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Calling All Veggies, Front and Center!

Seeing the vibrant summer eggplants, peppers, tomatoes and fresh ears of corn come into our stores sparks some instant kitchen inspiration. I celebrate these bright flavors by turning them into dishes that are so satisfying that I don’t miss having meat as an entrée.

Lentil and Vegetable Salad

Seeing the vibrant summer eggplants, peppers, tomatoes and fresh ears of corn come into our stores sparks some instant kitchen inspiration. When I see something that’s both in season and on sale, I pounce and start brainstorming meals right away.Some of my favorite vegetable-centric meals are influenced by Yotam Ottolenghi, whose approach toward vegetables has changed the way that I cook. Though I’m no longer a vegetarian, I’ve come to view meat as a treat, not as a necessity to fill out my meal. Ottolenghi’s recipes honor the bright flavors of vegetables, celebrating them and turning them into dishes that are so satisfying that I don’t miss having meat as an entrée.

Here are some ingredients I like to have on hand when I’m throwing together my summer veggie meals:

  • Avocados, for their richness, and for filling salads
  • Whole Foods Market™ World Flavor Sauces, particularly for dressing grilled vegetables
  • Aged Balsamic Vinegar, as a quick veggie marinade or for sprinkling on salads
  • Organic Plain Greek Yogurt, to make creamy sauces, such as Tzatziki Yogurt and Cucumber Dip

Ideas for Peak-Season Veggie Entrées

Bell Peppers: Cut in half, brush with oil and grill before filling with a lentil salad topped with slices of avocado.

Tomatoes: Slice into wedges, toss with olives, marinated feta, fresh parsley and chickpeas. You can also try this idea with heirloom tomatoes and brie.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Goat Milk Brie

Summer Squash: Use a vegetable peeler to make raw “noodles” and toss with strips of grilled red pepper, fresh basil, toasted almonds and vinaigrette. Try this recipe for No-Cook Zucchini “Noodle” Salad.

No Cook Zucchini Noodle Salad

Eggplant: Cut into thick slices, brush with oil and grill. Serve the eggplant “steaks” with a creamy sauce made of Greek yogurt, fresh thyme, minced garlic and lemon juice.

Green Beans: Slice on the bias and toss with caramelized onions, cherry tomatoes, roasted peanuts and hard-cooked eggs.

What are your favorite summer vegetable meals? 

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