Getting Creative with Summer Vegetables

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

Zucchini Fritters and Fresh Beet Salad
Zucchini Fritters and Fresh Beet Salad

One of the simple pleasures of summer is the abundance of fresh produce. While a hot- house tomato is welcome in the middle of winter, it cannot compare with the juicy vine-ripened tomatoes of summer. Home gardens abound in summer with fresh herbs, zucchini and lettuces of all kinds. The first beets (and their delicious beet greens) appear by early summer. Check out a local fresh produce stand and prepare to be amazed at the colorful spread of fresh vegetables you will find there.

The ways to prepare summer vegetables seem unlimited. There are no rules. Feel free to create all sorts of summer salads and roasted vegetable combinations. Be creative and use summer vegetables in unexpected ways. Add grated zucchini to just about anything from pancakes to meatballs. Top garden fresh green beans with roasted sliced almonds. Add thin slices of grilled garlicky eggplant to sandwiches. Let your imagination take over!

Pictured here are a couple of unexpected ways to use summer vegetables:

Zucchini Fritters with Quinoa


Fresh Beet Salad with Snipped Carrot Greens

Zucchini Fritters with Quinoa

Adapted from Eating Well, June/August 2020


  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, seasoned to taste with salt, pepper, garlic and Italian herb blend

  • 2 cups grated zucchini (squeeze well to remove as much moisture as possible)

  • A handful of chopped fresh parsley

  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese

  • 1/3 cup plain bread crumbs

  • 2 large eggs

  • Olive oil, avocado oil or canola oil


  1. Combine quinoa, zucchini, parsley, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and eggs in medium bowl.

  2. Stir well to combine all ingredients.

  3. Form into 8 to 10 small patties.

  4. Cover bottom of skillet with oil and heat.

  5. When oil is hot, pan fry the patties for 3 to 4 minutes per side (turn carefully).

Fresh Beet Salad with Snipped Carrot Greens


  • 4 medium fresh beets, cooked, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks

  • 1 tablespoon of red or white vinegar

  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon of finely minced onion

  • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced (or ½-teaspoon garlic powder)

  • ¼ cup of finely snipped fresh carrot greens

  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Add all ingredients to medium bowl and stir until beets are well - coated.

  • Cover and place in fridge to chill for at least two hours.

Follow Along

Follow along with Rachel, BCF Program Coordinator, as she makes this recipe on Facebook Live!

Written by Jenny Favret, MS, RD, LDN

Nutritionist, Duke Pediatrics Healthy Lifestyles Program

Check out Jenny's bio here!

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