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Summer vegetables are the best. It’s the time when you can buy local and plant your own– and that, some experts say, is when veggies are their most nutritious. We’ve rounded up a list of veggies from A to Z and are offering up recipes that are good ol’ favorites and some unexpected dishes.


Summertime meals tend to be light and fresh, and that’s why arugula tops our list. (And also that it starts with A.)

The Classic: Watermelon, Feta and Arugula Salad

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This dish is a nice balance to meaty summer barbecues. The peppery flavour pairs well with BBQ spices, and the sweet watermelon and salty cheese make it the perfect combination of flavors. And we like how easy the vinaigrette dressing is to make.

The Unexpected: Lemon Arugula Pizza

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You will have to turn on your oven for this (or your barbecue, if you’re savvy to cooking pizza dough on the grill). You bake the pizza dough, olive oil, and cheese, then when it’s cooked, top with arugula, lemon juice, parmesan and salt and pepper. It’s such a sophisticated way to serve ’za.


This vibrant root vegetable has been getting a lot of buzz lately. Fitness athletes love the hearty addition to dishes, and it also helps with moving oxygen to muscles.

The Classic: Pickled Beets

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Say beets and instantly you think of a jar of beets soaking up a pinky-red vinaigrette. If you’ve never pickled before, you might think there’s a whole big production but it’s really quite easy and simple: boiled beets, cider vinegar, a touch of sugar, olive oil and some mustard, et voilà!

The Unexpected: Roasted Beet Arugula Goat Cheese honey Crostini

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Beets as a crostini topper? Sign us up. The bright colour of beets makes a typical cheese crostini app look boring. You’ll love how pretty these are. All you need are four beets, a baguette, some olive oil, goat cheese, milk, arugula and honey. Your guests will be more than impressed.

Bell Peppers

Don’t you find the biggest, juiciest peppers are available in the summer? Well, take advantage with these two recipes.

The Classic: 5-Ingredient Pesto Chicken Stuffed Peppers

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First of all, the limited ingredients list is a huge time saver: bell peppers, cooked chicken breasts, cooked quinoa, pesto and shredded cheese. Kids love them and parents like to make them.

The Unexpected: Bell Pepper Slaw

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You know cabbage and carrots make an excellent slaw, but so do bell peppers. The secret is to slice them as thinly as possible. It’s time to dust off the mandoline! We love the variety of bell pepper colour in this recipe: red, green, orange, yellow and purple. If you have more variety, add it to the salad!


Your Instagram feed will soon be loaded with photos of beautiful, colourful carrots. While we see heirloom carrots in the prettiest red and purple shades, the orange kind are still just as delicious.

The Classic: Rosemary Roasted Carrots

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What could make your kitchen smell more delicious than a pan of carrots, roasted with olive oil, rosemary and a pinch of salt and pepper. This is the reason you love cooking.

The Unexpected: Collard Wraps with Carrot Hummus

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Speaking of Instagram, you will want to snap a picture when you finish making this beautiful dish. The secret is in the bright carrot hummus. And the carrots add more than just colour to the chickpea spread – the smoky roasted flavor is perfection.


When you’re shucking corn next time, take a sniff of the sweet kernels. It’s something you really miss with the canned and frozen stuff.

The Classic: Summer Corn Chowder

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The problem with fresh corn for chowder is that you don’t have the same juice you get from the can. But this recipe says you don’t need it and corn-on-the-cob is more than perfect for chowder.

The Unexpected: Parmesan Garlic Grilled Corn

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Street-style corn-on-the-cob is seriously good. Not only is the messy aftermath worth every bite, it’s really fun to make and serve. This Italian style tastes like it came right from a food truck. Best part: you don’t have to line up!


Cucumber is one of those underrated veggies. We mindlessly add them to salads and sandwiches, but it really can be the star of a recipe.

The Classic: Paleo Tuna Salad & Cucumber Boat

When the whole anti-bread and anti-carb movement searched for bread alternatives, we saw cucumber crostini recipes come out of nowhere. This is a similar idea, serving tuna salad on a cored cucumber.

The Unexpected: Lemonade Cucumber Spa Popsicle

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Cucumber water isn’t a big surprise, but we love this recipe that makes it into a refreshing iced treat. They’re good for dessert or lounging by the pool. You just need cucumber, lemon and water.


You might not think of garlic as a summer veggie, but it is! Not only will it keep vampires away, but some experts say it boosts the immune system – exactly what you need before the cold-season starts in the fall.

The Classic: Roasted Garlic

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Nothing gets guests more excited than a cheese plate with roasted garlic cloves. Just the scent has them salivating. Cook more than one at a time with olive oil, salt and pepper.

The Unexpected: Pickled Garlic

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Garlic can be a pickling ingredient for flavor, but you can also pickle garlic too. This recipe calls for white or red vinegar, some sugar, and kosher salt, black peppercorns, mustard seeds, fennel seeds and crushed red pepper for seasoning.


Radishes are often added to salads for their crunchy texture. But they’re also good sources of vitamin C, folic acid and potassium.

The Classic: Radish and Cucumber Salad

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Chopped salads are so good this time of year, which is why we went for this hearty radish dish. It’s super crunchy and pungent with flavor, which pairs nicely with the creamy dressing (made with sour cream).

The Unexpected: Radish Toast

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Bored of avocado toast? Get inspired with this surprise-winner recipe. Instead of crushed avocado pieces, you get the prettiest toast layered with paper-thin slices of radishes. It’s been described as flower petals.


If you have your own vegetable garden you likely grow your own rhubarb. It’s low-maintenance and grows like a weed, so to speak.

The Classic: Perfect Rhubarb Pie

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You can freeze this or eat it right away. The taste of summer can last all year long. You make it with fresh rhubarb, some sugar, flour, tapioca, an egg, a bit of butter and piecrust pastry. If you’re going to indulge, this would be the dessert to do it with.

The Unexpected: Smoky Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

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Rhubarb BBQ sauce? We’re just as surprised as you are. But what king of the grill wouldn’t want to make his own barbecue sauce, especially from rhubarb. The tartness is unexpected but impressive.


This really is the most versatile vegetable of the season. Cold, hot, spicy, fresh. Any way you prep it, zucchini is de-lish!

The Classic: Healthy Zucchini Bread

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You can’t have zucchini with out making a batch of zucchini bread. This recipe, though, cuts half the sugar and flour, and uses honey, Greek yogurt and coconut oil as binders.

The Unexpected: Grilled Zucchini Nachos

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Toss the greasy tortilla chips, and make room for zucchini nachos! When you slice up the zuc’, grill them in the oven with cheese. And don’t forget your favorite toppings, like black beans, chopped tomatoes, green onion and cilantro.

About the Author: LISA HANNAM

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