Be cool: Need a cold dish for a hot summer day?


Cool off a sultry summer with a

Cool off a sultry summer with a "cold" dish, like this simple zucchini "pasta" with avocado and fresh cherry tomatoes. Photo by:


Launch Photo Gallery


A chilled corn soup made with fresh sweet corn gets an extra pop of flavor (and color) from its accompanying garnish.

A chilled corn soup made with fresh sweet corn gets an extra pop of flavor (and color) from its accompanying garnish.
Photo by:



Jan Swoope



There is a time for steaming bowls of hearty stew and savory chili. This is not it.  


It's summertime and, back-to-school sales aside, we've got plenty of swelter still ahead of us, especially in Mississippi, where air conditioners may run into October. 


In these dog days of summer, we turn to cool, no-cook dinners that are light and refreshing. They can start with a quick trip to the nearest farmers market. The only way to get fresher veggies and fruits is to grow them yourself in the back yard. Pick up some just-picked zucchini and tomatoes for the zucchini pasta recipe below. Or purchase new sweet corn to make the chilled corn soup.  


The "pasta" from Anya Kaats at is actually spiralized zucchini.  


"One of my favorite kitchen appliances is my spiralizer," she posted. "I mostly spiralize zucchini as a pasta alternative, but you can also use sweet potato, carrots, beets -- the options are endless." Because there are few ingredients, each flavor can be appreciated, Kaats said. "You will be amazed at how tasty just a few ingredients can be."  


The smooth, creamy corn soup from can be pulled together in about 20 minutes, then chilled in the fridge. The salad, or garnish, that accompanies it adds summer color and flavors. You can finish it off with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lime. 


Other choices can include a cold chicken and noodle salad, or BLT spring rolls (, or pineapple chicken salad pitas ( -- all solutions for when you need a cold dish for a hot summer day. 








2 or 3 large zucchinis (preferably organic), spiralized 


1 carton cherry tomatoes (preferably organic), sliced in half 


1 avocado, cut in half and sliced 


1 batch of dairy-free toasted walnut pesto 




  • Spiralize zucchini and place in a large bowl. 


  • Mix in as much pesto as you want with salad tongs or two forks until zucchini is fully covered. 


  • Place a small portion in serving bowls and top with sliced tomatoes and avocado. 








    Serves 4-6 




    3 tablespoons butter and/or olive oil 


    1 leek, cleaned well and chopped 


    2 small shallots, chopped 


    2 cloves of garlic, chopped 


    6 ears of non-GMO corn (5 cups plus a bit extra for garnish) 


    4 cups vegetable stock (more if needed) 


    1/2 teaspoon turmeric 


    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 


    Squeeze of lime 






    Cherry tomatoes, quartered 


    Corn kernels, raw 


    Jalapeno, minced 


    Basil leaves 


    Smoked mussels (or smoked fish, such as hot smoked salmon) 


    Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil 




  • Heat the butter/olive oil in a soup pot. Add the leek, shallot and garlic and saute until softened, but not browned, about 5 minutes.  


  • Add the corn, season with salt (about 1 teaspoon) and pepper, and cook 6-8 minutes, stirring from time to time.  


  • Add the stock and simmer another 6-8 minutes until the corn is soft. Transfer to a high speed blender. Add a squeeze of lime. Blend until very smooth. Taste and re-season, adding more salt or lime juice. 


  • Let cool. Chill in the refrigerator. Once you are ready to serve, re-blend, adding more stock if needed. Serve with some or all of the suggested garnishes. 








    Serves 6 to 8 






    1/4 cup rice vinegar 


    2 cloves garlic, minced 


    1 tablespoon grated fresh peeled ginger 


    2 tablespoons white or red miso paste 


    2 tablespoons tahini 


    2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce 


    1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil 


    1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional) 






    8 ounces dried wide rice noodles 


    2 cups finely shredded red cabbage 


    1/2 medium English cucumber, julienned 


    1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed 


    2 tablespoons black sesame seeds, divided 


    2 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound), sliced into 1/4-inch thick strips 


    4 medium scallions, green part only, thinly sliced on the diagonal 




  • Make the dressing: Whisk the vinegar, garlic, ginger, miso and tamari or soy sauce together in a small bowl. While whisking, slowly pour in the oil and whisk until emulsified; set aside. 


  • Make the salad: Break the dried noodles in half and cook according to the package instructions. Drain and rinse thoroughly under cold water to remove excess starch. (This prevents noodles from sticking and clumping together.) Set aside until completely cooled. 


  • Place the cooled noodles, cabbage, cucumber, edamame, 1 tablespoon of the sesame seeds, and about 1/4 of the dressing in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Top with the chicken, scallions, and remaining sesame seeds. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and toss together. 


    Notes: The dressing can be made up to 1 day in advance and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. The salad can be prepared and assembled up to 4 hours in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until serving. Leftovers can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 




  • Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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