We love to eat all year long, but there are some foods we just can’t get enough of when summer rolls around. With only a few summer days left to enjoy, we compiled a list of summer-centric foods you absolutely MUST sample before fall arrives. Try them for the umpteenth time this year or discover a new warm-weather favorite. Whatever you do, do it fast because these delicious dishes might not be around much longer!
Burgers and Brats – Sure, you can order a burger in the middle of winter, but these summer staples taste even better when it’s warm out. Look for unique spins on your favorites like burgers topped with pineapple or guacamole, and brats with ingredients like Gouda or jalapeños mixed in, or opt for a chicken or turkey version of your favorite sausage instead.
Veggie Burger – Meat-lovers might scoff at this suggestion, but a good veggie burger should absolutely be on your list of foods to try this summer. Skip the frozen meat-substitute patties taking up residence in the bottom of your freezer and find a restaurant that makes fresh, authentic veggie burgers from scratch. The kind with ingredients like sweet potatoes, squash, sprouts and onions all mashed and mixed and smashed into a divine patty. Top it with your favorite cheese and some avocado for a (slightly) healthier and delicious meat-free alternative.
Berries– Strawberries and blackberries and blueberries, oh my. These sweet bursts of goodness are ripe for the picking right now (literally). So whether you’re eating them au natural as a healthy snack, mixing them into a pie, or slathering them on top of ice cream, you’d be remiss to not take advantage of summer berries while they’re available practically fresh from the vine at your local grocery store or farmers market.
Margaritas – Whether you’re toasting this refreshing bev frozen or on-the-rocks, nothing tastes quite as much like summer as that sweet, tangy, sometimes slightly salty first sip of a good margarita. Look for fancy versions with fresh-muddled berries, pineapple or even watermelon for a new spin on this classic drink.
Squash – Any menu with fresh summer ingredients is almost guaranteed to have a dish with summer squash. Whether you’re adding it to stir fry, grilling it, eating it in a frittata, or enjoying a crispy zucchini fritter straight off the griddle, summer squash is a great vehicle for fabulous summer flavors.
Gazpacho – Cold soup might sound like a tragic oxymoron, but when it comes to gazpacho, it’s actually one of our favorite summer staples. This traditional Spanish dish is somewhere between tomato soup and salsa on the flavor/texture scale and is made with tomatoes, onions, garlic and olive oil. Some restaurants serve it with crispy croutons that absorb the soup and dissolve into delicious squares of slightly mushy goodness. But it’s just as tasty sans bread.
Ice Cream – There are only a few toasty days of summer left to enjoy this sweet, melty treat. Yes, we know that your favorite sundaes and cones are delicious year round, but heading out to your local frozen dessert stop (what’s up DQ!) is so much more fun when the pavement has some egg-frying heat potential and you’re still sporting everyone’s favorite summer perfume: Eau de Sunscreen.
Mojitos – Another classic summer adult beverage that shouldn’t be missed. Lots of bars only stock the fresh mint needed for these sweet and refreshing drinks in the summer months, so time is most definitely of the essence. Traditionally made with Rum, sugar, fresh mint, lime, and soda water, this drink is also fabulous with the addition of fresh berries and other fruits.
Salads – Let’s be honest, salads totally get stepped up a notch during the summer months. With all the green, red, yellow, and purple produce that is ripe and delicious right now, how could they not have an extra little oomph? So find your favorite ingredients (we love grilled salmon over a bed of greens with fresh ginger, peppers, jicama and lime!) on a menu near you and dive in to one of the last summer salads of the season.
Corn on the Cob – We know corn is in short supply this year due to high summer temps around the country, but we’re crazy about this summer veggie in all its forms. Grilled, boiled, roasted and loaded with lots of delicious toppings (or butter and salt for you purists), make sure you get at least one ear before they disappear until next season!
What foods are on your end-of-summer to-do list? Do you love our selection or did we miss your fave? Tell us below!