August. In a few weeks, the weather will start to cool, your tan lines will start to fade, and the leaves will start to change color.
But that time is not now. There’s still plenty of fun in the sun to be had, drinks to be drunk, and beach parties to attend. So while your skin is still sun kissed and your hair salty, don’t sweat the small stuff, like what food to bring at the end of summer parties, potlucks, and bar-b-ques. Here are 5 easy, tried-and true vegan recipes that are refreshing to eat in the summer heat:
1. Pasta Salad- Pasta salad gives me life. Between the vitamin-filled veggies and the refreshing, zesty taste of Italian dressing, this is one of my favorite things to bring—and to eat—at a potluck. All you really need is pasta, your favorite vegetables, and some Italian dressing. Pictured below is a pasta salad I made with all the leftover vegetables I had in my fridge, but my favorite recipe is an old family one:
- Tri-colored bow tie or rotini pasta
- Red, yellow, and orange bell peppers
- Black olives, sliced
- Cherry tomatoes, halved
- Vegan Italian dressing (I always use zesty Italian)
To Make: Cook the pasta, slice the vegetables, mix it all together in dressing and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Serve the next day and enjoy!
2. Banana chocolate chip bread- Who doesn’t love a rich slice of banana bread? I based this recipe off of Food Network’s (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/vegan-banana-bread.html), but made a few substitutions to make it a tad healthier than theirs. You’ll need:
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 4 ripe/browning bananas, mashed
- Vegan dark chocolate chips (as many or as little as you want, depending on your chocolate preferences)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup soy yogurt, plain
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Vegan butter to grease the pan
To make: Heat oven to 350 F. Grease a baking pan. Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Put mixture into the baking pan and bake for 50-60 min, or until you poke a toothpick in and it comes out clean. Take the banana bread out and let cool. Place in fridge until it’s party time- it’s better cold (in my opinion).
3. Avocado Dill Potato Salad- A traditional summer dish with a vegan twist! This potato salad is both creamy yet light, so your taste buds will love it without it weighing you down.
- 6 potatoes (I use a mix of red and gold potatoes)
- ½ onion (yellow or white), diced
- 1 avocado, mashed
- ¼ cup vegan mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp fresh dill (packed down), finely chopped
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Tempeh (optional), crumbled
- Salt & pepper
To make: Place potatoes in a pot, fill with water, and add heat until potatoes become soft. Grease a pan in olive oil and crumble tempeh bits into the pan until crispy. Mix all ingredients together and let it sit overnight.
4. Lemon bars- I found this recipe from Chef Chloe Coscarelli’s Vegan Desserts cookbook and they were a big hit at the last potluck I went to. In the summer, people want to eat lightweight, refreshing desserts, and these are the perfect treat! She doesn’t have the recipe listed online, and I’m not sure if I’m allowed to share it, so either buy her book or try this yummy-sounding one from Minimalist Baker: http://minimalistbaker.com/creamy-vegan-lemon-bars/
5. Guacamole- If people aren’t eating right away and you don’t have access to a refrigerator, the guacamole may start to brown. Chances are, however, that once you say you brought fresh, homemade guac people will start to chow down. It’s the perfect food to snack on, especially in the summer. You’ll need:
- 6 avocados
- 2 limes
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- ½ cup red onion, chopped
- Chips for dipping
- Cayenne pepper if you like spice!
To make: Mash the avocado, mix in the tomatoes and onions, and sprinkle cayenne pepper on top. Yum!
Hope the rest of your summer is filled with lots of good food, sunshine, & friends =]