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4 easy dinners packed with summer vegetables

By Penelope Wall, August 4, 2010 - 11:31am

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I don’t know about you, but I tend to eat a lot more healthfully in the summer. I just can’t resist all that fresh, flavorful produce to be had at a good price. All I have to do is catch a whiff of fragrant basil and it sets off a wave of cravings for more fresh foods: sweet corn and juicy tomatoes, crunchy zucchini, zingy garlic and tender greens…oh my!

Related Link: 30-Minute Summer Dinners Filled With Fresh Veggies

Frankly, I go a little too crazy at the grocery store and the farmers’ market buying up whatever vegetables and fruit look and smell the freshest. When they’re freshly picked and fully ripe they’re more than just delicious—they’re also the most nutritious, brimming with antioxidants.

Related Link: Get some ideas to use up your bounty in these Recipes Fresh from the Farmers’ Market.

I like to let the inspiration of the season guide my meals. As soon as I assess my booty, I set out to find an easy, tasty recipe to use up all of those fantastic veggies.

Sound familiar? Sound exciting? Then check out four of my favorite healthy recipes that are packed with summer produce, ready in 35 minutes or less, from the EatingWell Test Kitchen:

Gnocchi with Zucchini Ribbons & Parsley Brown Butter
In this recipe, delicate ribbons of zucchini, shallots and cherry tomatoes are sautéed in just a smidge of nutty browned butter, then tossed with convenient store-bought potato gnocchi.

Corn & Basil Cakes
These tasty cakes brimming with sweet corn and fresh basil are addictive and easy to make. I like to serve them with simple grilled tofu and a salad of greens and tomatoes.

Eggplant Pomodoro Pasta
Diced eggplant turns tender and tasty sautéed with garlic and olive oil. Toss with fresh plum tomatoes, green olives and capers and you have a simple light summer sauce. We like it over angel hair pasta, but any type of pasta will work. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a mixed green salad.

Green Pizza
In this unconventional pizza, arugula adds a slightly bitter, peppery taste to a topping of broccoli florets and pesto—for a milder flavor, use spinach instead. Serve with wedges of fresh tomato tossed with vinegar, olive oil, basil and freshly ground pepper.

Do you eat more healthfully in the summer? What fresh veggies do you go crazy for? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Penelope Wall, Food Blog, Dinner, What's in season

Penelope Wall
Penelope is a web producer and writer for EatingWell.com. When she's not busy geeking out at the computer, she loves cooking and trying new recipes on her friends. Some of her favorite foods are dark chocolate, coffee, apples, sweet potatoes and cheese.

Penelope asks: Do you eat more healthfully in the summer? What fresh veggies do you go crazy for?

Tell us what you think:

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