In this Guide to Summer Food, we’re showcasing ten of the most popular seasonal ingredients for Summer: blueberries, leafy greens, corn, mango, peaches, bell peppers, tomatoes, okra, green beans, and figs. You’ll learn about the health benefits of In Season Produce AND we’ve rounded up 100 delicious Summer recipes that will help you beat the heat!
Summer–the season of sunshine, thunderstorms, flip flops and backyard BBQs–is one of my favorite seasons.
Yes, it's hot (especially here in Atlanta!). Yes, it's humid. But beach vacations, spending extra daylight hours outside with friends and family, and the fact that there's a plethora of summer produce all make me super happy!
Summer officially starts June 21st and it's the most abundant time of the year for farmer's markets and local produce, with fruits and veggies galore.
In addition to the ten ingredients highlighted in this guide, other seasonal Summer fruits and veggies include berries of all varieties, cucumbers, melons, cherries, summer squash and zucchini, watermelon, pineapple, and more!
There’s nothing like getting fresh fruits and vegetables from your local farmer’s market or CSA to inspire clean, healthy eating.
Read on to discover some recipes that are bound to become some of your favorites this Summer!
SEASONAL SUMMER FOOD + 100 NOURISHING SUMMER RECIPES
SEASONAL SUMMER FOOD: BLUEBERRIES
Blueberries, a superfood filled with anti-inflammatory properties, are well known to be one of the best sources of antioxidants, which prevent cell damage and can help fight chronic disease. There have been many studies suggesting that eating blueberries could also improve memory and cognition, as well as promote heart health. (source)
Insanely delicious when fresh in the summer, berries also freeze well so fortunately can be enjoyed year-round!
SUMMER RECIPES: BLUEBERRIES
- Blueberry No Bake Energy Balls
- Blueberry Guacamole with Roasted Corn
- Blueberry + Bacon Zucchini Muffins (Gluten Free)
- Blueberry Acai Green Smoothie with Collagen
- Blueberry No-Bake, Dairy-Free Cheesecake (Gluten Free)
- Keto Blueberry Muffins from Seasonal Cravings
- Paleo Blueberry Granola with Coconut + Cardamom from Well-Fed Soul
- Blueberry & Avocado Kale Salad from Haute & Healthy Living
- Blueberry Acai Bowls from Choosing Chia
- Paleo Lemon Blueberry Cake from Downshiftology
SEASONAL SUMMER FOOD: LEAFY GREENS
Summer greens are diverse and plentiful, making the perfect base for a fresh salad, blended into a green smoothie, or tossed into a veggie stir fry. Leafy greens are veg superstars known to support our cognitive function and play a role in cardiovascular disease and cancer prevention.
There are the familiar leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, arugula, swiss chard, romaine, collards and mustard greens, and the less familiar like watercress, purslane, lamb's quarters, dandelion and beet greens. Go ahead–branch out and give your palette the gift of trying some new varieties of greens this summer!
SUMMER RECIPES: LEAFY GREENS
- Easy Homemade Spicy Tuna Poke Bowls
- Thai Style Sauteed Greens with Coconut Milk
- Chocolate Cherry Green Smoothie
- Strawberry + Pickled Beet Salad with White Balsamic Dressing
- Shakshuka (Eggs in Tomato Sauce) With Swiss Chard Pesto
- Homemade Arugula Pesto Sauce
- Apple Cider Vinegar & Greens Detox Salad from Yuri Elkaim
- Zucchini Watercress Soup from Havoc in the Kitchen
- Beet Greens Lentil Burgers from Light Orange Bean
- Spinach and Broccoli Poppers from Sprinkle of Green
SEASONAL SUMMER FOOD: CORN
A staple in human diet's for centuries, corn has gotten a bad rap these days because of the proliferation of GMO corn and corn-derived ingredients found in a variety of packaged and processed foods like corn oil and high fructose corn syrup.
Yet, fresh summer corn (ideally organic or at least non-GMO) is not only sweet and delicious, but also has some health benefits. It's rich in Vitamin C, magnesium and carotenoid antioxidants, which support the immune system and defend the eyes and skin against stress.
Bottom line? Don't be afraid to enjoy an organic CORNucopia this summer!
SUMMER RECIPES: CORN
- Grilled Corn Summer Salad w/ Peaches, Tomatoes, Burrata + Arugula Pesto
- Blueberry Guacamole with Roasted Corn
- Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Black Bean, Corn + Sweet Potato from Ambitious Kitchen
- Mexican Street Corn from Foolproof Living
- Clean Summer Succotash with Corn + Edamame from Clean Cuisine
- Corn Chowder Shooters with Cornbread Sticks from Sunnyside Hanne
- Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Vegan) from Quite Good Food
- Corn Celery Salad with Dill and Vegan Yogurt Sauce from The Green Creator
- Grilled Corn and Berry Hummus Flatbread from Running to the Kitchen
- Mexican Corn Dip (Skinny!) from Rachel Cooks
SEASONAL SUMMER FOOD: MANGOS
Did you know that mangos are the most widely consumed fruit in the world? Abundant in tropical locales and in population dense areas like India and Southeast Asia, mangos are not just popular but are also nutritional powerhouses.
Loaded with Vitamin C, Vitamin A, magnesium and potassium, consuming mangos is a natural way to lower blood pressure, as well as blood sugar in obese adults. (source) Mangos are also beneficial for maintaining brain health due to their high Vitamin B6 content.
SUMMER RECIPES: MANGO RECIPES
- Thai Coconut Shrimp Ceviche with Mango Avocado Salsa
- 3-Ingredient Mango Coconut Paleo Milkshake (Vegan) from Beaming Baker
- 20-Minute Peanut Noodle Soup with Lime Mango from Half Baked Harvest
- Mango Chipotle Shrimp Tacos from Gimme Some Oven
- Mango Pineapple Crumble (Vegan + Gluten Free) from Bakerita
- Mango Chicken Curry Slow Cooker from My Sugar Free Kitchen
- Matcha Mango Smoothie from Spirited and Then Some
- Mango Harvest Wild Rice from Nutrition Stripped
- Thai Mango Avocado Salad with Grilled Sweet Potatoes from Food Faith Fitness
SEASONAL SUMMER FOOD: PEACHES
Being from Georgia, this post would not be complete without giving some major kudos to the renowned Georgian fruit: peaches!
Super high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients, peaches (as well as other stone fruits like apricots and plums) can be used in the treatment of metabolic syndromes including diabetes, high cholesterol, inflammation and weight gain.
They've also been shown to be some of the best cancer-fighting foods due to their polyphenols, which can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. (source)
SUMMER RECIPES: PEACHES
- Easy Berry Cobbler with Peach Nice Cream (Gluten Free + Dairy Free)
- Harissa Honey Marinated Pork Sausage + Peach Kebabs from LL Balanced
- Grilled Peach, Avocado and Crab Salad with Peach Dressing from Lexi's Clean Kitchen
- Summer Peach and Tomato Panzanella from The First Mess
- Grilled Corn Summer Salad w/ Peaches, Tomatoes, Burrata + Arugula Pesto
- Peach Creamy Oatmeal from The Bright Bird
- Zesty Sheet Pan Tofu Tacos with Peach Kale Slaw from Hummusapien
- 5 Ingredient Peach Salsa from Fork in the Kitchen
- Slow Cooker Paleo Peach Crisp from The Crowded Table
- Peach Basil Balsamic Chicken and Goat Cheese from Roots and Radishes
SEASONAL SUMMER FOOD: BELL PEPPERS
There's nothing quite like the bell pepper that's sweet when sauteed yet crunchy and tangy when raw. Green bell peppers are the most bitter and red are the sweetest, with yellow and orange falling in the middle.
Just one of bell pepper will provide more than twice the daily recommended amount of Vitamic C, and three-fourths of your daily recommended Vitamin A; but the colors do make a difference–for example, a red bell pepper contains over eight times the amount of vitamin A than a green bell pepper. (source)
Because of their high vitamin, antioxidant and carotenoids count, bell peppers may help reduce the risk of cancer and free radicals in the body, as well as help improve eye health.
SUMMER RECIPES: BELL PEPPERS
- Vegan Stuffed Peppers from Plant & Vine
- Slow Cooker Pepper Steak (Whole30) from Do You Even Paleo?
- Homemade Roasted Red Pepper Hummus from Pinch Me Good!
- Garlic Ginger Summer Veggie Stir-Fry from Cook Nourish Bliss
- Low FODMAP Roasted Red Pepper Pasta from Fun Without FODMAPs
- Dairy-Free Roasted Red Pepper and Carrot Soup from Free From Favourites
- Shrimp, Bell Pepper and Onions Skillet from Primavera Kitchen
- Vegan Chickpea Meatballs in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce from The Curious Chickpea
- Garlicky Keto Roasted Red Pepper Sauce from What Great Grandma Ate
- Paleo Thai Red Coconut Curry from Perchance to Cook
SEASONAL SUMMER FOOD: TOMATOES
Another nightshade like bell peppers, tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.
They are also a great source of Vitamin C, potassium (beneficial for blood pressure control and heart disease prevention), Vitamin K (important for blood clotting and bone health), and folate (critical for normal tissue growth and cell function, especially for pregnant women).
Bring on the tomato soup, Caprese salads, and bolognese sauce!
SUMMER RECIPES: TOMATOES
- Savory Oatmeal Breakfast Bowls
- Stuffed Tomatoes with Meatballs from Simple. Tasty. Good.
- Fast Flavorful Red Sauce from Live Best
- How to Make Sun-Dried Tomatoes in the Oven from Wholesome Yum
- Quick Instant Pot Stuffed Tomatoes from Happy Foods Tube
- Tuscan Roasted Tomatoes with Sesame Parmesan (Vegan) from Andrea Leigh Coach
- Tomato Basil Soup from Delightful Mom Food
- 5 Minute Blistered Tomatoes from Bites of Welless
- Caprese Skewers from Kitchen Trials
- Spring Pesto Roasted Tomatoes from Garlic & Zest
SEASONAL SUMMER FOOD: OKRA
An uncommon vegetable, okra has a bad rep for being slimy and gross. But being from the south, I love me some okra!
The secret is cooking it whole to make what's called the “mucilaginous juice” (appetizing huh?) less obvious. This mucilage is said to bind cholesterol and bile acid, collecting toxins from the liver and carrying them out of the body.
Okra is also high in fiber, folate, and vitamin K, thus promoting heart health, strong bones, and protecting against cancer. (source)
SUMMER RECIPES: OKRA
- Easy + Healthy Vegetable Soup with Turmeric
- 5-Ingredient Okra Stir Fry (Bhindi Sabzi) from Indian Ambrosia
- Spiced Okra from Cooking Up Clean
- Creamy Spinach and Okra Soup (Callaloo) from Viktoria's Table
- Easy Curried Okra from Vegetarian Gastronomy
- Low Carb Chicken Cajun Stir Fry Skillet from My Life Cookbook
- Crispy 5 Ingredient Blistered Okra and Tomatoes from Food Fidelity
- Okra Succotash from Love & Zest
- Spicy Dill Pickled Okra from Fox Valley Foodie
- Okra in Yogurt Curry from Blog Explore
SEASONAL SUMMER FOOD: GREEN BEANS
Did you now that almost 60% of the world's green beans are grown in the U.S.?
If you're looking for a vegetable with copious amounts of antioxidants and flavonoids, look no further than the green bean: flavonoids like catechins (also found in green tea) in green beans help reduce body fat and can prevent obesity; epicatechins improve heart health and help prevent cancer and diabetes; and procyanidins provide even more antioxidants. (source)
But green beans aren't just meant for a casserole at Thanksgiving–they're actually in season throughout the summer, so get your hands on some crisp, snappy green beans this season!
SUMMER RECIPES: GREEN BEANS
- Balsamic Olive Oil Braised Green Beans from Cotter Crunch
- Crispy Oven Fried Green Beans (Keto + Gluten Free) from Low Carb Yum
- Healthy Green Bean Casserole from A Sweet Pea Chef
- Lemon Almond Green Beans from Hello Veggie
- Thai Green Curry with Potatoes and Green Beans from Home Sweet Jones
- Sesame Ginger Glazed Green Beans from Get Inspired Everyday
- Vegan Pesto Green Beans with Almonds (Paleo) from Avocado Pesto
- Sheet Pan Garlic Parmesan Roasted Broccoli + Green Beans from Cafe Delites
- Szechuan Style Green Beans from A Modest Feast
- Potato Stew with Green Beans and Roasted Peanuts from Vegan.io
SEASONAL SUMMER FOOD: FIGS
Hailing originally from the Middle East and Europe, there are now some figs domestic to the USA grown in California, Texas, Utah, Oregon, and Washington; the most common variety is the Black Mission fig, followed by the Brown Turkey fig, and finally the Green Kadota fig.
The first season for fresh figs is the first few weeks in June, while the second season typically runs from August through October.
Fresh figs are very sweet and usually eaten raw, but are also good sautéed, baked or grilled. Figs are a good source of potassium, manganese and dietary fiber, so expand your horizons and get some fresh figs at your next farmer's market visit!
SUMMER RECIPES: FIGS
- Warm Fig and Cardamom Oatmeal from Sincerely Tori
- Dark Chocolate Honey Fig Walnut Truffles from Snixy Kitchen
- Fig and Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing from Bright Roots Kitchen
- Baked Brie with Figs and Maple from Fork in the Road
- Caramelized Figs with Balsamic Vinegar from Veggies Save the Day
- Grilled Fig Salsa with Whipped Avocado & Baked Tortilla Crisps from Jackie Newgent
- Paleo Almond Fig Quickbread from The Roasted Root
- Almond Milk Fig Chia Pudding from Vibrant Plate
- Green Goddess Fig Nourish Bowls from Cotter Crunch
- Paleo Pumpkin Fig Muffins from Food to Feel Good
What are some of your favorite ways to prepare these summer foods? Let us know in the comments below!