It’s the time of year when irresistibly fresh, colorful vegetables naturally take up more room on the plate. I’m obsessed with summer produce, perusing recipes and thinking up new ways to serve it even when I should be doing something else. (Especially when I should be doing something else!)
With vegetables in their glory it’s particularly gratifying to turn to vegan dishes: Light, healthful and packed with summer’s best flavors and magnificent variety. Here are some of the recipes I find most appealing for both dedicated vegan eating or just for a change-up from the usual.
Nothing beats a big, tempting salad for pure warm-weather satisfaction. Summer Salad with Peach-Walnut Dressing opens in a new tab fits the bill and is a terrific way to take advantage of tree-ripened peaches during their short season.
This beautiful Tempeh Niçoise Salad opens in a new tab packs in a hefty amount of produce along with a good dose of protein.
And this unique Cherry and Wild Rice Salad with Spinach and Walnuts opens in a new tab could be a season staple: customize it by using your favorite grain and nuts and substituting whatever greens are at their fresh best.
Great Grilled Dishes
This terrific recipe for Grilled Summer Vegetables opens in a new tab could be your go-to recipe for a whole summer of delicious eating; just add tofu, vegan sausages or a grain-based salad to make it a complete indulgence.
Speaking of indulgence, nothing beats these superbly flavorful Portobello and Pineapple Teriyaki Veggie Burgers opens in a new tab as a beef-burger substitute.
Pizza is a favorite year-round, but summer grilled pizzas are outstanding: A crisp, lightly charred crust combined with the year’s best herbs and produce is a revelation. Try this new recipe for Spicy Grilled Vegan Pizza with Squash and Pine Nuts opens in a new tab – you won’t miss the cheese!
Picnic and Patio Picks
Heading outdoors for your meal? This New Orleans-inspired Vegan Portobello Muffuletta opens in a new tab is one of my very favorite summer sandwiches, full of bright flavors and easy to make ahead.
Spinach Hummus Pinwheel Wraps opens in a new tab are a great choice for pleasing picnickers of all ages, and as an added bonus they contain his year’s go-to sandwich ingredient: avocado.
For a potluck dish you can’t beat Black Bean and Roasted Corn Pasta Salad opens in a new tab; customize it with your favorite pasta shape.
Favorite Summer Sides
Potato salad rules the barbecue table, and it’s easy to make your version vegan. Buy an eggless mayo for creamy salads, or try something completely different, like this delicious Dijon Vinaigrette Potato Salad opens in a new tab that’s loaded with herbs.
You’ll want to make a big pot of Summer Harvest Ratatouille opens in a new tab if you have access to a bumper crop of summer veggies: Eggplant, bell peppers, summer squash and tomatoes are at their best in this classic Mediterranean-inspired dish.
Likewise, try your hand at some pickling while produce is plentiful. These outrageously popular Pickled Cajun Green Beans and Carrots opens in a new tab are an easy recipe to start with.
Summer is the ideal time to explore the unique culinary and nutritional characteristics of refreshingly raw, uncooked dishes.
Spain’s traditional cold tomato soup gets a flavor makeover in Watermelon-Tomato Gazpacho opens in a new tab; the recipe wins raves as much for its taste as for the ease of making it.
For a modern classic, you can’t beat this gorgeous Raw Vegetable “Pasta” with Tomatoes opens in a new tab that replaces grain-based noodles with ribbons of colorful summer squash.
And for a sweet finish, Raw Berry Crisp opens in a new tab brings together a healthful combination of raw berries with nuts and dates for a crowd-pleasing dessert that won’t heat up your kitchen.
For more delicious, summery recipes, check out www.wholefoodsmarket.com/summer opens in a new tab.
Which summer veggies are you loving right now? How do you prepare them? Share with us in the comments below.