Summer is hands-down the best time of year for vegetables. Yes, root vegetables and winter squash are wonderful, but nothing beats a tomato from the farmers market, an ear of corn from a roadside stand, or a pepper from your garden.
Even better, many of these summer veggies don't take a lot of time to prep, so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time on the patio, stoop, or fire escape enjoying these dishes for dinner.
This succotash salad is the epitome of summer, with fresh lima or fava beans, cherry or grape tomatoes, and corn. You can make it with a heavier dressing, but we think just a drizzle of lemon juice works perfectly.
When you need a supremely refreshing side dish, look no further than these cucumber noodles. The sesame oil and seeds give them a richness, while the noodles themselves stay crunchy and light.
We could wax poetic about the perfect tomato sandwich for hours, and while everyone has their own variation, this one is a winner for us. Keep it simple with white bread, mayo, salt, pepper, and thickly sliced tomatoes. Pure heaven.
You don't have to boil, roast, or grill your asparagus when it's in season. Instead, all it requires is a bit of lemon juice and some salty pecorino to make a delightful side dish or snack.
Cut down on the prep time for this recipe by using pre-cooked lentils (you can find them at your grocery store). They are a great ingredient to keep on hand to serve as the base for summer side dishes like this one.
This simple lunch is perfect for sweltering summer days. It's light enough that you'll actually want to eat it, but substantial enough that you won't be ravenous two hours later. You can always tuck in some leftover chicken as well.
To keep this recipe under the 20-minute mark, you'll want to use pre-shelled fava beans, or enlist your family members to make quick work of the shelling. After that step, it's as simple as tossing the ingredients together and spooning the beans and radishes onto your bread.
Don't mess with a classic. The caprese salad can of course be updated, but the traditional version is such a crowd-pleaser. Our only upgrade is to include a range of colorful tomatoes for a stunning plate.
This is one of those anything-goes salads that can be tossed together with all the odds and ends from your farmers market haul. Simply clean the veggies, whip up the dressing, and enjoy.
The classic butter and radish combination gets an update with this simple appetizer or snack recipe. Brown butter and tahini combine to make a richer coating for the crunchy, peppery veggies.
When in doubt, simply toss your favorite summer veggies together with a bit of a light dressing and some fresh herbs. That's our go-to solution for enjoying them to their fullest, and this corn and zucchini salad is the perfect example.
Another easy way to eat asparagus raw is to shave it into ribbons. The thinner strips absorb your favorite dressing, and are similar to zucchini noodles in their versatility. We like tossing them with some oil and white wine vinegar for a simple side dish.
This juicy tomato salad is the perfect side dish to serve any time you're firing up the grill. It comes together quickly and can marinate while you cook your burgers, brats, or veggie burgers. The juicy tomatoes are made even better by the salty feta and dill fronds.
Both zucchini and summer squash benefit from a quick sauté to really bring out their flavors and soften their texture. If you don't have thyme on hand, you can swap in any of your other favorite herbs or spices.
The lemony sumac and rich pomegranate molasses really bring out the flavor in this fresh tomato salad.
We like to make this salad in big batches — especially because it gets better the longer it marinates in the fridge. And the directions couldn't be easier: Combine everything in a big bowl, toss with dressing, and enjoy.
Use fresh, pre-shelled lima beans for this recipe if you can find them. The creamy cumin-mint dressing gives them a bright flavor and is guaranteed to convert any lima bean haters.
The hardest part of making this recipe is not snacking on all the snap peas as you're preparing it. After a quick blanching and ice water bath, the peas are tossed with a simple lemon-mint dressing. If you can't find Meyer lemons, regular ones will work just as well.
When you can't eat anymore corn straight from the cob, try mixing it in with your breakfast scramble. Add a couple of tomato slices to the side for a summer breakfast plate.
20. Squash Ribbons
Zucchini and summer squash don't require heat in this simple salad recipe. Simply shave away ribbons with your Y-peeler or spiralizer, and then toss with an olive oil and vinegar dressing. Give it a few minutes to rest to fully soak up the dressing.
Sometimes we like something a bit richer for our veggie-based side dishes, and when that craving strikes, we'll always reach for this sour cream-coated cucumber salad. It's perfectly refreshing and tangy.
This fresh tomato salad gets a burst of salsa-like flavor from the cilantro, lime, and jalapeño that's mixed in. It's the closest you can get to eating salsa by the plateful.
Next time you make soba noodles, make an extra serving and chill them in anticipation of this salad. It's delightfully simple, and makes a perfectly balanced lunch. The toasted sesame oil and ginger dressing will be a new favorite.
This corn salad gets a refreshing flavor from the chopped fresh mint that gets mixed in along with the toasted pine nuts. It is sure to be a hit at your next barbecue or picnic.
If you find Armenian cucumbers at your market, pick them up for this delicious salad. Similar to a quick pickle, this salad has a bright acidity from the vinegar dressing, and only gets better with a bit of time in your fridge. Make a big enough batch so you can eat some now and more later.