Fresh (and Refreshing) Summer Meals

Meredith Newell of Taproot Catering   Photography by  Cat Mayer

Meredith Newell of Taproot Catering 

Photography by Cat Mayer

Light, refreshing food is welcome in the heat of the Western Colorado summer. These fresh recipes together make for a flavorful family-style meal made for dining al fresco — when time spent socializing around the outdoor table late into the evening is as important as satisfying hungry tummies.

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

(Paleo, Gluten Free, Whole30)

Serves 4

6 Tbs coconut aminos (I like Coconut Secret brand because they are not sweet.) 

2 Tbs toasted sesame oil

1 Tbs fish sauce (optional)

2 tsp honey or date sugar

Juice of 1⁄2 lime

2 Tbs sunflower oil or other neutral oil

1⁄2 cup thinly-sliced green onions, white and light green portions 

11⁄2 Tbs peeled and grated fresh ginger

2 garlic cloves, minced

1⁄2 tsp red pepper flakes

1-1⁄4 lb ground chicken

Lettuce leaves 

Bean sprouts 


Mint leaves

1. In a bowl, stir together the coconut aminos, sesame oil, fish sauce, honey,
and lime juice. Set aside.

2. In a wok or large fry pan, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the green onions, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add half of the coconut aminos mixture and cook 1 minute more.

3. To serve, spoon chicken mixture into lettuce leaves and top with bean sprouts, cilantro, and mint leaves. Serve the remaining coconut aminos mixture alongside for dipping.

Quick Pickled Veggies

1⁄2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar

1 Tbs coconut sugar

2 tsp kosher salt

1 cup thinly sliced vegetables (such as carrot, red onion, cucumber, edamame, and firm avocado)

Whisk vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add vegetables and let sit 10 minutes, squeezing gently with your hands occasionally to help them pickle more quickly.

Do ahead: Vegetables can be pickled three days ahead. Cover and chill until serving.

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Soba Noodle Salad

(Vegan, Gluten Free)

8 oz buckwheat soba noodles

2 cups sweet peas, trimmed and cut in 2-inch pieces 

1 medium carrot, grated

1 cup purple cabbage, sliced

1⁄2 cup scallions, minced

2 Tbs black sesame seeds, roasted

Salt and pepper to taste

1⁄2 cup cashew pieces, roasted

Sesame Ginger Sauce

2 Tbs lime juice

2 Tbs coconut aminos

1 Tbs honey

1 Tbs grated or minced ginger 

1 Tbs sesame oil

1⁄2 Tbs sambal oelek (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of salty water to a boil, and add soba noodles. Cook according to package instructions. Drain noodles in a strainer and rinse with cold water to stop cooking process.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sauce: lime juice, coconut aminos, honey, ginger, sesame oil, and sambal oelek.

3. Add the soba noodles, sweet peas, carrot, cabbage, scallions, and sesame seeds to the bowl with the sauce. Toss well to coat, and season with salt and pepper to taste before serving. Top with cashew pieces.