Kick up the flavor with these inspiring ideas for cooking the freshest vegetables of the season.
There’s nothing like coming home with a haul of summer vegetables from a local farmer’s market, farm stand or grocery store. The fresh aroma and vibrant colors are enticing, but it’s the endless possibilities of how you can transform these veggies into delicious, healthy dishes that makes your mouth water.
Need some ideas for what to do with your summer stash of veggies? Here are some tasty ways to prepare them.
- Tomatoes: Nothing says summer like a plump, ripe tomato. This vegetable favorite, which comes in a rainbow of colors, can be stewed, cooked into a fresh sauce or roasted in the oven. Although yummy when cooked, many people also enjoy eating fresh tomatoes. Dice and combine with onion, jalapeno and cilantro for a Mexican salsa. Pair with arugula and parmesan. Slice and add to sandwiches and burgers. Scoop out cherry tomatoes and fill with feta and chopped olives.
- Bell Peppers: High in vitamin C and fiber, bell peppers in a variety of colors add visual interest and fresh taste to a summer fajita recipe, paired with your choice of meat. They’re also delicious when cooked on the grill or roasted in the oven. Cooked peppers add flavor to sandwiches, salads, tacos, omelets or pizza.
- Summer Squash: Zucchini and yellow squash are some of the best summer vegetables to cook on the grill—just slice and season. For a healthy pasta alternative, spiralize squash and use in place of spaghetti. To make a delicious sauce, sauté squash in a pan with olive oil, cherry tomatoes, chopped chili peppers and fresh basil.
- Green Beans: This garden favorite is easy to prepare with mouth-watering results. Green beans can be steamed, sautéed in a skillet or roasted on a baking sheet with olive oil, salt, pepper and spices. For an added touch, garnish with toasted almonds, sesame seeds, parmesan cheese or panko bread crumbs.
- Corn: There’s no shortage of ways to make corn a delicious part of your meal! If grilling, shuck corn and char it right on the grates for a smoky delicious taste. Or grill in foil or in the husk for moister kernels. For quicker cooking, boil corn in a pot of salted water. Once cooked, you can flavor corn in many ways. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and herbs like cilantro, basil or chives. Dust with smoked paprika or chili powder. Top with adobo sauce and crumbled Cotija cheese. Or keep it traditional and flavor with butter, salt and pepper.
- Eggplant: Low in calories and high in nutrients, eggplant is a versatile summer veggie. Eggplant can be baked, broiled or cooked in an air fryer. It can be diced into a caponata or take center stage in Italian dishes like eggplant parmesan. For a fresh summer recipe, grill slices of eggplant marinated in red wine vinegar, olive oil, fresh mint, garlic and parsley.
- Carrots: Low in calories and fat, carrots can be enjoyed cooked or raw. Caramelizing carrots in the oven is a great way to enhance their flavor. Once cooked, add flavorful toppings such as honey, olive oil and toasted walnuts, cumin and chili powder or cinnamon and nutmeg. Carrots also add color and crunch when shaved into summer slaws or fresh salads.
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Date Last Reviewed: April 13, 2022
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Jane Schwartz, RDN, CLT