What to Make With Your Summer Garden Vegetables

Eating seasonally is fresh, nutritious, and delicious! Try out some easy-to-make summer recipes with ingredients grown in your own garden.

Published on
May 31, 2023
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What to Make With Your Summer Garden Vegetables


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Your garden is in full bloom and your vegetables are ripe for picking this summer. If this is your first year reaping the benefits of your fruit and vegetable garden, or if you are running out of summer recipe ideas, a great place to start is taking advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables. 

Seasonal eating is about choosing to consume in-season produce when harvested in your area to the best of your capabilities. Not every meal must have seasonal vegetables or fruits, but making the conscious decision to do so when you can still makes you a seasonal foodie. 

Eating seasonally has a lot of benefits, the first being that seasonal produce is fresher, tastier, and more nutritious than if you were to purchase and consume any other time of year. Consuming seasonal produce also supports local farmers and environmentally friendly harvesting practices (Seasonal Food Guide, n.d.). Bonus points if you grow your own produce and/or purchase locally and seasonally!

Vegetables you can incorporate from the garden and into your recipes this summer are cucumber, corn, zucchini, eggplant, radish, okra, and bell peppers. Here is a mini guide for summer recipes and how to eat seasonally with food right from your garden this summer!

Snacks for Summer

Let's start simple with some easy summer snacks that are anything but simple! Cucumbers are refreshingly crunchy and perfect for a hot summer day when staying out of the warm kitchen is preferred.

Creamy Cucumber Salad: For this recipe, grab a bowl and slice up a whole cucumber. Add sour cream, onion, fresh dill, salt, and pepper to taste, and you have a creamy and refreshing salad. Make as an easy snack or a side salad for BBQ parties (Food Network, 2018).

  • Vegetarian

Sweet and Spicy Cucumbers: If creamy is not your thing, these sweet and spicy cucumbers might be just the right snack for summer. Sliced cucumbers with soy sauce, chili oil, garlic, sesame seeds, and sugar to taste give just the right amount of sweetness and spice in one refreshing crunch. Plus this snack is ready to eat – no cooling in the refrigerator after prep is needed (The Foodie Takes Flight, 2021).

  • Vegan

Summer appetizers

Cooking with summer vegetables can result in the easiest and most satisfying summer meals if you know where to look. Whether you make these tasty appetizers for a group or yourself, we won’t tell anyone!

Deconstructed Eggplant Parmesan Sliders: These eggplant and parmesan sliders are a great vegetarian alternative to the traditional cheesy summer sliders. Loaded with in-season fried eggplant and roasted red peppers, plus burrata and parmesan cheese, these sliders are perfect for parties or a light meal (Mauro, 2014).

  • Vegetarian

Roasted Pepper Crostini: For this appetizer, choose your favorite peppers to roast since they are all in season. Spicy or sweet, after you have roasted them on the grill, brush your favorite toasted bread with olive oil and top with your peppers (Kitchen Treaty, 2020).

  • Vegan

Entrees for summer meals

Sometimes spending time in the kitchen is the last thing you want to do during the summer months, and on the hottest days you just want something refreshing. Enjoy trying out these meals during the summer, as they have a little bit of something for everyone!

Cajun Pasta: A vegan take on cajun-inspired pasta flavors, this pasta is easy to make and guaranteed to impress. This cajun pasta is made with in-season bell peppers and garlic, as well as tomatoes, black beans, coconut milk, and cajun seasoning. Some optional additions to the pasta include onions, mushrooms, and smoked paprika (Florian, 2020).

  • Vegan

Pickled Okra Potato Salad: Okra may not be a popular summer dish, but this salad with okra might be. Hidden in the creamy potatoes, the okra offers a spicy kick and vinegar flavor (Let’s Be Yummy, 2014).

  • Vegetarian

Summer Corn Chowder: Soups may have their moment in the fall and winter months, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until then to enjoy it. This corn chowder is perfect for those summer days when you are in the mood for comfort food. With in-season corn and bell peppers, as well as jalapenos, potatoes, lime, onion, and cilantro, you’ll get a sense of comfort with those summer flavors all in one bowl (Shoemaker, 2018).

  • Vegan

Zucchini Pad Thai: Pad Thai is a popular meal option in various places, but have you tried them with zucchini noodles instead of rice noodles? Add garlic shrimp and other seasonal veggies of your choice (Parissi, 2014).

  • Fish

Summer desserts

Most of us don’t think of a dessert when we think of vegetables, but maybe this recipe will have you rethinking!

Cinnamon Ice Cream With Maple Radishes: This one might be the most out-there choice, but so are vegetables for dessert. If you enjoy experimenting with food and different flavors, then this one is for you. Made from cinnamon and bananas, with candied radishes roasted in maple syrup as a topping, this homemade ice cream is sure to keep you cool, satiate your sweet tooth, and be a dessert you won’t forget (Hackworthy, 2022).

  • Vegan

Using exclusively summer vegetables in your meal planning can be a difficult task when considering an individual's access to certain produce and varying taste preferences. Don’t stress too much about eating only summer vegetables, and have fun trying out new recipes for summer meals!


18 ways to eat these 9 seasonal summer veggies right now

Cajun pasta

Creamy cucumber salad

Vegan cinnamon ice cream

Spicy cucumber salad

Deconstructed eggplant parm. Slider

Skinny pad thai with courgette noodles

Potato salad

Roasted Pepper Crostini

Seasonal Food Guide

Summer Corn Chowder (dairy-free + 10 ingredients!)

Photo by Rauf Allahverdiyev: https://www.pexels.com/photo/red-tomatoes-1367243/