4 Light Summer Recipes for Seniors

Cooking can be a great hobby for seniors to pick up, especially when assisted by a caregiver or loved one to ensure safety. During the summer when the weather is hot, lighter meals full of fruits and vegetables can make for some of the most delicious meals. Many of these meals are also easy to prepare and require minimal cooking. For those with an aging or elderly loved one with some free time who are looking to pick up a hobby, or want to share meaningful experiences with friends and family — consider these four summer recipes from food and entertaining magazine Bon Appétit!

1) Smashed Cucumber Salad

Ingredients (4 servings)

6 medium Persian cucumbers (about 1 lb.)

1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1/2 tsp. Morton kosher salt

1 garlic clove, finely grated

¼ cup tahini

3 tbsp. fresh lime juice

1 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tbsp. white miso

1 tsp. finely grated ginger

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. toasted sesame oil

chili oil (for serving)

2 scallions, thinly sliced on a diagonal

1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds


Step 1: Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise, then slice ¼-inch thick on a deep diagonal into 23“-long pieces. Transfer cucumbers to a large bowl, add salt, and toss to combine. Cover and chill at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours. Drain cucumbers.

Step 2: Whisk garlic, tahini, lime juice, soy sauce, vinegar, miso, ginger, sugar and sesame oil in a small bowl to combine. Pour dressing over cucumbers and toss well to coat.

Step 3: Transfer cucumber salad to a platter. Drizzle with chili oil, and top with scallions and sesame seeds.

2) Grilled Scallops with Nori, Ginger, and Lime

Ingredients (4 servings)

cup mayonnaise

2 tsp. fresh lime juice

kosher salt

1 toasted nori sheet

1 tsp. ground coriander

½ tsp. ground ginger

2 tbsp. vegetable oil, plus more for grill

12 large dry sea scallops, side muscles removed, patted dry

½ lime

3 scallions, dark green parts only, very thinly sliced

1 tsp. Aleppo-style or other mild red pepper flakes or gochugaru (coarse Korean red pepper powder)

Special Equipment: 

A spice mill; eight 8-inch wooden skewers, soaked at least 1 hour


Step 1: Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Mix mayonnaise, lime juice, a pinch of salt, and 1 tbsp. water in a small bowl; set lime mayo aside.

Step 2: Finely grind nori in a spice mill. Transfer half to a small bowl; set aside for serving. Transfer remaining nori to a large bowl and mix in coriander, ginger, and 2 tbsp. oil. Add scallops and toss to coat.

Step 3: Thread three scallops onto two skewers. (This will keep scallops in place and make them easy to turn. You can also use this method for shrimp and small peppers like shishito and Padrón.) Repeat with remaining scallops and skewers. Season both sides with salt.

Step 4: Clean and oil grate, then immediately place scallops on the outside edge of the grill so that the skewers are hanging off the side. Grill, turning scallops with handles of skewers, until grill marks appear and scallops are just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side, depending on their size.

Step 5: Spread lime mayo on a platter and place skewers with scallops on top. Finely grate zest from lime half over, then squeeze juice over. Top with scallions and sprinkle with Aleppo-style pepper and reserved nori.

3) White Beans with Broccoli Rabe and Lemon

Ingredients (4 servings)

3 tbps olive oil

1 small lemon, very thinly sliced, seeds removed

2 anchovy fillets packed in oil

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

½ bunch broccoli rabe, chopped

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 15oz. Cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed

¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

2 tbsp. finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


Step 1: Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Add lemon, anchovies, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lemon is softened and brown in spots and anchovies fall apart, about five minutes. Add broccoli rabe; season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing occasionally, until bright green and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

Step 2: Add beans and ½ cup water to pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors have melded and liquid is reduced by half (you still want it to be saucy), about 5 minutes. Mix in parsley and 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese.

Step 3: Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if desired, and top with more Parmesan.

4) Summer Squash and Basil Pasta

Ingredients (4 servings)

¼ cup olive oil

8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 pounds assorted summer squashes and zucchini, quartered lengthwise, sliced

kosher salt

1 tsp. Aleppo-style pepper, plus more for serving

12 ounces paccheri, ziti, or other large tube pasta

2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup), plus more for serving

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

½ cup basil leaves, divided


Step 1: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Cook garlic, stirring occasionally, until very lightly browned around the edges, about 4 minutes. Add squash and increase heat to medium high; season with salt. Cook, tossing occasionally, until squash begins to break down. Turn down heat once it begins sticking, and continue to cook until the squash is jammy and soft, for 1215 minutes. Toss in 1 tsp. Aleppo-style pepper.

Step 2: Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente.

Step 3: Transfer pasta to skillet with squash using a slotted spoon or spider, and add ½ cup pasta cooking liquid. Cook pasta, adding 2 oz. Parmesan cheese in stages along with more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente. Toss in lemon juice and most of the basil.

Step 4: Divide pasta among bowls and top with more Parmesan, Aleppo-style pepper and remaining basil.

More Bon Appétit Summer Dinner Ideas

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *