At a certain point in midsummer, you just want to eat shrimp cocktail, over and over, and throw fiscal caution to the wind. That’s summer eating for you. Grilling isn’t always easy or viable. Your A/C bill doesn’t seem to be going down as the months pass. You want to eat something cool, and literally without breaking a sweat.
We’ve got you. Think: Vietnamese summer rolls with peanut sauce, cool and ready to pluck from the fridge. Sandwiches aplenty. Shrimp and avocado. Cold salads of every stripe. Here are a few ways we love to feed ourselves without heating the place up come summertime.
Wraps and Rolls
Always keep bread handy in the summer, but consider, too, having rice paper rounds at the ready, for summer rolls brimming with cold shrimp or avocado, herbs, cucumber and lettuce. We like to have large flour tortillas handy, which we can heat in the microwave or over an open flame in a pinch, to fold them around leftover chicken, herbs, pickles, and veggies about to go bad. Add yogurt and hot sauce and even cold leftover diner French fries. (Almost anything can work if there’s a labneh-type dairy and a bit of spice!) You can fold nearly anything into a tortilla—same goes with corn ones—and it’s fast work. And you don’t even need starch: Lettuce can make an excellent wrap, if you let it.
You saw this one coming, but yes, salad can be a lifesaver this time of year. Consider crab and shrimp salad brimming with avocado and oranges. (It’s as good as it sounds.) Shrimp and avocado are always a dynamic duo, so you could add spiced black beans for a different sort of cold salad and be very happy. There are tons of chicken salad options, of course, for those who get fretful without loads of protein (and love their mayo). You could go in a curried or tarragon direction, or we’ve got dozens of other choices. Hate chicken salad? Consider tuna with white beans. Come August, riff on the traditional Caprese with the addition of basil pesto, or swap the tomatoes for fresh sliced peaches and complement the mix with a drizzle of basil oil. (Always have salt and plenty of pepper handy!)
Embrace the sandwich lifestyle. It can be as luxe or as easy-breezy as you want it to be. Consider lobster rolls, made at home on the cheap this year, in a buttered hot dog bun. (Lobster prices are low this year!) We’ve got your bagel Sandwiches, your Niçoise sandwich with tuna and hard-boiled eggs, and your easy, beautiful, prosciutto-and-butter on a baguette, packed tightly and taken on the road. (It’s so Parisian it hurts!) This is the time to load up on cured meats and the like at the grocery store, but also snag olives and pickles, to add acid as you go and not let things get boring. Make a basil mayo bristling with finely chopped garlic and slather it on the bread; you’ll be glad you did, especially if it’s a turkey sandwich. And remember that nearly anything can go on toast.
Bowls and Cold Soups
There’s something so satisfying about a bowl. Burrito bowls employ the tasty bits of leftover grilled meat, tofu and veggies, and they look beautiful. You can use your Instant Pot for nearly anything that goes into a bowl, such as Thai chicken Noodle Bowls. Chilled soup could include gazpacho (tomato! cucumber! cherry!) or avocado. Fill a bowl with bright ceviche if you have excellent fish. And if breakfast for dinner is your jam, you want a smoothie bowl.
Remember, there’s no wrong way to do this, so long as you keep your cool.