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Light lunches for warmer weather - your ideas?

The weather here in Wilmington is getting warm - 79 here today. My usual lunch is soup and half a sandwich, and soup just isn't going to cut it for me with the warmer weather. What are your ideas for cool and light lunches? I work from home, so I can do some put-together, but I really don't like green salads by themselves. They just don't jazz me. What other ideas do you have?

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  1. How about cous cous? The stove doesn't need to be on for more than 10 minutes total, you can spruce it up with herbs or vegetables, and you can eat it cold the next day.


    1. One of my favorite lunches is: a generous dollop of hummus with your favorite crackers and a big bowl of sliced cucumbers sprinkled with rice vinegar and sea salt.


      1. I mix corn, black beans and pico de gallo (I buy the ones premade from the grocery store, in the refrigerated section where you can see the chunks of tomatoes, cilantro, etc.). Add a little lime juice, seasonings, olive oil. I use this as base. Tonight, I had it mixed w/ some greens and salmon. Sometimes I'll top an omelette with it. Mix it with some kind of meat (salami, ham, turkey, anything I have in the house) in pita. Spread cream cheese over rolled bread, add it, and roll. It makes a lot and lasts a few days so I get pretty creative.

        Oh, have you ever made tatziki? It's a great dip for warm weather.

        1. Both of these are perfect! Thank you! Keep 'em coming!

          1. When we were in Costa Rica we ate lots of hearts of palm with creamy orange dressing (I THINK it was a combination of mayo and ketchup. . .).

            I like greens topped with hearts of palm, tomatoes, red onions and viniagrette. If I have to pack lunch, I pack the lettuce separately but mix up everything else.

            Cooking Light has a great hearts of palm and chickpea salad--I'll post a link to it if I can get onto their site.

            1. What about cold soups? Gazpacho, Vichyssoise, borscht with your half a sandwich? Shrimp or crab louis (or is this too close to a green salad?). Greek village salad, red onion, tomato, cucumber, olives, and feta.

              1. I know it's not the easiest lunch to make...but sushi is a good hot weather lunch. A hot weather pasta I like to make is diced avocado, goat cheese, diced red onion, sliced sundried tomatoes, basil, and salt and pepper. If you add the just cooked pasta to the ingredients, the goat cheese and avocado melt and make a creamy sauce. You can make it ahead of time and it keeps well in the fridge.

                1. I like to make lettuce wraps on warm days. You can also try to make those non-fried Vietnamese spring rolls if you are in a locale where you can get all the ingredients. Cheese and fruit is good too.

                  1. tuna tartar is pretty easy. I do diced sushi grade tuna, avocado, radishes, shallots, and cucumber with a splash of rice wine vinegar, olive oil and a squeeze of lemon, and salt and pepper, with some toast points or baked wonton crisps.

                    if you do like cold soups, there is a good cucumber/yogurt one on epicurious.

                    1. A good cookbook for light lunches is Once Upon a Tart. I got it on a sale rack at BN a few years ago and everything I've made from it has been wonderful. You should see if your local library has a copy you could check out. Another idea is to make a tart or quiche...they're always good cold, as is a frittata.

                      1. Tacos! You can make the chicken (or meat of choice) ahead of time if time is an issue. I saute chicken w/ garlic, lime juice, a little cumin and red pepper, and a capful of white vinegar. Heat up some corn tortillas, add chicken, sour cream or plain yogurt, diced onion or salsa of choice, sliced avocado. The dairy and avocado make it nice and cool.

                        1. I like making a salad with chickpeas, tomatoes, scallions and feta with a balsamic vinaigrette. Also tabbouleh.

                          1. Ceviche.

                            Chicken Salad w/ cranberries, celery, poppy seeds, and a little honey w/ mayo.

                            Scooped bagel toasted w/ cheddar, filled w/ cottage cheese and salsa.

                            Chopped tomatoes, red onion, and balsamic vinegarette mixed and left to marinate... so refreshing.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Emme

                              Forgot my favorite pasta salad

                              1 lb penne or rigatoni cooked
                              olive oil
                              seasoned rice wine vinegar
                              julienned sundried tomatoes
                              chopped fresh tomatoes
                              dried oregano
                              fresh basil julienned
                              shredded parmesan
                              Salt and white pepper

                              Mix and let marinate... so good a day later

                            2. 2nd the tabbouleh, chickpea/other bean salads, lentil salad.

                              I also like sesame coleslaw with sesame-marinated tofu (I buy pre-marinated baked tofu), with or without pita bread

                              Just use finely shredded cabbage (I usually use savoy), carrot, cucumber, red pepper, and a dressing of sesame tahini, bit of sesame oil, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, s&p, and top with toasted sesame seeds. Keeps for a couple days in the fridge.

                              1. AHh I just wrote down my ideas and nuked it somehow by mistake lol..Ok try again...I like to "toast" my bread for sandwhiches...makes a difference.
                                Try fruit kebobs...not just for Easter Soiree's lol...Leave them on a plate in the fridge for ready consumption..Mmm might make a yogurt dip with Lemon Yogurt or plain, grated lemon rind and splash of Grand Marnier..Mmm good
                                I also like toasted 1/2 English Muffin with Tuna Salad, Tuna salad with, chopped red onion, chopped seeded tomato, chopped celery, parmesean cheese, relish S & P...Mmmm good
                                If you are rushed..lol and have a hankering for something bad lol Try marshmallows with peanut butter spread on top only..MMmm also good..Especially coming from someone who doesn't eat peanut butter any other way lol.
                                Plain yogurt with honey Mmm also good

                                1. Open-faced crab, artichoke and ripe tomato sandwiches on toasted sourdough, sprinkled with grated parmesan and drizzled with really good balsamic.

                                  1. I make this in the summer a lot. Penne pasta, fresh corn cut off the cob and sauteed really quickly in a bit of butter or olive oil, basil chiffonade, pine nuts, a squeeze of lemon juice, and some freshly shaved parmesan cheese. Sometimes I throw in other veggies too, like bell pepper or peas.

                                    1. Among my quick and easy favorites are tuna fruit salad (mix together pineapple chunks, tuna and mayo and serve over greens); salmon salad (canned red salmon, not pink, petit pois and mayo over greens); cold southern fried chicken with cold baked beans; and, of course, potato salad with franks or other sausage.

                                      1. last summer i got really into making grain salads. could be farro, barley, or brown rice... mix with anything, really. i like rilled eggplant and tomatoes (although you have to wait a while for those) and some firm cheese like ricotta salata or feta, herbs, olive oil, lemon juice, etc. a lot of them are even better the next day.

                                        1. When summer hits some of my favorites are
                                          Zuccini salad with ricotta salanta crumbles with fresh lemon juice, olive oil and roasted pine nuts...you can always add grilledn chicken, or salmon, or tofu.....it just gets better the longer it sits and marinates....

                                          Chicken salad with a little mayo, celery, chopped apricots I usually eat this on a slice of whole grain bread spread with apple butter.....

                                          1. Fresh Mozzerella and tomato sandwiches

                                            Watermelon with Feta

                                            1. Barefoot Contessa has my favorite summer recipe - grilled lemon chicken salad. I'm too lazy to get out my cookbook, but the basic idea is to marinate chicken breasts in lemon juice and olive oil (and thyme, I believe) - grill up a bunch, they are useful for several lunches and dinners throughout the week. For the salad, make a lemon juice vinaigrette and toss sliced red yellow peppers, sugar snap peas, and strips of the grilled lemon chicken. Light, colorful, and delicious!

                                              1. THis is a super-quick and healthy lunch for hot weather.

                                                I was just reminded of it the other day with the epicurious favorite recipe topic.

                                                1. These are all great! Thank you and keep them coming. My husband is excited too and hoping to benefit from all the new inspiration!