Seasonal eating during the summer is easy breezy when you can get ingredients from your backyard or the farmers’ market. For more ideas, sign up for our Good Taste newsletter, offering wine advice and reviews, recipes, restaurant news and more. And see Lucy Waverman’s suggestions for summer grilling and easy salads and desserts.
If you have raspberries … try Boozy Black Raspberry Float
The combination of lime and berries sings in this drink. Any kind of raspberries or blackberries can be used, or even plums or peaches, to complement ginger-lime syrup and a float of homemade lime sherbet.
If you have fresh rosemary … try Rosemary Paloma Punch
Grapefruit and lime juice combine with rosemary sugar and mezcal or tequila for a refreshing punch. This and three other punch recipes will help spice up your summer parties.
If you have rhubarb … try Rhubarbade
Sweet-tart and brilliant pink, this sparkling rhubarb drink is the perfect accompaniment for a summer picnic – and it can also be made boozy.
Starters and sides
If you have chilies and cilantro … try Burnt Chile Cilantro Dip with Crudité
Pair a tumble of crunchy fresh veggies for dipping with a refreshing yogurt-based dip dominated by cilantro and chilies.
If you have beets … try Carrot and Beet Picnic Salad
This technicolour salad can be packed confidently for picnics hours down the road, either to eat on its own or wrapped in a pita.
If you have potatoes … try Double-Dressed Potato Salad
Tiny golden potatoes, white beans and soft-centred eggs are bound in a not-too-heavy dressing, with fried capers for contrast against all the softness.
If you have corn and tomatoes … try Gazpacho with Sardine Tomato Tartines
A fresh and easy-to-make gazpacho of tomatoes and corn is garnished with sardines and a tomato salad that takes advantage of late-summer produce.
If you have cherry tomatoes … try Burst Cherry Tomato Chutney
This chutney is a small-batch, low-effort version of tomato jam – no chopping, short cooking time and easily spreadable with a balance of sharp and sweet.
If you have apricots … try Burnt Apricot Tartines
Flavourful burnt apricots, fresh goat cheese, black pepper and local honey make for a great tartine, but start with the best bread you can get your hands on for the base.
If you have carrots… try Carrot Dogs
Pre-cooked and marinated carrots are grilled and served in a bun with smoked white bean hummus, pickled red onions and cabbage slaw – like a hot dog, but a fancy vegetarian version.
If you have watermelon … try Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho
A blender soup makes use of overripe tomatoes and the end of a too-big melon, with some bread torn in for extra body. This and three other no-cook recipes are made for the hottest summer days when you don’t want to turn on the stove.
If you have eggplant… try Roasted Eggplant with Labneh and Garlicky Granola
Small eggplants are grilled whole on the barbecue until tender, then paired with labneh, a Middle Eastern-style strained yogurt.
If you have cantaloupe … try Melon with Nectarines and Speck
Cantaloupe is often served with prosciutto, but speck is a smoked and aged ham that is cured with spices, lending it a deeper, more intense flavour than its Italian counterpart.
If you have kale … try Sweet Potato and Kale Salad with Black Garlic Dressing
A fresh, simple kale salad is highlighted with chili-accented sweet potatoes and quinoa for body. Aged and fermented cloves of black garlic or roasted garlic add a funky mellowness to the dressing.
If you have tomatoes … try Barbecue Braised Tomatoes with Chickpeas
This dish of roasted tomatoes studded with chickpeas and goat cheese can be cooked outdoors over a grill. Serve as a vegetarian main, or as a side to grilled meats.
If you have zucchini … try Zucchini Falafel
Falafel are enhanced with grated zucchini, herbs and a hint of chili, served with a green sauce made from the same herbs along with pistachios and avocado.
If you have strawberries … try Calas with Honeyed Strawberry Sauce
Calas is an often-overlooked Creole rice fritter, made with plain cooked rice folded into a doughnut-like flour-based batter. Here they’re rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with honey-cooked berries and yogurt.
If you have more strawberries … try Doughnut Shortcakes with Strawberries
Straying from your typical shortcake, this eggy, buttery brioche doughnut scented with vanilla and orange is split and stuffed with strawberries and cream.
If you have rhubarb … try Rhubarb Sorbet with Gluten-Free Coconut Crumble
Sliced strawberries with cream and brown sugar are topped with a gluten-free coconut cookie crumble for texture and an easy rhubarb sorbet for punchy tartness.
If you have plums … try Pavlova with Broiled Plums and Honey Roasted Nuts
Pavlova – an egg-white dessert that’s easier to make than you might think – is topped with cinnamon whipped cream and broiled plums, either sweet and floral yellow mirabelle plums or the more common Italian prune plums.
If you have more plums … try Plum Hand Pies with Frangipane
Concentrated roasted fruit meets up with frangipane, an almond cream, in a pastry swaddle that puffs up upon baking.
If you have peaches … try Peach and Ricotta Biscuit Cobbler
Use stone fruits at their peak in this cobbler, with a layer of biscuits on top to sop up the juices below.
If you have cucumbers ... Try Cucumber Coconut Lime Popsicles
When it’s too hot to think of cooking, this recipe for popsicles flavoured with Persian cucumbers, mint leaves and coconut water will cool you down.