Summer is finally here and when it comes to summer produce, the season definitely does not disappoint! Seasonal eating allows you to enjoy the freshest, most flavorful, and nutrient-dense produce available. Fruits and vegetables that are in season are harvested at their peak ripeness, meaning they have had more time to develop and accumulate essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. By consuming seasonal produce, you can maximize your nutrient intake and support your overall health.
Eating seasonally promotes a connection to nature and your local food systems, allowing you to appreciate the cyclical changes in the availability of different foods. It encourages you to explore traditional recipes and cooking methods, preserving cultural heritage and culinary diversity. Moreover, eating seasonally often supports local farmers and regional food systems, promoting agricultural diversity and reducing our environmental impact.
Chef Pete loves summer produce for a multitude of reasons:
- The sheer freshness of summer produce is unparalleled. Fruits and vegetables are harvested at their peak ripeness, resulting in vibrant flavors, captivating colors, and enticing aromas. Chefs relish the opportunity to work with ingredients that are bursting with natural sweetness, juiciness, and vitality.
- The variety of summer produce is astounding. From succulent berries and stone fruits to crisp vegetables like tomatoes, zucchini, beans and peppers, Chef Pete finds a diverse range of ingredients to choose from, allowing them to create an array of exciting and innovative dishes for his summer menu.
- The seasonal availability of summer produce is a major draw allowing Chef Pete to continue fostering his strong relationships with local farmers, ensuring he has access to the freshest and highest quality ingredients. This is reflected in his summer menu. This emphasis on local sourcing also supports sustainability and reduces the carbon footprint associated with transporting food over long distances.
- Summer produce ignites culinary creativity. The vibrant colors and flavors of fruits and vegetables can elevate any dish, making it visually appealing and delicious. In his summer menu, Chef Pete experiments with different combinations, textures, and cooking techniques to showcase the natural beauty and taste of these ingredients.
Summer Menu Highlights
These summer vegetables are featured in our new summer menu for their vibrant flavors, versatility, and ability to enhance the overall enjoyment of our meals. Their freshness and abundance during the season make them a delight to incorporate into a wide range of dishes – and we encourage you to give them a try in your favorite recipes too.
Ripe, juicy tomatoes are a staple of summer cuisine. They come in various sizes, colors, and flavors, from sweet cherry tomatoes to tangy heirlooms. Tomatoes are incredibly versatile and can be used in salads, sandwiches, sauces, salsas, and countless other dishes. Their bright and refreshing taste adds a burst of flavor to summer meals. Try our “Grilled Steak with Basil Roasted Tomatoes and Purple Potato Wedges”
Zucchini and Summer Squash
Zucchini and summer squash are abundant during the summer season. They have a mild, delicate flavor and a tender texture that lends itself well to various cooking methods. Summer squash varieties like yellow squash and pattypan squash are abundant during the summer. They can be grilled, sautéed, roasted, or used in dishes like ratatouille, stir-fries, or vegetable medleys. Chef Pete enjoys grilling, sautéing, roasting, or incorporating these vegetables into stir-fries, salads, and vegetable medleys.
Why not try our Almond Butter Tofu Bowl with Kale and Summer Squash from our Vegan menu or the “Lemon Pepper Chicken with Kale and Summer Squash” if you’re following a Paleo, Keto or other real-food eating plan?
Bell peppers, with their vibrant colors and crisp texture, are highly versatile and popular in summer cooking. They can be enjoyed raw in salads or used in stir-fries, fajitas, stuffed peppers, and roasted vegetable dishes. Bell peppers add a sweet and crunchy element to summer recipes like in our “Smoked Pulled Pork with Peppers, Shallots, and Summer Squash”
Refreshing and hydrating, cucumbers are a crunchy addition to summer meals. They have a mild, crisp taste and can be sliced and enjoyed as a snack on their own or in salads, pickles, or in chilled soups like gazpacho. Cucumbers also make a great base for refreshing beverages like infused water or cocktails. Chef Pete uses them creatively in our “Gyro Kebabs with Grilled Zucchini and Cucumber Garlic Parsnip Mash”
Green Leafy Vegetables
While leafy greens are available year-round, certain varieties like Swiss chard, kale, and collard greens tend to be at their best during the summer season. These greens are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, making them a nutritious addition to meals. They can be enjoyed in salads, sautés, stir-fries, or used as a wrap for various fillings. Try them in our “Tarragon Pesto Chicken with Shredded Kale + Brussels Slaw and Roasted Veggie Bake” or perhaps the “Lemon and Leek Chicken Sausage with Broccoli and Swiss Chard”
Crisp and tender, green beans are a classic summer vegetable. They are versatile and can be steamed, blanched, sautéed, or stir-fried. Green beans are often used in salads, side dishes, stir-fries, and vegetable medleys, adding a fresh and crunchy element to summer recipes. We added them to our Keto menu in the “Sesame Pork with Green Beans”
While cabbage is available throughout the year, certain varieties like Napa cabbage and green cabbage are particularly abundant during the summer. Cabbage has a crunchy texture and can be used raw in salads or slaws, stir-fried, or braised. It adds a refreshing and slightly sweet note to dishes. Give our “Chimichurri Chicken with Rosemary-Garlic Sweet Potato Wedges and Red Cabbage Slaw” a try (this meal is also on our AIP menu)
Fresh green peas are sweet, crisp, and vibrant during the summer months. They can be enjoyed raw, blanched, or added to salads, risottos, legume dishes, or vegetable stir-fries. Green peas are a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. We feature them in our Vegan menu in meals like “Green Pea and Dill Risotto with Toasted Almonds” and even on our AIP Paleo menu with “Caramelized Onion Burgers with Chimichurri Sauce over Peas and Cilantro Cauliflower Rice”
Fennel has a distinct anise-like flavor and a crunchy texture. It is in season during the summer and can be used in salads, roasted as a side dish, or incorporated into soups and stews for its unique aromatic profile. Fennel is particularly delicious paired with chicken or pork and our breakfast menu (All Day Bundle) uses it in our “Zucchini Frittata with Apple Fennel Pork Sausage”
These vegetables capture the essence of summer with their fresh flavors, vibrant colors, and versatility in culinary applications. Chef Pete enjoyed getting creative and incorporating them into his summer menu for you to enjoy and savor. You can check out more of our new Summer Menus here >>>>>>>>
You can get inspired too - experimenting with adding a variety of these seasonal vegetables into your meals can not only enhance the taste and visual appeal of your dishes but also provide an array of nutrients and promote a connection with the bountiful offerings of the season.