remaining fresh herbs!
Summer is all about eating fresh! So, we at NetCost Market hope that these simple, fresh recipes will give you the inspiration you need to get cooking while the weather is hot!