’Tis the season for casual get-togethers, communal dining, and never turning on the oven! In other words, exactly the kind of dinner you want right now.
Make Sides The Star
Forget one big main course and focus on what really shines now: fresh veggies, sweet fruit, and bright herbs.
1. Watermelon & Heirloom Tomato Salad
2. Grilled Squash With Parmesan, Pine Nuts & Basil
3. Grilled Green Beans With Miso Dressing & Almonds
Drizzle cut-up vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper – or coat with a mayonnaise and mustard mix – and grill.
Spread thick yogurt on a plate, top with crudites, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and chilli flakes.
Pickle crunchy veggies by slicing them thinly and soaking them in a sugar, salt and vinegar mix for at least 20 minutes.
Cut vegetables into matchsticks and toss with lime juice, fish sauce, and a touch of sugar. then top with peanuts.
Combine avocado slices, tomatoes & other veggies (like radishes) and toppings, such as nuts and cheese, in lettuce cups. then splash with hot sauce.
Build A Tapas Board
A cheese platter becomes dinner-worthy when you include seafood, meat, and vegetables. Giving it a theme, like this Spain-inspired spread, adds focus and makes it feel more festive. Put together your favourite components, then encourage mixing and matching.
1. Tomato Toast
Blend juicy ripe tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and olive oil into a topping for grilled vegetables, fish, and meat. or spoon it over bread for a twist on a classic Spanish pan con tomate.
2. Salty & Crunchy
Roasted and salted marcona almonds are a fancy-feeling add-on, but you can also swop in almonds or walnuts. to jazz up plain olives, marinate them in olive oil, citrus zest, chilli flakes, and garlic.
3. A Hit of Sweetness
Membrillo, a quince paste that’s dense enough to slice, layered with cheese and charcuterie creates a rich, addictive savoury- sweet flavour. guava paste or fig jam does the same. Wrap paper-thin strips of serrano or iberico ham, or prosciutto around juicy, ripe cantaloupe slices. take it to the next level with a drizzle of olive oil and torn herbs, like tarragon or basil.
4. Cheese, please
Manchego or idiazabal are two good choices that play well with pretty much any other foods on your board. there are no rules here – do your own thing.
5. Meat Plus Heat
If you love charcuterie, seek out lomo embuchado – a pork tenderloin cured with garlic and smoked paprika – for something new.
6. A Taste of The Sea
Buy canned tuna packed in olive oil, add fresh herbs, lemon, and capers for a flavourful salad. tins of sardines, mussels, or octopus work well, too.
7. Creative Crostini
Toasted ciabatta or baguette makes a nice, chewy base, or use grilled veggies like sliced eggplant or peppers. Endive and butter lettuce are brighter, no-cook options.
Go Big With A Bowl
Bean salads, ceviches, and rice bowls give you a bunch of varying flavours and textures all in one place (read: easy prep and little cleanup) for a meal that’s light or hearty, and hits every craving.
Sunchoke, Shrimp & Stone Fruit Ceviche
1. Chop up fruit & vegetables; toss into a big bowl
Choose vegetables that taste great raw – carrots, greens, celery, radishes, peppers, and fennel. add herbs, fruits, including avocados, and lemon or lime.
2. Top with some cooked protein
A little ham, roast beef, or turkey goes a long way in adding savoury flavour. Cooked shrimp, fish, or scallops make a quick and simple ceviche, or toss them with your bowl of rice if going meatless.
3. Season with salt & pepper. Then add a dressing.
Drizzle on good-quality olive oil and vinegar or some citrus juice. you can add some pickles if you’d like.
4. Toss, taste & season again.
5. Fold in cooked grains or beans.
Canned beans and microwavable grains give some satisfying heft to your bowl.
6. Top with cheese, then sprinkle with nuts & herbs
Pick cheeses that crumble easily so you don’t have to spend time grating. use kitchen shears to snip fresh herbs right into your dish.
The Anything-Goes Tostada Bar
For a fun take on tacos, grab a crispy tortilla and just pile it high with whatever ingredients you have around. Think beyond Mexican – add-ons like goat cheese and kimchi will surprise you and friends in the best way. We have some great inspiration here.
1. Shredded Chicken
2. Mango, Cherries & Strawberries
4. Corn Tortillas
5. Salsa Verde
6. Hard-boiled Eggs
7. Panfried Whitefish
8. Red Pepper, Radish & Cucumber
9. Sunflower Seeds & Peanuts
10. Marinated White Beans
13. Crumbled Feta
14. Sliced Grilled Pork Tenderloin
1. Ace the base
Sprinkle corn tortillas with fine salt and grill, bake, or microwave on paper towels in 30-second increments until crunchy.
2. Stack the produce
Greens: arugula; baby kale, spinach; chopped watercress; mizuna; thinly sliced bok choy; mache
Crunch: shredded red; savoy or napa cabbage, and carrots; sliced radicchio or radishes; torn endive; diced jicama; shaved beets; sliced celery; chopped cucumbers; slivered bell peppers
Sweet: sliced mango; diced strawberries; chopped pineapple; sliced apple; stone fruit wedges; pitted cherries
3. Add some protein
Eggs: scrambled, fried, boiled, or poached
Beans: seasoned, mashed, or marinated
Tofu: marinated cubes
Seafood: grilled or poached shrimp, pan-fried whitefish
Meat: sliced grilled steak or pork tenderloin; shredded rotisserie chicken; pulled brisket or pork
4. Top it off
Cheese: crumbled feta, goat cheese, or Cotija; shredded Monterey Jack, cheddar, gruyere, or gouda; shaved parmesan or pecorino; fresh, cut-up mozzarella or burrata
Creaminess: sour cream, Mexican crema, kefir, plain yogurt, or tahini
Crunch: roasted, salted sunflower seeds; chopped pistachios, peanuts, or almonds; toasted sesame seeds
Spice: salsa verde; tomato-based salsa; pureed chilli; harissa; sriracha; red chilli flakes; minced chipotles in adobo; kimchi
Dress For Success
These spins on dressings, dips, and sauces turn almost any ingredient into a meal. Try them with dishes from the previous pages or create your own. The possibilities are endless!
1. Ginger Dressing
Blend fresh ginger with a grated carrot, soya sauce, rice vinegar, a touch of sugar, and sesame oil.
2. Classic Binaigrette
Whisk mayonnaise into your oil and vinegar to keep it emulsified, or add minced shallots or chives.
Season plain yogurt with salt, lemon juice, olive oil, and herbs like parsley and dill. Fold in diced cucumbers or tomatoes if you like.
4. Green Sauce
Blend herbs like basil, parsley, and mint with parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil for pesto; capers, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar for salsa verde; chilli flakes, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice for chimichurri.
There’s the classic chickpea version, but branch out and try one made with white or black beans, or blended with vegetables, like roasted peppers or beets.
6. Honey Mustard
Elevate the old school standard by using raw honey and wholegrain mustard. add a dash of hot sauce for an extra kick.
Blend A Cold Soup
Nothing could be easier or speedier. Just add ingredients, blitz, and refrigerate until cold. Done. If you want to get fancier, top each bowl with seafood, nuts, cheese, or croutons. These combos scream refreshing!
Coconut Corn Soup
+ Olive oil
+ Sherry vinegar
+ Lime juice
+ Almond milk
+ Green grapes
+ Olive oil
+ Lemon juice
+ Olive oil
+ Red chiles
+ Olive oil
Photos Sang An
Food Styling Jamie Kimm
Prop Styling Paige Hicks