Summer is one of our favourite seasons. With it comes more outdoor dining (think picnics and BBQs), and enjoying a wider variety of fresh, vibrant summer foods. For many of us, it can also be quite a busy time as we attend work Christmas parties, catch up with friends and start winding things down for the year here in the southern hemisphere.
If you’re looking for some delicious summer meals and recipes for your next work do or social gathering, we’ve got some ideas to get those creative culinary juices flowing. From ready to eat dishes to meals on the go, let’s celebrate all things summer!
Best summer foods to nosh on
As the temperature starts to rise, you might find you’re craving cold foods and lighter meals. It’s always a good idea to eat seasonally, so the best summer foods to eat are the ones that naturally grow during the warmer months. Think berries, melons, spinach, tomatoes and stone fruits, like apricot. Seafood is also a popular choice, especially when served with citrus and tart flavours.
One of the best ways to get a big hit of nutrients in summer is with a salad. You can put almost anything in a salad and it’s versatile enough to eat for breakfast (yes, breakfast salads are all the rage), lunch and dinner.
At iPantry, we’ve got a range of different ready made salads to cater to any palette, even our gluten free, vegan and vegetarian friends.
Bursting with flavour, this salad packs a punch with edamame beans, pickled cauliflower and broccoli in a tangy and light Yuzu, soy and sesame dressing.
Pesto is one of those ‘more-ish’ flavours perfect for a summer picnic. This salad matches high quality durum wheat pasta with chicken to deliver a mouthwatering dish great for a solo lunch or to share.
This single serve vegan salad combines vermicelli noodles, red cabbage, pickled carrot and fresh herbs (coriander and mint) to make a scrumptious Vietnamese style salad. Perfect for a hot day or a quick break between meetings at work.
We hinted at this magical combination earlier – a breakfast salad is a great alternative to cereal, smashed avo or even a smoothie in the warmer months. As the name suggests, it’s a salad you can eat at breakfast. But here’s the best part: much like its lunchtime counterpart, a breakfast salad takes the concept of a salad and infuses it with breakfast ingredients.
For example, you might like to start with a base of spinach leaves and add in some small bits of bacon, a fried or boiled egg and some onions. Put slices of avocado, crumbled feta and blueberries on top, then drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic. Complete your breakfast salad with a squeeze of lemon and voila – a tasty, nutrition-filled meal!
Rolls, wraps and sandwiches
If you find yourself scrambling for time this summer, whipping up a roll, wrap or sandwich is the way to go. You can get creative and assemble your own, or we’ve got a selection of ready made options to delight your taste buds.
Regardless of whether you’re vegan or not, we love the Smashed Avo with Chickpea on Seeded (Vegan) Bread. Chock full of protein and flavour, it’s a healthy on-the-go option for any meal. But if you prefer a meaty alternative, check out the Chicken and Dill Sandwich - Light Rye Bread for a filling and zesty sanga!
Much like a sandwich, a focaccia is a delicious choice in summer. You can toast them or eat them as is or even cut them in half to share with a friend. We’re big fans of the Pumpkin Focaccia, mostly because of the sneaky bocconcini cheese, but we’re also loving the Pub Parma Focaccia, especially when you’re craving a counter meal but can’t get down to your local.
Zaatar is a herb mixture that contains a bunch of different dried herbs and spices with a Meditteranian vibe. Our top picks are the Mushroom Zaatar and the Salami Zaatar – both are mouthwatering and perfect to demolish while you’re out Christmas shopping or in the final sprint at work.
For an epic sandwich alternative, try the Sesame Beef Wholegrain Roll or the Roast Vegetable Wholegrain Roll. Packed full of fresh ingredients and more on the filling side, they look like subs and are easy to divide up and share if you’re with a group.
For those nights when you just can’t bring yourself to spend hours in the kitchen, it’s nice to have a backup plan...in your freezer. We love the Quorn Vegan Burger Hot & Spicy 264g, which comes as a pack of four, and takes no time at all to cook. Slap it on a burger bun with salad ingredients, or serve it up with steamed veggies.
If you’re looking to put together a spread, check out the Jannah Foods Falafel Pre-Cooked 1kg (Frozen). You could make an impressive grazing board with these falafel balls, some dips and other pickled treats. Alternatively, the Cooked Breast Karaagi Bites - 1kg make a tasty appetizer for friends who drop by for a catch up.
Local restaurant partners
At iPantry, we can bring high quality tasty food from our restaurant partners right to your door. Choose from well-loved Melbourne faves like Taxi Kitchen, Oriental Teahouse, Burn City Smokers, and more. But first, let’s talk PIZZA.
The Woodstock 4 Formaggi pizza is a flavour bomb and can be the meeting place for carnivores and vegetarians alike (have you ever noticed how mushroom kinda takes like steak when it’s barbecued?!). And for our gluten free friends out there, you’ll love the A25 Gluten Free Vegetarian Explosion Pizza (we’ve also got a stack of other options for you, too).
Summer recipe ideas
Start with the basics. Make sure you have some quality fresh produce in your fridge or grab Scicluna’s Medium Fruit & Veg Box if you’re short on time. Deli classics like ham or sliced turkey breast are designed for making quick sandwiches, or if you’re vegan, organic and gluten free, we’ve got a range of choices for you, too.
Summer is a time to celebrate!
No matter what the year has delivered, summertime can be an opportunity to rest, relax and reset before, during and after the new year. We hope you get to spend some quality time with friends and family, too – and get to eat some delicious summer foods at the same time.