As I type this, it's currently around 90 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly 32 degrees Celsius), with a "real feel" temperature soaring above 100. It's only early July, but we've already been catapulted into the dog days of summer. New Yorkers know exactly what this means: hot, sticky, steamy, humid, with what seems like actual heat waves emanating from the concrete sidewalks. (And let's not even mention the certain "aromas" that come alive during the summer months...)
When the temperature rises, my appetite seems to take a corresponding dip, but a (wo)man cannot live on watermelon and cold noodles alone! So I'm here to introduce you to one of my go-to meals for those days when the stupefying heat seems to take all taste buds hostage:
It's a no-cook, Easy Vegetable Nori Wrap filled with easily accessible bagged spinach, cucumbers, and carrots; chilled tofu; creamy, ripe avocado; spunky alfalfa sprouts; and a nutty dressing. It's endlessly riffable and open to interpretation (slash whatever tickles your fancy). Not a tofu fan? Skip it. Prefer a more bracing dressing? Use your favorite instead.
The nori sheets not only act as a handy vehicle for the cool, fresh veg, they also impart an umami-rich note, as well as a welcome crunch. My recommendation? Roll these as you eat them, one wrap at a time, so that the nori sheets don't get soggy (as they're wont to do).
These wraps have served me well over the years, from when my then-roommate and I would suffer through intolerable N.Y.C. summers in our barely air-conditioned fifth-floor walk-up apartment, drumming up the coolest "meals" we could without turning on a single appliance.
We still have plenty of summer left, so try this "not recipe" the next time it's so hot you can barely breathe and you have little to no appetite, but obviously need to eat something—preferably something as delicious and fresh as this quick number.
- 6 unseasoned nori sheets
- 1 bag bagged baby spinach, rinsed and drained
- 1 16 oz. container firm tofu, rinsed and drained, cut lengthwise into approximately 8 to 10 slabs
- 2 large or 3 normal-sized orange carrots, peels removed and peeled into ribbons
- 1 English cucumber, rinsed and peeled into ribbons (skin-on okay)
- 1 small container alfalfa sprouts, rinsed and drained
- 1 dash your favorite sesame goma dressing or other nutty dressing of your choice
Another Minimal Recipe, Right This Way
What do you eat when it's too hot to cook? Share your favorite cooling recipes with us below!