Heating up summer menus


The season’s rising temperatures get me so excited by the endless possibilities for healthy cooking. Below is a compilation of some classic summer comfort foods — but with my own twist. Many of the fresh vegetables I use below can be substituted with what’s in stock at your local grocery store or farmers market, so feel free to dive in and get creative.

Chicken-cabbage crunch salad

Chicken-cabbage crunch salad (meat)
This meal was inspired by coleslaw and grew into a much more comprehensive dish. It’s loaded with texture and can be enjoyed as a side or a complete meal. I highly recommend making the first two steps 24 hours in advance to maximize the flavors. Shortcut: You can use a bag of pre-mixed coleslaw to substitute the shredded cabbage and carrots

½ cup lowfat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons white sugar
1½ tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
6 cups of shredded cabbage, green and red
1 cup of shredded carrots
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 cup golden raisins
2 medium green gala apples, chopped
1 3-ounce package of ramen noodles, without the spice packet
2 cups of plain grilled chicken, chopped

In a large bowl, whisk together the first five ingredients until creamy, about 1½ minutes. Add the cabbage and carrots and fold with a spatula until combined. Add the salt, pepper and raisins and continue tossing until everything is well combined.
Refrigerate if not serving immediately.
Just prior to serving add the chopped apples, ramen noodles and chicken. Stir or toss with a spatula to combine.
Let the dish stand for 10 minutes before plating.
Serves 8.
Homemade chipotle sweet potato chips (pareve)
These delicious chips are baked, not fried, and are a healthier option than the store-bought version. The chipotle pepper adds a kick, while the brown sugar brings out the potato’s natural sweetness. This is the perfect side dish or appetizer when entertaining because it’s easy to prepare and affordable for feeding the masses. This recipe makes a large batch,; leftovers store well in an airtight container for up to two weeks.


4 medium sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground chipotle pepper
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper
3 tablespoons coconut oil

Peel the sweet potatoes.
Bring a medium saucepan to boil over high heat and cook the potatoes for 3 to 5 minutes — no more. Drain water and let cool for 20 minutes. (This step can be done overnight or in advance.)
Slice the potatoes into ¼-inch circles.
Heat the oven to 450 degrees.
Whisk remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the potatoes to the mixture and lightly fold until incorporated.
Lay slices in a single layer on several cookie sheets.
Bake for 15 minutes, then flip disks and bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp. Edges should be browned.
Let chips cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
We serve this dish with both ketchup and honey mustard as dipping sauces.
Serves 8-10.


Grilled rosemary chicken (meat)
This recipe is a go-to in our house because it’s almost effortless to prepare, but packs a lot of flavor into each bite. We enjoy cooking this dish early in the week and eating it in different variations for several meals. It’s great on its own, over a salad, or chopped up on a sandwich.

For the marinade
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the marinade.
Separate evenly into 2-gallon-sized plastic bags and add the chicken. Zip shut and shake around to spread the marinade all over the chicken.
Heat the oven or grill to 425˚.
In a small skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. Let it heat for 2 minutes before adding the diced shallots. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes until lightly browned and easily pierced with a fork.
Place the chicken, shallots and rosemary in a 9×13-inch oven-safe dish if making indoors. If making on the grill, use a foil pan and punch a few holes in the bottom.
Cook in the oven for 25 to 35 minutes or on the grill for ½ hour.
Pierce with a paring knife; if juices run clear, chicken is ready to serve.
Serves 6-8.

Taylor Orlin, who works as an account executive for the Jewish Exponent, is a lifelong foodie. She has spent years developing and modifying recipes to adapt for specific dietary needs, including her own Crohn’s disease.

This piece originally ran in the Jewish Exponent.


The mix can be made a day ahead and refrigerated for these veggie burgers. Credit: JTA News and Features

Make these moist vegetarian burgers from scratch

By Liz Rueven

You’re back in your summer barbecue groove and have invited friends for a day of sizzling fun. Just as you’ve settled into your menu choices, you realize that one of your guests for that easy fete you’re planning is vegetarian. You’ve been down this route before, serving plenty of vegetable-centric sides and maybe even those dry, vegetarian patties you find in the frozen food aisle.

Newsflash: Vegetarians would rather not eat those faux burgers. So don’t bother with those thin, cellophane-wrapped stand-ins for the real deal. Instead, show some love by making these moist vegetarian burgers from scratch. You will need to use your food processor, but you can make this mixture a day in advance and then forget about it until you fire up the grill. You may even find other guests peering over your shoulder wondering what smells so good.

In these easy vegetarian burgers, sweet potato and quinoa lends structure while healthy walnuts ensure that they remain moist. Cumin, turmeric and curry balance the sweetness of the potatoes. The burgers are dairy-free and can be served alongside meat dishes.

Sweet potato quinoa veggie burgers

½     cup quinoa (use 1 cup cooked quinoa)
1     medium sweet potato (use 1 cup cooked sweet potato, lightly packed)
1     15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry with paper towel
¾     cup whole walnuts
2     tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4     eggs
3     cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3     scallions, white and most of green, chopped
3     tablespoons parsley, chopped
1     teaspoon curry powder
1     teaspoon cumin powder
½     teaspoon turmeric
½     teaspoon salt
ground pepper to taste
7     tablespoons whole wheat breadcrumbs

Rinse quinoa and cook according to package directions. Cool and set aside.
Peel and slice sweet potato and place in steamer. Cook over boiling water 15-18 minutes or until fork-tender. Drain, cool and set aside.
Toast walnuts lightly in nonstick pan, until golden and fragrant. Cool and set aside.
In a food processor, combine chickpeas, walnuts, lemon juice and eggs. Whirl for 15-20 seconds, until combined (should not be perfectly smooth). Scrape bowl as needed.
Add garlic, scallions, parsley, curry, cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper. Pulse until combined.
Add cooked sweet potato and bread crumbs, pulse until combined. Add quinoa and pulse until combined. It’s better if your mixture is not too smooth. This mixture can be made a day in advance and stored covered in the refrigerator
The patties will feel a little loose as you’re forming them, but that’s OK. If you’re not sure, add a little more breadcrumbs.
These veggie burgers may be grilled on the barbecue or pan-fried with a little oil in a nonstick pan.
Consider serving with sliced cheese (they then will be dairy), rounds of thinly sliced red onion, your favorite salsa, avocado, tomatoes, or just about anything you can load on the bun.
Makes 10 medium burgers

—JTA News & Features

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