7 Summer Dishes That Aren’t Complete Without Basil

It’s that time of year when basil is abundant everywhere we turn, from our own herb gardens to top restaurants’ menus. We’re finding the fragrant green leaves torn and mixed with salad greens, muddled at the bottom of highball glasses, blended into ice cream and pulsed with garlic, Parmesan and pine nuts until a fragrant pesto sauce comes into being. Part of the beauty of this leafy summer herb is its approachability; in other words, you don’t need to be a trained chef in order to dream up some creative takes on it. If you’re like us and keep a fresh bundle in a vase on your countertop all season long, waiting for the perfect excuse to snip off a few leaves, then you just found a reason to celebrate. Here are seven in-season (and healthy!) dishes that just won’t suffice without basil.

Mango Spring Rolls with Ginger-Peanut Sauce

Celebrate mango season with these fresh spring rolls! I’m a big fan of spring rolls for a light, refreshing meal. Packed with whatever fruit or vegetable I can get my hands on, they are the perfect dish to make when you have a bunch of vegetable scraps lying around. As with most good recipes, once you get the hang of stuffing and wrapping these, you can customize them to whatever you have on hand. As long as the ingredients taste good together, they will taste great wrapped in a spring roll.

How to Use Up a Batch of Fresh Tomatoes

Save your canned tomatoes and jarred sauces for winter, when ripe-off-the-vine tomatoes are impossible to come by. Now that we’re in the height of summer, we’re taking every opportunity to consume this ruby-red fruit in its freshest forms, and preferably the same day we buy it (or shortly thereafter). Whether you get your tomatoes from the grocery store, the farmers market or your own garden, these healthy recipes will inspire you to use this essential summer ingredient in smooth soups, hearty salads and more. Here are just a few of our favorite applications.

Grilled Peach and Tomato Salsa

This no-fuss fruit salsa is the essence of summer. Charred, ripe peaches and fragrant tomatoes are tossed with garlic, fresh lime juice, cilantro and jalapeno peppers (for a little heat). It’s a slightly smoky, refreshing salsa that’s miles away from any canned version.

Creative No-Cook Recipes

Beat the heat and spend less time in the kitchen with these healthy and inspired no-cook dishes.Layered Squash
Try this out-of-the-box summer squash recipe to wow guests, or enjoy it as a simple weeknight dinner.
Recipe to Try: Summer Squash Carpaccio (pictured above)

Back-to-School Lunch! Mango Chicken Salad Wraps

“That’s good!!!” my 13-year-old son proclaimed as he chomped down on a big bite of this Mango Chicken Salad Wrap. Bonus: I also got two thumbs up from my 14-year-old daughter. If you have teenagers — or children of any age, for that matter — you know what a good feeling it is when your kids actually eat what you make them for lunch!

5 Lighter-Than-Usual Cocktails Starring Summer Fruit

Health experts unanimously agree that light or zero alcohol consumption is better than heavy or even moderate drinking, and we can’t argue with that. But for those of us content to live life by the “in moderation” mantra, the best we can do is steer clear of the true nutritional disasters: thick, creamy daiquiris and sickeningly sweet juice cocktails that pack half a day’s calories or more. On the other hand, light, effervescent drinks sweetened with whole fruit or homemade fruit juices will give you a buzz and a few additional nutrients. If you’re looking to get a little bit tipsy without going overboard, this is the way to drink — and we have a few cocktail recipes that will help keep happy-hour excess in check.

Back-to-School Recipe Roundup

It’s that time of year again: You need breakfasts that are quick to make and eat, lunches you can pack the night before, and after-school snacks that will keep kids going strong till dinnertime. To get the school year off to a healthy start, we’ve rounded up some great ideas and easy-to-make recipes that will help get you and the kids out the door on time.