Simple & spectacular summer recipes

When it comes to cooking with sun-ripened garden crops, it’s best to keep it simple and let the flavor of your main ingredients shine. Garden-harvested foods are at their peak ripeness and will have more nutrients and flavor than store-bought fruits or vegetables that would have had to be picked early for market.

Pea, Basil, and Feta Dip

This dip can be whipped up in a flash and goes perfectly with any array of garden-fresh veggies available this time of year.

8 oz (225 g) feta cheese

1/4 cup (60 mL) plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup (125 mL) blanched fresh green peas, plus extra for garnish

1/4 cup (60 mL) raw walnuts

3/4 cup (180 mL) packed basil leaves and tender stems, plus extra for garnish

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 lemon

2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil

Salt, to taste

In food processor fitted with steel blade attachment, pulse together feta cheese and yogurt, scraping down bowl as needed, until smooth and creamy. Transfer to large plate, spreading over bottom of plate to cover. Set aside and wipe out food processor.

To food processor, add peas, walnuts, basil, garlic, zest of half a lemon, juice of whole lemon, and olive oil. Blend, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until textured but creamy and well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt. Dollop basil mixture over whipped feta, running a knife lightly through mixture to marble the two dips together. Garnish with extra peas and basil leaves, if desired. Serve alongside crackers and vegetables for dipping.

Serves 6

Each serving contains: 215 calories; 14 g protein; 15 g total fat (7 g sat. fat); 7 g total carbohydrates (6 g sugars, 1 g fiber); 456 mg sodium

Carrot, Raspberry, and Olive Tartine

This lovely open-faced sandwich is at once earthy, bright, briny, and fruity.

3/4 cup (180 mL) fresh raspberries, divided

3 Tbsp (45 mL) olive oil

1 large lemon

1/3 lb (150 g) carrots, about 3 medium carrots

1/2 cup (125 mL) coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

1/4 cup (60 mL) roughly chopped Castelvetrano olives

1/3 cup (80 mL) ricotta cheese

3 slices whole grain country loaf, toasted

In medium bowl, smash 1/4 cup (60 mL) raspberries with a fork. Add olive oil and zest and juice of lemon. Whisk until well combined and set aside.

On large holes of box grater, grate carrots and add to dressing mixture. Gently fold in chopped parsley and olives.

Divide ricotta cheese, spreading evenly over slices of bread. Generously heap on carrot mixture and top with fresh raspberries. Drizzle over any remaining vinaigrette left in bowl and serve.

Serves 3

Each serving contains: 332 calories; 7 g protein; 19 g total fat (4 g sat. fat); 33 g total carbohydrates (5 g sugars, 6 g fiber); 373 mg sodium

Strawberry Carpaccio

This simple dessert celebrates the glory that is the summer strawberry.

3/4 lb (340 g) strawberries, washed and hulled, divided

1/2 tsp (2 mL) orange blossom water

1 to 2 tsp (5 to 10 mL) honey (optional)

1/4 cup (60 mL) toasted pistachios, roughly chopped

2 Tbsp (30 mL) mint leaves

Edible flower petals, for garnish

In blender, add 1/4 lb (113 g) strawberries and orange blossom water. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust sweetness with honey, if desired. Into small bowl, strain strawberry puree through fine-mesh sieve. Discard any pulp left in sieve and set aside.

Cut remaining strawberries into thin slices, lengthwise. Arrange them over chilled serving plates in a single layer, slightly overlapping. Drizzle with a few spoonfuls of strawberry puree before garnishing with a scattering of pistachios, mint leaves, and edible flower petals.

Serves 2

Each serving contains: 108 calories; 3 g protein; 4 g total fat (0 g sat. fat); 19 g total carbohydrates (12 g sugars, 5 g fiber); 44 mg sodium

By Lawren Moneta