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.
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.
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?