Perfect Summer Recipes: No Oven Required

In the heat of the summer, it can be hard to get motivated to cookespecially when it requires the oven or stove. But Ali Maffucci’s Inspiralized, is full of recipes that are fresh, healthy, and perfect for those hot summer days. Keep reading for excerpts and recipes for Cucumber, Avocado, and Strawberry Salsa and the Italian Zucchini Pasta Salad.

Cucumber, Avocado, and Strawberry Salsa
Cucumber, Avocado, and Strawberry Salsa_INSPIRALIZED


Who says salsa has to have perfectly cubed ingredients? Not those of us who are Inspiralized! It’s time to transform your salsas by using cucumber half-moons. Whenever I’m invited to a potluck barbecue or sporting event, where I know healthy foods will be scarce, I bring this filling snack. Not only is it fun to eat, but it’s also a conversation starter.

MAKES: 4 to 6 servings
TIME TO PREPARE: 15 minutes

If you’re preparing this salsa in advance, add the cucumber noodles at the last minute to avoid a buildup of moisture.

1 large seedless cucumber
1½ cups hulled and chopped fresh strawberries
1 very ripe avocado, diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 small jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
⅓ cup finely chopped red onion
1 teaspoon honey
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper

1. Slice the cucumber lengthwise halfway through. Spiralize using blade C. Pat the cucumber noodles dry to absorb moisture.

2. In a large bowl, combine the cucumber noodles, strawberries, avocado, cilantro, jalapeño, and red onion. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey and lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salsa and toss with the cucumber mixture to combine. Serve with chips or vegetable crudités.

Calories: 90
Fat: 5 g
Carbohydrates: 14 g
Sodium: 7 mg
Protein: 2 g
Sugar: 7 g


Italian Zucchini Pasta Salad



When Lu’s mother came to New Jersey to meet my family, I threw a dinner party. I wasn’t nervous about their meeting, but I was nervous about what to cook! I wanted to serve something that really reflected me, my Italian-American background, and my healthy kitchen skills. I decided on this classic pasta salad—just without the pasta. My sister’s boyfriend, who typically doesn’t like zucchini or anything else labeled “good for you,” practically licked his plate clean.

MAKES 3 to 4 servings
TIME TO PREPARE: 15 minutes

The longer this pasta salad marinates in the refrigerator, the deeper the flavors get and the softer the zucchini becomes. If possible, let it sit overnight. Shake it up just before serving.

For the salad
2 medium zucchini
1 cup quartered artichoke hearts, drained and patted dry
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup cubed provolone cheese
¾ cup diced salami
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
⅓ cup quartered black olives

For the dressing
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

1. Prepare the salad. Slice the zucchini halfway through and then spiralize using blade B. In a large bowl, combine the zucchini noodles with the artichoke hearts, tomatoes, provolone, salami, red onion, and black olives.

2. Make the dressing. Whisk the ingredients in a small bowl.

3. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and toss to combine. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, until the dressing begins to soften the zucchini. Serve chilled.

SERVING SIZE: 2 heaping cups
Calories: 214
Fat: 16 g
Carbohydrates: 10 g
Sodium: 416 mg
Protein: 8 g
Sugar: 3 g


Images and recipes courtesy of Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright 2015 by Alissandra Maffucci. Photographs copyright 2015 by Evan Sung.





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