12 Summer Vegetables—and How to Cook With Them

Here's how to make the most of your summer produce.

Real Simple Tomatoes with ricotta cream and herbs
Photo: GREG DUPREE

Warm summer weather brings farmer's markets and an array of delicious produce ready to add freshness to your meals. While it's relatively easy to get certain vegetables (and fruits) all year round now, there's nothing like biting into a newly harvested ear of corn or whipping up a salad packed with juicy summer tomatoes.

Summer is also a great time to stock up on veggies like cucumbers, zucchini, and green beans. Once you've loaded up on all that fresh produce, you'll need something to do with it. Scroll down for a myriad of recipes that really give nutritious bell peppers, eggplant, and more summer vegetables a chance to shine.

01 of 12

Smashed Cucumber Salad With Spicy Feta and Olives

Smashed Cucumber Salad With Spicy Feta and Olives
Jennifer Causey

Cucumbers are such a versatile vegetable, and they're easy to transform into something incredibly tasty. This smashed cucumber salad has a Mediterranean flare with the addition of briny olives and salty feta cheese.

02 of 12

Mexican Grilled Corn With Cilantro

Mexican Grilled Corn With Cilantro
Sang An

Upgrade traditional grilled corn by making this tangy Mexican version. There's just something about perfectly charred sweet corn with lime juice and cilantro—it's a delicious side dish with meat, fish, or pasta.

03 of 12

Tomatoes With Ricotta and Herbs

Tomato With Ricotta and Herbs
Greg Dupree

There are many ways to use up fresh summer tomatoes, but the simpler the recipe, the better. This combination of juicy tomatoes, creamy ricotta, and fresh herbs makes this dish perfect for a backyard barbecue or a late afternoon lunch.

04 of 12

Pasta With Zucchini and Goat Cheese

Pasta With Zucchini and Goat Cheese
John Kernick

There's nothing quite as delicious as a light pasta dish in the summer. This recipe may be simple, but it doesn't lack flavor. Garlicky, lemony linguine is paired with fresh zucchini and creamy goat cheese. Trust us, this dish will be on rotation all summer long.

05 of 12

Deep-Dish Eggplant Parmesan

Deep-Dish Eggplant Parmesan
Paul Sirisalee

If you find yourself with a bounty of eggplants at the end of the season, this savory and hearty dish is the best way to use them up. Serve it with a simple side salad or some garlic bread for a complete meal.

06 of 12

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

Couscous-stuffed Peppers
David Prince

If you're looking for a healthy, filling weeknight meal, these colorful stuffed peppers are perfect for the whole family. The zesty filling includes cumin-spiced ground beef, rice, corn, and cheese.

07 of 12

Quinoa With Sweet Potatoes, Kale, and Pesto

Quinoa With Sweet Potatoes, Kale, and Pesto
Anna Williams

If you're growing kale in your garden, chances are you have more of it than you know what to do with. And if you're tired of making kale salads, try sautéing some in this quinoa dish, which also includes sweet potatoes, pesto, and crunchy walnuts.

08 of 12

Little Gems and Radishes With Ricotta Salata and Seeds

Little Gems and Radishes With Ricotta Salata and Seeds Recipe
Greg DuPree

Radishes are the star of this refreshing summer salad because they're crunchy and add a beautiful pop of color. Serve this delicate little gem salad at your next dinner party, because it's sure to impress your guests.

09 of 12

Summer Squash With Scallions, Chile, and Parsley

Summer Squash With Scallions, Chile, and Parsley Recipe
Greg DuPree

This room-temperature side dish is made with thinly-sliced yellow squash and green zucchini and tossed with scallions, parsley, vinegar, chile, and salt. It would pair perfectly with steak or chicken right off the grill.

10 of 12

Caramelized Shallot Dip

Caramelized shallot dip is served with potato chips and sliced cucumber.
Greg DuPree

Dips are a must at casual summer parties, and in-season shallots are the perfect ingredient to make one from. In this recipe, you'll caramelize the shallots before joining them with the classic components of an onion dip.

11 of 12

Black-Eyed Pea Ribollita

black eyed pea ribollita
Caitlin Bensel

This Italian dish features two favorite staples of southern soul food: black-eyed peas (which are actually legumes) and collard greens. Top off this hearty soup with crispy bread crumbs and Parmesan.

12 of 12

Swiss Chard With Chickpeas and Couscous

Swiss Chard With Chickpeas and Couscous
John Kernick

Chickpeas and sweet raisins round out the slightly bitter chard in this quick and healthy weeknight meal. Top it off with pine nuts for extra added flavor (and protein).

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