The ideal summer menu for fans of meatless meals (that are so amazing omnivores won’t notice no animals were harmed) doesn’t follow one type of cuisine. It’s a combination of cuisines that fuse well: A little tropical, Indian, Mediterranean, Tex-Mex, Southwestern, and Southern. Basically, it’s all-American, the hodgepodge that makes eating throughout the U.S. so diverse and exciting.
And it is the best summer vegetarian menu Of. All. Time. We’re not over-selling this or anything. Noooo, we wouldn’t do that. (wink, wink) But really, we’ve curated nine of Chowhound’s most popular meatless dishes to chew and sip in the summertime.
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The Original Mai Tai
Our Perfect Margarita recipe is even more popular in the summer cocktail category, but that’s so obvious. When’s the last time you made a Mai Tai? Exactly. Get ready for tiki party time with this recipe, which originates with Trader Vic in the 1930s. You’ll need a somewhat obscure item — orgeat, an almond-sugar syrup — as well as orange curaçao, and then the usual suspects, like rum and mint. Get our The Original Mai Tai recipe.
Mint and Lime Iced Tea
The best menu of all time has to feature a nonalcoholic option that’s still interesting and refreshing. Throwing out the regular iced black tea with lemon is this recipe, which calls for green tea. It’s got all these health benefits, but what mostly matters to us is the winning flavor combination of tea, mint, lime, and sweetness. Get our Mint and Lime Iced Tea recipe.
Spicy Oven-Roasted Chickpeas
You gotta have a snack for people to munch on straight away while you finish cooking and compiling. Think of these chickpeas like those little bowls of bar snacks. Instead of pretzels and peanuts (oh, wait…is that airplane food?), you have crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-and-creamy-on-the-inside chickpeas, coated with cumin, chili powder, cayenne, and sea salt. Get our Spicy Oven-Roasted Chickpeas recipe.
This is our No. 1 most popular summer side dish of 2015, and we think you’ll love it in 2016 and beyond as well. Part of its appeal is how easy it is to make. You’ll have enough going on with this menu that everything can’t be labor-intensive. Zucchini is a summer vegetable that’s hard not to like, and a dash of red pepper flakes and shaved Parmesan go a long way. Get our Sautéed Zucchini recipe.
Fresh Corn and Tomato Salad
On the same note, this salad is pretty easy to make too. And it’s kinda light, which you’ll need when you see what’s coming next. The recipe highlights two of the best vegetables (or technically, a vegetable and fruit) in the summer. Both corn and tomatoes never taste better than when they’re fresh. Get our Fresh Corn and Tomato Salad recipe.
Now here come the heavy hitters on this menu. First you make the roasted tomato salsa, and then you roast some smoky poblano chiles. Seed it, and stuff those babies with gooey, melty, stringy cheese. The coating is actually low-carb, if that matters to you. It’s just whipped egg whites and then egg yolks. It’s not a pretty dish, but man, does it hit the spot. Get our Chiles Rellenos recipe.
Who doesn’t like enchiladas? The beauty of this main course item is that you can make it ahead of time. If you’re entertaining guests, that can be pretty handy. And, you can freeze leftover or extra enchiladas for later! Enchiladas all the time! You start by making the chile gravy. End with happy bellies. Get our Cheesy Enchiladas recipe.
Peach Pie with Pecan Streusel
We’ve been visiting the Southwest and Texas lately, and now we’re steering south and east to Georgia territory. Those guys know their peaches and pecans. Peaches are a summer stone fruit that you gotta eat while it’s around. So juicy. So sweet. If crusts aren’t your forte, it’ll be less noticeable with a streusel top. Get our Peach Pie with Pecan Streusel recipe.
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
You absolutely cannot, we repeat, cannot, have a fruit pie without vanilla ice cream. It’s a rule. A good one. This high-rated ice cream isn’t an unusual flavor, but it’s a classic for a reason. Plus, you don’t want to detract too much from the peachy flavors next door. Those scraped vanilla beans really are wonderful. Get our Vanilla Bean Ice Cream recipe.
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