There is nothing like juicy summer tomatoes that pair perfectly with tangy mozzarella for a no-cook recipe on a hot summer night. Summer is also a great time for grilling! Gather friends and family outside for some pool time and games in the backyard. Pair vegetables with burgers, steak or seafood like in this Jalapeño Popper Burger recipe. Take advantage of edible flowers and freshly chopped herbs like basil to add pretty garnishes to your dishes. Get more inspiration for summer holiday grilling here!
I gained a new appreciation for “stone fruits” like juicy nectarines and peaches while writing my first cookbook, Share + Savor. I had written a recipe using peaches, and when it came to the photography I waited until October to take photos of the salsa recipe which included peaches. That was a huge mistake! Did you know peaches are one fruit you can’t find out of season no matter how many grocery stores you go to? Cue panic mode! Don’t tell anyone, but in one photo I had to substitute the last plum I could find for peaches – thank you Photoshop!
The other night I had a conversation with my husband, Aaron, about our favorite summer fruits and vegetables. He automatically thinks of fresh, sweet California strawberries and creamy, ripe avocados while I always think about New Jersey’s juicy tomatoes and sweet, crisp corn on the cob. I have to remind people that it’s called the Garden State for a reason!
Summer is my favorite time for produce; it conjures up memories of driving with the windows down on back roads and stopping at one of the numerous farm stands that dotted my New Jersey hometown of Long Valley. While the exact seasonality can depend on your location, follow my guide for some of the best tasting fruit and vegetables spanning the summer months from June to September.
These days there are an abundance of ingredients that are available year-round in grocery stores. I never gave it much thought until I spent time working with Chef Anne Willan. She emphasized the importance of using seasonal ingredients. The benefit of this practice is that you end up with ingredients at their peak. No more white tomatoes or gritty apples, eating food at its ripest gives you the best quality ingredients to cook with.
Using seasonal ingredients also benefits the environment, since by eating what is in season locally means that produce doesn’t have to be shipped around the world. This isn’t to say I don’t still indulge in imported ingredients. But there has to be some give and take, and I try to be mindful of that.
While this is in no way a complete comprehensive list of all seasonal produce, my goal is to highlight a few ingredients that shine during each season. Keep in mind that for the most part seasonality of vegetables and fruits can differ between geographical regions. To search your location and see all produce in season monthly by state, check out this chart: https://www.seasonalfoodguide.org
This summer quinoa salad recipe is packed with seasonal ingredients like zucchini, corn, tomatoes in this vegetarian dish.
Think of these as cinnamon rolls with a fruity twist. Sweet dough is swirled with blackberry filling, baked and topped with cream cheese frosting.
This summery recipe combines the delicious flavors of grilled Mexican street corn, elote, into ravioli.
This summery salad is filled with grilled chicken thighs, squash and tomato with herby basil vinaigrette topped off with creamy burrata over a bed of lettuce.
Store-bought granola can be expensive and full of added sugars. I prefer to make my own, tailoring it exactly to my tastes, and using just a few ingredients. In this granola, I use dried fruit, specifically Montmorency tart cherries.
Sweet sliced peaches are arranged in the bottom of a cake pan and topped with a sweet cornbread cake mixture. The peaches caramelize in the butter and brown sugar mixture and make for an elegant cake topping.
The peaches add a sweet taste to the marinated chicken thighs while the tomatoes add fresh and juicy flavor contrasting cooked and fresh ingredients for a thoroughly summer dish.
This summer seafood pasta combines some of my favorite East coast flavors into one dish.
I like to think of this as “naked bruschetta ” because the cherry tomatoes are so juicy and flavorful you don’t need any other flavors, they just enhance the flavors that are already there.
A fresh summer fruit salad also goes great with a side of grilled bread and is a great way to start a summer gathering.
This is the perfect summer salad for your next BBQ; it combines sweet watermelon and corn with nutty grains, toasted walnuts and grilled halloumi cheese.
Flakey and buttery biscuits are served with macerated strawberries and topped with homemade whipped cream.
This southern twist on strawberry shortcake uses juicy yellow peaches and cornmeal based biscuits, perfect for hot summer nights.
Caprese sandwich with ciabatta bread with fresh pesto, sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, heirloom tomatoes and sweet balsamic glaze.
This salad is one of my favorites to whip together for a quick weeknight salad that is actually filling enough to be a meal.
Shortbread crusted pie with a sticky sweet raspberry filling is perfect paired with ice cream for a summer dessert.
Seared scallops served in a nutty brown butter sauce that contrasts with the fresh, sweet taste of watermelon and spicy Serrano pepper for a fresh & simple summer dinner.
In this recipe the peaches are grilled to add extra depth of flavor; they become slightly caramelized and smoky on the grill.
Use fresh, ripe heirloom tomatoes, good-quality extra-virgin olive oil and aged balsamic if possible.
If you enjoy these recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:
Get more end of summer food ideas here.