It's late summer, and things are winding down. Kids are going back to school, the leaves start changing colors, and it feels like summer is fading away. But there's no need to be sad! We've compiled a list of 10 Summer Recipes that will help you not only enjoy your last few weeks of summer but also improve your health in the process!
The MD Guide to Late Summer Recipes!
We're creeping up on the arrival of fall, but that doesn't mean we don't have time for some late summer recipes! And even though we know the lists out there might be full of all sorts of ideas for pumpkin pie and other fall treats, we're going to focus on a few summer recipes that might make you look forward to Summer's last days.
Still, it wouldn't be a list of Mastering Diabetes recipes if it didn't follow an eating plan that will help you lose weight, gain more energy, maximize your insulin sensitivity, and improve your cardiovascular health. This list is no exception!
And the best part? No need to watch the serving size on these summer dinner ideas and recipes because they're all rich in green-light foods that you can eat to your heart's content!
The Low-Fat, Plant-Based, Whole Food Diet
Central to the Mastering Diabetes Method is the idea of eating a low fat, plant-based, whole-food diet. We've talked about it before, and we'll keep talking about it until everyone starts listening!
Why? Because this type of approach is the only way to eat that has been proven time and again in clinical studies to reduce body weight, improve your cardiovascular health, and most importantly, reverse insulin resistance, the underlying cause behind prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes and most type 1 diabetes and type 1.5 diabetes complications.
Let's break down exactly why we love this diet so much...
Reverse Insulin Resistance (And A Whole Lot More!)
A low-fat, plant-based, whole food diet is by far the best way to reverse insulin resistance, which is the underlying cause of prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes and most type 1 diabetes and type 1.5 diabetes complications.
Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body's cells do not respond to insulin properly, causing a build-up of glucose (sugar) in your blood. This can lead to serious complications like blindness and nerve damage that sometimes even require limb amputations.
But it doesn't have to be this way! Through lifestyle changes alone we've seen patients reverse their symptoms of insulin resistance and reduce or eliminate their medications.
But how do we know this works? Because a low-fat, plant-based, whole food diet has been proven to reverse insulin resistance in peer-reviewed research for almost 100 years!
And it's not just diabetes health that is impacted...
Live Longer with Plant-Based Eating
Have you ever heard of Blue Zones? They're areas of the world where people are known to live exceptionally long lives.
And they all have one thing in common...
A plant-based diet!
You might not think that your eating habits impact how long you'll live, but it's true. And some studies show that a plant-based diet can add up to ten years of extra life!
In addition, a low-fat, plant-based diet can reduce your risk for heart disease, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels naturally without medication, decrease the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes more than any drug or medical device on the market right now, and drastically improve your quality of life.
Reach Your Target Weight With Confidence
Have you ever struggled with a few extra pounds? Well, if you're like the majority of Americans, chances are high that it's not your fault.
Instead, blame our oversized food portions and excess intake of animal proteins!
These things have been shown to make us eat more without even realizing what we've done or why we feel so full. And while cutting back on calories is an effective way to lose weight, it's not always the most realistic approach for everyone.
This is where a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet comes into play!
Not only does this type of eating naturally curb your appetite without counting calories or restricting food groups (like carbs), but you'll also be adding foods rich in fiber and nutrients that your body needs to function optimally.
Have More Energy with Plant Based Foods
We all know that feeling of hitting the mid-afternoon slump at work, right? It's not a good place to be. But what you may not realize is that your energy levels are affected by what you eat more than you think!
Sugar and processed carbohydrates can make things even worse because they cause an energy spike followed by a crash, which is what you don't want when it comes to feeling good and remaining productive at work (or anywhere else for that matter).
But if you fill up with calorie providing, low-fat, plant-based foods listed in our green light food category, your body , your body will be able to run more efficiently. Remember to focus on fruits, starchy vegetables, legumes and intact whole grains!
You'll have more energy to do the things you love and live your best life without feeling like a zombie at work or school!
And Improve Your Immunity!
Did you know that your immune system performs better when you're eating a low-fat, plant-based whole-food diet?
Well it's true!
That's because plants are packed with phytonutrients our bodies need to fight off infections and stay strong. And since plant-based foods also contain antioxidants, these tasty treats can help with healing and repairing cells in your body, too!
This is especially important when it comes to staying healthy during the cold winter months. And if you're already sick with a cold or flu , eating plant-based foods can help you feel better faster because they contain more nutrients that are naturally anti-inflammatory than animal proteins do.
And Completely Vegan (If You Want!)
And the best part of these recipes? Well, they're all 100% vegan!
That means they don't contain any animal products or byproducts, which is the foundation of a plant-based diet. So if you're looking to reduce your intake of these ingredients and want some delicious recipes that won't make you feel like you're missing out on anything at all? You've come to the right place.
We've got tons of summer recipes that are easy to make, taste amazing and will keep you full for hours on end!
So what are you waiting for? Let's get started with these delicious plant-based dishes today!
Where to Find Your Favorite Ingredients?
But before we dive into the best summer recipes we could think of, we wanted to let you know where exactly you can find all of your favorite plant-based ingredients.
The Local Farmer's Market
Picking up food from the local farmer's market is a great way to get your hands on fresh fruits and veggies. In fact, you never know what interesting tasty treats you might find here, whether it's interesting summer produce, a refreshing summer side dish, or just some great local takes on your favorites.
You'll also be supporting the small businesses in your community that are trying their hardest to provide you with top-quality ingredients for an affordable price!
Your Local Grocery Store
Still, not everyone has access to a local farmer's market.
That's okay! Just head over to your neighborhood grocery store and see what they have in stock this summer.
You might be surprised by how many fresh, interesting plant-based foods are on the shelves, ready for you to pick up without having to make any special trips or order online.
We know it can feel like a hassle to come up with a perfect summer recipe, and then immediately strike out on ingredients. That's why we've come up with meals that come together in minutes, but are also easily put together with simple, delicious ingredients!
What We Don't Recommend
Now, before we get into these recipes, we wanted to make sure we added one important caveat. These are some of the best summer recipes we could find, but if you top them off with ice cream or whipped cream desserts, you're going to be counteracting some of the benefits.
That doesn't mean you can't enjoy tasty pies or cold sweet treats on a hot summer night, but while you're putting together these easy summer dinner ideas, just remember what your goals are!
Without Further Ado, On to the Recipes!
Sweet Potato Bruschetta
This may be the first time you've seen us replace bread with potatoes to make bruschetta! There are many different types of potatoes available at the market. This dish will work with any one of them!
We chose sweet potatoes because why not?! Russet potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes, and even purple potatoes will go great with the summer tomatoes on top.
There are essentially two steps to this recipe. Roasting the potato toasts and preparing the tomato topping.
It is very important that before you cook the potatoes, you season the potato slices. When testing this recipe, adding this step changed the flavor of the dish dramatically. We chose garlic powder to represent garlic toast.
You may not have thought of this before, but lentils go great with bruschetta. You could add lentils to the tomato mixture, or keep them on the side.
You could also serve this dish with a side salad or other cruciferous vegetables. Feel free to add balsamic vinegar, a bit of olive oil or any other sauce you enjoy for a summer dinner to remember!
Mango Banana Spinach Breakfast Bowl
Both the flavor and the texture of mango and banana go together very well. Pair these two fruits with any greens, and you will be nourishing your body with some of the most nutrient-dense calories around.
This bowl is easy to assemble and fun to dress up so get pumped to try new fun and simple breakfast recipe. Told you we'd have all sorts of easy summer recipes!
Just like all other fruits – there is a specific time of year in which mangoes are in season. This season where mangoes are the sweetest and juicy is in the hot summer months. April-October is generally mango season.
The more brightly colored the mango is, the sweeter it will be. You want to look for warm colors such as yellows, oranges, and reds when looking for mangoes. The brighter, the better!
To determine if a mango is ripe, you have to use your senses. Ask yourself some simple questions.
Does it smell very sweet? Is it soft to the touch, without being mushy? Is it discolored or browning? How does it taste?
Eating a mango when it is hard to the touch will result in a more difficult and fibrous texture. The flavor will be less sweet, and sometimes sour.
Eating mangoes when they are cheap typically means they are in season. Try different mangoes from different parts of the world, and write down the varieties you enjoy.
If you don’t have access to fresh mango, you can always substitute frozen mangoes for fresh ones.
Chickpea Lemon Puree
Do you love dips and are interested in trying a dip recipe that has a different texture and flavor profile to try?
Get excited for this recipe to spice things up from your normal routine!
Chickpeas can be bought at the store pre-cooked. When purchasing a can or jar of cooked, store-bought beans, it is important to look for a low-sodium or no added salt label. Many brands come with too much-added sodium, as well as other preservatives, and even sugar.
The fewer ingredients on the label, the better when it comes to store-bought beans. The other alternative is to make your own beans from scratch at home!
To make chickpeas on the stovetop, it is best to soak them prior to cooking them to reduce the cooking time down by about half. You will want to soak the chickpeas for 12-24 hours, then cook them for 40 minutes, or until desired tenderness is reached.
To make chickpeas using a pressure cooker, such as an instant pot, no soaking is needed to cook the chickpeas. Simply place the chickpeas and water in the pot, and cook on high pressure for about 50-55 minutes depending on the size of your instant pot.
Remember, reserve the liquid from which your chickpeas cook or come in, as it is great for thinning down dip without diluting the flavor!
A great option for a summer lunch, or as an addition to some other summer dinner ideas!
Refreshing Apple and Berry Bowl
If you have yet to discover the fun world of food plating, this recipe is the perfect place to start.
Making simple recipes can allow for any extra time to go towards plating food to make your plate look just as beautiful as it makes you feel!
The fruits we chose for this recipe are very easy to cut, there is no wrong way to cut them. Leave the berries whole or cut them into half, the banana can be sliced lengthwise or into small coins, and the apple’s core can be removed and then cut into small pieces.
Don’t be afraid to mix up how you would normally cut fruit, you can use small cookie cutters, special techniques, and even a mandolin!
Also, depending on where in the world you live, you will have access to all different kinds of fruit. We encourage you to try new fruits when they become available to you.
Apart from standard grocery chains, you may have access to local farmers’ markets, local community-supported agriculture shares, Asian or ethnic markets. There are also some businesses and farms online which allow you to buy anything from imperfect produce to high-end rare tropical varietals (we recommend Miami Fruit, and you can save 5% with them when you use code MASTERINGDIABETES).
If accessing any of these options is not possible, remember you can always buy frozen fruit, and allow it to thaw before placing it into your fruit bowl. This is especially helpful for those living in more remote areas without access to a large variety of fresh fruits.
Remember, eating great doesn't mean summer dinner ideas! A great summer meal can be everything from breakfast to a dessert that'll make you forget about ice cream!
Easy Homemade Potato Chips
Who says potato chips can’t be eaten and taste delicious while following the Mastering Diabetes Method?
This recipe is slightly more technical than other recipes we have shared because the cut sizes of the potato slices matter.
While being a bit more technical to prepare, this recipe is very easy to cook and will have you making homemade potato chip variations all the time!
The combinations of spices that can be used to make potato chips are endless. You can make your own barbecue chips by adding chili powder, smoked paprika, and paprika to this recipe.
You could add vinegar to make your own vinegar chips. You could add fresh or dried herbs like dill to make your own dill chips! The possibilities are endless.
These potato chips are delicious enough to eat on their own, but they can also be dipped in different homemade sauces or turned into potato nachos as shown below.
Have fun with this green light summer recipe and enjoy the freshest potato chips you’ve ever eaten!
Zucchini Noodles with Mango Tomato Sauce
Have you ever wanted to try and level up your summer dinner ideas, and transform your everyday tomato sauce and pasta recipe?
In this recipe we do just that, adding fruits to mask unripe flavors, turning vegetables into noodles, and boosting the flavor profile and the nutrient value of the meal at the same time.
Mixing together sweet and savory foods can make for some of the most interesting and successful flavor combinations. In this recipe, we include a savory tomato sauce, combined with sweet mango to make an epic sauce for zucchini noodles.
Tomatoes have both savory and sweet flavors, and combining tomatoes with fruit is a simple way to create a delicious meal.
In this recipe, you’ll blend the tomatoes up with other ingredients to make an easy and delicious sauce. Be sure to pulse the ingredients together in your food processor or blender (as opposed to pureeing the ingredients) to ensure that the sauce has the right consistency and isn’t too watery.
Stuffed Breakfast Potato
Get ready to dig into this delicious savory breakfast option. You will want to stuff potatoes every day after you try it!
Who says stuffed potatoes are only a dinner food? Not us! This recipe can be used for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but we recommend trying it out for breakfast. Sweet breakfasts can get repetitive, so if you haven’t had a savory breakfast in a while, now’s the time to switch it up!
We wanted this recipe to be beautiful and nutrient-rich, so we like trying to get as much color as possible on our plates. Red onion, red bell pepper, broccoli, mushrooms, sweet potatoes are all vegetables featured in this recipe. You can use any vegetables you enjoy, or any you need to clean out of the fridge.
Stuffed Delicata Squash
Have you ever tried stuffing a delicata squash before? If not you’re in for a delightful surprise.
Delicata squash with its long and narrow shape and a hole in the center is perfect to fill with ingredients. Its skin is edible and adds a deliciously earthy flavor to this recipe.
Altogether, this is a simple, elegant dish that makes for a new, fun, and creative way to put together a hearty and filling meal.
The stuffing we chose to create for this recipe has savory notes, so that when cooked and eaten together with the squash, you get a perfect balance of both savory and sweet flavors.
Vegetarian Mushroom Chili
This hearty mushroom and corn chili will have you warmed up from your head to your toes! With smoky spices and sweet corn, this tomato chili covers all flavor bases making for an excellent potluck option.
Chili is a great type of recipe to help you reverse insulin resistance. Beans are naturally low in fat and nutrient dense. Some great options include navy, pinto, black, red kidney, and great northern beans.
You can serve this chili in a big bowl with a fresh squeeze of lime, or over your favorite kind of potato. This chili would also go great with quinoa or wild rice. Use this recipe to batch prep some meals for the week or keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Beet and Kidney Bean Burger
And finally, for our summer recipes, this easy-to-make burger has a large amount of fiber, protein, flavor, and color! Whether you serve it on a bun or on a lettuce wrap, it’s sure to be a show-stopper, and could easily become one of your favorite burgers to make.
Who doesn’t love an easy to make, nutrient dense burger recipe?
There are endless combinations of vegetables you can use to make delicious plant-based patties. Whether you're preparing meals for a busy week, or ensuring you have a delicious plant-based option for a special occasion or gathering, these burgers will wow you with color and flavor.
Adding to Your Fresh Summer List!
And to be honest, this is just the start of the best summer recipes we could put together. Because when it comes to putting together a summer recipe, summer dinner ideas, or just planning a summer meal when you want something quick, the Mastering Diabetes recipe page is a pretty great place to check.
More Recipes from Mastering Diabetes
And that's not the end of it. In fact, we've got a whole list of recipes for every occasion we'd love to share with you. Sure, we've got our favorite summer drinks, salads and sides, breakfast ideas for busy mornings (and lazy ones), and even desserts!
But we've also got meals for every season, whether that's a batch cooking dinner that keeps you going through the winter or a nutritious and filling meal for those warm summer days.
Learn More About the Mastering Diabetes Method
And if you're looking to learn a little bit more about how to reverse insulin resistance naturally with the help of real food and spices, we've got some great resources for you.
We have a number of free webinars that will walk you through everything there is to know about reversing type-two diabetes (and keeping it off!) And if that's not enough for you, we also have a course you can take at your own pace, and a collection of recipes and meal plans.
And maybe most importantly, you can learn from our expert diabetes educators, who have been working with real clients to reverse diabetes for years.
There's a reason that we refer people to the "A1c Miracle" so many people have experienced. Because the results are there.
The Mastering Diabetes Method is the groundbreaking, life changing method that has already helped thousands of people overcome diabetes with their diet, daily movement, and intermittent fasting.
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Other Articles You Might Like...
Mastering Diabetes has strict guidelines for scientific references in our articles. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, governmental organizations, and reputable medical organizations. We do our best to avoid using non evidence-based references in all articles. The references in this article are listed below.
Buettner, Dan, and Sam Skemp. “Blue Zones.” American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine 10, no. 5 (July 7, 2016): 318–21. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827616637066.
Freeman, Andrew M., and Nicholas Pennings. “Insulin Resistance.” In StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing, 2021. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507839/.
Medawar, Evelyn, Sebastian Huhn, Arno Villringer, and A. Veronica Witte. “The Effects of Plant-Based Diets on the Body and the Brain: A Systematic Review.” Translational Psychiatry 9 (September 12, 2019): 226. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-019-0552-0.
Puertollano, María A., Elena Puertollano, Gerardo Álvarez de Cienfuegos, and Manuel A. de Pablo. “Dietary Antioxidants: Immunity and Host Defense.” Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry 11, no. 14 (2011): 1752–66. https://doi.org/10.2174/156802611796235107.
Uusitupa, Matti, Tauseef A. Khan, Effie Viguiliouk, Hana Kahleova, Angela A. Rivellese, Kjeld Hermansen, Andreas Pfeiffer, et al. “Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes by Lifestyle Changes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Nutrients 11, no. 11 (November 1, 2019): E2611. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11112611.