What to cook when it’s hot

What to cook when it's hot

Do you get those emails from the New York Times — the ones that say “What to Cook This Weekend?”

Well, for anyone living in Portland, I'd say no one's going to feel like cooking anything.

Our weekend forecast looks like Phoenix in the summertime. Which wouldn't be so bad if we were actually set up like Phoenix, where it seems everyone has a pool in their backyard and misters on their patio.


what to cook when it's hot

During this heat spell here in Portland, most of us won't feel like firing up the oven or grill.

That said, I thought you could use some ideas for what to cook when it's hot.

Here are some ideas I have for hot weather meal prep…


thai chopped salad

Hot weather salads

Stock up different greens and veggies so you can make a beautiful salad — and don't forget to make your own dressing. Homemade tastes 1000% better than store bought. I'm going to pick up arugula, baby lettuce, radicchio and leaf lettuce for the greens, as well as bell peppers, radish and zucchini. Here's a simple Everyday Vinaigrette recipe that might come in handy.

For an especially colorful salad, try my Thai Chopped Salad with a Ginger Lime Vinaigrette. It's one of my most popular recipes and with good reason — it's beautiful on the plate, full of flavor, and packed with disease-fighting antioxidants.


Mocha Nice Cream recipe

Sweet treats

High temps require cool treats, don't you think? If you live in Portland, I highly recommend grabbing a plant-based cone or pint at Kate's Ice Cream. My family's favorites are Mint Chocolate Fudge, Marionberry Cobbler and Triple Chocolate Brownie. Oh, also Strawberry — it's crazy good!

If you don't live in Portland — or if you're trying to cut back on refined sugar — summer's the perfect time to make “nice cream.”

This means blending your favorite frozen fruit with a splash of plant milk in a high speed blender until you have something that resembles soft serve. Spoon it into a bowl and add your favorite toppings, such as cacao nibs, fresh berries, coconut flakes, and chia seeds. Recipes to check out include: Mocha Nice Cream, Double Chocolate Banana Nice Cream and this Strawberry Cacao Smoothie Bowl.

sweetpea smoothie

Smoothies for lunch… or dinner!

What else can we cook when it's hot? You could always have a smoothie for lunch… or even dinner. For something different, check out my Sweet Pea Smoothie — it'll give you a chance to use up those frozen peas you bought when the pandemic started. If you're looking for some tropical vibes to match the temperatures, blend up my Fresh Start Smoothie with Pineapple or this green smoothie with papaya and lime.


Marinated tofu

Do you like tofu? If so, I highly recommend marinating some to create plant based “feta.” I don't have a recipe for you just yet, but here's what I do: after removing the tofu from its packaging, I use a tofu press to remove excess liquid. Then I cube the tofu and marinate it in a combo of lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, crushed garlic, oregano, and some EVOO. In addition, I whisk some white miso paste into the marinade as my salt, and to add some umami flavor. Then I put the tofu back in the fridge and let it marinate for a few hours. When ready to use, I add it to a salad or just nibble on it as a snack. Instant protein — and so good!


watermelon slushie

Refreshing drinks… booze optional

Got watermelon? You could try this Watermelon Slushie. 

I also love to cold brew some hibiscus tea during the summer. You could use the tea to make this Hibiscus Mocktail.

And if you're a fan of Moscow Mules, but trying to cut back on alcohol, check out this Spiced Mule Mocktail.


spiced mule mocktail


I hope these recipes and ideas help you stay cool throughout these high temps. If you have questions along the way, connect with me over on Instagram at @mospo.

Wishing you peace, love and broccoli,

monica spoelstra metz




Do you want to eat a more plant based diet — but don't want to go all in?

Get on the waitlist for my new program, Part-Time Vegan — launching summer 2021.

Click here for details!



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