Easy recipes for dishes best served cold to enjoy on a hot day or summer evening

Check out these easy and delicious summer recipes.

Easy recipes for dishes best served cold to enjoy on a hot day or summer evening
Yankel Polak
June 3, 2022, 4:08 AM

Warmer summer days and evenings are fast approaching and it's time to think about fresh seasonal dishes you'll actually want to eat when you can't take the heat.

Whether it's a big chilled salad or utilizing leftovers from a weekend of grilling, there's something about a cool, crisp bite when the air is thick and hot that makes a summer meal more appealing.

Plus, if you plan to stand at the stove to boil pasta or the grill to cook up a favorite protein, these recipes can help you plan ahead to make the most of the ingredients that can be stored in the fridge and elevated into a dish that tastes even better in a cold-preparation.

Check out the full recipes below.

Corn and Green Tomato Salad

Corn and green tomato succotash style salad.
Madeleine Hill, Andrew Zimmern

Chef Andrew Zimmern's simple succotash–style salad with corn and green tomato is perfect for any and every meal, at least until corn stops coming into the market.

"I add handfuls of every herb I have in the garden. Or sometimes I add roasted garlic or toasted croutons to make this more of a panzanella-type salad," the chef told "GMA."

5 ears of corn (about 3 pounds), shucked
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 jalapeños
2 large green beefsteak tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup finely chopped scallions
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
Sea salt and pepper
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Light a grill. Lightly brush the corn with olive oil and grill, turning occasionally, until charred in some spots and tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a work surface and let cool for five minutes. Cut the kernels from the cobs and transfer to a large bowl.
Meanwhile, grill the jalapeños, turning occasionally, until charred and soft, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 20 minutes. Peel, seed and finely chop the jalapeños. Stir into the corn along with the tomatoes, scallions, cilantro and mint.
In a small bowl, whisk the quarter cup plus two tablespoons of olive oil with the lime juice, sugar, cumin and coriander and season with salt and pepper. Add to the vegetables and toss to coat. Transfer the salad to a bowl, sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and serve.

Chilled Grilled Marinated Chicken Breast With Summer Watermelon Salad

Chilled watermelon salad with grilled chicken breast.
Yankel Polak

Yankel Polak, a former restaurant chef turned head chef for ButcherBox, shared his recipe for a juicy chicken and watermelon salad.

"The fact of the matter is, when you grill something, it’s always better the next day," Polak said. "The reason for this is because all of the flavors have time to work together and chill. Not to mention, cold summer dishes are perfect for seasonal picnics and barbeques."

Marinated Grilled Chicken
3 lbs ButcherBox Chicken Breast
4 cloves garlic peeled
2 each shallots peeled
1 bunch fresh thyme picked
1 bunch fresh rosemary picked
1/2 lemon
1/2 orange
1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp black pepper

Summer Watermelon Salad
2 ears fresh corn grilled and shaved from cob
1/2 watermelon cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup cilantro rough chopped
1 lbs feta cheese cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 small red onion thinly sliced


Preheat grill with two cooking zones, a hot zone and a cool zone. Place all marinating ingredients in a food processor excluding olive oil. Pulse until roughly chopped.

Turn on food processor and slowly add olive oil in a steady stream until well blended.

Coat chicken well and place on the hot zone of the grill.

Grill for 4 minutes then turn chicken 45° and grill for an additional 2 minutes.

Move chicken to cool zone, place lid on grill and finish cooking until internal temperature of chicken is 165 degrees.

Store cooked chicken in fridge overnight.

For the Summer Watermelon Salad: Mix all ingredients together and place in resealable container. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving so the flavors of the salad have time to blend together. Serve chilled sliced chicken over watermelon salad.

Chef tip: All of this will taste better if you prep the day before! Prep, marinate and grill chicken the day before and store in fridge overnight for best results and maximum flavor.

Accordion Prosciutto and Melon

"Heirloom Kitchen" cookbook author Anna Francese Gass shared an Italian classic combo that's easy to slice and skewer for a simple sweet and savory starter or side.

Prosciutto , thinly sliced
Cantaloupe melon, cut into cubes


See above Instagram tutorial and caption.

Tortellini Salad

Ingredients for leftover tortellini pasta salad.
ABC News

"Tortellini makes for a great pasta salad. Add some hard boiled egg, mozzarella and roasted red peppers to some tortellini with a little olive oil and red wine vinegar and you have a hearty meal that tastes great at room temp," Gass said.

Tip: This can be made with penne or any other short pasta. Add any preferred toppings and swap out the cheeses and protein.

1 lb. tri-color cheese tortellini
1 cup ciliegine, drained and halved
1/2 cup hard salami, chopped small
1/2 cup soppressata, chopped small
1 large shallot, minced
1 14oz can 365 Everyday Value artichokes in water, drained and chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup pitted Castelvetrano olives, chopped
2 sliced fire-roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, for garnish

Vinaigrette – mix all together in a mason jar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cook tortellini based on package instructions; cooking in boiling water 2-3 minutes until they float. Drain and rinse to prevent overcooking and empty the tortellini into a large bowl and pour vinaigrette over the pasta. Mix and set aside.
Chop the other ingredients above, add to the bowl with the tortellini and toss until everything is evenly coasted. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Tastes great cold or at room temp. Enjoy!

Eggplant Caprese

Tomato, mozzarella and basil get's a little more oomf in this upgraded veggie-forward dish with the addition of a thinly sliced piece of eggplant that gets a kiss of cook on a grill pan or grill. Let it sit, chill and allow the flavors to meld together for an ultimate summer dish.

Chilled Soba Noodle Salad with Cucumber, Sesame and Ginger

Chilled soba noodles with cucumber and sesame, scallion, and ginger sauce.
The Simple Veganista

This dish is packed with cool and refreshing ingredients and topped with a sweet and spicy ginger scallion sauce that makes for a perfect lunch or dinner.

Total Time: 16 minutes

1 package (8 or 9 oz.) soba noodles
1 large English cucumber, julienned
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
Lime wedges
Ginger Scallion Sauce
3/4 cup scallions (green onions), thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated or minced
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 – 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (unseasoned)
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 – 2 tablespoons tamari, soy sauce or Namo Shoyu
1 – 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, to taste
1/2 teaspoon sriracha, optional

Sauce: In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.
Soba noodles: Cook soba noodles according to package. I recommend salting the water well to really bring out the flavor (I would not usually recommend this but if using 100% buckwheat noodles they will benefit from this…at least I think so). Once done, rinse the soba noodles under cool running water to cool them down and stop them from cooking, or they will turn mushy.
Cucumber: In the meantime, prepare your cucumber using a julienne tool. If your cucumber is really long, you can cut it in half before you julienne it if you like. You can also spiralize if you have a spiralizer. Feel free to cut them into ¼ inch x 1 ½ inch matchsticks pieces if you don’t have a julienne tool.
Combine: Once noodles are rinsed, return to the pot they cooked in, add the cucumber, cilantro and about three quarters of the sauce, toss well. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Serve: In a single serving dish, add half of the noodle mixture, top with half of the remaining sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Add as much lime juice as you like. I especially loved the lime and used about 2 juicy ones for myself.
A serving of cubed tofu pairs well here, adding more protein.
I specify English cucumbers here but 2 – 3 Persian cucumbers will work too. Look for thinner cucumbers as they are the easiest to work with when using a julienne tool.
You can use regular sesame seed oil, but toasted sesame seed oil will yield the most distinct and delicious flavor!