Summer is the season of farmers’ markets, of local, seasonal produce, and of course, of market-fresh recipes that make the most of that fresh bounty! These 15 market-fresh recipes will keep you inspired in the kitchen.
Whether you garden at home or in a community space, love to frequent summer farmers markets or have a CSA box that you pick up, you know that summer = local, fabulously market-fresh produce. Peas, tomatoes, corn, zucchini, eggplant, cauliflower, green beans, fresh leafy greens… they’re all in abundance right now—and don’t forget the herbs!
In fact, the bounty can be so great that it can be overwhelming! What are you going to do with all of this beautiful food?
Well, this collection of market-fresh recipes for summer is exactly what you need to be inspired. These veggie-centric recipes all highlight summer produce and let it shine. They’re almost all very simple and some will even help you store that market fresh flavor through the winter!
Go ahead and read through the list… I bet you’ll want to run, not walk, to your local farmers’ market when you’re done!
Soupe au Pistou is a classic French soup that shines a spotlight on fresh summer vegetables and herbs—and makes great use of your CSA basket contents. This light soup is topped with pistou, the French answer to pesto, but without the nuts. Try it once and watch yourself making it over and over again!
Heirloom tomatoes need very little help to make them shine: just a few simple, quality ingredients such as homemade pesto, quality soft cheese, or a crisp pastry shell. These delicious components all come together in this colorful Heirloom Tomato Crostata, a stunning summer brunch or lunch dish.
Caponata is a Sicilian sweet and sour version of ratatouille that has a gorgeous aroma and a thick, chunky texture, making it perfect to top crusty rounds of grilled bread as an appetizer or to serve with grilled fish. It’s a great market-fresh recipe you can and should make ahead of time to allow the aromatic flavors to fully develop.
Panzanella is a traditional Tuscan salad usually made with market-fresh, juicy tomatoes, cubed bread, olive oil, onions, and vinegar, but this version has a twist! I’ve toasted the bread and added gorgeous drippy, fresh peaches, good, dry salami, and chunks of buffalo mozzarella to create a memorable summer dish!
This Savory Clafoutis does for vegetables what the classic French dessert does for fruit! Roasted zucchini, eggplant, and cherry tomatoes are paired with tangy, creamy goat cheese to create a celebration of summer veggies in an easy, but elegant dish that’s perfect for brunches and dining al fresco.
When it comes to market-fresh recipes, salads are always a big hit. Zucchini is prolific in gardens and markets as we head into the last half of summer. You can never have too many ways to use it up and this elegant but easy Grilled Zucchini Salad combines crunchy and creamy textures with toasted hazelnuts and the slightly salty tang of Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese.
I have an ongoing love affair with the sweet summer corn that lands on plates in late summer. This rich-tasting Sweet Corn Chowder is one of my favorite soups: it shines an irresistible spotlight on market-fresh produce like corn, tomatoes, and basil. Freeze that short-lived sweet corn so you can also make this chowder in the heart of winter, too!
This Sweet Corn Risotto is brimming with crunchy-sweet golden kernels that really channel sunshine in a bowl. But it also makes the most of the cobs, which are used to create the delicious corn broth that enhances that iconic sweet summer corn flavor.
This Lentil Niçoise Salad is a perfect summer dinner salad packed with protein, fiber, vegetables, and, of course, sumptuous market-fresh summer flavors! Lentils are a must-have pantry staple. Pull them into action at a moment’s notice while bringing a ton of health benefits to the table! They’re the perfect addition to this summer salad keeping it light, but filling.
If you find yourself drowning in juicy ripe tomatoes, then this Fresh Tomato Sauce recipe is for you. Preserve those summer beauties in a simple, aromatic sauce that you can use all winter long in so many different ways! It works with pasta, as a pizza sauce, or even as a dip.
This Tomato and Fresh Corn Salad is super easy and quick side salad that’s a delicious sidekick to barbecued meats, seafood, and fish. Since tomatoes and corn are in season together, it should be no surprise that both are delicious together! Just a bit of prep and a simple dressing create a summer side dish everyone loves at first bite.
Sweet Pea Risotto makes the most of fresh summer peas but, it also works really well with frozen peas so you can make it year-round. Either way, you will never tire of this beautifully vibrant dish that’s easy to make but elegant to serve.
Did you know you can make some absolutely delicious savory bread puddings from market-fresh veggies? This Zucchini and Parmesan Bread Pudding is a perfect example of that unusual, but unforgettable dish. This savory bread pudding uses up a lot of zucchini and you can make it ahead of time for a brunch or lunch—in fact, it tastes even better the next day!
Market-fresh greens and herbs are available all through the growing season but sometimes, it can be hard to think of what to do with them beyond a salad. That’s where this colorful dish of Grilled Chicken Skewers with Cilantro Pesto and Kale Tabbouleh comes in! The cilantro-packed pesto is the perfect dip for the chicken skewers and the kale is a bold, colorful addition to the tabbouleh. It’s a lovely, market-fresh recipe idea that’s perfect for a warm summer night.
My Build-Your-Own Easy Noodle Bowl is the ultimate “it’s too hot to cook” meal. You can use whatever fresh vegetables, herbs, greens, and protein you have on hand in your fridge. Simply whip up the easy sesame dressing, toss all your ingredients together, and dinner is ready! You can even let family members customize their own bowls to suit their tastes by setting all the add-ins out on a platter and letting everyone help themselves.
Make sure to browse through my Summer Dessert recipe category to find sweet dishes that make the most of summer fruits, too!