The warmest months boast a bevy of farm-fresh summer vegetables brimming with sun-ripened flavor. After soaking up the spring rains, countless plants now bear their edible bounty.
With farmers’ markets in full swing, we’re going to be eating all the fresh summer vegetables we possibly can—think summer squash, cucumbers, eggplant, corn, and tomatoes (yes, we know they’re technically a fruit, but we don’t care). Take advantage of seasonal produce to whip up tasty dishes.
Grilling Those Sweet Summer Vegetables
What would a summer garden be without tomatoes? From eating a sandwich piled high with them to forgoing the bread altogether and just eating them like an apple, there’s really no going wrong with tomatoes—but a million ways to make them more interesting.
6-8 fresh tomatoes, mixed variety, cut into quarters
salt and pepper to season
1 cup vegetable stock
9 oz basmati rice
Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add onions and garlic and fry until soft.
Next, add mustard, stir in maple syrup then add squash. Season with salt and pepper.
Add vegetable stock followed by tomatoes, mix together then leave to simmer on medium heat for about 20 – 25 minutes allowing the liquid to reduce down.
In the meantime, boil rice following packet instructions, when cooked transfer rice to the pan with courgettes and tomatoes.
Fold in rice, check for seasoning and serve.
Peppers can be grown side-by-side with tomatoes as well as eggplants because they have similar growing requirements. They all prefer full sun, rich soil, and consistent deep watering. This versatile warm-weather vegetable comes in hundreds of different varieties, from mild to screeching hot, to suit every taste.
Make the marinade: Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon, honey/maple syrup, and garlic in a small mason jar. Mix to combine. Set aside.
Prep the vegetables: Add the chopped vegetables into a large bowl. Pour half of the marinade on top and mix to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper.*
Grill the vegetables over medium heat until they’re tender and caramelized on the outside. You can use a grill pan on your stove if desired, otherwise, I’d suggest using a grill basket if you’re using a grill.
Remove the vegetables from the grill and place them back into the large bowl they were marinated in. Pour the rest of the marinade on top, or serve on the side for dipping.
Another misunderstood summer vegetable! Carrots, specifically young ones, are sweet, delicate, and snappy, with a slightly peppery quality; these aren’t the thick ones you’d use for juicing. Look for ones with perky wigs of green leaves (the smaller the carrots, the more greens), which you can use the way you would fennel fronds, as a garnish that adds a bit of herbaceousness to any recipe.
Maple-Ginger-Roasted Vegetables with Pecans
1 1/2 cups pecans
4 medium carrots (3/4 pound), peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick on the bias
2 large parsnips (1 pound), peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick on the bias
1 medium head cauliflower (2 1/2 pounds), cut into 1″ florets
1 small butternut squash (2 pounds)—peeled, seeded, and cut into 1″ dice
Preheat the oven to Bake at 425°F. Spread the pecans in a pie plate and toast until fragrant, about 6 minutes. Let cool.
In a large bowl, toss the carrots, parsnips, cauliflower, squash, and brussels sprouts with olive oil and nutmeg and season generously with salt and black pepper.
Spread the vegetables on 2 large rimmed baking sheets and roast for 30 minutes, until the vegetables begin to brown. Scatter the pecans and ginger over the vegetables and drizzle with the maple syrup; toss well. Continue to roast the vegetables for 25 minutes longer, until they are tender and golden. Scrape the vegetables into a bowl and serve hot or at room temperature.
Summer Squash (Including Zucchini)
Squash in the summer is nothing short of a party. Farmer’s market stalls will have a lot of fun names for them, from eight ball to pattypan, and don’t just expect oblong shapes. They’re bland on their own, but pair them with bolder flavors and they come to life.
Sweet potatoes differ from regular potatoes in that they like warm weather and soil. These tropical plants are cold-sensitive and do best when planted about a month after the last frost date. As long as both the days and the soil are warm, sweet potatoes are easy to grow and will quickly mature to an abundance of pretty vines that spread as wide as you let them. Plant in well-drained soil with compost mixed in. Sweet potatoes grow well near dill, thyme, and parsnips. Do not plant them near squash as both vines spread and can cause overcrowding.
Heat the oven to Bake at 350°F. Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork. Place potatoes in a square pan, 9x9x2 inches. Cover and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until potatoes can be easily pierced with a knife.
Slip off skins.
Beat the potatoes with an electric mixer on medium speed until no lumps remain.
Add 2 tbsp syrup, butter, salt, and desired amount of cinnamon. Continue beating until potatoes are light and fluffy. Drizzle with additional syrup.
Nothing says summer in the USA quite like the king of late summer vegetables, sweet corn. But, we’re gonna let you in on an a-maize-ing little secret: Boiled corn-on-the-cob isn’t your only (or even best) option.