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Cool Dinners for Hot Nights

Photo: Jennifer Causey

These five chilled recipes prove that staying cool doesn't have to mean sacrificing flavor.

As summer temperatures rise, and the willingness to cook diminishes, it's important to have a collection of cold dinners to fall back on. Switch out heavy pastas for satisfying grain salads, choose gazpacho instead of warm stews, and reach for chilled wraps in place of toasted sandwiches.

Five Fun Ways to Make Boozy Slushies

With these easy chilled recipes in your arsenal, you'll have no problem eating well all summer long.

Photo: Caitlin Bensel

Smashed Chickpea Toasts

A little reminiscent of both tuna salad and egg salad, this combo of coarsely mashed chickpeas, mayo, pickles, celery, and onion is all at once creamy, crunchy, and toothsome. We like serving it as an open-faced tartine or toast, but you can also sandwich it between two bread slices or serve it with whole-grain crackers.

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Mixed Grain, Cherry, and Snap Pea Salad

Bulgur, quinoa, and brown rice make for a nutty, wonderfully textured grain base in this salad, though you can omit the bulgur and double the quinoa for a gluten-free version. Extra crunch comes from fresh snap peas and red onion. Fresh cherries take the place of cherry tomatoes here—they burst on the tongue with a similar tart-sweet juiciness.

Photo: Victor Protasio

Spinach, Hummus, and Bell Pepper Wraps

Fresh, flavorful, veggie-packed, and ready in a 10-minute snap—now that’s a meal we can stand behind! Hummus delivers a winning combo of protein and healthy fat for staying power, while fresh bell peppers and spinach provide a satisfying crunch. Tomato-and-basil feta cheese adds a kick of salty tang and Mediterranean flair.

Photo: Greg Dupree

Crunchy Cucumber, Feta, and Almond Salad

Texture is the most satisfying element of a great salad. Crunchy and crisp vegetables signify freshness—they taste as vibrant as they look. Here we dial up the crunch with crisp romaine hearts, sliced cucumber, and coarsely chopped almonds (which lend much more texture than sliced or slivered nuts).

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Tichi's Gazpacho

This is an ideal recipe for ripe, peak-season farmers market produce. High-quality olive oil will make a big difference here. You can find Spanish extra-virgin olive oil at reasonable prices at Trader Joe’s, but any flavorful variety you have on hand will work.