Valerie Bertinelli & Top TV Chefs Share Their Favorite Summer Dishes

valerie bertinelli
FOOD NETWORK

It's summertime and the living is tasty, thanks to fresh food and the time to enjoy it.

We asked some of our favorite on-air chefs to share their simple and seasonal go-to recipes, perfect for your next barbecue.

Valerie Bertinelli

Actress and cooking show host Valerie Bertinelli exudes the spirit of summer: She's lighthearted, easygoing and sunny, qualities that shine through in her Food Network series Valerie's Home Cooking and Kids Baking Championship, both sizzling since 2015. So it makes sense that she loves preparing meals for these longer, lazier days, which are all about relaxing outdoors with family and friends. 

"One thing I love about summer cooking is the smoky smell of the grill. It brings me back to my childhood: You're out of school, you're going swimming at the lake or pool. The cares lift off your shoulders — as a kid, they did anyway!" says Bertinelli, who first charmed audiences as a teen on the classic sitcom One Day at a Time

Tastemakers: 'Halloween Baking Championship's Carla Hall Offers Home Cooking AdviceSee Also

Tastemakers: 'Halloween Baking Championship's Carla Hall Offers Home Cooking Advice

Also, get her recipe for Shortcut Deviled Eggs with Bread-and-Butter Pickles.

One of the Angeleno's favorite dishes for barbecues is this Kale and Carrot Slaw. "Slaw is healthy, easy to put together the night before, and this one is refreshing with orange and lime juice," she says. Her secret: "Make the kale tender. Either blanch it or put it in a plastic bag, get your hands in there and knead it. Do it the night before [you plan to serve] or that morning. The citrus also helps tenderize the kale." Bertinelli serves her slaw as a main course for vegetarians or as a side to her Chipotle Ribs and a dessert of fresh watermelon. 

For a more challenging dessert, check out Bertinelli on the new All-Star Best Thing I Ever Ate, in which a roundup of Food Network talent share their preferred meals and recipes. In Bertinelli's episode she makes churros, conquering her fear of a tricky dough called pate a choux. "I felt like a master chef!" —Kate Hahn

All-Star Best Thing I Ever Ate, Series Premiere, Monday, July 20, 9/8c, Food Network
Valerie’s Home Cooking, Sundays,
11:30am/10:30c, Food Network

Kale and Carrot Slaw (serves 4–6)

(Credit: Food Network)

Ingredients

1 bunch kale, center stems removed and leaves thinly sliced

One 10-oz. bag julienned carrots 

1 bunch radishes, halved and sliced 

1/4f cup fresh lime juice 

3 Tbsp. grapeseed oil 

2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice 

½ tsp. ground coriander 

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Directions Put kale, carrots and radishes in a large bowl. In a cruet, add the lime juice, oil, orange juice, coriander, ¾ teaspoon salt and a generous amount of pepper. Shake to mix. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat. Let stand at least 10 minutes before serving, or cover and refrigerate for up to 6 hours.

(Credit: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Carson and Siri Daly

Today's Carson and Siri Daly are pros at cooking for a group. The parents of four have hosted their "Dining With the Dalys" segment on the morning show since 2013, focusing on "simple recipes that mimic our life and that busy people can make," Siri says. 

"We like to cook good-tasting food," agrees Carson, adding that he mans the grill (and bar). These Greek Lamb Burgers fit the bill. "They are packed with savory flavors," notes his wife, author of the cookbook Siriously Delicious.

Tastemakers: Ted Allen Reflects on 10 Years With 'Chopped'See Also

Tastemakers: Ted Allen Reflects on 10 Years With 'Chopped'

Find out what keeps the show fun after a decade, what it's like working with the fearless kids of 'Chopped Junior,' and more.

The kitchen has been part of the pair's relationship since their first date, when Carson invited Siri to his house to bake. "Funny thing was, he didn't have any equipment," she recalls. "So we went to Sur la Table and he told me to buy what I needed." Carson adds, "I never used those things after that night." —Emily Aslanian

Today, Weekdays, 7am, NBC

Greek lamb burger with Tzatziki (serves 4)

(Credit: Photographer: Jennifer Causey, Food Stylist: Margaret Monroe Dickey, Prop Stylist: Missie Neville Crawford)

Ingredients

1 lb. ground lamb

3 Tbsp. grated red onion 

3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2 tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. black pepper

½ unpeeled English cucumber 

½ cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice 

1 cup baby spinach leaves 

4 soft potato hamburger buns

4 tomato slices

½ cup crumbled Feta cheese

Directions Combine lamb, onion, parsley, vinegar, 1 teaspoon garlic and ¾ teaspoon each salt and pepper in a medium bowl; stir gently until just combined. Divide mixture into 4 portions and shape into patties. Heat a lightly greased grill pan over medium-high heat. Add patties to pan and cook until a thermometer inserted in the thickest portion registers 140°F for medium, 4–5 minutes per side, or until desired degree of doneness. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, grate cucumber to measure 1 cup. Place on a clean towel, wrap towel around cucumber, and twist to remove as much liquid as possible. Combine grated cucumber, yogurt, dill, lemon juice and remaining 1 teaspoon garlic and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a small bowl. Divide spinach among bottom halves of buns; top each with 1 patty, some cucumber sauce, 1 tomato slice and about 2 tablespoons Feta. Cover with tops of buns. Serve immediately.

Padma Lakshmi

In her new docuseries, Taste the Nation, Padma Lakshmi travels the United States, exploring how international food has become a staple of the American diet. "We are a nation of immigrants, and I wanted to show the various ways these groups of people have contributed to our country," says the India-born Lakshmi. The author of three cookbooks also joins chefs to deconstruct dishes like pad Thai and cook alongside them. In her own home, her go-to recipes for summer are light and easy to make. "I love this [Yogurt Rice] because you don't have to really cook much," she says. Her tip for satisfying different palates: "When I'm cooking for others, I cater to [their] preferences, not my own." —Jim Halterman

Taste the Nation With Padma Lakshmi, Hulu

Yogurt Rice (serves 8–10)

Ingredients

5 cups cooked basmati rice

4 cups plain whole-milk yogurt

1 ½ tsp. salt

2 cups peeled and diced English cucumbers, or  2 cups fresh pomegranate seeds

¼ cup canola oil

2 Tbsp. white gram lentils (urad dal, found at Indian grocery stores)

2 tsp. black mustard seeds

½ tsp. asafoetida powder (found at Indiangrocery stores)

1–2 medium chiles with seeds, diced (or more to taste)

1 dozen fresh medium curry leaves, torn into small pieces

Directions In a large bowl, combine rice, yogurt and salt, kneading together with your hands. Stir in cucumber (in spring or summer) or pomegranate seeds (in fall or winter). Set aside. In a small sauté pan, heat canola oil over medium heat. When oil is hot and shimmering, add lentils. When they begin to turn golden (about 3 minutes), add mustard seeds and asafoetida powder. Stir briefly. You will hear a popping sound when mustard seeds begin to cook. After a minute, add chiles and curry leaves. Stir 1–2 minutes, then remove pan from heat. Pour lentil-mustard oil over rice mixture and stir well with a spoon. Serve room temperature or cold.

Jamie Oliver

(Credit: Courtesy of Jamie Oliver Enterprises)

British chef and restaurateur Jamie Oliver's new series, Jamie: Keep Cooking and Carry On, is a lifeline for those stuck in quarantine. Easy-to-follow directions, seamless ingredient swaps (forget extra trips to the grocery store for something you don’t have in your cupboards!) and tips on technique make it a breeze to stay put. "I've set out to share flexible recipes," Oliver says. "These are simple enough for first-time home cooks and give people the confidence to mix things up."

Tastemakers: Joe Bastianich Previews the 'MasterChef Celebrity Family Showdown'See Also

Tastemakers: Joe Bastianich Previews the 'MasterChef Celebrity Family Showdown'

The culinary giant will be joined by co-judges Gordon Ramsay and Aarón Sánchez.

His Crispy Tacos are the perfect example. You can switch out the pork filling for something else that's on hand (or that your taste buds prefer), like fish, chicken or in-season veggies. Other adaptable dishes in the series include curries, soups, simple bread and pasta sauces. As the reassuring Oliver says, "In challenging times, don't let food be one of the things that worry you." —Kate Hahn

Jamie: Keep Cooking and Carry On, Series Premiere, Monday, July 27, Hulu

Crispy Tacos (serves 6)

(Credit: Courtesy of Jamie Oliver Enterprises)

Ingredients

1 green pepper

1 fresh green chile

1 large red onion

1 pinch ground cloves

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar Olive oil

2 Tbsp. Cajun seasoning

Two 15-oz. cans black beans

11 oz. leftover cooked pork, chicken or fish

1 tsp. sweet smoked paprika

12 taco shells

½ head iceberg lettuce

6 Tbsp. fat-free natural yogurt

Salt

Optional: leftover pork dripping and pork crackling

Directions Finely slice pepper and chile and half the onion and place in a bowl. Add cloves, vinegar and a large pinch of salt. Gently scrunch together to make a pickle and set aside. Next, finely chop rest of onion and add to a pan on medium-low heat, with a spoonful of leftover pork dripping or a glug of oil and the Cajun seasoning. Fry 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans, including liquid from can. Bring to a boil and mash slightly. Leave on a low heat to simmer and thicken for a few minutes. Meanwhile, dice pork/chicken/fish. Add to a frying pan on medium heat with any leftover crackling (if using) and a splash of oil. Sprinkle with paprika and fry 5 to 8 minutes. Warm taco shells according to packet instructions. Shred lettuce. To serve, load taco shells with lettuce, black beans and meat. Add a bit of pepper-and-onion mixture and top with a dollop of yogurt. 

Alex Guarnaschelli

(Credit: Food Network)

Alex Guarnaschelli sings the praises of fresh basil, always has Dijon mustard in her pantry and adores her box grater for its versatility. This summer, the Iron Chef America and Chopped regular brings her know-how to two shows. On her own Supermarket Stakeout, she prepares meals based on random ingredients, and she also mentors skill-deficient amateurs on Worst Cooks in America. Luckily, her Cucumber Pickle Salad is easy enough that even the worst of the worst can handle it. "I love when one ingredient is explored from various points of textures and tastes," she says. "People don't think about fresh cucumbers and pickles as the same vegetable but wearing a different dress." —Emily Aslanian

Worst Cooks in America, Season Finale, Sunday, Aug. 2, 9/8c, Food Network

Supermarket Stakeout: What Would Alex Make? Tuesdays, 10/9c, Food Network

Cucumber Pickle Salad (serves 2–4)

(Credit: Food Network)

Ingredients

1/4 cup sliced red onion 

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar  

2 medium English cucumbers, peeled and cut into rounds »- to ½-inch thick  

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil  

1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar  

1 Tbsp. pickle juice 

1 tsp. garlic powder  

1  tsp. dried dill or dill seed (can substitute fennel seed or ground cumin) 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large pickle, diced

Directions Put onion and red wine vinegar in a small pot, bring to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes. Cool completely. Refrigerate until ready to use. Arrange cucumber rounds in pinwheels in a single layer on a serving platter. Refrigerate. In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, pickle juice, garlic powder, dill and a pinch of salt. Refrigerate. When ready to serve, season cucumbers with salt and pepper. Spoon dressing over cucumbers. Top with diced pickle and red onion mixture. Serve cold.