The produce of summer seems endless. This is the time of the year that produce really shines. The market is overflowing with fruit, herbs, flowers, veggies and many other summer foods.
With temperatures rising, many people keep their ovens off and utilize fresh produce with simple preparation allowing the bounty of the season to really shine.
To help you embrace the new season, here’s a list of my favorite summer foods and my favorite summer recipes.
Zucchini and yellow summer squash
Zucchini and yellow summer squash are both summer squash varieties and are at their peak in the summer months.
They’re a good source of vitamin A, fiber and antioxidants. There are a few differences between zucchini and yellow squash including their slightly different shape, but they have a similar flavor and can often be used interchangeably.
Grilling zucchini or yellow squash is a simple and delicious preparation method. Zucchini can be made into noodles (aka zoodles) as a substitute for pasta or even shredded and made into a quick bread or muffins.
Summer squash is also a great addition to salads, tacos or even pizza.
Corn is technically a grain (a whole grain at that!) It’s a good source of fiber and protein. It’s also high in zeaxanthin and lutein, antioxidants that are important for eye health.
Obviously corn on the cob is a simple go-to, but I also enjoy grilling corn and removing it from the cob to add to tacos or salads like this Mexican Corn Salad.
I’ll be the first to admit that I used to turn my nose up to tomatoes. I didn’t like them and really wouldn’t eat them unless they were cooked or turned into ketchup.
But over time my taste buds have changed in favor of tomatoes. Though I’m still not a fan of the grainy, store-bought tomatoes, I can eat farmer’s market cherry tomatoes fresh from the vine.
Tomatoes are a quintessential summer food. Though they’re technically a fruit, they’re generally eaten and prepared like a vegetable. They’re a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K.
They also boast high amounts of lycopene, an antioxidant that’s been linked to many health benefits like reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease.
I love roasting tomatoes and adding them to a Buddha Bowl like our Zesty Italian Bowl or Smoky Black Bean Burrito Bowl. They’re also great in pastas and soups, added to salads or just as a simple snack.
I didn’t realize how many different types of melons existed until my local grocery store ran a melon sale and displayed at least 10 different kinds that I had never heard of before.
Each melon provides its own unique nutrients. Watermelon is a good source of vitamin C and cantaloupe is a great source of beta-carotene.
Melons have a very high water content which makes them great for keeping you hydrated in the summer and can also help maintain healthy blood pressure.
Melons are great to simply snack on, and are easily incorporated into dishes that make for some refreshing summer meals.
Try adding watermelon to gazpacho or pair it with feta and balsamic vinegar for a fresh salad. Cantaloupe pairs wonderfully with mozzarella and prosciutto and most melons are delicious when made into a smoothie or sorbet.
🍑 Peaches and other stone fruits
Stone fruits refer to the group of fruits with hard pits like peaches, plums, nectarines and cherries.
This family of fruits, in general, are high in antioxidants and nutrients such as niacin, lutein, betacarotene and B vitamins.
Stone fruits are a favorite of mine just to snack on, but they’re also a great addition to sweet and savory meals alike.
Top slices of baguette with ricotta cheese and caramelized apricots, make a stone fruit galette, create a fun peach cocktail, add sliced peaches to a summer salad. Or even grill them and serve with a scoop of ice cream. Yum.
Basil is another iconic summer food. The vibrant leafy green has a distinct and pungent taste and aroma that adds a freshness that can’t be beat.
There are several different varieties of basil including sweet basil, Thai basil, Holy basil and Greek basil among a few others, that have slightly different flavors.
Basil is loaded with nutrients, but because we eat it in small quantities, the only substantial nutrient it provides is vitamin K, though there are many others we get in small amounts.
I tend to think pesto when basil comes to mind, but there are many other ways to use this fresh leafy green. Include it in a salad for a little extra flavor, puree it into a dressing, add it to a cocktail, or use it as a garnish for a wide range of dishes from pizza to curry.
From sweet bell peppers to a whole spectrum of hot peppers. Members of the nightshade family, peppers provide flavor and, depending on the pepper, some extra heat.
In general, peppers are a great source of vitamin C, fiber and lots of antioxidants.
Peppers can be eaten raw as a snack or cooked into fajitas, a stir-fry or even grilled or roasted to add to pasta, pizza or even sauces.
Cucumbers have a high water content aiding to hydration in the summer months. They have a crisp crunch and refreshing flavor and contain antioxidants and fiber (leave the skin on!).
They’re great dipped in hummus or tzatziki, added to a salad or made into pickles. Cucumbers are a great way to add a refreshing crunch to lots of meals.
Berries are a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition. In fact, they’re considered to be some of the healthiest food on the planet. They are a great source of antioxidants like anthocyanins to keep free radicals at bay.
Summer has so much to offer
With the summer season upon us, embrace the flavors of summer and start incorporating some of these yummy summer foods into your life!
What are your favorite summer foods?