There’s no better way to celebrate summer than cooking from your own garden.
Whether you’re in the mood for a fresh salad, tender grilled veggies, or a side dish with some zesty summer flavor, summer harvests offer something for everyone.
If you’re like many home gardeners, summer is a time of harvest abundance. You might even have more ready-to-harvest crops that you know what to do with. Too many tomatoes? Bushels of peppers? Squash for days?
Never fear—there’s a delicious summer recipe for every one of your hard-earned harvests. Using up all of your yummy garden produce might just take a little creativity.
One of the pleasures of summer is seeing the colorful landscape of your home garden turn into a mouth-watering, nutritious meal. Ready to cook up something summery?
Salads are so popular in the summer not only because salad crops are abundant, but also because crafting an amazing salad doesn’t require much or any cooking on the stove or in the oven. Of course it depends on your home climate, but cooking with lots of heat just isn’t as necessary or fun in hot temperatures.
One exception: the grill! Grilling, as you know, is the ultimate summer cooking method, and is a fantastic replacement for anything you might otherwise roast in the oven.
Firing up the grill? Immerse yourself in our Summer BBQ Recipes blog for a ton of grill inspiration!
Summer crops like peas, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs are so colorful, flavorful, and versatile that they don’t need much fancying-up to make incredible meals.
Summer is meant to be spent outside, under the sun and stars, enjoying fresh air, with your hands in the soil. Keep your summer cooking simple! Make more time to enjoy the season of relaxation and admire your gorgeous garden.
Leave the elaborate three-page recipes for fall and winter, when you’re happy to spend time indoors, roasting a whole bucket of root veggies.
The wonderful thing about homemade salad from your own garden is that there are no rules! Make it your own by tailoring spice, texture, and flavor combinations to your tastes.
Harvest, create, and enjoy!
If you have tomatoes growing abundantly in your garden, you’re about to have an amazing summer salad menu! Tomatoes are the classic hot weather menu item that make the picnic basket, barbecue, and dinner table feel like endless summer.
Tomatoes can serve as the base for a salad, like in this gorgeous Caprese Salad recipe from Love and Lemons with multi-colored tomatoes.
Or they can be a bright addition to a lettuce-based salad with other flavorful greens mixed in, like arugula. Try this incredible Strawberry Salad from A Couple Cooks for a unique sweet and summery twist.
This summer Tomato, Cucumber, and Corn Salad from Food52 is the perfect starter for your zesty salad creations. Add almost anything to make it your own: avocado, peppers, even strawberries or stone fruit.
Just like salads, salsas are a perfect summer recipe because 1) they don't require cooking with heat (or just a little bit) and 2) they’re a blank canvas for your many, many tomatoes!
And, just like salad, salsa is incredibly versatile and adaptable.
Start with a few basic ingredients: tomatoes, onions, a bit of lime, and whatever varieties of peppers you like.
Then twist it up! Add tomatillos (or even exchange tomatoes for tomatillos), corn, or fruit. Mash it up to get a smoother texture, or leave your salsa chunky for an easier chip-dipping experience. Drizzle on salads or scoop into wraps. You know the drill.
This quick, perfectly refreshing Pico De Gallo recipe by Ana Frias of Muy Delish will get you started. Then go wild!
Or browse the spicy salsa, tomatillo chile de arbol salsa and salsa verde with no avocado, and more on La Piña en La Cocina.
Peppers are one of our favorite things to grill. Grilling works wonders for just about every variety of pepper—from spicy to sweet.
Your grill is calling out for kabobs!
Whether you’re a meat kabob lover or your BBQ is all-vegetarian, you can’t go wrong with festive kabobs. Prep and assembly is quick, grilling skewers is super fun, and the end result is a work of art. They’re also great for parties, because you can whip up a big batch in no time, store assembled kabobs in the fridge, and grill them as needed.
These beautiful Grilled Vegetable Skewers from Natasha’s Kitchen are a great go-to!
You probably guessed already that one of our most favorite things about cooking with a summer harvest is how creative you can get. That’s the pleasure of cooking from homegrown vegetables, herbs, and fruits: the only limit is your imagination. Well...and the season’s end.
Summer veggies are so flavorful and forgiving that you really can’t go wrong when tossing together a salad from the garden or chopping up a fresh salsa.
As you let yourself get creative with your summer harvest recipes, see how it feels to keep adding new, interesting ingredients to your menu. As the menu expands, so might your garden.
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