We’ve explained the benefits of eating local summer veggies, since they’re more nutritious and better for the planet and may even lead to stronger immunity and more energy. But don’t get stuck with just a boring salad (although don’t get us wrong, salads are amazing!). These three recipes for summer veggies will have you salivating, and they’re creative ways to sneak more summer veggies into your diet.
1. Decadent Zucchini Bread
When it comes to summer veggies, few are as prolific as zucchini. One plant can grow a bounty of dozens of vibrant-green vegetables, making it hard to keep up with this high-producing vine. Zucchini bread is a great way to use up all these summer veggies, and it’s great as a breakfast dish or as a hearty snack.
Zucchini is low in calories and high in dietary fiber. It’s a good source of vitamins C and B6, potassium, and antioxidants. Zucchini supports digestion, promotes healthy weight management, and provides anti-inflammatory benefits.
2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium-sized zucchinis)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan or line it with parchment paper.
Place the grated zucchini in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out any excess moisture.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract until well combined.
Add the grated zucchini to the wet ingredients and mix well.
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.
If desired, fold in the chopped nuts.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread it evenly.
Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Once baked, remove the zucchini bread from the oven and allow it to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then, transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
Enjoy your homemade zucchini bread as a delightful treat for breakfast or as a snack throughout the day. It can be served plain, with a dusting of powdered sugar, or with a smear of cream cheese.
2. Crispy Eggplant Parmesan
Some people turn up their nose at eggplant, decrying its “slimy” texture. But that’s often because the eggplant wasn’t properly prepped. When done right, these summer veggies will open up a whole new world of flavor, as you can see in this crispy eggplant parmesan recipe. It’s rich and hearty, and can easily be made vegan if you’re plant-based, for the ultimate comfort food.
Eggplant is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including potassium and folate. It contains antioxidants like nasunin, which may protect against oxidative stress. Eggplant supports heart health, aids in digestion, and may help regulate blood sugar levels.
2 large eggplants
2 cups breadcrumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
2 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
Olive oil (for frying)
4 cups marinara sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Fresh basil leaves (for garnish, optional)
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a large baking dish.
Slice the eggplants into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Place the slices in a colander, sprinkle salt on each side, and let them sit for about 30 minutes. This helps remove excess moisture and bitterness.
Rinse the eggplant slices under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels.
In a shallow dish, combine the breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, and dried Italian seasoning.
In another shallow dish, lightly beat the eggs.
Place the flour in a third shallow dish.
One at a time, coat each eggplant slice in flour, dip it in the beaten eggs, and then dredge it in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing lightly to adhere. Shake off any excess.
In a large skillet, heat enough olive oil over medium heat to cover the bottom of the pan.
Fry the breaded eggplant slices in batches, cooking until golden brown on each side. Transfer the cooked slices to a paper towel-lined plate to remove any excess oil.
Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce in the greased baking dish. Arrange a single layer of fried eggplant slices on top.
Spoon more marinara sauce over the eggplant and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Repeat the layers, finishing with a final layer of sauce and mozzarella cheese on top.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
Remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Once done, remove the eggplant Parmesan from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes.
Garnish with fresh basil leaves, if desired, and serve hot.
Eggplant parmesan is a delicious and hearty dish that can be served as a main course accompanied by pasta or a salad. Enjoy!
3. Baked Stuffed Bell Peppers
Add the hues of the rainbow to your next meal with stuffed bell peppers — a gourmet meal that takes just a few minutes to prepare and is an effortless way to enjoy summer veggies this season.
Bell peppers come in various vibrant colors and are packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as dietary fiber. They support immune function, promote healthy eyes and skin, and provide antioxidants that protect against cellular damage.
4 large bell peppers (any color)
1 cup cooked rice (white or brown)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (divided)
Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish, optional)
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a baking dish that can hold the stuffed peppers upright.
Cut off the tops of the bell peppers and remove the seeds and membranes from the inside. Rinse the peppers under cold water and set them aside.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and minced garlic and sauté until they become fragrant and the onion is translucent.
Add the ground beef or turkey to the skillet and cook until browned, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks.
Stir in the drained diced tomatoes, cooked rice, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and black pepper. Cook for another 2-3 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.
Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese until melted and well incorporated into the mixture.
Stuff each bell pepper with the meat and rice mixture, pressing it down gently. Place the stuffed peppers upright in the greased baking dish.
Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese over the tops of the stuffed peppers.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the peppers are tender and the cheese is golden and bubbly.
Once done, remove the stuffed bell peppers from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes.
Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, if desired, and serve hot.
Stuffed bell peppers make for a satisfying and flavorful meal. They can be enjoyed on their own or paired with a side salad for a complete dinner.