Litha Recipes: 15+ of Our Favorite Summer Solstice Foods
The days melt slowly into the night. The sun beats down on the earth, kissing its crops with life and fruitfulness. It’s nearly the Summer Solstice, also known as Litha to modern pagans, and what better way to celebrate than with feasting and libations? Here we explore the basics of the Litha sabbat, but more importantly, plan out our Midsummer meal with these favorite Litha recipes.
What is Litha?
Litha, also called Midsummer or the Summer Solstice, marks the longest day of the year and the shortest night. In modern times, we recognize the Summer Solstice as the official start to the Summer season. Pagans and Witches celebrate the Sun in all its glory, tend to their gardens and creative ventures, and resurrect some of the ancient Litha traditions of our ancestors.
The name Litha is believed to derive from an ancient Germanic term which corresponds to the Summer months on the Germanic calendar. But nearly every ancient culture honored the Summer Solstice or Summer season in one way or another. One tradition is fairly consistent across cultural borders – the Summer Solstice was both a fire and water festival. Our ancestors enjoyed taking ritual baths and lighting large, raging-for-days bonfires. The fire and water elements in this sabbat demonstrate the clear importance of purification. Now…onto the food!
15+ Litha Summer Solstice Foods
The Summer Solstice is all about the sun and bounty of the earth. So, whatever foods you choose, focus on bright colors, farm fresh veggies and fruits, and using fire and water in your Litha recipes. Here’s some of our favorite Litha Summer Solstice foods here in the Otherworldly Oracle Kitchen:
1. Mead: Litha Libations
To our ancient Celtic and Norse ancestors, mead wasn’t just a fun thing to drink…it was a necessity. If you don’t know what mead is, it’s a wine made from honey that’s been drank for thousands of years in the British Isles and parts of Europe. As a boozy Litha treat, add honey, oranges, and cinnamon to an already-made mead and serve to your sabbat guests. Here’s a delicious recipe for spiced mead. Honor your Norse ancestors by drinking it from a drinking horn!
2. Rosemary Garlic Bread
Me thinks we’ve shared this recipe with you all before, but we’re going to share it again. There’s nothing better than fresh homemade rosemary bread…especially on a sabbat day like Litha. Not to mention, once you have that fresh bread out the oven, you can pair it with the gazpacho recipe we’ve listed below. Remember, herbs are typically green and flourishing on the Summer Solstice, so use your own homegrown herbs to make your bread unique and powerful.
3. Gazpacho: A Cold Soup for Litha
If you’ve grown fresh veggies in the garden, now’s the time to use them in a Litha recipe for gazpacho (essentially, it’s cold soup). Hear us out. Cold soup might sound strange, but in the dead heat of the summer…on the Summer Solstice? You might want something savory and salty but cooling instead of hot. Gazpacho stores in thermoses and coolers well if you’re going on a long Summer hike. And it just looks super pretty in bowls on a well-decorated Litha table!
4. Tomato, Peach and Burrata Salad
The tomato is a well-known Summer food and is an aphrodisiac. Which, we all know, Litha is one of those fertile, “hot and spicy” types of sabbats. What better way to kick off the Summer solstice (of love) than with a tomato, peach and burrata salad? Truly any local produce that’s fresh will be great in a salad for Litha, but I find the combination of tomato, cheese and peaches particularly lovely. Pair this Summer Solstice salad with grilled salmon for dinner OR as a lunch main dish.
5. Grilled Salmon with Dill Sauce
I have a major issue when it comes to salmon…I can’t eat enough of it. Any time we go out to eat, if my husband sees salmon on the menu, he says, “hey, honey. Salmon’s on the menu.” Because he knows I’ll likely order it. I feel this is a deep-seated addiction that I can blame on my Celtic ancestors. Let’s celebrate the Summer Solstice by making a Litha recipe of grilled salmon with dill sauce. Add the tomato, peach and burrata salad as a side and you have a healthy and delicious Midsummer meal.
6. Roasted Summer Solstice Veggies
Mr. Kobold’s preferred way to eat vegetables is roasted in the oven with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Sometimes a little garlic salt or red chili flakes, if we’re feeling wild. Depending on your area, your local produce will vary. But here’s some typical vegetables that are fresh in the Summer and perfect for the Litha sabbat: broccoli, corn, cucumbers, egg plant, green beans and Summer squash. I recommend roasting the following together: red potatoes and green beans OR red potatoes with squash, green pepper, and onion.
Roasted Summer Solstice Vegetable Recipe:
(Serves 4-5 people)
- 4-6 large red potatoes (washed and chopped in large chunks)
- 2 summer squash (cleaned and sliced)
- 2 green peppers (cleaned, deseeded and quartered)
- 2 onion (quartered or thickly sliced)
How to Make the Veggies:
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Toss your vegetables in a healthy dose of olive oil (I typically do 2 tbsp), salt, and pepper.
- Cook on parchment-lined baking sheet for 20 minutes or until tender.
- Pro Kobold Kitchen TIP: if you have a gas oven, coat vegetables in a dusting of cornstarch to get that crispy shell on the outside.
7. Very Berry Fruit Salad: A Refreshing Litha Recipe
When summer comes, the first thing I do is run to the produce stand for fresh fruit. Watermelon is at the top of my list, but fresh berries are next. Mr. Kobold particularly prefers blackberries…I honestly think it’s the brambles he’s drawn to. Here’s our favorite simple very berry fruit salad recipe that serves as many as you’d like. Adjust amount of ingredients as needed.
Very Berry Fruit Salad Recipe
- Blueberry syrup (2 tbsp+)
How to Make the Litha Berry Salad:
- Wash all berries and pat dry.
- Add to large mixing bowl.
- Add 2 tbsp of blueberry syrup and mix into the berries.
- Taste. Add more syrup as needed. (You want it lightly coated and sweet, not too runny!)
8. Summer Solstice Sangria
While definitely not a traditional Midsummer beverage, sangria is a loved SUMMER beverage in modern times. If you like sweet wine or just wine in general, you’ll love sangria on a hot day by the pool. Essentially, it’s sweetened wine with fruit over ice. You can go with this traditional red sangria recipe or go for one that adds fruit AND magical herbs. Don’t forget you can choose your own magical herbs too. Some of our favorite things to add to sangria are raspberries, blackberries and rosemary. Or citrus fruits and thyme. Rosemary is great for purification and thyme is perfect for attracting the fae (trust us, we should know. We have one that’s taken up residence here in the Kobold Kitchen. Hence the name).
9. Chicken Marbella and Couscous: A Fancy Litha Dinner
When we first came across this recipe over on Tasty’s website, we knew we had to try it immediately. Summer Chicken Marbella is an amalgamation of Mediterranean and Moroccan flavors. You have your sweet and savory, as well as acidic and salty all wrapped up in one dish. The great thing about this large-party dish is you start it the night before. The chicken, wine, herbs, fruits and olives marinate in the fridge overnight. Then cook it the next day and add it to a large bed of couscous and it’s outstanding! One of the best things I’ve ever eaten and cooked. Here’s the recipe. Picture below.
10. Creamy Dill Cucumbers
I had a wicked stepmother who wasn’t so wicked when she made her famous creamy dill cucumbers in the Summer time. This is a refreshing, cooling and creamy side dish to go with nearly any Litha lunch, dinner, or as an appetizer. Cucumbers represent fertility, because of their phallic shape and so are perfect for any Summer Solstice celebration. And can also be eaten to increase fertility over the Summer season. Bonus points if you’re going for an American South spin on your Litha dinner…this is your Southern side dish!
11. Grilled Watermelon
Sounds bizarre to grill your watermelon, right? But heed our words. Being the Litha sabbat is a celebration of the SUN, grilling anything over an open fire is traditional to appeasing the sun gods and fire elementals. PLUS watermelon, in whatever form, is particularly appetizing. Serve as a side dish at your barbecue or as a dessert. Watermelon is superb without grilling it, I know, but grilling it actually adds a smoky flavor to the fruit. And gives it this caramelized texture that is to die for. Try the Pioneer Woman’s recipe here.
12. Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs
Break out your cast iron pan for these scrumptious little babies (oops, I mean chicken thighs). Lime is a magical Summer fruit and cilantro has its own powerful magical properties like peace, prosperity and protection. Add them both in a marinade and soak your chicken thighs in it…a fabulous entree for your Summer Solstice celebrations. One year, here at the Kobold Kitchen, we made these chicken thighs along with the creamy dill cukes and grilled watermelon. Every sabbat attendee had seconds…even the dieters…because, well, this spread avoids too many carbs and is rich in whole foods.
13. Lavender Honey Cheesecake
Lavender is a traditional Litha herb and screams Summer. Combine this aromatic herb with honey in a cheesecake and watch everyone elevate. Lavender is purifying, but also promotes beauty, peace, fertility, and more. Honey is also traditional for Litha, as the bees are buzzing in the gardens and meadows, and the honey flows from hives like water. Honey is representative of fertility and prosperity, but also of the ancients. Of our ancestors who preserved the old ways of the Summer Solstice. Try making this lavender honey cheesecake.
14. Fairy Cakes
The Summer Solstice, aka Midsummer, is well-known for being a favorite time of the faeries and elven peoples. Hence Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream featuring fae and the capricious character Puck. If you favor working with the fae, or simply want to be like the fae, consider baking magical fairy cakes. And if you have little ones? They’ll enjoy this baking project too. Here’s the best recipe for fairy cakes we’ve found so far.
15. Energizing Sun Tea
Why not harness the powerful energy of the sun on or near the Summer Solstice by making sun tea? There’s so many choices for ingredients, so have fun with it. And if you want to make it magical, select your ingredients based on your intentions. Then set your tea out and let the sun charge it with energy, health, and prosperity.
Energizing Sun Tea Recipe for Midsummer
- Large glass jar with airtight lid
- 2-4 teabags (green or black. How many you use depends on how strong you like your tea AND how large your container is)
- Fresh fruit of your choice: we like using orange slices, berries, lemons, and apple slices
- Fresh herbs of your choice: rosemary, thyme, and basil are great choices
How to Make Your Sun Tea:
- Add your teabags, fruit and herbs to your glass vessel.
- Next, pour water in the glass jar until it’s almost to the very top.
- Seal it with the airtight lid.
- Place outside in direct sunlight on a very hot, sunny day for up to 3 hours or until brewed to desired strength.
- Serve over ice or after refrigeration.
(NOTE: I’ve had some folks tell me sun tea is dangerous as it could gather bacteria on the surface. I’ve NEVER had an issue with sun tea making anyone in my house sick my entire life I’ve made it. However, if you leave your sun tea out TOO long, over 12+ hours, you do run the risk of bacterial contamination. So be cautious and wise.)