5 Light Summer Recipes For The Perfect Heatwave Dinner

From Thai papaya salad to a classic pesto quiche, we've got you sorted.

Our go-to dishes can change from favourite foods to completely unappetising when a heatwave hits. Hearty suddenly equals heavy – and anything that’s going to make us feel any hotter gets crossed off the shopping list.

So, what can you actually cook for lunch or dinner when you’d rather chomp down on pure ice? We’re asked tops chefs and restauranteurs to tell us their favourite summer recipes.

Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam)


Try this green papaya salad – created by Saiphin Moore, founder of Rosa’s Thai Cafe and Lao Café – and forget everything you’ve ever said about salads being boring.


2 tablespoons roasted peanuts
1-10 red bird’s eye chillies (depending on how brave you are)
5 small (or 2–3 large) garlic cloves
1 1⁄2 tablespoons palm sugar
2 yard-long beans (or green beans), cut into 2.5cm (1 inch) pieces
4 cherry tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (or 2 teaspoons salt)
1⁄2 medium green papaya, peeled and shredded
1 carrot, shredded
2 tablespoons dried shrimp (leave out for a vegetarian alternative)


  1. In a small, dry frying pan, toast the peanuts over a medium heat until golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside. (There’s also a ready-toasted alternative you can find in the supermarkets).

  2. Coarsely pound the chillies and garlic together using a pestle and mortar. Add the palm sugar, beans and tomatoes. Lightly pound to combine, then squeeze in the lime juice and fish sauce.

  3. Lightly pound again, then add the green papaya and carrot. Pound again and toss to combine. The taste should be sweet and salty in perfect balance, with a sharp, sour and spicy tang.

  4. Spoon the salad into a serving bowl and sprinkle over the dried shrimp and toasted peanuts.

Gazpacho with Roasted Hazelnuts & Basil Oil

Paul Johnston at Copper Mango

Think soup is just for winter? Think again. Award-winning chef Mark
Greenaway recommends this cold, Gazpacho recipe. It’s best made the day before and can be used as a starter or the main event with lots of bread, as it serves six.


12 tomatoes
1 red pepper
¼ of a cucumber
1/8 of a red onion
7g basil
7g coriander
125ml olive oil
20ml sherry vinegar
Salt to taste

For the basil oil
1 bunch of basil leaves (stalks removed)
250ml rapeseed oil

For the topping
A handful of hazelnuts


  1. Roughly chop the tomatoes, red pepper, red onion and cucumber. Place them in a large bowl. Crush everything together

  2. Add the basil and coriander. Mix all of the ingredients together

  3. Cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge overnight

  4. Blend the mixture and pass it through a fine sieve

  5. Add the olive oil and sherry vinegar. Blend the mixture till emulsified. Season to taste

  6. Cover and chill in the fridge

To make the basil oil

  1. Blanch half of the basil leaves in salted boiling water for 30 seconds

  2. Refresh in ice water until completely cold

  3. Squeeze out all of the excess water

  4. Into a blender add the blanched basil, the raw basil and rapeseed oil and blend until smooth.

  5. Pass through a fine sieve and reserve until required.

To make the roasted hazelnuts

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

  2. Place the hazelnuts on a tray/ Roast in the oven for approximately 15 minutes giving them a shake every 5 minutes.

  3. Rub off the skins and reserve until required.

To serve, pour the gazpacho into bowls and top with a drizzle of the basil oil and the roasted hazelnuts.

Grilled Lemon Tofu with Herby Tabbouleh

Sorted Food

We crave veggie food when sunshine hits, and Ben Ebbrell, chef and co-founder of the SORTEDfood online food community on YouTube – has delivered with this recipe for two.


100g couscous
280g extra firm tofu
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 lemon
25g butter
1 clove garlic
1 beef tomato
5 spring onions / scallions
10 g fresh parsley
10 g fresh coriander / cilantro
2 tbsp olive oil
100 g crème fraîche


Cook the couscous

  1. Preheat a large griddle pan or frying pan over a high heat on the stove.

  2. Tip the couscous into a large mixing bowl followed by a generous pinch of salt and enough boiling water to cover it. Give it a quick stir before wrapping the bowl with cling film and setting it aside.

Get grilling

  1. Slice the tofu into 6 thick slices on a chopping board and pour over 1 tbsp of vegetable oil, season them with salt and give everything a good mix by hand to coat.

  2. Once the griddle/frying pan is smoking hot, lower in the slices one by one making sure they don’t overlap.

  3. Allow them to fry/char for 4-5 minutes on one side before flipping them and repeating on the next.

  4. Whilst the tofu is charing, zest the lemon and peel, then grate the garlic on to a large plate followed by the butter broken into cubes. Season the zest, garlic and butter with a generous grind of black pepper and a little more salt.

  5. Lay the charred tofu slices into the lemon zest and butter and cover the plate with tin foil. Quickly deglaze the hot pan with a splash of boiling water and tip the it into the bowl with the cous cous.

Make the tabbouleh

  1. Give the chopping board and knife a quick wash and finely chop 10g (0.4oz) each of coriander and parsley and cut 5 spring onions into thin rounds.

  2. Cut the beef tomato into quarters and remove its seeds, chop the remaining petals into a 1/2 cm dice. Keep the seeds and use them for soups, stocks and sauces!

  3. The couscous should have now absorbed all the water it was cooked in, chuck the herbs, 3/4 of the spring onions and all the diced tomato into the bowl.

  4. Squeeze in the juice of the lemon that was zested earlier and pour in 2 tbsp of olive oil. Give everything a good mix.

Divide the tabbouleh between two serving plates. Remove the tin foil from the plate the tofu was resting on and toss it quickly in any juices that have amassed.

Smoked Chicken and Parsley Pesto Quiche


Cookbook author and co-founder of Higgidy, Camilla Stephens, recommends a smoked chicken and parsley pesto quiche, which is delicious warm from the oven, but can also be taken to a posh picnic where it will serve six. You’ll need a 23cm loose-bottomed square fluted tart tin that’s 3cm deep


For the shortcrust pastry (makes 350g)
200g plain flour
A generous pinch of salt
100g butter, well chilled and cut into small cubes
30g Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
1 medium egg yolk, beaten
About 3 tbsp ice-cold water

For the filling
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 spring onions, finely sliced (white and green parts)
200g skinless cooked smoked chicken breast, torn into pieces
1 small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped
1 small bunch of fresh chives, snipped
Grated zest of 1 lemon
250ml double cream
3 medium eggs and 1 egg yolk, lightly whisked
2 tbsp roughly chopped hazelnuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh rocket leaves, to serve

Making the shortcrust pastry:
How it’s done – by hand

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter cubes and use your fingertips and thumbs to lightly rub it into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the Parmesan (if using) and rub again until the cheese is mixed in evenly. Now add the beaten egg yolk and water, and use a round-bladed knife to combine the wet ingredients with the dry until the pastry comes together.
  3. Gather it up with your hands and knead very briefly into a ball on a lightly floured surface. Try not to handle it too much at this stage, or the fat will get warm and the pastry will become tricky to use and may turn out tough and chewy.
  4. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes before use.

How it’s done – in a food processor

  1. Process the flour, butter and cheese (if using) until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

  2. Add the egg yolk beaten with the ice-cold water. Pulse until the mixture just comes together to form a dough, adding a tiny bit more water if you think it’s needed. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.


  1. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to about 3mm thick and line your tart tin with it, making sure the edge of the pastry stands just a little proud above the rim of the tin. Trim the edges, then prick the base with a fork and return it to the fridge for 30 minutes. Don’t be tempted to skip this step – it will help prevent shrinkage in the oven.

  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas mark 6 and put a baking sheet in to heat up. Remove the tart tin from the fridge, line with crumpled non-stick baking paper, fill with baking beans and bake on the hot baking sheet in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and return the tart tin to the oven for 5–8 minutes or until the base has dried out.

  3. Reduce the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas mark 5. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Cook the onion for 5 minutes to soften, then stir in the spring onions and cook for another minute. Remove to a large bowl and cool. Mix in the smoked chicken, herbs and lemon zest and spoon into your cooked pastry case.

  4. Whisk the cream and eggs together and season well with salt and pepper. Pour into the pastry case and scatter the chopped hazelnuts over the top.

  5. Carefully transfer to the hot baking sheet in the oven and bake for 25–30 minutes or until the filling has just set and the pastry is golden brown. Serve warm, scattered with fresh rocket leaves.

Mint and Pea Lamb Kofta Burger With Harissa Yoghurt and Pea, Mint and Cucumber Tabbouleh

Yes Peas
Yes Peas
Yes Peas

For a burger with a twist, try this lamb and mint delight from Yes Peas – a website dedicate to celebrating British garden peas (yes, really).


For the patties
1 medium red onion
1 small bunch of parsley & mint
100g frozen peas, defrosted
500g lamb shoulder, finely minced
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ground allspice
1 tsp cumin seeds
sea salt flakes & freshly ground black pepper
oil, to grease

For the tabbouleh
250g cooked bulgur wheat
100g frozen peas, defrosted
a good handful of flat-leaf parsley & mint, chopped
2 vine tomatoes, deseeded and diced
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1 cucumber, chopped
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tbsp olive oil

For the rose yoghurt
4 tbsp yoghurt
tsp harissa paste


  1. Finely chop the parsley, mint and red onion. Mix in the lamb, peas, spices and salt until thoroughly combined. Shape into 4 patties, cover and chill for at least an hour.

  2. Mix the bulgur wheat with the chopped herbs in a large bowl and add the tomato, spring onion, cucumber and peas along with the lemon zest and juice, garlic and olive oil. Mix thoroughly and season with salt and pepper.

  3. To make the yoghurt, mix the harissa paste into the yoghurt and leave to one side.

  4. Grill the patties until golden brown on both sides.

  5. Serve immediately with the harissa yoghurt and tabbouleh.