Foods to Beat the Summer Heat

By | Jul 08, 2016

Cold Borscht by Alex Witchel 

YIELD: About 2 quarts

TIME: One hour


  • 10 large or 20 small precooked (canned or vacuum-packed) beets
  • 1 onion, peeled and mostly quartered, root end attached
  • 2 ½ teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
  • ¼ cup lemon juice, or to taste
  • Chilled boiled potatoes, for serving, optional
  • Sour cream or yogurt, for serving


  1. Using a food processor, pulse beets until finely chopped. Transfer to a large saucepan and add onion, salt and 2 1/2 quarts (10 cups) water. Place over high heat to bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until onion is tender, about 40 minutes. Add sugar and lemon juice, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove onion and discard. Pour soup into a heatproof container and allow to cool to room temperature. Adjust salt, sugar and lemon juice to taste. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled, with chilled boiled potatoes added to soup, if desired. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.


Lynn Conrad’s Saltibarsciai (Cold Red Beet Soup)


1 32-ounce box chicken or vegetable broth

4 to 5 medium red beets

2 medium cucumbers

4 to 5 tablespoons chopped chives or scallions

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup sour cream

Salt and pepper, to taste


Wash beets, then cut off tops, leaving about 1 inch of stems (stops excess bleeding). Cook in pot filled with water for about 1 hour on low. While cooking, chop cucumbers into small pieces (about 1-inch cubes). (You can leave skins on home-grown cukes.) With chives, snip with scissors into small pieces (or cut scallions with knife).

Once beets are done, cool in cold water, then peel off skins by cutting off stems and roots, skin should slip off. Cut beets into small pieces, same as cukes.

Place beets, cukes and chives in serving bowl. Add broth, vinegar, sour cream, salt and pepper. Chill and serve with dollop of additional sour cream if desired.


Israeli Salad from Aimee Amiga and Liz Steinberg

Serves: 2-4


3 tomatoes

3 Persian cucumbers

1/2 red bell pepper

1/4 red onion

2 tbsp chopped parsley

1 lemon (2 tbsp lemon juice)

2 tbsp olive oil




Chop all ingredients into small cubes (about 1/2–1 centimeter squared) and combine in a salad bowl.

Add juice of lemon, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.


Israeli Salad by Sylvia Fountaine, Feasting At Home

Serves: 4-6


  • 2 extra large tomatoes
  • 1 English cucumber
  • ½ medium red onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • ½ C herbs (Italian parsley, mint or cilantro, or a mix)
  • zest of one lemon
  • Lemon juice (start with ½ a lemon, more to taste)
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Chop the first 6 ingredients into a very small fine dice. The smaller, the better.
  2. Place in a large bowl and toss with the lemon zest, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper.


Ina Garten’s Tabbouleh

1 cup bulghur wheat

1 1/2 cups boiling water

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)

1/4 cup good olive oil

3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (1 bunch)

1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (1 bunch)

1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (1 bunch)

1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced

2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the bulghur in a large bowl, pour in the boiling water, and add the lemon juice, olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir, then allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Add the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper; mix well. Season, to taste, and serve or cover and refrigerate. The flavor will improve if the tabbouleh sits for a few hours.


Quinoa Tabbouleh, from the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen

1 cup quinoa, rinsed well

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more

2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

1 large English hothouse cucumber or 2 Persian cucumbers, cut into 1/4″ pieces

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

2/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

2 scallions, thinly sliced

  1. Bring quinoa, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread out quinoa on a large rimmed baking sheet; let cool. Transfer to a large bowl; mix in 1/4 cup dressing. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover remaining dressing and quinoa separately; chill.
  4. Add cucumber, tomatoes, herbs, and scallions to bowl with quinoa; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle remaining dressing over.


Rachael Ray’s Chickpea Salad

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 small red onion finely chopped

1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped

A few ribs celery and leafy tops, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced or grated then grinded into a paste with salt

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons rosemary, finely chopped, a few sprigs

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine chickpeas with onions, peppers, celery, garlic, red pepper flakes and rosemary in a medium bowl. Dress salad with vinegar and oil, salt and pepper.


Mediterranean Chickpea Salad by Martha Rose Shulman

2 (15-ounce) cans chick peas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, or a combination of parsley and other herbs, such as chives, tarragon, marjoram, basil, or mint

1 small red bell pepper, chopped

2 medium tomatoes, diced

4 scallions, white and light green parts only, sliced (optional)

6 kalamata olives, pitted and quartered lengthwise

1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled

To make the dressing:

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, or sherry vinegar

1 small garlic clove, minced or put through a press

1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and crushed or coarsely ground

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons plain low-fat or nonfat yogurt

  1. Toss together the salad ingredients. Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, cumin seeds, salt, pepper, olive oil and yogurt. Toss with the chickpeas.

Advance preparation: The salad can be assembled several hours before you wish to serve it. Keep in the refrigerator. Leftovers are good the next day.

Yield: Serves four as a main dish, six as a side


Herb Watermelon Feta Salad by Michelle English

1/2 large chilled seedless watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes

Jumbo Seedless Watermelon

1 small red onion, sliced

1 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup minced fresh mint leaves

2 limes, juiced

1 (4 ounce) package crumbled feta cheese

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, or more to taste

salt and ground black pepper to taste

Gently toss watermelon, onion, basil, cilantro, mint, lime juice, feta cheese, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and black pepper together in a large bowl.


Ina Garten’s Arugula, Watermelon and Feta Salad

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)

1/4 cup minced shallots (1 large)

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup good olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 cups baby arugula, washed and spun dry

1/8 th seedless watermelon, rind removed, and cut in 1-inch cubes

12 ounces good feta cheese, 1/2-inch diced

1 cup (4 ounces) whole fresh mint leaves, julienned

Whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, shallots, honey, salt, and pepper. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking constantly, to form an emulsion. If not using within an hour, store the vinaigrette covered in the refrigerator.

Place the arugula, watermelon, feta, and mint in a large bowl. Drizzle with enough vinaigrette to coat the greens lightly and toss well. Taste for seasonings and serve immediately.


Tomato and Watermelon Salad by Sam Sifton

large tomatoes, ideally heirloom varieties, cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes

1 small seedless watermelon, cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup feta cheese, torn into large crumbles

  1. Combine the cubed tomatoes and watermelon in a large, nonreactive bowl and toss gently to combine. Add salt and let stand 5 to 10 minutes while you prepare the dressing.
  2. Whisk together the oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add the cheese to the tomatoes and watermelon, then the dressing, and toss gently to combine.


Red Pepper Baba Ghanoush by Carla Hall

Serves: 6-8

Time: 30-60 min


  •   2 garlic cloves (not peeled)
  •   1 large red pepper
  •   2 medium eggplants
  •   1 tablespoon tahini
  •   2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  •   2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  •   1 tablespoon olive oil
  •   1 lemon (zested and juiced)
  •   kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)


  •   sliced cucumbers
  •   carrot sticks
  •   radishes
  •   celery sticks
  •   grilled pita
  •   feta

Kalamata olives (pitted)


Lower the oven rack to the middle rack and preheat the oven to broil.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place garlic cloves in an individual foil packet. Place the red pepper, eggplants and garlic on the foil-lined baking sheet and place in oven, rotating the red pepper and eggplants every 10 minutes until charred on all sides.

Remove from foil and place the vegetables in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes. Using a paper towel, peel away the charred skin from the eggplant and peppers and discard. Remove the stem and seeds from the red pepper and discard. Remove the garlic cloves from peels.

In the bowl of a food processor, add the red pepper, eggplants, garlic, tahini, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, olive oil, zest and juice of a lemon, and season with Kosher salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth.

Remove to bowl. Serve with carrot sticks, radishes, cucumber and grilled pita.

- For classic baba ghanoush, simply substitute the pepper with more eggplant!
- For a similar smoky flavor, grill the eggplant instead of broiling!


Grilled Eggplant Salad by Melissa Clark 

YIELD about 1 ½ cups

TIME 25 minutes


  •       1 large eggplant
  •       1 plum tomato, diced
  •       1 ½ teaspoons red wine vinegar
  •       ½ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
  •       ½ teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  •       2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  •       3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  •       3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  •       Black pepper, to taste
  •       Capers, for garnish, optional

Grilled pita bread, for serving


  •       Heat grill to medium high. Prick the eggplant all over with a fork, put in on the grill and close the cover; cook, turning occasionally, until eggplant is very soft and skin is blistered, about 15 minutes.
  •       When cool enough, scoop out the insides of the eggplant and coarsely chop. Transfer to a bowl and toss with tomatoes, vinegar, salt, oregano and garlic. Stir in oil and parsley; season with pepper and more salt if needed. Garnish with capers if you like them. Serve with warm pita bread.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.