16 Summer Veggie Recipes to Make Before It’s Too Late

August 13, 2018
Get a good look; it'll be gone in a month. Photo by Julia Gartland

There are many things I’m openly in denial about—the ending to the Lost television series, for example, or the “idea" that we humans need eight hours of sleep to function optimally—with the preeminent of said things being the impending conclusion of summer 2018.

There’s still so much I want to do: go to the beach six thousand more times, buy the best-looking heirloom tomato at a farmers market and devour it on the spot, and eat fresh corn by the bucket-full, so I don't feel its absence quite as sharply in the upcoming colder months.

Which is all to say: I have a lot of cooking left to squeeze in. Here are the 16 recipes I'm most excited to revisit while my favorite summer produce is ripe and plentiful—if you need me, I'll be in the kitchen, toiling away over a cutting board, a smudge of tomato juice on my cheek, blissfully in denial about summer's looming close.

Okay, Tomatoes Technically Aren't Vegetables

I don't mean to start things off on the wrong foot, what with a sub-section on tomatoes (technically a fruit!) in my summer veggie round-up, but I'd be remiss to skip these classics. In fact, I plan to start my own around-the-farmers-market-in-three-weeks produce tour with the big reds. To me, a peak-season tomato is unbeatable. Bring on the flaky salt. And the brown butter. Oh, and the mascarpone...

Get Shucking

The only thing better than corn on the cob is corn that someone has already stripped from the cob for you. Whether as a topper to grilled pizza, tossed with a zingy Sriracha-lime dressing, as fresh polenta, or as the star in a warm-weather risotto, corn is always the answer when I ask myself, "What tastes like summer?" (The second answer is typically, "Stop talking to yourself, you're at work!")

Shop the Story

Don't forget to save your cobs to make broth for the risotto!

Slice Up Some Squash

I'll admit it, there was a time in my life when I didn't love squash. Was that because no one had ever taken the time to make me a Summer Squash Gratin, tossed with brown-butter-breadcrumbs, Gruyere, and salsa verde?

I don't like to point fingers. The bottom line is that now, I can't get enough of the stuff.

Get Your Green On

In the summer, I love to cook green beans using quick, fresh preparations that leave them just al dente, and preferably tossed with enough acidity to really make them sing. (Casseroles are great and all, but I like to save those softer, creamier green bean dishes for later in the year, when the beans aren't quite as sweet and snappy—I consider it a consolation prize for entering into autumn gracefully.)

The recipes I've included here are a great jumping-off point, but you should riff away to your heart's content—no one ever asked for fewer caramelized shallots!

Bonus Recipe, Right This Way

How do you plan to celebrate the last of summer produce? Let us know what you're most excited to cook, in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • David Kmetz
    David Kmetz
  • Rosalind Paaswell
    Rosalind Paaswell
  • Smaug
Ella Quittner

Written by: Ella Quittner

Ella Quittner is a contributing writer and the Absolute Best Tests columnist at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner. She also develops recipes for Food52, and has a soft spot for all pasta, anything spicy, and salty chocolate things.


David K. August 20, 2018
Ms. Quittner - where are you based? Here in southern New England we have tomatoes well into October - if we don't get a hard frost - many of the heirlooms and later corn are just hitting the farmer's markets NOW. Six + weeks of later summer and early fall produce await - stop goosing the calendar. Great recipes all, thank you!
Rosalind P. August 19, 2018
hi, smaug. I scrolled to the comment section, all huffy and exasperated, to make the exact same observation you made, but probably not as well as you did! What's with this cutesy "tomatoes are a fruit" thing? Yeah, if you're talking botanically. They ARE the fruit of the plan; that which bears the seed IS the fruit. We don't go all cutesy about squash, peppers, etc. For culinary purposes, tomatoes are vegetables, like their counterparts. Done and done. Thanks for the better explanation.
Smaug August 19, 2018
Take that, Sheldon- reductio ad absurdum isn't a logical fallacy, either.
Smaug August 13, 2018
People pull out that "tomatoes are not a vegetable" thing all that time, but what is a vegetable? In horticulture, "vegetative" growth refers to the non reproductive above ground part of a plant's growth-leafs and stems, basically. If you use this definition, most of our vegetables are not- eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, squashes (fruit), carrots, potatos (root), beans, peas, corn (seeds or seed pods), blossoms (squash, borage, nasturtium), bulbs (onions, oca)- really not much left but greens and asparagus. On the other hand, if you define it as foods derived from vegetable (versus animal) sources, all of what you find sold as produce is included. That is the way the word is generally used, and what most dictionaries allow.