1. Minted Green Pea and Buttermilk Soup
Serve this first course with a lush salad of baby greens, dressed with olive oil and champagne vinegar; top with toasted pecans. View recipe.
2. Quinoa with Early Summer Herbs
Tangy sorrel is a wonderful summer herb, with good-sized leaves similar to spinach. If you can't find it, substitute the zest of one lemon, stirred in at the end. View recipe.
3. Blanched Asparagus with Lemon-Tahini Dressing
Chilled asparagus blanketed in a creamy sauce—the perfect start to a summer meal. Serving tip: Set out as an appetizer with more blanched vegetables, or accompany with dishes of black olives, cubed feta cheese, fresh figs, and toasted nuts. View recipe.
4. Strawberry Granita
This dessert is a brilliant bowl of color with a pure, intense flavor. View recipe.
5. Almond Biscotti
These taste delicious alongside the Strawberry Granita (above); they keep well in an airtight container. View recipe.
6. Crisp Chèvre Sandwiches
Thin-skinned English cucumbers tend to have a less bitter skin than regular cukes; you'll find them wrapped in plastic in the produce section. If they're unavailable, you may substitute three small, very fresh zucchini. View recipe.
7. Rhubarb Lemonade Spritzer
Beautiful served in tall tumblers or champagne flutes with a long, thin peel of lemon zest swirling around. Use a barkeep's zesting tool to carve a curling slice of peel. View recipe.
8. Shrimp, Avocado, and Hearts of Palm Salad
This salad has two dressings: a light vinaigrette for the lettuce and a creamy dressing for the shrimp and vegetables. Ingredient tip: Look for sustainable-harvest Brazilian hearts of palm, which are the most tender. Prep tip: The creamy dressing needs to be made as close to serving time as possible to prevent it from deflating. View recipe.
9. Sautéed Onion Salad with Egg
Enjoy this summer meal outdoors. Have hard-cooked eggs at the ready; otherwise, add 10-15 minutes to the total prep time. View recipe.
10. Chilled Summer Gazpacho
This classic summertime soup requires no cooking. The garden-fresh vegetables provide abundant antioxidants. View recipe.
11. Middle Eastern Spinach-Yogurt Soup with Chickpeas
This soup's thickness will vary depending on the brand of yogurt you use; adjust consistency with more buttermilk or plain milk. Whole-wheat pitas are the perfect accompaniment. View recipe.
12. Sparkling Lemonade
Consider yourself lucky indeed if your lot includes bountiful, fresh lemons. Lemonade, the elixir of summer, can be as simple as lemon juice mixed with water and sugar, or gussied up with natural sweeteners and flavored with ginger, anise, mint or almost any sweet herb. View recipe.
13. Blueberry Frozen Yogurt Pie
Perfect for your Fourth of July party. Top with fresh blueberries, raspberries, sliced peaches, or a dollop of whipped cream, if desired. View recipe.
14. Lemon-Ginger Slush
To make ginger juice, grate fresh ginger, skin and all, onto a plate, gather into a mound, then squeeze with fingertips to extract juice. View recipe.
15. Grapefruit, Avocado, and Watercress Salad with Tarragon-Yogurt Dressing
Dill may be substituted for tarragon. Top the salad with lightly toasted walnuts for added protein and healthy fats. View recipe.
16. Fresh Squash with Peppers and Corn
Versions of this summer dish are found throughout Mexico; this one hails from Oaxaca. It works well as a side dish but is also hearty enough to be a main dish. View recipe.
17. Raw Avocado and Cucumber Soup
This creamy, satisfying soup preserves the heart-healthy oils found in avocados and almonds. To save time, use store-bought almond milk. Serve with raw-food flaxseed crackers and a salad of chopped kale, arugula, shredded beets, and carrots. View recipe.
18. Citrus Cream Cups
Absolutely unique, refreshing, and surprisingly light. For a bit of added color, grate fresh orange or lime zest on top just before serving. View recipe.
19. Cannellini and Summer-Squash Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette
Summer squash come in a tantalizing array of shapes and colors: straightneck, crookneck, or scalloped fruits colored yellow, gold, cream, lime, or a striking dark green. For the sweetest flavor, opt for smaller specimens. View recipe.
20. Tea-Batiked Eggs
These beautiful eggs, arranged cut-side down, complement any hors d'oeuvres tray. It's a modern rendition of a classic technique and fills the kitchen with savory aromatics. View recipe.