Does it get any better than summertime produce? Vegetables at peak freshness and flavor? Picked straight from the farm or backyard garden?
Well… no, not for us! Since we tend to be both foodies and veggie-lovers here at Project Angel Heart, we asked some of our staff to share their favorite summer vegetables and how they prepare them. Read on for a few ideas of what to do with your next farmers market haul.
Roasted tomato sauce
Vice President of Development
I have a big backyard garden, so I end up with lots and lots of tomatoes. As they ripen, I roast them in small batches and save them up to make pasta sauce. I’ve tried a million different roasting techniques and haven’t noticed one iota of difference when I remove the skins or seeds… so I just keep it simple!
I toss the tomatoes on a baking sheet with olive oil, herbs, and garlic; roast; then puree everything once it cools. I keep the puree in the freezer and thaw it out whenever I need a pasta sauce. The roasted flavor is delicious!
Cucumber dill salad
I’m growing lots of cucumber and dill in the backyard this year. My favorite way to eat it is to thinly slice the cucumbers using a mandoline, then mix with some thinly sliced red onion, chopped dill, lemon juice, and greek yogurt. It’s amazing on top of salmon!
Raw bell peppers
I chop up red, orange, and yellow bell peppers and put them on top of salad. I love seeing the bright color and knowing I’m getting a bunch of vitamins and fiber. The best part is that you almost never get a bad bell pepper! So often, you come home from the store and slice open an avocado and it’s bleh. Bell peppers are so reliable!
Summer squash refrigerator pickles
Zucchini and summer squash pickles are good on everything (especially sandwiches!). They stay a bit crunchier than pickled cucumbers, and they’re a good way to make zucchini last longer.
To make, I just mix olive oil, apple cider vinegar, a little bit of sugar, and salt and pepper together to make a cold brine. (No recipe needed- just do it to taste!). Then I slice the squash 1/4 inch thick and put it all together in a jar in the refrigerator.
Colorado Springs Distribution & Volunteer Assistant
Artichokes are my favorite summer veggie. I usually make at least two big artichokes to feed my family of four… and we always fight for the hearts! I steam them and make a dipping sauce of homemade mayo (made with eggs from our backyard hens!), minced garlic, and a squeeze of lemon. Yum!
Sweet & tangy veggie lasagna
Administrative & Sustainability Specialist
Spinach, zucchini, and squash make an awesome vegetarian lasagna. I usually follow a simple recipe as a guideline, but I make one key adjustment: I always add a tablespoon of red pepper flakes and a tablespoon of brown sugar to the red sauce. It makes it a little bit tangy and sweet… so good!
Stuffed zucchini flowers
Modified Meals Nutritionist
I love to make stuffed zucchini flowers in the summer. I fill them with ricotta cheese and then fry them. Giada De Laurentis has an easy recipe I like to follow for the batter and technique. They are a little bit fancy and so tasty!
Citrus + soy snap pea and mushroom saute
My dad always grew snap peas in our garden when I was growing up. We ate so many of them and they were so fresh- now they’re my favorite summer veggie!
I like to make a simple saute with snap peas and mushrooms. I start by sauteing minced garlic and snap peas for a few minutes, and then I add quartered mushrooms and grated ginger. Once the mushrooms soften a bit, I stir in a bit of sesame oil and soy sauce. I let the soy sauce cook off a little bit, then squeeze lemon over the vegetables to finish. So fast and delicious!
I love to toss asparagus in olive oil, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, then throw it on the grill for a few minutes. Most of the time, I’m able to keep the stalks from falling through the grate (but I do have a grill basket I use when I need a little extra help.) The little bit of smoke and char gives it an awesome summertime flavor!