Updated: Jun 3
When temperatures soar and the humidity is thick, COLD meals are a great option. This summer consider COLD meals that require little or no cooking:
Nothing beats a crisp fresh salad, topped with chicken, fish, chopped egg or beans. For a different twist on salads, try them chopped.
Try stuffing a ripe garden tomato with tuna, chicken or egg salad.
Gazpacho is a favorite summer soup that is best when eaten cold!
Sandwiches on whole grain bread are an easy answer for a cold meal. Bring in the veggies by adding baby spinach, lettuce, sliced onion, tomato, cucumber and / or bell pepper.
Pasta salad is a favorite cold summer meal. Not only is it easy to prepare but it can often be made with items that are already on hand. Follow this basic pasta salad recipe for a delicious cold meal that everyone will enjoy OR feel free to vary the ingredients to make it your own.
Simple Pasta Salad
Pasta gets a lot of bad press these days. After all it is a carbohydrate based food that it easy to over-consume because it is SO good! It is all about balance though. This pasta salad features a LOT of vegetables with every bite. There is also a generous amount of protein and healthy fat. The use of whole grain pasta in this recipe is another plus.
8 ounces (1/2 pound) of pasta (spiral, elbow, farfalle, shells, penne, etc.). Choose a whole grain pasta if possible.
2 cups or more of cooked, chopped chicken, ham or shrimp, OR one very large can of drained tuna OR 4 scrambled eggs (chopped)
One 15 ½ ounce can of chick peas, well-drained (or may use kidney beans or cannellini beans)
4 to 5 cups of any type of raw vegetables, cut or chopped in different ways (broccoli florets, chopped celery, thinly sliced red onion, chopped red and yellow peppers, baby spinach, etc.)
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil (may add a bit more if needed)
1 ½ tablespoons of vinegar (any type)
2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed OR 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Drain very well.
Place pasta into large serving bowl and allow it to cool.
Pour olive oil and vinegar, along with salt, pepper and garlic powder into the bowl and mix well.
Add in the chopped meat or eggs, along with the garbanzo beans and mix gently.
Add all of the raw vegetables to the bowl and again mix well.
Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled before eating.
Written by Jenny Favret, MS, RD, LDN
Dietitian, Duke Pediatrics Healthy Lifestyles Program