Healthy Garden-Fresh Recipes
This time of year there are so many delightfully fresh herbs, fruits, and veggies to choose from. In honor of the best produce the summer has to offer, we've gathered a list of recipes brimming with seasonal flavor. You won't want to miss a bite.
Zucchini Pesto with Crudités
Small bites allow for more conversation while entertaining. Serve this summery appetizer on a platter than can be passed and shared. The cooked zucchini is delicious on its own (try it as a spread) and even better blended with almonds, fresh herbs, and cheese. Garnish with a little extra cheese, if desired.
Goat Cheese Crostini with Watermelon-Beet Salsa
You can use any type of beet, or substitute chopped tomato or more watermelon. Juicy produce adds a nice balance to the tangy flavor of the goat cheese, without becoming runny or mushy. These mini crostinis make for the perfect appetizer for a crowd, or a fun summertime snack
To get a half-salted rim, you'll need to start with a tablespoon of salt—but only about 1 teaspoon ends up sticking to the glasses.
Spicy Squash Pickles
These summer squashes offer meatier flavor and texture than traditional cucumber pickles. This recipe was given top marks by readers—and for good reason. You'll love the burst of fresh flavor that you receive with each bite.
Melanie's Garden-Tomato Soup
Fresh diced tomatoes and fresh herbs bring the garden to your table with this delicious tomato soup recipe. Garnish with thinly sliced fresh basil for an extra kick of freshness.
Slap the verbena leaves lightly between your palms before you garnish to release essential oils. For ease, make the simple syrup a day ahead and mix just before serving. Opt for a floral honey here, like blueberry or orange blossom. The unique qualities of the honey you use will really shine is this refreshing cocktail.
Summer Veggie Rice Bowl
Fresh tomatoes, zucchini, basil, and toasted pine nuts bring this rice salad to life. Serve it with 1 pound roasted fresh green beans.
Caprese "Salsa" Zucchini with Sea Salt
Find all the fresh flavor of a Caprese salad with the addition of pan-grilled zucchini in this superfast side dish. For more tender zucchini, leave slices in the pan an extra 1 minute on each side. When the flesh starts to look translucent, the zucchini is done.
Cucumber-Lime Infused Gin and Tonic
Make the gin mixture ahead or let stand at room temp 3 hours. When entertaining, keep an ice bucket, extra utensils, and plenty of napkins handy so guests can help themselves—and so you won't have to be in and out of the kitchen.
Garden Harvest Cake
Zucchini, carrot, and apples add moisture and flavor, eliminating the need for excess butter and oil. This simple cake-like bread only takes about 10 minutes to prepare the batter. Prep tip: Grate the apple, carrot, and zucchini using a handheld grater. A food processor releases more water, which will make the bread wet.
Spicy Basil-Beef Salad
If regular Italian—or Genovese—basil is all you have growing in your garden, it'll work fine. However, it's worth searching out a few extra varieties, such as purple, Thai, or lemon basil. Using a mix of varieties improves the salad by adding visual interest and nuanced flavors. If you can't find hanger steak, substitute flank instead.
Marinated Peppers and Mozzarella
Serve this stunning dish solo as a predinner nosh, or spoon over mixed lettuces for a fresh spin on salad. Reserve excess oil, and toss it with steamed brown rice or noodles.
Sweet Heat Arnold Palmer
Mocktails need not be boring: A habanero chile adds welcome kick to a classic layered Arnold Palmer. The trick to layering beverages is to add liquids to the glass in order of most to least dense. We put most of the sugar into the lemonade (the denser liquid), so be sure to swirl before swigging.
Herby Cucumber Salad
Creamy and tangy, this simple side comes together in a flash. Don't make the salad ahead—the cucumbers will release too much water.
Bulgur, Mint, and Parsley Salad
Light, herby, and vibrantly flavored, this salad makes a great appetizer salad or first course. Make up to two hours ahead so tastes can meld.
Mixed Bean-Cherry Tomato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
A bright assemblage of flavors, textures, and colors, this salad can be made early in the day and refrigerated until ready to serve.
Roasted Eggplants with Herbs
A simple preparation yields irresistible results with roasted eggplant. Use very firm, small eggplants; if young and fresh enough, they won't be bitter.
Quick Pickled Dilly Green Beans
A fresh alternative to pickled cukes, these crisp, crunchy treats make a zesty summer snack, garnish for a Bloody Mary, or condiment in a sandwich or salad. They're easy to prepare and will keep up to a week in the refrigerator.
Lavender adds a delightfully different dimension to this refreshing summer favorite. Garnishing with lavender stems makes for a pretty presenation.
Smoky Tomato Salsa
Smoked tomatoes and jalapeño pepper make a world of difference in this salsa and blend beautifully with the garlic and lime. Garnish with a cilantro sprig, if desired.
This is a delicious, versatile summer side dish for roast chicken, pork tenderloin, or steak. This recipe is full of garden-to-table freshness.
Grilled Stuffed Jalapeños
The rich and creamy combination of bacon, cream cheese, and cheddar is a nice foil for the muted spice of grilled jalapeño peppers. This recipe is a healthy, fresh alternative to the popular breaded and fried version. If making these poppers for a party, you can stuff the peppers, cover, and chill. Then grill just before your guests arrive.
Spiced Marinated Tomatoes
Marinated tomatoes are a great choice for summer entertaining because you can marinate up to two days ahead. This spiced-up version features jalapeño pepper, ginger and cumin.
Summer Squash Pizza
You can use all zucchini or yellow squash for this grilled pie—whatever you have on hand. Serve one slice as an appetizer or two with a salad for a simple supper.
Black-Eyed Pea and Tomato Salsa
Adding the inner veins and seeds from the poblano chile will increase the heat in this salsa. Serve with tortilla chips for a fresh summer appetizer.
Frozen Mint Margaritas
Fresh mint adds a delicious, refreshing flavor to this drink that's hard to resist. For an appealing presentation, rub the rims of the margarita glasses with lime wedges and dip the rims in a half-and-half mixture of kosher salt and sugar. Serve with fresh lime wedges as a garnish, if desired.
Grilled Zucchini Caprese Stacks
What a showcase for garden treasures! Rainbow layers of veggies benefit from extra basil tucked inbetween for more flavor. Grilling brings out earthy tones that are balanced out by the tangy-sweet balsamic glaze.