During the hot summer months, the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven and heat up the entire house. To accommodate for the heat, I’ve been making refreshing, plant-based dishes that require little to no cooking! 

Stephanie Gerson / Daily Nexus

Edamame Salad

While this recipe only has a few ingredients, lime and cilantro give the salad a delicious, powerful, tangy flavor!

Ingredients (makes 4 servings):

  • 1 package of frozen, shelled edamame
  • 2 ears of corn
  • 1 small container of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 medium avocado
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ¼ cup of cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

  1. Thaw the frozen edamame in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes.
  2. Steam the corn. I wrapped corn cobs in a paper towel on a plate and cooked them in the microwave for 2 minutes.
  3. Chop the cherry tomatoes in half and slice the avocado into small pieces.
  4. Combine the edamame, corn, tomatoes and avocado in a medium bowl.
  5. Add the lime juice, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Enjoy the salad on its own or with quinoa!

Stephanie Gerson / Daily Nexus

Tofu Spring Rolls

After seeing a few spring roll tutorials on social media, I realized that they weren’t too difficult to make! Spring rolls are also the perfect way to use up any vegetables that have been sitting in your fridge.

Ingredients (makes 6 spring rolls):

  • 6 spring roll wrappers
  • 1 cup leafy green of choice: spinach, butter lettuce, you name it!
  • 1 cup of thinly sliced veggies of your choice: carrots, cabbage and bell peppers are my favorite
  • ½ of a package of firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • Optional: a few sprigs of cilantro, chopped

For the peanut sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon of creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon of sriracha

Directions:

  1. Chop up all of the vegetables into thin slices and set aside.
  2. Slice the tofu into thin rectangles and saute on a pan with sesame oil for 3 minutes on each side.
  3. Fill a large pan with water, place it on the stove and turn on the burner to “simmer” mode or low heat.
  4. Carefully submerge a spring roll wrapper in the hot water for 10 seconds. The spring roll wrapper should be pliable but not too soft.
  5. Transfer the spring roll wrapper to a plate and line up the sliced vegetables and a few pieces of tofu on one end of the wrapper. Do not overstuff. Roll the spring roll toward you.  
  6. Repeat steps 4-5 for the remainder of the spring rolls.
  7. To make the dipping sauce, combine the peanut butter, soy sauce and sriracha in a small bowl and mix well. For a spicier sauce, add more sriracha.
  8. Dip your spring rolls into the peanut sauce and enjoy!

Stephanie Gerson / Daily Nexus

Slaw and Wild Rice Burger Bowl

I love this meal because it takes very little time to put together but has an array of different textures and tangy flavors. 

Ingredients (makes 2 bowls):

  • 1 cup of wild rice
  • 2 veggie burger patties — I used the Trader Joe’s Thai Style Veggie Burger, but I also love the Sweet Earth Natural Foods Teriyaki Veggie Burger
  • 1 medium avocado
  • Optional: hot sauce 

For the mango slaw:

  • ⅓ of a red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • ½ of a mango, chopped into chunks
  • ½ of a bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime or lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. Cook the wild rice according to the package instructions. This should take around 40 minutes.
  2. While the rice is cooking, prepare the slaw by cutting the cabbage, bell pepper and mango. Add to a bowl and combine with olive oil, citrus juice, salt, pepper and cilantro.
  3. A few minutes before the rice is finished cooking, cook the veggie burgers in the microwave or on a skillet.
  4. Create your base of wild rice and slaw, place your veggie burger on top, finish it off with sliced avocado and enjoy!

Hopefully these fresh recipes can save you on hot summer nights when you have no clue what to cook — now have a great summer and stay cool!

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Stephanie Gerson
Stephanie Gerson is a first-year student studying Art History at UCSB. She is from Palo Alto, California and she is passionate about sustainability, fashion, photography and vegan cooking. In her spare time, Stephanie loves going on bike rides on campus, catching up with friends, or spending hours on her latest embroidery piece!