Earlier this week, we shared how seasonal summer produce is nutritionally superior, plus three very unique summer fruits and veggies that will add a bit of levity and immunity-enhancing benefits to your kitchen. Today, let’s set a table and sit down to enjoy those three delicious ingredients: Dragonfruit, dandelions and jackfruit. We’ve assembled a delicious day of plant-based meals that will awaken your senses, ignite your tastebuds, and provide your body with a massive dose of immune-boosting vitamin C, vitamin A, and so much more.

1. BREAKFAST: Magic Dragonfruit Smoothie

This dragonfruit breakfast shake is deceptively easy to make, and its sweet flavor and eye-catching colors will make it a seasonal standout for young and old alike. Don’t let the unusual shape of the dragonfruit scare you away while you’re meal prepping. Despite its scary name, dragonfruit won’t bite. Simply cut it in half, then use a spoon to scoop out the white, juicy flesh.

1 cup frozen raspberries or blackberries
2 fresh dragonfruit, cut and prepared
1 frozen banana
1/2 c Greek yogurt (plant-based or dairy-based)
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp hemp hearts
1 cup unsweetened almond milk or milk of choice

Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth. Enjoy!


2. LUNCH: Crisp Dandelion Summer Salad

“Recent studies showing high levels of polyphenols, phytochemicals, and other biological properties believed to stave off disease make this plant a popular research subject,” reports California State University. “Polyphenols are important components in eliminating free radicals and reducing inflammation throughout the body. These free radicals are known to cause oxidative stress and start a cascade of negative health outcomes. The therapeutic values of the dandelion plant have been touted for millennia and medicinal uses are pervasive in ancient Chinese and Greek cultures.”

This salad puts this seasonal “weed” to good use. You’ll love the slightly arugula-like flavor of the dandelion greens, which pair well with the rich, smoky flavor of the protein-packed tofu.

½ pound torn dandelion greens
½ red onion, chopped
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 block of smoked tofu, sliced
½ teaspoon dried basil
2 tbsp olive oil or oil of your choice
salt and pepper to taste

Layer the torn dandelion greens onto your plate and garnish with the onions, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and tofu. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and dried basil. Enjoy cold.


3. DINNER: Vegan Pulled “Pork”

Because cooked jackfruit has a naturally meaty texture with the same consistency as pulled pork, it makes the perfect plant-based substitute for a hearty, Texas-inspired dinner. But unlike pork, your meal will be very high in vitamin C and other antioxidants, plus zero amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat. The end result? A seasonal dish that embraces the unique produce of summer while pleasing the palates of even the most devoted meat lovers.

2 20-oz cans young green jackfruit in water
1/4 cup of your favorite BBQ seasoning
3/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
Whole-grain hamburger buns

Rinse the contents of the canned jackfruit in a colander. Chop the jackfruit roughly, then toss with the BBQ seasoning and let it marinate for 30 minutes.

In a hot oiled saucepan, saute the jackfruit on medium heat until browned and caramelized, then stir in the BBQ sauce and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Serve on the whole-grain buns with your favorite sides, such as potato salad, coleslaw, or the seasonal dandelion salad recipe featured above.


Hungry for More Seasonal Foods? Keep Reading:

Simple Summer Seasonal Foods to Try Today

The Surprising Health Benefits of Eating Seasonal, Local Food