Summer is the time to spend more time outside and with friends and family (or at least if you ask me!). So when it comes to cooking summer meals, I tend to error on the side of quick, easy, and something that doesn’t require an oven! No need to create more heat, right?? In Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science deeply rooted in centuries of science just not in the traditional sense, there are certain properties to foods. For example, mint, cucumbers, dill, and sweet ripe fruits are all very cooling to the pitta nature of summer (fiery, heat). While I’m not a certified Ayurvedic practitioner, I have found many of the principles to be helpful.
The three fifteen minute meals for summer below are based on foods my husband and I eat on a regular basis during these heat filled months but also based on some Ayurvedic principles. Like many of my meal plans and meal suggestions, you’ll see some repeat ingredients to help save money at the grocery store but to also help reduce food waste. I can’t wait to hear what you think of these summer meals…and you’ll have time to let me know because they won’t take an eon to make/create! 😉 Happy eating!
Sausage with White Beans and Kale (serves 3-4)
Sometimes meals that require minimal prep are better for lunch meals as they just aren’t hearty enough for dinner. This vegan recipe is the exception…high protein sausage and meals plus fiber from the whole grains and kale make this one hard to pass up. Beans, greens, and grains – the winning ingredients for sure! If your family or significant other isn’t super stoked about Meatless Monday or meatless meals, this is a great introductory meal or at least one to throw into the rotation. Note: Field Roast Sausages come in packages of 4 near the refrigerated cooler section in produce (think where the tofu is). This meal works great for meal prep and leftovers for the week, so if you’re not sure what to do with the remaining 2 sausages, double the recipe! I will say, we tend to like vegan sausages in meals rather than on their own.
2 Fieldroast Sausages (or other vegan sausages) – I use the Italian or Smoked Apple Sage
1 can of cannellini or great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 10oz bag of chopped kale (Tuscan Kale from Trader Joe’s is my favorite here)
1/2 red onion, chopped
6 large button mushrooms, chopped
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
1/8-1/4 vegetable bouillon cube
brown rice or quick cooking farro (Trader Joe’s), for serving
crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- Start to boil water and prepare your brown rice/quick cooking farro according to package instructions at the same time as the meal so everything is done at once. Protip: Make a big batch of a grain pilaf and use for multiple meals, like this one! Saves a ton of time.
- In a large non-stick skillet with cover (make sure it has room for everything as this is a one pot meal), saute chopped onion and mushrooms in dash of olive oil for a few minutes until mostly cooked. While onion and mushrooms are cooking, remove the casing on the sausage and slice into 1/4 inch coins. Add sausage coins to mixture and saute a couple minutes.
- Add in chopped kale (you may need to remove some of the large stem parts or tear some of the pieces into smaller pieces). Side note: bitter foods like kale are recommended for summer as bitter flavors have drying properties that can help cool us off by drying sweat or dampness from accumulated moisture in the body. Add in maple syrup and bouillon and a few dashes of water to help “steam the kale.” Cover the skillet with a lid and cover for a couple minutes. Remove cover, stir, and stir in beans. Heat until warm.
- Serve with brown rice or farro and enjoy!
Marinated Artichoke Hearts with Garbanzo Beans and Brown Rice (serves 2)
This is a great hearty salad that can be served cold if you’re really needing a cool vegan summer meal. It’s also great to multiply the quantity and take to a BBQ or gathering. If you’re in the mood for hot food but you’ve got limited time, simply heat the ingredients together on the stove. It seriously takes less than 10 minutes, even if you have to whip up your own dressing (which I usually prefer because it always amazes me at how much better it tastes and how easy it can be to make your own vegan Italian dressing as most Italian dressings contain milk/cheese)
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 can of garbanzo beans, drained (aim for no added salt)
4 tablespoons of your favorite Italian based dressing or pesto (homemade Italian for a couple recipes: 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1/2 tablespoon Italian Seasoning, dash (1/4 teaspoon) of garlic powder and onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon maple syrup, salt and pepper to taste – this will keep in fridge for a week – double and use to mix and mash with smashed chickpeas for an easy lunch)
Brown Rice Pilaf to serve – traditional brown rice or if really short on time or need camping meal, use a pouch like Seeds of Change Brown Rice and Quinoa. This is how this meal started actually – camping and we needed something fairly ready to go to limit cooking and maximize time hiking/paddleboarding…note: these packets contain a considerable amount of salt – if you’re hiking/running out in the summer heat, no problem but if not, minimize added salt by choosing no added salt beans and skipping the salt in your homemade dressing if making
- Mix all ingredients together and serve cold, room temperature or heat on a stove! Want more veggies? Add in 1/2 a pack of chopped frozen spinach
- If you aren’t using the prepared pilaf, cooking the grain will be the longest part of this recipe and if you use instant brown rice or quick cooking farro (from Trader Joe’s), you’ll have dinner on the table in no time!
10 Minute Pantry Dal (serves 4)
- In a large pot, melt 1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil over medium heat.
- Saute chopped onion 2 minutes until mostly cooked. Add diced veggies of choice (again, 4 cups of whatever combination of fresh/frozen you’d like).
- Add in the rest of the ingredients (lentils or garbanzo beans, diced tomatoes with juices, coconut milk, all the spices, salt, and pepper). Stir until combined.
- Cook on medium uncovered, for a few to 8 minutes – depending on the veggies you used. For example, potatoes will take longer than frozen broccoli, etc. Stir frequently and reduce heat to low once veggies are tender.
- If desired, serve over rice, and garnish with cilantro and lime if on hand (it’s still great without these additions, though!).
Hope you enjoy these vegan summer recipes using some ingredients and foods with cooling properties to help beat the heat and nourish the body!