Fresh Bites and Cool Sips

With fresh herbs, seasonal veggies and bright citrus, these colorful dishes taste like summer.

Recipes and Styling by Sarah McCullen | Photographed by Joe Worthem


Herbs thrive this time of year. Whether you grow them in your backyard garden or buy them at the market, make them shine in these seasonal recipes that also feature fresh veggies and citrus. Served together or separately with your favorite entrees, these colorful and refreshing dishes will be welcome additions to any summer soiree.


Pineapple-Mango Spring Rolls

1 pineapple, peeled and cored

1 mango, peeled and seeded

1 avocado, peeled and seeded

1 cucumber, peeled and seeded

1 head red cabbage

1 head butter lettuce

Fresh cilantro

Fresh basil

Fresh mint

1 (14-ounce) package rice vermicelli noodles

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 package spring roll wrappers

Honey-Peanut Sauce (recipe below)


Cut fruits and vegetables into long, thin strips. Chop all fresh herbs. In a large pot, bring 6 cups of water to a boil, and cook rice noodles according to package directions. Drain; then toss noodles with sesame oil, lime juice, soy sauce and sesame seeds. Fill a shallow bowl with warm water, and, 1 at a time, soak the spring roll wrappers until pliable, about 15 seconds. In the center of each wrapper, fill with your choice of fruit and vegetable strips, chopped herbs and rice noodles. Fold wrapper over the top and bottom ends of the filled section, then fold the left side over the middle and roll tightly to the right. Serve with Honey-Peanut Sauce.


Honey-Peanut Sauce

½ cup natural, crunchy peanut butter

¼ cup honey

¼ cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

Juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon water


Blackberry-basil lemonade

2 cups water

2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries

½ cup sugar

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 gallon lemonade

3-4 basil sprigs


In a saucepan, boil water, blackberries and sugar until berries pop and sugar dissolves. Strain the berry mixture into a bowl, and discard seeds and pulp. Add lemon zest and juice to berry syrup, then combine berry syrup and lemonade in a large pitcher. Thinly slice basil, and add to the berry lemonade. Cover and chill until ready to serve. For an extra kick, add a splash of your favorite spirit, such as vodka, bourbon or prosecco. For a twisted lemonade made with local spirits, try Mississippi-made honeysuckle-flavored Cathead Vodka, pictured.


Colorful Pairings

Visit invitationmag.com/food-blog for a recipe for Minted Melon Salad, also pictured.

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