Savory Summer Sides, Soups, Salads and Sauces...

By Kathleen Guagliano (Katg) on June 4, 2010

The heat is on and with summer quickly approaching it's a good time to start thinking about light and tasty dishes that not only satisfy but make use of the gardens bounty.

Nothing says summer like great salads, refreshing soups and recipes that make the best of your summer garden. There are so many ways to celebrate summer-fresh fare and here are just a few idea's to take full advantage of the seasons samplings… 


Easy Gazpacho - A lovely light and refreshing Cold Soup

This is really good when you’re feeling over-heated and just feel like something easy, light and refreshing. It’s really good if you have fresh grown tomatoes that you don’t know what to do with or when you find good ones at the Market. It’s so simple.


5 medium sized ripe tomatoes
½ large Onion chopped
1/3 English cucumber peeled and chopped
2 Cloves Garlic chopped
½ Green Pepper, seeded and chopped
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
½ Bunch of fresh parsley (or Cilantro if you like it)
Lots of salt to taste to wake up the tomatoes
Pepper to taste
8 ozs of spicy V8 juice (or tomato juice -
bloody Mary mix works too)
1/3 teaspoon paprika
Half and half cream (optional)

A cute little Summer Garnish:

2010-06-04/Katg/0f84c3Cut the root end off. Starting about 1-inch away from the green part, make several lengthwise close together cuts in the white part toward the root end. Leave about 3 inches of the green stalk above the cuts you just made.

Place in ice water until ready to use, the thin cuts will flair out and curl up making a brush.


Boil a saucepan full of water and drop the fresh tomatoes in for about 30 seconds. Remove from the water and peel them under cold running water. Chop them coarsely.

In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatoes, garlic, chopped onion, cucumber, green pepper, olive oil, vinegar, parsley and salt and pepper. Blend to your desired texture, I like mine finer, but some people like it chunkier. Just keep testing while blending. Stir in the V-8 juice and paprika. Put it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to blend flavors and chill.

Optional: When you put it in the bowls to serve, pour about a teaspoon of half and half on top…it just gives it a little richer texture. You can also add some Hot-sauce if you’re into real spicy! Makes about 4 servings.

I always look forward to the leftover bowl for breakfast! 





Roasted Red Pimento Peppers

If you come across some nice Red Peppers (especially ones on sale as they’re so expensive these days!) or if you have an overabundance in your garden, here’s a great way to prepare them! They are great on their own as a side, a wonderful addition to a sandwich and are lovely when paired with cream cheese.



Cut the Peppers in half, remove the seeds and trim off the top. Trim the inside soft spiney stuff also.

Heat your grill and get it very hot. Lay the Peppers on the grate and let them roast – they can actually get a little black on the outside (but not too much!). Keep turning them until they are cooked on all sides.

Place them into a paper bag and let them cool down and then peel them. The skins will pop right off!

In this case I made a cold salad of baby artichokes, olives and peppers with an oil/garlic/vinegar drizzle! So good and very Pretty! These can also be put in zip lock bags and frozen. When thawed, they come out just as tasty!

Toasted Almond, Cranberry and Spinach Salad

Ths is an absolutely amazing and taste tantilizing salad. It's a real crowd pleaser and a regularly requested recipe. I'm not really into sweet dressings, but this one is so refreshing and good! I think the toasted almonds are the key here!


1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup almonds, blanched/slivered
1 pound baby spinach
1 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons minced onion
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup cider vinegar

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook and stir almonds in butter until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and let cool. In a large bowl, combine the spinach with the toasted almonds and cranberries. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, and vegetable oil. Toss the dressing with spinach just before serving. It is sooooo good!


Easy and tasty Red Pepper Hummus Dip

I really like Hummus, but when you buy it in the grocery store it's kind of tasteless. This one has a little zip to it! You can find Tahini in the ethnic section of the grocery store - It’s sesame paste.


1 medium size red bell pepper cut into 1/2" pieces
1 16oz can of Garbanzo beans drained
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 1/2 tablespoons of Tahini
2 small cloves of garlic minced
1 fresh lime juiced
a couple small dashes of worchestershire
1 sprig of rosemary - leaves only (optional)
A couple sprigs of parsley finely chopped
Salt to your liking (keep tasting as you blend)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Combine everything into a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth! Add the chopped parsley and blend it in. That's it. I serve it with these little pita rounds I buy from Sams Club, but it's good on any cracker. It's really tasty when your first make it but even better when you let it sit a while in the refrigerator.


Tangy Dilly Potato Salad

What would Summer be without Potato Salad? I Love Potato Salad and make it several ways. Hot/Cold/Skins on/Skins off – I like this recipe when I'm in the mood for the tangy variety! Personally I like Russet potatoes for this as they’re a little drier and really absorb the dressing, but generally any potato will do. We also have a recipe for German Potato Salad contributed by Ilonka that has been very popular with Cubit members. Click here


About 6 large potatoes –
4 hard boiled eggs
1 medium onion chopped
1 large stalk of celery chopped
½ red pepper chopped
1 dill pickle chopped
2 slices of crisp bacon for garnish (optional)
Paprika for garnish
Vinegar to sprinkle potatoes


¾ cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup of half and half or whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoons of white Vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons of sugar
½ teaspoon of dry mustard
½ teaspoon of dried dill weed (or a teaspoon fresh)
½ teaspoon of salt
¼ teaspoon of black pepper
1 garlic clove minced or finely chopped


More photos:



 Wash your potatoes well and cut them in half. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the potatoes and cook until tender but not falling apart (about 25 minutes). In the meantime, boil your eggs.

Chop your Onions, Celery, pepper and pickle…

When the potatoes are cooked drain them and let them cool down.

Peel and chop them (I like mine chunky but it’s all personal preference). Sprinkle them lightly with white vinegar. Peel and chop your eggs and add to the bowl.

Make the dressing by combining the mayonnaise and cream. Stir well and add the vinegar as this will thicken it up. Add the sugar, dry mustard, dried dill weed, salt, pepper and minced garlic.

Add the chopped veggies/pickle to the potatoes and eggs and lightly mix. Add ¾’s of the dressing and combine well. Keep adding it until you come up with a nice creamy consistency – but you don’t want it too runny.

Garnish with a little paprika and add the bacon if desired. Put in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to chill. Love this even better on Day2!


 2010-06-04/Katg/9d4178  2010-06-04/Katg/365431  2010-06-04/Katg/cd3b6e
Chop your Onions, Celery, pepper and pickle…  When the potatoes are cooked drain them and let them cool down.  Make the dressing by combining the mayonnaise and cream. Stir well and add the vinegar as this will thicken it up. Add the sugar, dry mustard, dried dill weed, salt, pepper and minced garlic.

The Freshest and Lightest Tomato Sauce

This is probably my favorite tomato sauce of all time. It doesn't have a lot of ingredients but it's light and good and the taste is so pure and lovely. It is the true essence of a tomato! If your tomatoes aren't super-ripe than just put them into a paper bag for a day or put them into a bowl and let them sit and ripen a bit more for a couple of days.


24 small very ripe fresh tomatoes (Roma preferably)
5 Large cloves of Garlic/cut in half
Olive Oil
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary – chopped
2 sprigs of fresh parsley – chopped
A handful of fresh basil leaves – coarsely chopped
1 hot pepper (optional)
Salt to taste




Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil...In the meantime assemble your Garlic/Basil/Parsley and Rosemary

While the water is boiling - cover the bottom of a large saucepan with Olive Oil. Heat on medium and saute the Garlic Cloves (and hot pepper if using) until brown. Remove from the oil and discard. Turn off the heat until the tomatoes are prepped and chopped.

Plunge your tomatoes into the boiling water. When you see the first tomato split it's skin (45 seconds?)'s time to remove them. Retain the tomato water to boil the pasta if you like.

Let the tomatoes cool a bit or peel them under cold running water...Trim off the ends and any hard core.

Chop the tomatoes into a rough dice (no scrunching or milling). Add about a tablespoon of salt to the mix and let it drain in a colander over a bowl to retain the juices. I do this because some tomatoes are very wet and it really dilutes the sauce and takes a long time to cook down. These tomatoes were very good and I didn't get a lot of juice. Keep the juice!

Heat up the oil and when hot, add the tomatoes. You'll get a nice sizzle sound. Simmer over medium heat for about 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally until thickened. If it gets too thick...add some of the retained juice.

Chop the rosemary and parsley and add it about 15 minutes into the cooking.

Taste and add salt if needed (tomatoes need a lot of salt to bring out their flavor) Add some pepper.

Meanwhile...Prepare your pasta. I find this sauce is good on most but really goes well with a small rigatoni or penne.

for more detailed instructions:

2010-06-03/Katg/a2f96b 2010-06-03/Katg/7155cd 2010-06-03/Katg/181ab0
Roma tomatoes really don't have a lot of seeds but some other varieties do. If they bother you just cut the tomato in half after it's boiled and peeled and scoop them out. Tomatoes need a lot of salt to bring out their flavor. Add some pepper and after cooking, the sauce will look something like this.
When the pasta is ready...drain it and put it back into the pot. Chop and add the basil and a few scoops of the sauce along with a couple of tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Gently mix it all up well and let the sauce soak into the pasta. mmmm!


I sincerely hope that if you try these recipes you truly enjoy them. I also hope that nobody gets insulted that I include photo's of simple things like chopping veggies, etc.. I think a photo is worth a thousand words and personally, I love cook-books with photo's. This article is meant to appeal to everybody's cooking level whether it's beginner or advanced.

Happy Summer Cooking!

Related articles:
light dishes., summer cooking

« More articles

Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
Roasted red peppers weeds Jun 13, 2010 9:02 PM 2
Dill is ready! Dea Jun 12, 2010 2:19 PM 2
Gazpacho AlohaHoya Jun 4, 2010 10:53 PM 4
A Coincidence nap Jun 4, 2010 10:11 PM 4
Perfect timing! Trish Jun 4, 2010 10:03 PM 1
Yummy! Zanymuse Jun 4, 2010 12:04 PM 8

La Cucina di Kat

Aka: “Kat’s Kitchen”. A warm and friendly place to really talk about good food, tell stories and share recipes from days gone by. Good down to earth cooking with an ethnic flair!

» Home
» Forums
» Articles
» Pages
» Database

Cubit owner: Katg