Take Advantage of Your Local Farmer’s Market This Summer

JULY 2019: Grilled Vegetables and Herby Drizzles.

Have you been to your local farmer’s market? Run, don’t walk! We’ve hit peak season and you’ll find much flavor and color! The longer days of summer have filled the market with stone fruits (peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries) tomatoes, melons, zucchini, peppers, green beans, snap peas, dark berries, corn and so much basil. It doesn’t get any easier to eat a rainbow of vegetables and fruits everyday. And, why not share these whole foods when you’re heading to a picnic or potluck?

All of this color and flavor comes at the perfect time. Summer is when we gather our families, friends and neighbors to grill, picnic, sit on the back porch, go to the beach or just be outside. We want to keep summer dining light, fresh, casual and simple. We want foods that don’t require a lot of work. And while it’s hot, who wants to turn on the stove or oven more than is necessary? 

What recipes work best? Simple ones!

For a potluck, I was asked to bring a vegetable for the grill, so bought a few bunches of thick asparagus from the farmer’s market. I simply cut off and discarded the thick ends, tossed the good parts in a tablespoon of olive oil and a few pinches of sea salt, then grilled them over high heat for a few minutes to desired tenderness. As soon as it came off the grill, I poured on a few tablespoons of a dressing (olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and a pinch of salt) and boom! It was easy, delicious, popular and only four ingredients!

Try grilling zucchini, bell peppers, broccolini, eggplant, romaine, green beans, leeks, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, fennel or onions. A spritz of lemon juice, a glug of olive oil and a pinch of salt will transform these veggies, too.

Do you want to make a more substantial side with those grilled veggies? Mix and match the following tips to dress them up:

  • Make it a salad. Toss them with arugula, baby spinach, romaine or little gems and dressing just before serving.
  • To feed a crowd, bulk it up. Add 2 to 3 cups of boiled or roasted potatoes or cooked grains, such as quinoa, buckwheat groats, farro or rice. Grains and potatoes will soak up any liquid, so bring extra dressing. 
  • Make it a meal, add protein. Toss with lentils, beans or legumes, such as edamame, cannellini beans, black beans, adzuki beans or chickpeas.
  • A little goes a long way. Parmesan, goat cheese or sheep feta can tie it together. 
  • Finish with a crunch! Garnish with some toasted nuts and seeds.
  • Taste it. Season as you go. Once everything is combined, taste it. You may want to add another pinch of salt, spritz of lemon or more dressing.
  • Accessorize differently. For grilled veggies so delicious, you’ll forget they’re good for you, try them with a drizzle from this month’s recipe, 5 Herby Drizzles. Herbs not only brighten and boost flavor, they’re packed with nutrients. When you add herbs, it’s like adding another vegetable. These herby drizzles are great dolloped on everything from fish, chicken, vegetables (raw, steamed, roasted or grilled), to salads and grains.

Rebecca’s Kitchen: Grilled Vegetables and Herby Drizzles