Enjoy summer's fresh vegetables with these reader recipes featuring tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn and zucchini.
We've also included more recipe ideas and tips for preparing and freezing your fresh-from-the-garden veggies.
Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes
With the delectable combination of basil, tomatoes and mozzarella, this warm pasta medley makes a wonderful meatless side or main course. From Avon Lake, Ohio, Sandy Jenkins writes, "It's such a great way to use fresh tomatoes from your garden."
Stir-Fried Veggies With Pasta
"We never feel like we're missing out on meat when this super supper is on the table," says Tracy Holaday of Muncie, Indiana.
Sweet Corn 'n' Peppers
Peppers add punch to this mouth-watering grilled sweet corn that's recommended by Grace Camp of Owingsville, Kentucky.
Roasted Pepper Ravioli Bake
"I serve this casserole with a green salad and homemade Italian herb bread," says Carol Poindexter of Norridge, Illinois.
Herbed Potatoes and Veggies
"I came up with this family favorite when I needed to use up leftover baked potatoes and extra produce from our garden," explains Jenelle Parks of Hayfield, Minnesota. "It's a great-tasting side dish."
Spicy Zucchini Quesadillas
For milder quesadillas, use Monterey Jack instead of pepper Jack cheese in this recipe from Linda Taylor of Lenexa, Kansas. If you want them spicier, add some red pepper flakes or chopped jalapenos.
Summer Veggie Tips
- For a church cookout, I volunteered to bring corn on the cob, hot and ready to eat. We boiled the corn just before leaving for the party, then wrapped each ear in heavy-duty aluminum foil and stacked them in a thermal chest. It worked great—the corn was still hot when folks went back for seconds.
—Ann M., Lynchburg, Virginia
- I often make a summer squash bake for brunch. I add some chopped peppers for variety and extra color and to spark the flavor of the zucchini and crookneck squash. Try jalapeno, sweet red or green pepper, depending on your taste preferences.
—Margery S., Ashland, Oregon
- Stuffed peppers are my specialty for fall potlucks. So, in the summer, when peppers are abundant, I freeze them. To prepare the peppers for freezing, wash well; remove seeds and stem. Blanch for 3 minutes; drain well and freeze on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet. Once frozen, place them in plastic freezer bags and enjoy them all fall and winter long.
—Ruth J., Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Every summer, I grate zucchini and freeze it for use in quick breads later. Whenever I make vegetable soup, I always stir in a package of that zucchini. It cooks right in, adding flavor and nutrition.
—Helen S., Flint, Michigan
- A bit of shredded zucchini added to a boxed brownie mix makes extra moist and tasty brownies.
—Kathy W., Gansevoort, New York
It's usually not necessary to remove the seeds from tomatoes before using them. But for some recipes, seeding the tomatoes can improve the dish's appearance or eliminate excess moisture.
For example, it's not important to seed tomatoes when preparing a tossed salad. But it's nice to remove the seeds when making creamy tomato soup to ensure a smooth texture. And using seeded tomatoes when assembling a casserole can prevent it from becoming watery.
To remove the seeds from a tomato, cut it in half horizontally and remove the stem. Holding a tomato half over a bowl or sink, scrape out seeds with a small spoon or squeeze the tomato to force out the seeds. Then slice or diced as directed in the recipe.