The results are in. We have our top 13 spectacular recipes for the 13 weeks of summer. From standards like pickles and sandwiches to more adventurous fare like caprese salad and quinoa donuts, we’ve taken existing recipes to a healthy new level. For years, we’ve proved that the robust qualities of some of our nation’s most beloved dishes don’t have to suffer when made healthy.
These 13 recipes have been our most popular this summer, but they’re only the tip of our recipe iceberg. With only days remaining before autumn, try to fit a couple of these delicious recipes into your weekend cooking schedule, they’ll surely surprise and delight your friends and family as you toast the end of the sunshine season.
The best part about a club sandwich is that you don’t have to be a member to enjoy its delicious crunch and juicy mouthfeel. Whether you’re at a deli, brunch spot, or gastropub, if you see a club sandwich on the menu, you know it’s a solid choice. But you also know it will probably have ungodly sodium levels and contain meat from who knows where. That’s why our recipe uses humanely sourced meat from Applegate that’s organic, low in sodium, and hormone free. Once we subbed in fresh avocado slices for the usual mayo and stuck it all between two pieces of sourdough, this sandwich reached enlightenment.
12. Rainbow Smoothie
The CDC says only 14 percent of adults get their daily recommended dose of fruits and vegetables. Reality makes participating in a plant based diet quite a challenge, that’s why our Rainbow Smoothie is such a gem. The concept is simple: choose one fruit or vegetable from each color family—ROYGBIV—combine with yogurt in a blender and BAM, you’ve got seven servings of fruits and veggies in your cup. It’s fun, easy, and healthier way to taste the rainbow!
Carrot Cake for breakfast? I think I have your attention. In a recipe we developed exclusively for Grimmway Farms, we combined the decadence of carrot cake with vegan principles. We used Grimmway’s carrots, fresh pineapple, walnuts, coconut milk, and vanilla to make these soft but toasty pancakes. Top them with a schmear of cream cheese, a drizzle of honey, and walnuts to make these hotcakes sing.
Cherry limeades are not only synonymous with summer refreshment, they’re a downright national treasure. But our editor Brandi just couldn’t let the classic recipe suffice, so she spiced it up with jalapenos. Pitting fresh cherries is the most tedious aspect of the recipe, but when they mingle with bubbly club soda, fresh lime juice, turbinado sugar and tangy jalapenos, the flavor tango is totally worth it.
As the summer winds down and your garden yield begins to dwindle, our Freekeh salad recipe is the perfect avenue to put your veggies to good use. Freekeh, a roasted green wheat with a hearty, nutty taste and a texture similar to rice, is super easy to prepare and great for you. The recipe only uses nine ingredients, all of which you can find at the farmer’s market, and is a gorgeous dish to boot. Tomatoes add sweetness, cucumbers give it a fresh crunch, and basil and chives give it a yummy kick.
This revelation of a recipe became the talk of our office building a few weeks ago. These are pickles the way God intended them to be: crisp, tangy, sweet, and not radioactive-green. Not only are they mouthwateringly good and easy to make, but they’ll impress your peers and look fabulous on your Pinterest.
It is possible to make a healthy breakfast donut that actually tastes good, and this PBJ Quinoa Donut is our proof. Almond butter and quinoa provide a low-carb and gluten free batter, the raspberry jam adds sweetness, and once the cinnamon and vanilla starts playing around, you have a totally tasty treat. Swap coconut milk for the skim milk and it’s vegan!
This recipe uses only the best Talenti sorbetto, your favorite bottle of cab sauv, and fresh berries, so we don’t need to convince you how good it is. But if that brilliant picture intimidates you, have no fear, our hapless intern Patrick was able to pull off this cocktail recipe flawlessly. Enjoy these < 225 calorie cocktails before summer’s gone for good.
An organic, sustainable, and addictive little alternative to convenience store candy bars, your kids will never even know our chocolate bar is good for them. The recipe has two ingredients—dark chocolate and quinoa—but melting the chocolate during prep is the best part. Kids will love every step of the process, especially the final reward.
Donut sandwiches are all the rage right now; they’re being served at fast food joints, foodie haunts, and state fairs around the country. We crafted our very own donut concoction that won’t instantly put you in a food coma. It’s dense, salty, sweet, and under 200 calories. Whip up a batch on Sunday and your kids won’t have a problem rolling out of bed for breakfast all week.
Using peaches instead of tomatoes in a caprese salad is a mouthwatering and savory way to enjoy one of summer’s sweetest fruits. Guest chef Adriene Rathbun shows how peach rounds are layered with slices of creamy mozzarella and lemony basil for a unique flavor as pretty as a work of art.
Waffles are a breakfast that kids and adults alike simply love. Ours are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, with freshly grated apples, warm cinnamon, and hearty oats. The dish is a perfect way to start off a Saturday morning for the whole family, or accomplish breakfast without fail during the week. Drizzle these puppies with honey instead of maple syrup to make mouths water.
The MOST POPULAR recipe of the season! Just a glimpse of a box of oatmeal cream pies will conjure memories of youthful bliss. As kids, little did we know how unhealthy those little pastries were. Mostly vegan and with ingredients like rolled oats, banana, and whole wheat flour, our cookie sandwich is better than the original. The filling is low-fat cream cheese and honey, and the whole process only requires two bowls and 20 minutes. Give your family the gift of an oatmeal cookie sandwich without the calories and processed ingredients.