T1D-Friendly Recipes to Try this Summer

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A photo of summer food favorites, hamburgers and corn on the cob.

Summer means sun-drenched days at the pool, lake, or beach, as well as cookouts, picnics, and outdoor potlucks.    

Thankfully, the CDC has advised that most outdoor gatherings are safe—especially for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

When you’re preparing food for group that includes someone living with diabetes, it can be challenging to find recipes that are healthy, carb-conscious, and  tasty.

That’s why we asked you—members of our JDRF community—to submit your go-to diabetes-friendly summer recipes.

We compiled a collection of our favorites that you can try at your next outdoor summer gathering, or just for a tasty snack or meal at home.

Most require absolutely no cooking, but we promise those that do are worth it (even on the most steamy summer day).

Bon Appétit! 

Ugh! It’s Too Hot to Cook!

Broccoli Salad

Contributed by Pat Goldstein

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups chopped fresh broccoli
  • 1 package bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • ½ chopped onion
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sugar substitute (I use erythritol or Stevia)
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (or plain white vinegar)

Equipment:

  • Medium mixing bowl (for the dressing)
  • Large mixing bowl (to toss the dry ingredients with the dressing)
  • Whisk/fork
  • Tongs or two large spoons (for tossing salad)

Instructions: In the medium mixing bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sugar substitute, and vinegar to make the dressing. In the large mixing bowl, combine broccoli, cooked bacon, chopped onion, raisins, and sunflower seeds. Pour dressing over the broccoli mixture, toss/stir to coat dry ingredients with dressing. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Pro Tip: This salad tastes better after the flavors have time to meld for a few hours.

Cucumber Salad

cucumber salad in a white bowlContributed by Ellen Warsaw

Ingredients:*

  • Cucumbers
  • Cider vinegar or vinegar of your choice (ex: red wine, etc.)
  • Vegetable or olive oil (optional)
  • Water
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Other seasonings/add ins (optional). Suggest dill and or thinly-sliced scallions or fine-chopped red onions.

*No measurements. This is a “taste-and-adjust-to-your-liking” kind of recipe.

Equipment:

  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Small mixing bowl or liquid measuring cup (for the dressing)
  • Whisk/fork
  • Larger mixing/serving bowl (for combining the cucumbers, dressing, etc.)
  • Tongs or two large spoons (for tossing salad)

Instructions: Slice cucumbers the way you like them. Pare cucumbers (or not, based on your preference). The other ingredients are going to cover and flavor the cucumber. Start with the vinegar. Add a tablespoon or two of oil. Oil can be left out completely if you prefer. Add enough water to adjust the acidity from the vinegar to your liking. Season optionally. A pinch of salt and a grind or two of pepper. Then whatever else you’ve chosen to taste. If you sample and like it, you’re good. It is ok if the vinegar doesn’t taste overly strong. Mix cucumbers and dressing in bowl. Toss to evenly coat cucumbers. As the cucumbers sit they will absorb the flavor. But do make sure it’s vinegary enough to give cucumbers some good zing!

Pro tip: If you mix dressing in a measuring cup, you can stir and sample to see what else you might need

Easy-Freezy Grape Treats (Kid Friendly!)

Contributed by Wendy Rose

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of medium-sized, seedless green grapes
  • 1 package of sugar-free flavored gelatin mix (choose your favorite flavor)

Equipment:

  • Colander (for washing grapes)
  • Large freezer bag that can be sealed

Instructions: Thoroughly wash the grapes. Pluck from stems, but do not dry. Place wet grapes into freezer bag. Pour gelatin mix over the wet grapes in the bag. Seal bag. Shake well to coat grapes with gelatin mix. Freeze for four hours.

Sarah’s Summer Smoothie

Fresh strawberry smoothie with a strawberry garnishContributed by Melissa Barbehenn

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of full fat plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup (or 100 grams) frozen strawberries
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein
  • 1-3 tablespoons of water
  • Ice cubes (optional)

Equipment:

  • Blender

Instructions: Add all ingredients to blender. Blend. Add water based on desired thickness. If too thin, add a few ice cubes.

Spinach-Banana Smoothie

Contributed by Dawn Gilhooley

Ingredients:

  • 2 handfuls fresh washed spinach
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1-2 tablespoon reduced-fat peanut butter (may substitute peanut butter powder)
  • 1/2 cup low fat Greek yogurt

Equipment:

  • Blender

Instructions: Add all ingredients to blender. Blend.

It’s Not Too Hot To Cook… A Little

Chaffle Pizzas

Contributed by Julia Orlicky

Wait—what’s a chaffle? A cheese and egg waffle.

Ingredients:

  • High-heat non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • Desired pizza toppings (sauce, cheese, veggies, meat, etc.)

Equipment:

  • Waffle iron
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Whisk/fork

Instructions: Spray waffle iron with high-heat, non-stick cooking spray. Heat waffle iron. Mix mozzarella cheese, eggs, and baking powder until blended. Pour mixture into waffle iron. Bake on one cycle or for 5 minutes. Remove from iron. Add toppings.

Creamy Summer Pasta Salad

Contributed by Amanda Gottlieb

Ingredients:

  • 1lb (one box) of bowtie pasta (or other shape)
  • 3 stalks of celery chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion finely diced
  • 1 cucumber, seeded, chopped
  • 1 cup light mayo
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Equipment:

  • Pasta pot and colander
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Medium mixing bowl (for the dressing)
  • Whisk/fork
  • Larger mixing/serving bowl (for combining the pasta, vegetables, and dressing)
  • Tongs or two large spoons (for tossing salad)

Instructions: Cook pasta until al dente; drain. Whisk mayo, vinegar, and seasonings together in a bowl. Combine cooked pasta with chopped vegetables. Add dressing and mix until pasta and veggies evenly coated with dressing. Cover bowl and refrigerate to let flavors develop. Toss/stir again before serving.  

Cauliflower Mock Potato Salad

Contributed by Jo Metcalf

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ head of cauliflower, chopped (bite-sized pieces) and cooked
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, diced
  • 1/3 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 2 tablespoons dill relish
  • ½ teaspoon freshly-ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon fresly-ground sea salt
  • 1 green onion, chopped (optional)

Equipment:

  • Pot and colander or steamer (for cooking cauliflower)
  • Egg slicer/cutting board
  • Knife
  • Medium mixing bowl (for mayo, seasonings, and relish)
  • Large mixing/serving bowl
  • Whisk/fork
  • Tongs or two large spoons (for tossing salad)

Instructions: Prepare the ingredients as directed above (chop, dice, etc.). Whisk together mayo and other seasonings to make dressing. Combine cauliflower, onion, relish. Add dressing. Toss to combine/coat evenly. Cover bowl. Refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to mesh. Serve cold.

It’s Hot… But I’ll Use the Oven Anyway (Because Cookies!)  

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

A photo of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies on a plate.Contributed by JoAnn Kjep

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons Truvia brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Truvia baking sugar blend
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips

Equipment:

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon or hand mixer
  • Tablespoon or cookie scoop
  • Cookie or baking sheet
  • Parchment paper (optional—but makes for easy removal from sheet as cookies don’t stick)
  • Cooling rack

Instructions: In large bowl, mix together butter and the sugars. Add the egg and vanilla extract, blending well. In medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. When blended, add to the butter/sugar mixture and mix well. Stir in the oats, then stir in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°. Remove cookie dough from refrigerator and drop by tablespoonful  onto an ungreased cookie sheet (or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper). Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let rest on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Remove to wire rack and let cool. Makes 26 cookies.


This isn’t the first time we’ve asked for your recipes and shared them.

Explore other T1D-friendly recipes from members of the JDRF community!