Late summer harvest is ripe for cooking healthy meals.

Late Summer Eating: Easy and Delicious

It’s August, the weather is hot, and produce shelves and farmer’s market tables are sagging under the weight of summer bounty. Here’s how to take advantage of all those fresh fruits and veggies to make easy meals that won’t have you stuck in a hot kitchen.

Late Summer Salads

If you have a garden, chances are right about now you have way, way too many tomatoes. If that’s the case, you want to know about the traditional Italian salad called Caprese, which livens up the rich taste of fresh-picked tomatoes with the addition of basil and fresh mozzarella. This late summer salad takes caprese a step further with the addition of TK. Red peppers are also coming in this time of year and make a great base for Mediterranean-inspired dishes like this one for rustic roasted red peppers.

Cruciferous Dishes

Restaurant menus feature endless variations on cauliflower, broccoli, and other cruciferous vegetables this time of year, so why not try cooking them yourself? Not only are they loaded with nutrients, their textures make them a great substitute for meat in plant-based main dishes. Try this recipe for cauliflower steaks with pesto or this one for red cabbage and bulgur wheat and you’ll see it’s possible to make a hearty meal without meat!

Cooling Drinks for Hot Weather

Bored of iced tea and lemonade? Nectarines, strawberries, blueberries, and melon are ripe for the picking in August, and while they’re delicious on their own, they also make great beverages! The Food for Health website from Kaiser Permanente has several great recipes for end-of-summer sips that will quench your thirst and keep you hydrated.And they’re easy to make too, in a few simple steps.

  1. Start with a base liquid: Seltzer, iced tea, coconut water, or lemonade
  2. Add seasonal fruits: Watermelon, blueberries, peaches, plums, raspberries, nectarines
  3. Add a sprig of basil or mint, or a squeeze of citrus
  4. Sweeten with honey or simple syrup

Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.