The Flavors of Summer

From buttery corn on the cob to cool mint mojitos, favorite summertime foods abound. This collection of summer-inspired flavors is sure to whet your appetite. We’ve included all the summertime classics, from basic preparations like pasta primavera, to unexpected treats like grilled balsamic strawberries!

Vegetables

Zucchini & Yellow Squash

A road-side farm stand staple, these summer squashes are versatile and perfect for the season. They are a perfectly light side dish when lightly steamed and seasoned. Or they can even be chopped raw and added to a summer salad.

For something more reminiscient of comfort food, try them stewed with tomatoes and garlic.

Or make them the main attraction by creating these awesome-looking zucchini boats we found on Pinterest!

Tomatoes

We all know gazpacho is the tried-and-true summertime cold soup. But tomatoes are great on the grill too—grill thick slices to eat alone or atop a burger, or grill them on kabobs.

One of our favorite summertime treats is a watermelon, tomato, and feta salad. The combination of watermelon and tomato sounds strange at first, but it’s just the right combination of sweet and acid and juiciness to make the most refreshing salad.

Tomatoes are one of the basic elements of a classic caprese salad. Use grape tomatoes to make these little bite-size caprese “lollipops”! Or top a burger with fresh tomato, basil, and mozzarella for a caprese burger.

Corn on the Cob

Sweet, crispy, juicy. Corn on the cob is such a classic summer food—it’s messy, it’s hands-on, but it’s just so darn good. It’s pretty basic as far as preparation goes, but to add some variety and interest, try a different cooking preparation or smother it in a compound butter, such as this recipe from Weber Grills for Corn on the Cob with Basil-Parmesan Butter.

Corn on the Cob with Basil-Parmesan Butter

Corn on the Cob with Basil-Parmesan Butter
©2012 Weber-Stephen Products LLC. Used with permission

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are another crispy, crunchy summertime veggie favorite. And they’re also very versatile. Used raw, they are great cut into strips and served with your favorite dip. Or chop multi-colored peppers and add them to just about any type of salad—pasta salad, green salad, bean salad.

Core, seed, and cut in half or quarters, grill-roasted peppers are he perfect addition to sandwiches and burgers. Another great idea for the grill: try your favorite stuffed pepper recipe, but cook them on the grill instead of in the oven. And next time you’ve got your smoker going, throw in a few whole peppers—it’ll be out of this world!

Fruit

Grilled Fruit

Fruit on the grill is practically a transcendent experience. The heat renders it warm and soft, with just a subtle smokiness and gloriously sweet caramelization.

Grilled pears are an incredible addition to homemade pizza. Try a simple grill-roasted pear and brie concoction. Grilled pineapple is classic. Use it to top burgers for Teriyaki-style burgers. Both grilled pears and pineapple are great on grilled pork chops or pork tenderloin —or combine them in a grilled summer-fruit chutney.

Want something a little off the beaten path? Try this recipe we found on Pinterest for Grilled Strawberries with balsamic vinegar and dark brown sugar. Served over vanilla bean ice cream? Divine!

Mango

Mango is another fruit that’s great on the grill, and it pairs well with pork and poultry. But it’s also a yummy summertime treat served cold. In some places where mango is native, it’s enjoyed while still green and is served sliced and sprinkled with salt. If you prefer your mango ripe and sweet, include some in your next smoothie or as a basis for a homemade sorbet. To add a sweet, tropical side to your favorite homemade salsa, add fresh diced mango.

Herbs

Basil

Plentiful summer basil means always being able to have fresh pesto on-hand. It’s the perfect sauce to add to pasta primavera with summer vegetables. It’s also great atop chicken, steak, or pork, or as a sandwich spread.

Add whole or chopped basil leaves to a green salad for some added zip.

And basil is another one of the basic elements of a classic caprese salad. You can even make these little bite-size caprese “lollipops”! Or top a burger with fresh tomato, basil, and mozzarella for a caprese burger.

Mint

Cool mint can take the edge off any hot summer day. When we think mint, we immediately think lamb. Aside from the traditional mint jelly accompaniment, it’s also the basis for classic marinades—try our recipe for Butterflied Leg of Lamb Marinated In Yogurt and Mint on the grill. Another great way to use mint for the grill? Create a minty compound butter, melt it, and brush it on grilled fruits.

On a chillier note, an ice-cold mojito chock full of fresh mint and lime is a soothing tonic. Mint is also a great addition to a salad of watermelon, heirloom tomato, and feta. Or create a strawberry-based fruit “salsa”, flavor it with mint, and serve with cinnamon-sugar pita chips as a tasty afternoon snack or light dessert!

What is your favorite summertime flavor? Any daring combinations you’d love to try? What are your go-to summertime flavor pairings? What’s your most-used herb during summer? Your favorite drink to enjoy in the shade on a hot summer day?

 

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