These internationally inspired plates starring the pick of the season make an unforgettable addition to summer menus. Get ready to jet set. We’re taking a trip around the world with six summer veggies.
Tomatoes Go Mediterranean
Nothing compares to the first bite of a ripe, juicy summer tomato. Fortunately, with so many varieties to choose from – like plump beefsteak, tender Roma, and bite-sized cherry, just to name a few – you can savor these summer gems all season long without ever getting bored.
For an eye-catching savory pie you can serve at any meal, opt for tomatoes that will yield large slices (beefsteak, Big Boy, and Abraham Lincoln are all great options). Add the tang of Kalamata olives and two kinds of fresh herbs, and you’ve got a heavenly slice of the Mediterranean.
Mediterranean Tomato Pie
Abundant summer corn is at its peak when the kernels turn a vivid egg yolk-yellow. The best, freshest corn is sold in the husk, however, so look for other clues when choosing ears. The tassels (the fine threads sticking up out of the top) should be firmly attached and sticky to the touch, and the husk should be vividly green and tightly wrapped.
Fresh corn kernels are the key ingredient in our version of Venezuelan cachapas, thin corn pancakes served plain with butter or stuffed with cheese. We added fresh mozzarella, a traditional favorite, and ham for an irresistibly savory bite wrapped in sweet, griddled corn flavor.
Ham and Cheese Stuffed Venezuelan Corn Pancakes
Mild zucchini and its cousin, yellow summer squash, are neutral flavored veggies full of vitamins, fiber, and even protein. Both varieties work as a blank canvas that pairs well with a wide range of ingredients. We love the look and texture of spiralized squash for fun curls that make everyone excited to eat their veggies.
A stint in the air fryer turns twists of panko-breaded squash into lower calorie (but still totally irresistible) curly fries. We added the bold flavor of za’atar, a dried herb and spice blend from the Middle East, for a pop of flavor with nutty sesame seeds and lemony sumac.
Air Fryer Squash Curly Fries with Za’atar
Eggplant with a French Accent
The meaty texture and mild flavor of this summer star make it a great choice for all kinds of plant-powered dishes. Eggplant’s firm consistency can withstand the high heat of the oven or barbecue, creating a rich, smoky flavor with slightly caramelized edges.
We combined four all-star summer veggies on the grill for this cookout-ready version of classic ratatouille. The combination of gently charred eggplant with cherry tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, and fresh basil is a symphony of French-Mediterranean flavors.
The appealing crunch of cucumbers isn’t the only reason they’re a perfect summertime snack. Their high water content (a whopping 96%) can help you keep cool and hydrated on hot days. Cucumbers are available in three main varieties:
Slicing, the dark green variety with seeds,
Pickling, which includes bumpy, thick-skinned varieties like Kirby and gherkin used to make – you guessed it – pickles, and
Burpless, aka seedless, like thin-skinned, ready-to-eat English cucumbers
Miniature seedless cucumbers (sometimes called Persian cucumbers) are the base for a Chinese-inspired salad dressed with sesame oil and soy sauce that pairs perfectly with gingery grilled chicken thighs. Smashing and salting the cucumbers creates a softer texture with greater surface area to absorb more of the flavorful dressing.
Grilled Ginger Chicken with Smashed Cucumbers
This non-spicy member of the chili family has more vitamin C per serving than an orange! That’s in addition to a slew of other nutrients, including fiber and even some protein. The hearty texture of bell peppers can withstand the heat of grilling, roasting, and broiling. Fresh, peak season peppers are also delicious raw.
This plant-powered stuffed bell pepper stars couscous, quick-cooking granules of wheat that hail from North Africa. (Because of its small size and nutty flavor, some people confuse couscous with a grain, but it’s actually more closely related to pasta). The savory filling with cumin and pine nuts borrows some Italian ingredients, mozzarella and sundried tomatoes, for a family-friendly dinner that preps in five minutes. To save even more time, roast the peppers up to a day ahead and stuff just before serving.
Peppers Stuffed with Couscous