19 Ways to Make the Most of Summer Produce in Every Part of Your Meal
Treat your guests—and yourself—to these produce-packed pickups at your next get-together. Our artful appetizers get the party started in real style, from a new take on prosciutto and melon to a fresher bruschetta riff. For an elegant sit-down affair, our creamy, lobster-topped gazpacho is sure to garner raves.
White Gazpacho with Lobster
Instead of the traditional tomato foundation, this gazpacho uses cucumber and green grapes for bright, fresh flavor. Lobster is a special touch, ideal to kick off a dinner party. You also could omit the lobster or sub shrimp.
Ratatouille Zucchini "Bruschetta"
In this lighter version of bruschetta, crisp zucchini stands in for bread. The ratatouille is delicious left over (even cold), so go ahead and make a double batch to enjoy on pizza or pasta.
Double-Serrano Watermelon Bites
These bites are a step up from classic prosciutto-wrapped melon and provide sweet, spicy, salty, tart, and meaty tastes. If you can’t find serrano ham, use prosciutto; you also can use balsamic glaze in place of pomegranate molasses.
Great salads are works of art. More than just greens drizzled with dressing, they're created with intention in order to balance flavors, textures, and colors. Earthy kale melds with sweet cherries, crunchy fried farro tops juicy tomatoes, and red onions pop against a backdrop of green and yellow beans. Look no further for your new favorites.
Triple Tomato Salad with Crispy Farro
Our salad update is a spectacular platter of tomatoes treated in all the ways that make the most of their flavor: pickled, roasted, and left raw. It does involve a few steps, but you can fry the farro and pickle the green tomatoes a few days in advance to get ahead.
Four Bean (and One Pea) Salad
We’ve updated the tired three-bean staple with a wonderful variety of textures, colors, and shapes. It’s a gorgeous salad that you’ll be proud to serve at your next backyard barbecue. Charring the snap peas and edamame adds robust flavor notes that complement the zip of the dressing and the mild taste of the green beans.
Kale and Wheat Berry Salad with Fresh Cherry Dressing
Fresh summer touches bring what is typically a cool-weather salad firmly into the season. Fresh cherries perform double duty, featuring in both the dressing (in which they’re pureed) and the finished salad. Curly kale has a hearty, slightly tough texture, but massaging it with the salt tenderizes it nicely. If you’d rather use baby kale, you can skip the massage. If you have trouble finding watermelon radishes, any radishes will work beautifully.
Korean Skirt Steak Salad
This dinner salad is an exciting twist on a taco salad: Crisped wonton wedges replace tortilla strips, marinated skirt steak stands in for ground beef, and bok choy subs in for lettuce. Gochugaru—Korean red pepper flakes—is worth seeking out at an Asian market. It has a slightly sweet, deeply roasted flavor and not as much chile heat as you’d expect. Use it anywhere you want some gentle heat and a robust savory note: sprinkled on eggs, kebabs, hummus, roasted vegetables, and grilled corn.
Get out of your dinner rut with these playful summer dishes. We've added a little Chinese takeout flair to backyard-barbecue chicken, piled burgers high with crunchy pickled vegetables and special sauce, and made over a beloved French classic with a hearty, whole-grain base. Just add rosé and dinner is done.
Grilled General Tso's Chicken
This fun twist on barbecue chicken borrows flavors from a Chinese takeout favorite. We grill the chicken without any of the glazy sauce brushed on because you would lose all subtlety in the sauce if it were to char on the grill. The sauce gets its translucent sheen from neutral-flavored light corn syrup (not to be confused with high fructose corn syrup); you could substitute honey, brown rice syrup, or Lyle’s Golden Syrup—just know that the sauce will be a darker color and will take on the flavor of the sweetener.
Tuna Niçoise Whole-Grain Bowls
We combined the classic Niçoise combo of haricots verts, potatoes, hard-cooked eggs, tuna, and olives with whole-grain rye berries, which have a nutty, faintly peppery-tangy flavor. If you can’t find them, use farro or wheat berries.
Banh Mi Burgers
Here, a basic beef burger takes some cues from the classic Vietnamese sandwich and cranks its flavor up to 10. We enjoy our burgers cooked to medium (140°F) for more juiciness, and we always purchase the meat from a trusted source. You can cook the patties to your desired degree of doneness; the USDA recommends 160°F for ground beef.
Impress your friends at the next potluck or picnic gathering by toting along one of these tasty side dishes. Each recipe dusts off a summer classic and deeply infuses it with far more flavor than the traditional version, from smoky beer poached corn to Indian-spiced baked beans to char-grilled cabbage slaw.
Cauliflower Salad with Herbs
You've likely had cauliflower bits as a carb-conscious sub for rice. Now the mild crucifer replaces spuds for a lighter take on potato salad. Turn this into a light meal by upping the egg amount to a whole egg per person.
Grilled Wedge-Salad Slaw
We took the irresistible toppings from a wedge salad—namely bacon and blue cheese dressing—and added them to coleslaw. The cabbage goes onto the grill in wedges to pick up smoky char, then is chopped for the slaw.
Indian Dal-Style Baked Beans
The standard backyard-barbecue side takes a global turn with warm spices, but the beans are still perfectly at home alongside burgers and hot dogs.
Smoky Beer-Poached Grilled Corn
We took a technique that's typically used for bratwurst and applied it to corn—with amazing results. You can save the beer after poaching the corn and use it for poaching brats or for steaming peel-and-eat shrimp.
The sweets of summer are always most delicious when they're based on the season's freshest fruit. We use peaches, raspberries—even avocados and fruit-based sorbets—for a lighter approach to time-honored desserts.
Bonus: All feed a crowd, so they're perfect for your warm-weather gatherings.
Key Lime Ice Pops
This frozen treat offers all you love about Key lime pie in a neat handheld package. Ripe avocados are the key to making these pops rich and indulgent, and they make the texture creamy and smooth instead of icy. The avocados also plump up the dessert with heart-healthy unsaturated fats, which keep you satisfied. Try to keep the graham cracker crumbs coarse so that the pops have more texture; fine crumbs might end up soggy.
Pavlova Layer Cake with Raspberries and Peaches
This show-stopping peach and raspberry pavlova cake is just 158 calories per slice. This classic meringue-based dessert with a crisp outer texture and soft, creamy inside will blow guests away at brunches, showers, and teas. We stay seasonal by topping it with fresh peaches and raspberries, but any assortment of berries and stone fruit would work.
Striped Yogurt-and-Sorbet Sandwiches
These lightened versions of the classic ice cream sandwich treat have just 193 calories.