Everyone has at least one go-to cookbook that lives comfortably in their home; perhaps with a few pages dog-eared of their favorite recipes, and blotches of sauce splattered along the book’s spine.

Cookbooks to food lovers, in addition to informative recipes and tips, are entertainment, with pages of beautiful photographs of food you want to stick a fork in. A lot of cookbooks, however, are filled with recipes for dishes that are carb-filled or fried, or heavy dishes. You can get away with this during wintertime by hiding the “winter weight” caused by these dishes under bulky sweaters and coats. However, during summertime, you want to eat lighter fare that will make you want to show off your hot bod by cooking simple, healthy and delicious dishes.

DOWNTOWN scoured the bookshelves and here is our list of five great cookbooks for summer that will not only have you enjoying perfect, light summer dishes, but will also help you impress anyone you’re cooking for!

Grill It!, Bobby Flay


Learn how to cook the perfect steak or other meat with any of award-winning chef and restaurateur Bobby Flay’s 150 basic recipes. Grill It! is fully illustrated and includes the incredible creative marinades and sauces that Flay has become known for, like the Iron Chef’s Fig–Cabernet Vinegar Glaze for a filet mignon, or Balsamic Rosemary Butter. Who knew dessert could be made on the barbecue? The Boy Meets Grill chef proves it certainly can with his Grilled Nectarines with Maple Crème Fraîche. Clarkson Potter, $35 

Ottolenghi, Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

9781607744184_p0_v2_s260x420Although Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s first masterpiece is now a little bit of an oldie from 2010, the Ottolenghi cookbook has only just been released in America. The book is based on light dishes that were created for the famous quasi Mediterranean eatery Ottolenghi restaurant in London. The book also incorporates creations from his other three restaurants; a patisserie, a deli, and a bakery. The book is also the outcome of the combination of the authors’ collective backgrounds, which includes the Middle East, North Africa, Italy and California. Now, fans unable to visit and enjoy Ottolenghi’s restaurants first hand can attempt them at home. Reader’s can try a plethora of cuisines such as Harissa-Marinated Chicken with Red Grapefruit Salad and Figs with Young Pecorino and Honey. Ten Speed Press, $35 

Sprouted Kitchen, Sara Forte

Dishes From Sara Forte's Sprouted Kitchen

Dishes From Sara Forte’s Sprouted Kitchen

Sara Forte, Saveur Magazine’s winner of the Best Food Blog award, has released a cookbook with “a tastier take on whole foods.” Forte started posting recipes to her blog, Sprouted Kitchen, and as a result of an excited following, has created a packed cookbook with her creations including breakfast, dinner and even great happy hour ideas. To give you a hint, she includes Ranchero Breakfast Tacos, Roasted Cauliflower Capellini and a Grapefruit Margarita for Happy Hour. (all pictured above). Ten Speed Press, $25 

Pops! Icy Treats for Everyone, Krystina Castella


Popsicles are the perfect treat to cool down with in summer. Pops! provides amazing, original recipes for homemade popsicles. If it’s a needed caffeine boost the book offers a variety of tea and coffee flavored popsicles. If you have a hankering for some nutrients, there’s healthy recipes too like Carrot and Wheatgrass pops, or if it’s just a case of a sweet tooth on a hot day, the cheesecake pops can be of service. You’re bound to find what your craving. Quirk Books, $15.95

Absolutely Avocados, Gaby Dalkin


If you love avocados as much as Gaby Dalkin, you’ll absolutely love her new book. Included are creative recipes like Avocado and Tuna Ceviche and Avocado Cilantro Hummus. The author, who writes a blog called What’s Gaby Cooking, also includes dessert recipes made out of, yes, you guessed it, avocado. Absolutely Avocados is a creative cookbook filled with amazing ideas to pair the beloved avocado with almost anything! Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99

—Emanuelle Lee