Summertime! So often, that means living in front of a fan or suffering in the heat. While extreme heat and humidity might sap your strength, subsisting on a diet of fruit juice bars is not healthy. Here are some almost no-cook dinner options. What's for dinner at your house?
SPICY RICE NOODLE SALAD
4 ounces thin rice noodles (rice stick)
1/2 small head (about 1/2 pound) green cabbage, core removed and very thinly sliced
3 green onions, very thinly sliced
3 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fish sauce (see note above)
3 tablespoons lime juice from 2 to 3 limes
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon sambal oelek or other spicy red chile sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 block firm or extra-firm tofu (about 8 ounces), patted dry and cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup chopped salted peanuts
Bring a medium pot (about 4 cups) of water to boil. Place rice noodles in a large mixing bowl.
Combine cabbage, green onions, garlic, cilantro, salt, fish sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, sambal oelek, and sugar in a medium mixing bowl and toss to combine. Let sit for 15 minutes to soften cabbage.
Pour boiling water over rice noodles and let sit for 3 minutes. Drain and let cool completely. When noodles are cool, combine with cabbage mixture, add canola oil, and toss to combine. Add tofu and stir gently. Garnish with chopped peanuts and serve immediately.
SPICY SALAMI SANDWICH
For the Tapenade:
8 ounces black pitted olives (kalamata or nicoise), drained
2 medium cloves garlic
1/4 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Sandwich:
4 focaccia rolls
4 ounces sliced Genoa salami
2 cups packed arugula (about 1 ounce)
4 jarred roasted red bell peppers, drained
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
For the Tapenade: Combine olives, garlic, parsley, pepper flakes, capers, vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil in a food processor and pulse until everything is well combined and chopped fine, 8 to 10 short pulses. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To make the sandwiches, split each of the focaccia rolls in half. Spread about 1 tablespoon of the tapenade on the tops and bottoms of the focaccia rolls.
Place a roasted red bell pepper on each of the bottom halves of the sandwiches, followed by a layer of salami, and a layer of arugula. Divide the goat cheese evenly among the sandwiches. Top with the remaining tapenade-covered focaccia and serve immediately.
GREEK STYLE CHICKPEA SALAD
2 (15.5-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 small red onion, minced
3/4 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped (about 1/2 large cucumber)
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, minced
1 ounce reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
2 tablespoons kalamata olives, pitted and minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large bowl, toss chickpeas, onion, cucumber, mint, feta and parsley. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, olives, mustard, oil, and garlic together. Pour dressing on top of the chickpea mixture and stir gently until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and feel free to add slightly more cheese, lemon juice, oil, salt, or pepper right before serving.
3 pounds (about 4 large) very ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into rough 1-inch chunks
1/2 pound (about 1 small) cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into rough 1-inch chunks
1/3 pound (about 1 small) small red onion, peeled and cut into rough 1-inch chunks
1/3 pound (about 1 medium) green or red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into rough 1-inch chunks
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
4 ounces (about 2 slices) white sandwich, French, or Italian bread, crusts removed, torn into rough 1-inch pieces (see note)
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons finely minced chives
Freshly ground black pepper
Combine tomatoes, cucumber, onion, pepper, garlic, and salt in a large bowl and toss to coat thoroughly. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Drain juices into a large bowl and add the bread. Transfer the drained vegetables to a rimmed baking sheet and place in freezer until vegetables are frozen, about 30 minute.
Remove vegetables from freezer and allow to sit at room temperature until mostly thawed, about 30 minutes. Transfer vegetables and all their juices from the pan to bowl with soaked bread.
Working in two batches as necessary, blend vegetables, juice, and bread at high speed, slowly drizzling olive oil and sherry vinegar into blender as it blends. Strain soup through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve, drizzling each bowl with olive oil, a few spirnkles of sherry vinegar, extra cracked black pepper, and chives. Gazpacho can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
JICAMA & POMELO SALAD
2 tablespoons juice from about 2 limes, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons palm or brown sugar, plus more to taste
1 medium clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 small red Thai bird chili, finely sliced (optional)
Thai-style dried crushed red pepper, or red pepper flakes, to taste, plus 3 to 4 whole dried red chilies, if desired
1 pomelo, segments removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 jicama bulb, peeled and cut into 1/2- by 1/2- by 2-inch batons
2 cups shredded napa cabbage
1 cup picked mung bean sprouts
1/4 cup crushed roasted peanuts
1/2 cups roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
2 tablespoons store-bought or homemade Thai-style fried shallots
Combine lime juice, sugar, garlic, soy sauce, fresh chili (if using), 1 teaspoon dried chili, and whole dried chilies (if using) in a large bowl and whisk until sugar is completely dissolved. Add pomelo, jicama, cabbage, sprouts, peanuts, and cilantro. Toss to combine, then season with more chili, lime juice, and sugar if desired. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with shallots, and serve.