Whether it’s the fact that you’re sick of stews, you’re pining for the beach more than ever, or a combination of the two, it’s hard to argue that a little bit of summery grub can go a long way when it comes to lifting your spirits during these cold winter months. From tropical inspired feasts to easy snacks reminiscent of summer, we’ve got your menu planning covered with this guide to beach inspired recipes.
Not sure what to do with all those peaches you froze last August? Defrost them and throw them into this amazing salsa that will make you feel like you’re soaking up some serious rays instead of watching NCAA football in your living room (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Paired with fresh corn chips and or used to top grilled chicken or fish, you’ll feel like summer regardless of what the thermometer says.
4 large peaches, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 Vidalia onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, diced
4 teaspoons distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix well, and serve.
Grilled Pineapple Skewers
If you haven’t already experienced the treat that is grilled pineapple, get ready to have your life changed. Who would have figured that this sweet, tropical fruit would fare so well over open flames? Served as a side or enjoyed as a snack, you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t agree that this is one of best beach-inspired treats around.
Cooking oil spray (coconut is a great option)
Trim pineapple and chop into uniform cubes. Spray each skewer with cooking spray. Add pineapple to skewers and place over the grill, cooking until the fruit becomes lightly charred. Flip skewers until all sides are evenly cooked.
Simple Caprese Salad
Easy to assemble and a total crowd-pleaser, caprese salad is a light, refreshing way to get a little taste of the warmer months year round. Served as a first course, it pairs wonderfully with heartier fare, making it a great choice for your next dinner party or potluck event.
4 ripe tomatoes
1 pound fresh mozzarella
1 bunch fresh basil
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground pepper
Slice tomatoes and mozzarella, layering onto serving dish. Drizzle with oil and vinegar. Season lightly with salt and pepper and and garnish with chopped basil.
Pesto Pasta Salad
Pasta salad practically screams summer bbq, making it the ideal dish to whip up when you’re wishing for warmer weather. Chances are you already have most of the ingredients on hand and it’s delicious served warm or chilled, making perfect for just about every occasion.
1 package pasta (fusilli and bow tie are both great options)
1 jar prepared pesto
1 container cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup black olives, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and combine with pesto, tomatoes, olives, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
Roasted Red Pepper and Chèvre Baguette
There’s something about the taste of roasted red peppers and chèvre that screams summer, even though the ingredients are readily available year round. Served on a fresh baguette, you’ve got yourself an easy sandwich that will have you dreaming of warm weather picnics and lazy afternoons, even if you’re eating at your desk.
Fresh baguette, sliced lengthwise in two
4 large red peppers
1 log of Chèvre
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place whole peppers on baking sheet in oven, leaving for 30 minutes or until skins are charred. Turn once or twice during roasting. Once ready, remove peppers from oven and place on a dish, covering it tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to sit for 30 minutes or until the peppers have cooled enough to be comfortably handled. Cut peppers into strips and drizzle with half of the olive oil, discarding seeds and stems.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Spread chèvre evenly on both side of the baguette and then layer peppers and onions. Drizzle with oil and vinegar and serve.
Watermelon, Cucumber and Mint Smoothie
(adapted from My Recipes)
Shake up your morning routine by swapping your green smoothie for this refreshing blend which promises to leave you dreaming of sandy beaches and salty air, even as you battle rush hour traffic or the morning commuter train crowds. Bonus if you garnish it with a tiny umbrella.
4 cups chopped frozen watermelon
1.5 cups chopped cucumber
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1.5 tablespoons agave nectar
Add ingredients to blender, mixing until smooth. Serve immediately.