summer produce canva


Cooking during the summer can often feel like a daunting task. Not only does it get busy, but during the hottest months of the year, most people prefer to stay cool rather than cooped up in an overheated kitchen. Instead of relying on takeout, healthier alternatives can be found in traditional heritage diets. 


From salads to smoothies, heritage diets are filled with delicious, refreshing dishes that are full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals—and require minimal cooking! Plus, there is no better time than the summer to incorporate seasonal vegetables and fruits into your daily diet. Because summer produce is at the peak of freshness, many vegetables need only a gentle drizzle of olive oil and a handful of fresh herbs to come alive. 

Eating seasonally comes with many benefits: the foods you’ll eat are at their peak in terms of flavor and nutrition, and honoring the season’s bounty also helps support local communities and farmers who promote sustainable food production. Plus, produce is more affordable when it is in season!

The possibilities for no-fuss, but delicious summer meals are endless, especially if you stock your pantry with ready-to-go ingredients and fresh produce. Here are a few ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner from heritage diets around the world.

Mediterranean Heritage Diet 

Arugula Salad with Chicken, Dates and Buckwheat Hemp Crumble

Start your day with a bowl of Greek yogurt drizzled with honey, pile it high with field fresh berries, then garnish it with a handful of pistachios, almonds, or shredded basil. 

Move on to a gorgeous and nutritious lunch—arugula salad with chicken, dates and a buckwheat crumble.

For dinner, a caprese salad composed of juicy tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and extra virgin olive oil is a perfect example of a no-cook Mediterranean dish. 

Latin American Heritage Diet 

Prepping breakfast ahead of time is a good way to save time during the week and have something ready without needing to turn on the oven or stove each day! This rich, dense, wholesome Amaranth Banana Walnut Quickbread is delicious for breakfast and makes a wonderful snack any time of the day. It’s also a great way to use up any leftover cooked amaranth – and those slightly too-ripe bananas! 

Quinoa Salad with Corn, Black Beans, and Peppers

Chilled grain salads make easy on-the-go lunches, that serve well as leftovers! This Fiesta Quinoa Salad with Black Beans would be great to take on a picnic, or to the beach!

For simple hot weather dinners, keep cooked shrimp on hand. That way you have a healthy protein at the ready. It is perfect for this Avocado Salad, and the shrimp and avocado combined provide a healthy dose of good fats!

African Heritage Diet 

Coming together in just 15 minutes, this harissa hummus breakfast tartine is quick and nutritious breakfast that will keep you full during all your fun summer activities. The harissa hummus gives this edgy breakfast a North African flair. The haricots verts and greens help the color pop and provide a nice crunch in every bite. 


For a light lunch, appetizer, or side—try this refreshing Cucumber Sambal.

For the perfect summer dinner try this twist on Hoppin’ John, created by Calvis Williamson, an ambassador for Oldways’ A Taste of African Heritage program.It is a creative take on a traditional African heritage favorite. This recipe combines black-eyed peas, kale, and quinoa with a light vinaigrette for this tasty dish which makes an eye-catching entrée or side. Calvis suggests using pink Himalayan Sea salt in this recipe.

Asian Heritage Diet 

Busy morning? Whip up a smoothie! Smoothies are easy, full of nutrition, refreshing and almost like having soft serve ice cream for breakfast! Tofu is a healthy protein source traditional to Asian Heritage Diets and is a staple of vegetarian and vegan cuisine. Use tofu to thicken smoothies in place of milk or yogurt and get creative with your choice of produce! 


For a crunchy and colorful lunch, we love Vietnamese spring rolls! Vietnamese cuisine has a particular genius when it comes to wrapping foods. With fresh or dried and rehydrated rice wrappers, called banh uot, many meals are put together by each person wrapping little bits of food with other little bits of food, and then dipping these wrapped foods into a sauce. Our rolls are filled with fruits and vegetables, but it is not uncommon to add shrimp inside the roll as well. Serve with a dipping sauce such as Nuoc Cham or a Peanut Sauce.

End your day with noodles! Sharon Palmer’s Sesame Soy Soba Noodle Salad is delicious warm or chilled and even the next day as leftovers!

By stocking your pantry with nutritious grab and go ingredients and fresh from the market vegetables, herbs, and fruit, it will be easier than ever to create simple yet delicious no-cook summer meals. The bottom line is that summer’s bounty and a well-stocked pantry affords us all a rare opportunity to concoct culinary gems while cutting corners in the kitchen. It’s a win win—our souls are restored by the extra R&R while our bodies reap the benefit of fresh, wholesome meals!

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