Any Berry Sorbet or Granita
As local summer berries start to barrel into markets, they need to be dealt with right away. Sorbets and granitas capture the just-picked sun-kissed flavor in icy, bracing, refreshing treats, writes Beth Dooley. This recipe requires nothing more than a food processor, freezer and a little time — no need to pre-warm the oven or turn on a burner. You can vary the berries with what's in season, which makes it an ideal warm-weather treat all summer long.
Mexican Street Corn Pasta Chicken Salad
Employing strategies such starting to cook early in the day and cooking several meals worth of meat and vegetables when you do fire up the grill is how columnist Meredith Deeds beats the heat. In a 2018 column, along with her beat-the-heat tips she also offered a pasta salad recipe inspired by the iconic Mexican street food, elotes. You can sauté frozen kernels if sweet corn isn't available — or if you can't wait until prime Minnesota sweet corn season to try this recipe.
Two-thirds of all watermelons sold in the U.S. are grown in Florida, Georgia, Texas and California, and California and Arizona are the top cantaloupe producers. Which explains why the majority of melons sold in Minnesota supermarkets hail from elsewhere. That's a shame, wrote Rick Nelson in 2021, because nothing beats the flavor, texture, juiciness and alluring scent of a locally raised melon, a late-summer treat. That's where farmers like Jeff Nistler are making a difference. At his family farm in Maple Plain, he grows the trifecta of summer staples: melons, tomatoes and sweet corn. This recipe, found here, uses the often-maligned honeydew melon.
Shrimp Salad With Peas, Dill and Tarragon
A couple of summers ago, Rick Nelson became obsessed with this recipe from "How to Dress An Egg," a collaboration between New York City chef Ned Baldwin and longtime cookbook author Peter Kaminsky. He wasn't alone: The story was one of the most popular on our website that summer. Find the recipe here.
Open-Faced Steak and Arugula Sandwiches
Thinly sliced steak grilled steak, peppery arugula and rustic bread combine to make a light meal that elevates it from ordinary sandwich status. Making it open-faced accomplishes two goals, writes Meredith Deeds. Without the top piece of bread, the sandwich feels lighter — always a plus in the summer. It also forces you to eat it with a fork and knife, which just feels more special and slows things down a bit giving you a chance to relax and enjoy the meal. Find the recipe here.
Cucumber, Tomato, White Bean and Avocado Salad
There's not much more refreshing than cucumbers on a hot day (they say cool as a cucumber for a reason). And they grow prolifically almost everywhere, which is why they are key in recipes worldwide — from dainty British tea sandwiches, soothing Indian raita and spicy Asian marinades to Greek salads of salty feta and dark greens. Beth Dooley offers this salad: "With plenty of crunch, body and tang, this simple salad makes a terrific side dish and satisfying meal." Find the recipe here.
Strawberry Caprese Salad
Can you tell we're excited for strawberry season? Usually caprese salad puts tomatoes front and center, but author and cooking instructor Robin Asbell leans on strawberries. "It's not that crazy of a switch, since tomatoes are a fruit, right?" she wrote in 2018. "Sure, we usually eat strawberries as a vegetable, but there is plenty of sweet, tart and juicy fruitiness in there. Strawberries are also sweet, tart and juicy, and play well with milky fresh mozzarella. The familiar herbal flavor of sweet basil brings out the savory qualities of the fruit, letting you know that this isn't dessert. Find the recipe here.
Crab, Mango and Avocado Salad
Sandwiches and salads are the obvious choices when it comes to no-cook cooking, wrote Meredith Deeds. But when the temperatures soared in 2017, she made a dish that can fit both categories while still meeting the "keep it cool" theme. "I wanted to make a seafood salad that would be at home on a bed of lettuce and inside a sandwich roll." And that's how the Crab, Mango and Avocado Salad came about. Find the recipe here.
A repertoire of cooling cocktails — both spirit-filled and spirit-free — is a must. Last summer, Taste reporter Sharyn Jackson made the rounds to local bartenders and asked them to share summer cocktail recipes fueled by sunshine — and fresh flowers, herbs and fruit. Try a basil gimlet, Tropical Tequila or a Hibiscus and Orange Iced Tea (find the recipes here), or take to your herb garden and channel your inner mixologist and create your own.
And finally, a metro-area favorite. This salad from Yum Kitchen and Bakery first hit the menu in 2007, when the Star Tribune asked a handful of chefs for their best blueberry recipes. It became so popular that they sold the dressing by the bottle. Find the recipe here (you'll have to scroll down a bit).