Healthy and Simple Summer Recipes

Cool off with these refreshing dishes and desserts that are delicious and nutritious.

healthy summer recipes - gazpacho, smoothie and watermelon and feta salad
healthy summer recipes - gazpacho, smoothie and watermelon and feta salad

With so many flavorful fruits and vegetables available during the summer, healthy summer cooking is easy to accomplish — without even having to turn on the stove. “Many fruits, vegetables, and herbs are in season locally, making it a fantastic time to enjoy delicious, fresh foods,” says Georgia Giannopoulos, a registered dietitian and manager for NYPBeHealthy, NewYork-Presbyterian’s health and well-being program. “I love prepping cold recipes that do not require cooking, including mixed salads and summer fruit bowls.”

Maria Bondi, MA, RDN, CDN, an NYPBeHealthy well-being coach, says eating light, fresh meals helps keep you going during the long, hot summer days. “Summer tends to be a time where physical activity increases, so pairing increased activity with fresh, healthy foods can help fuel our bodies for increased movement,” she says.

Quick, light and bright are keys to a great summer dish. Here are five refreshing recipes that are perfect for a hot day.

healthy summer recipe for watermelon and feta salad

Watermelon Salad With Feta and Quinoa

Sweet meets savory in this juicy salad. The majority of the fat in this recipe comes from heart healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

Recipe Yield: 1 Serving

3/4 cup quinoa, cooked
1/2 cup watermelon, diced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 leaves basil or mint, roughly chopped
2 tsp low-sodium feta, crumbled

1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium-size pot.

2. Add 1 cup of quinoa and stir. Cook on medium-low heat 12-15 minutes until soft. Place into a bowl and cool. This may be done ahead of time and stored for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 1 year if stored in the freezer.

3. Combine watermelon and tomatoes in a medium bowl. Dress with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and lightly chopped basil or mint. Add quinoa and crumbled feta cheese and briefly toss salad. Plate and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 340
18g fat (48% calories from fat)
2.5g Saturated Fat (7% calories from saturated fat)
Sodium 115mg
Total Carbs 39g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Protein 9g

healthy summer recipe for gazpacho


This cold, refreshing soup includes a wide variety of healthy ingredients. It’s also versatile: Substitute different vegetables, herbs, and spices for a new experience each time.

Recipe Yield: 4 servings

1 1/4 cup canned, crushed tomatoes
1 1/4 cup cold water
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp fresh garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp picante salsa
1/4 cup bulgur wheat, raw
1 Tbsp shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
2 medium green peppers, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh basil, washed, finely chopped

1. Add bulgur wheat to boiling water and cook 5-10 minutes or until tender.
2. Drain bulgur wheat and set aside to cool.
3. Once bulgur wheat has cooled, combine all ingredients and serve chilled.

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 113
Total Fat 4g (32% of calories from fat)
Saturated Fat 0.3g (2% of calories from saturated fat)
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 620mg
Total Carbs 16g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Protein 3.2g

fish tacos

Fish Tacos With Lime-Cilantro and Cucumber Crema

The distinct flavors of cilantro, cumin, coriander, and paprika are the perfect complements to this light and flavorful dish.

Recipe Yield: 4 servings (2 tacos per serving)

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 cup cucumbers, peeled and quartered
2 cups nonfat Greek yogurt
1 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp lime rind, grated
1 garlic clove, minced

Fish Tacos
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 pound tilapia fillets (or cod, snapper)
1 tsp olive oil (to coat pan)
8 6″ flour or corn tortillas, or taco shells
2 cups green cabbage, shredded
1 medium avocado, sliced
Wedge of lemon
Salt to taste
1 jalapeno, chopped, or 1/2 cup fresh tomatoes, diced (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. For the crema, combine the first 6 ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and place in refrigerator.
2. To prepare the fish tacos, combine cumin, coriander, paprika, and garlic powder in a small bowl; sprinkle spices evenly on both sides of fish.
3. Coat baking sheet with olive oil and place fish on it. Bake for 10 minutes, or until fish flakes when tested with a fork. Then place fish in a medium bowl and break into small pieces with fork.
4. If using flour tortillas, heat a nonstick pan to medium heat and place tortilla in it until warm and soft. If using corn tortillas or taco shells warm in oven for 1 minute.
5. Divide fish evenly among tortillas or in taco shells; top each with 1/4 cup cabbage, sliced avocado, and 2 tablespoons crema.
6. Serve with wedge of lemon and add chopped jalapenos or diced tomatoes for extra spice and flavor.

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 517
Total Fat 16.2g (28% of calories)
Saturated Fat 3.3g (5.8% of calories)
Cholesterol 85mg
Sodium 524mg
Total Carbs 43g
Dietary Fiber 6.6g
Protein 51g

cantaloupe smoothie

Cooling Coco-Cantaloupe Smoothie

This delicious smoothie is refreshing and packed with protein, vitamins A and C, and potassium.

Recipe Yield: 2 servings

2 cups cantaloupe, cubed
6-oz container 2% vanilla Greek yogurt
1 cup coconut water
2 tsp agave nectar (may substitute with honey)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup ice cubes

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Nutritional Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 164
Total Fat 2.2g (12% of calories)
Saturated Fat 1.4g (7% of calories)
Cholesterol 5.6mg
Sodium 181mg
Total Carbs 27g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Protein 9g

peach popsicles

Protein-Rich Peach Popsicles

This sweet and healthy treat will cool you off under the hot summer sun. For a smoother popsicle, remove the peach skin before blending.

Recipe Yield: 4 popsicles

One 5.3-oz container Greek yogurt
2 ripe peaches, peeled and quartered
1/2 ripened banana
1/2 cup milk (any lowfat or plant-based milk of your preference)
1 tsp honey, or to taste
4 tsp low-fat granola, divided

1. Place yogurt into a blender with fresh summer peaches, banana, milk, and honey and blend until smooth.
2. Taste mixture, if it needs more sweetness add the honey and blend until mixed.
3. Pour mixture into popsicle molds, leaving some space at the top of the mold.
4. Add 1 tsp granola to each popsicle.
5. Freeze until solid, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Nutritional Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 100
Total Fat 1g (1% of calories)
Saturated Fat 0g (0% of calories)
Cholesterol 5mg
Sodium 40mg
Total Carbs 18g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Protein 6g

Three Creative Ways From NYPBeHealthy to Transform Fruit Into Ice-cold Treats

1. An easy, naturally sweet treat that’s fun to make with kids is Frozen Fruit Kebabs. Wash fresh green and red grapes; cube watermelon and pineapple and any other favorite fruit. Alternately thread the fruit pieces on a skewer (remember to leave enough room on the end of the kebabs so that people can easily hold them) and then pop into the freezer.

2. Transform bananas into Banana “Ice Cream” in an instant. Blend a frozen banana in a blender or food processor to create a refreshing treat with a soft-serve texture. Adding some milk will make the ice cream even smoother. Ripe bananas with brown spots make for even sweeter frozen bananas.

3. A bag of frozen cherries is a refreshing snack to keep on hand. Add them to plain Greek yogurt and let them thaw in the refrigerator for easy homemade Cherry Greek Yogurt. Topping yogurt with frozen fruit instead of buying fruit-flavored varieties allows you to control both the taste and sugar content.

Recipes and nutritional facts courtesy of the chefs and registered dietitians at NewYork-Presbyterian. For more delicious, healthy recipes, visit

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