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Summer

Sesame Cucumber Edamame Salad

Asian Sesame Cucumber Salad

The unofficial start to summer has arrived, and all I want to be eating are refreshing treats like watermelon, lots and lots of watermelon, and cucumbers, too.

This sesame-seasoned dish gets even better with time. It’s part of what makes it an ideal picnic bring-along. Put an hour aside to let the flavors mingle. And then serve it as a compliment to other summery dishes, whether a cold soba noodle salad, or warm yet light grain bowl.

Note: If you don’t have sesame seeds available, crushed peanuts are a great substitute.

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Soba Noodles with Carrot-Cabbage Slaw and Peanut Sauce

Soba Noodles with Carrot-Cabbage Slaw and Peanut Sauce

I eat much peanut butter almost every morning. On oatmeal days, at least two tablespoons are swirled into my bowl, and sometimes more.

Unfortunately, this means that it’s a rare occasion that peanut butter gets incorporated into other meals. But those occasions are always cherished.

There are plenty of reasons to add peanut butter to lunch and dinner.

Peanut Sauce

One of my favorite savory forums for the ingredient is a gingery, garlicky peanut sauce. If you have a food processor, its assembly is almost as easy as spooning peanut butter onto a banana.

Soba Noodles with Carrot-Cabbage Slaw and Peanut Sauce

Once you make the sauce, you’ll find that the remainder of this recipe is even simpler. If you’re looking for more, add some steamed edamame or tofu sautéed in soy sauce.

Topping choices can also get creative. Scallions, chopped peanuts or cashews, extra cilantro, and a squeeze of lime are all favorites. And I do love a squeeze of Sriracha, too.

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Green Beans with Coconut Curry Peanut Sauce

 Green Beans with Coconut Thai Curry Peanut Sauce

Thai coconut curry forever remains one of my mealtime mainstays.

On my stove at least twice a month, it’s one of the simplest and tastiest ways to load up on broccoli, bok choy, mushrooms, and other garden goodness.

But for this particular rendition, I chose to focus on one ingredient — green beans, a veggie that rarely lets me down.

Green Beans with Coconut Thai Curry Peanut Sauce

The sauce here is thin enough that you could serve this over rice. To make it a full meal, fry up some tofu to toss on the side.

But it’s truly a delicious side all on its own. You can spoon up all that sauce, no rice needed. And if you have any extra, use it as a dip for steamed broccoli or to top soba or rice noodles.

Thai Curry Peanut Sauce

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Avocado Spinach Pesto Over Rice

Avocado Spinach Pesto Over Rice

 

Summer is the season of speedy ripening. A peach can go from hard to moldy in less than 24 hours. A banana from yellow to speckled in seemingly minutes. And an avocado from hard to creamy within just a day.

Summer is the season of inspiration from ingredients that aren’t going to last — and it’s this little push that makes my creative juices thrive.

Cue: avocado pesto.

Avocado Spinach Pesto Over Rice

This sauce relies on the simple efforts of a food processor. Yet, the straightforward combination of ingredients lends itself to so many possibilities.

This pesto could go great with tacos, on toast, pasta or grain bowls. Give it a starch, and it’s bound to shine.

Avocado Spinach Pesto Over Rice

The first night, I shared this pesto with a friend on pasta. We sauted some mushrooms to throw on top, added a cold glass of beer to the side, and enjoyed a lovely meal in my backyard. The remainder, I used the next day to spoon over rice, as pictured above, with some fresh tomatoes from the market.

The topping options here are endless, as is the starch like I mentioned above. Feel free to get creative and use what other fast-ripening ingredients you may have on hand!

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Vegan Mexican-inspired Coleslaw

Vegan Mexican Coleslaw

I love dinner parties. Call it a taco party, and I’ll love the occasion even more.

Tasked with creating something outside of a taco for a recent rooftop gathering, this light and vegan slaw was born.

Vegan Mexican Coleslaw

It calls on cilantro and lime to add a punch of flavor. You could also throw in a few dashes of cumin.

Prepare the slaw within the hour before serving. It’s best eaten at room temperature.Vegan Mexican Coleslaw

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