Summer’s Ripe With Seasonal Flavors


Put your fresh, locally grown produce to good use with these veggie-centric recipes.


Summer is my favorite season, partly because of the hot weather, but mostly because of the variety of vegetables found in farmers’ markets, farm standsand even at supermarkets.

It’s true that many of these vegetables are available all year. But in other seasons, they are flown in from South America, efficiently chilled in commercial refrigerators.

However, during the summer, vegetables are grown locally and sold shortly after harvesting. They often arrive from farms, exuding the sun’s warmth and flecked with fresh earth.

You cannot compare the dry tomatoes of winter to their fiery red brethren of summer, which carry the scent of the garden. These tomatoes are so radiant with flavor, all you need to do is slice them and sprinkle salt on top.

Whenever I stop at a farmer’s market, I always buy more vegetables than my family could possibly eat, even if we invited friends to join us seven days a week. Salads are a good solution to what to do with my bumper crop of produce. But I’m always on the prowl for recipes that call for as many vegetables as possible. After all, I have to justify every piece of produce I bring home.

Mediterranean Chopped Salad
10 romaine lettuce leaves
6 red lettuce leaves
2 beefsteak tomatoes, cored
1 green pepper, cored, seeded and rinsed under cold water
1⁄2 red onion, skinned and sliced
1 seedless cucumber, fine seeds removed
1 cup croutons
1 6-oz. block of feta cheese, cubed
1⁄4 cup Kalamata black olives, pitted
kosher salt to taste
1⁄8 cup olive oil
1⁄ cup red wine vinegar

Rinse romaine and red lettuce leaves under cold water and dry with paper towels.

Chop both kinds of lettuce, tomatoes, green pepper, red onion and cucumber and place in a salad bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss until ingredients are well coated with oil and vinegar. Serve immediately.

Serves 6 to 8.

Chunky Gazpacho
2 vegetable bouillon cubes dissolved in 1 cup boiling water
5 large tomatoes, rinsed and chopped
1 large zucchini, rinsed, scrubbed  and diced
1 seedless cucumber, rinsed, fine seeds removed and diced
1 green pepper, rinsed, cored, seeded and diced
1 yellow pepper, rinsed, cored, seeded and diced
1 small red onion, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped fine
1 Tbsp. fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
1 tsp. cilantro, chopped fine
juice of 2 lemons
1 bottle (32 oz.) V-8 Juice
3 Tbsps. olive oil
freshly ground pepper to taste, the more, the better
salt to taste

Place ingredients in an extra large bowl or a non-reactive pot and stir well. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.

Serves 8 to 10.

Crunchy Wax Beans
(Dairy or Pareve)
nonstick vegetable spray
1⁄3 cup olive oil, or more, if needed
1 and 1⁄2 lbs. wax beans (string beans can be substituted)
1⁄4 seasoned breadcrumbs
1⁄4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)
kosher salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350˚. Coat a baking dish with nonstick spray.

Pour olive oil into a second baking dish. Move this baking dish back and forth until the bottom is evenly coated.

Place the wax beans in the second baking dish. Move beans around so they do not overlap.

With your fingers roll them so that each bean is coated with oil. Add more oil, if needed.

Sprinkle the beans with breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and salt. With your fingers, gently roll beans around, until they are coated with the breadcrumbs, cheese and salt.

Gently move the coated beans into the baking dish coated with no-stick spray. Place in the oven and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until beans are cooked through and crisp. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Zucchini and Mushrooms in Tomato Sauce
2 Tbsps. olive oil
1 onion, diced fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
1⁄2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
4 medium-sized zucchini, sliced thin
kosher salt to taste
3 Tbsps. (heaping) tomato paste
1⁄4 cup dry red wine
1⁄4 cup water

Heat olive oil briefly in a large pot on a medium flame.

Sauté onion and garlic until wilted, about 2 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and sauté for a couple of minutes. Then add the zucchini and sprinkle on salt. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes.

Mix together the tomato paste, wine and water. Pour over the zucchini mixture and stir until combined.

Cover the pot and simmer on a medium-low flame until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6.

Linda Morel is a writer based in New York City. Email her at:


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