My Favourite Summer Recipes

July 16, 2020

By Anna Varriano

“Sun is shining. Weather is sweet. Make you wanna move your dancing feet.” – Bob Marley

Ah summer! I love it for so many reasons! A few of my favourite things about summer are being barefoot on the grass, being in, on, or near water, warm lingering evenings outdoors, eating meals outside, and our veggie garden.

In this blog, I’m sharing 12 of my favourite summer time recipes, including appetizers, mains, sides, and dessert! I hope you’ll try a few (or all!) of them!

To view the recipe, click on the recipe title (which should appear in BLUE font on your screen).


1 – Chickpea & Artichoke Heart Salad

I’ve been making this salad for years. It is so easy and really delicious. It’s a great side dish to poultry or fish mains (especially if they have a Mediterranean theme), and a perfect dish to bring to a picnic, potluck, or BBQ. You can make it more substantial by adding a cup or so of cooked quinoa.

2 – Delicious Stuffed Zucchini

Any time now, I’ll have zucchini coming out of my ears! You can use whatever veggies and other ingredients you like for the stuffing – no need to stick to what I’ve used. Just make sure you use something that will hold the filling together. I used an egg and some cheese, You can freeze these once they’re stuffed/before you bake them; however, I enjoy them best when they are fresh out of the oven. 

3 – Fresh Herb & Garlic Topped Grilled Tomatoes

These grilled tomatoes were a regular side-dish to my family’s BBQ meals for as long as I can remember. You can make them any time of year, but I especially love making them in late summer/early fall when the tomatoes, garlic, and herbs are fresh out of the garden. If you don’t have a BBQ, you can make these in the oven too! Tomatoes are loaded with health-boosting nutrients, including lycopene – a strong anti-oxidant associated with cancer-prevention (especially prostate cancer), cardiovascular health, and more recently with bone health!

4 – Grilled Salmon Burger Dinner

This dinner is soooo easy and so good!!! Homemade salmon burgers, grilled veggies with a red onion ‘chutney’ and fresh tomatoes that I drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with unrefined sea salt.

5 – Broccoli Salad

This broccoli salad is packed with nutrient-dense foods and makes a great side at any time of year. Use pomegranate seeds, diced red bell pepper, or dried cranberries instead of (or in addition to) the raisins for a festive look!

6 – Grilled Veggies on Quinoa Tabouleh

This is a great side-dish at any time of year, but especially when gardens/farmers markets are bursting with fresh, local veggies. You can serve it warm or cold, and leftovers keep well for a few days. Easy to make for a big gathering  – I once made this dish for a family reunion of 24+! This dish is LOADED with nutrients and fibre – and it’s DELICIOUS.

7 – Dips (see individual links below)

Check out these dips! Great for veggie platters or as a condiment for grilled meats, poultry, fish, burgers, or veggies. Delicious and versatile!


The ingredients of this popular Middle Eastern dish, commonly served as a dip or spread, deliver taste and  offer a variety of health benefits; for example, chickpeas are a great source of protein, tahini (made from sesame seeds) is a great source of calcium, and olive oil is loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. It’s quick and easy – once you have the ingredients assembled, just throw them into a food processor or blender and you’re done!


Avocados offer some pretty amazing health benefits. They’re loaded with antioxidants, as well as healthy fats that promote heart health and fight inflammation. Guacamole is a delicious way to enjoy all the health benefits of avocados. This recipe is quick and easy…and includes a tip for preventing your left over guacamole from turning brown!


This is a delicious and refreshing dish that can be used as a veggie dip, salad topping, or as a condiment with grilled chicken/chicken souvlaki.


I first tried this dressing at a family celebration in Nova Scotia one summer, and the guest who brought it later sent me the recipe. It was served on the side, to be drizzled over a roasted vegetable salad. I love roasted veggie salads and I LOVE cilantro, so this sounded like a winning combination to me … and it certainly is!

8 – Pesto

I love basil … so I grow a lot of it -and I don’t want a single leaf of it to go to waste! My pesto recipe is easy and so delicious! 

9 – Fresh Tomato, Basil, & Garlic Buckwheat Pasta

It takes me about 10 minutes to make this yummy pasta dish. My inspiration was some freshly picked tomatoes and basil from my garden.

10 – Gazpacho

This tomato-based soup is served chilled and is a great addition to any summer-time meal! 

11 – Tomato & Basil Soup

I love the combination of tomatoes and basil. Mmmmm! I grow lots of tomatoes in our vegetable garden so that I can freeze them and have them on hand all winter long to make delicious soups like this one, as well as adding them to other dishes.

12 – Chocolate Nut Butter Banana Frozen Treats

These dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free (other than the natural sugars in the bananas) frozen treats are super easy to make and a perfect way to use up very ripe bananas! You can make them up in popsicle molds for a classic casual fudgesicle-like summer treat, or in muffin tins or other fancier molds to serve them up as a more formal dessert. Feel free to experiment with this recipe by adding your own favourite flavours … maybe some cayenne pepper, or chopped up nuts, or even some fresh summer herbs such as mint. 


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