Hint: You don’t have to cook!
It’s finally summer! Have you been longing for the crisp snap of a fresh cucumber or a refreshing bite of a just-picked tomato? Make the most of the growing season without having to heat up your kitchen by creating meals with fresh vegetables that require no (or very little) stove or oven time.
It’s simpler than you think: Throw any combination of your favorite raw veggies into a bowl with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and you’ll never go wrong. For a more filling meal, add protein, such as pecans or almonds, chickpeas or canned tuna. Top it with a little Parmesan or Gorgonzola cheese.
With minimal cooking time, step it up by adding some pasta, rice or grilled meat. On nights when you do cook, consider making extra for use later in the week. Any type of meat, pasta, rice and even cooked veggies do well as a cold dish.
Try this recipe that takes advantage of summer’s abundance of zucchini, tomatoes and herbs without turning on the stove.
- 3 ounces fresh mushrooms (shiitake work great, or your favorite)*
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 bunch green onion, thinly sliced; divide white part from green part
- Handful yellow or red grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3 medium zucchini
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1/3 cup chopped toasted, salted pecans
- Fresh Parmesan cheese
*Substitute with grilled eggplant or shrimp if you feel like firing up the grill
Cut stems from mushrooms and slice mushrooms thinly. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir in mushrooms, white parts of onion and tomatoes. Let stand 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cut zucchini lengthwise into 1/8- to 1/4-inch-thick slices. Stack two or three slices at a time on a cutting board and cut lengthwise into thin strips (similar to linguine). Toss zucchini in olive oil mixture. Let stand 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Fold in the remaining onion, basil and parsley. Transfer to a serving platter; sprinkle with pecans and cheese. Serve immediately.
Did you know?
If you have more fresh herbs than you can use, freeze them for use later. Remove the leaves from the stems and spread on a baking sheet, then place in the freezer. Once the leaves are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag and remove just the amount you need next time you are cooking.