Add Fresh Summer Fruits to Your Dinner Routine with These Five Delicious Ideas
We'll explain how to enjoy berries, melon, peaches, and more in savory dishes.
There's no reason why you have to save peaches, plums, berries, melons, and mangos for dessert. Add pops of color and bursts of sweet flavor to dinner by embracing the idea of salty-meets-savory flavors; the sweetness of juicy in-season fruits will help you do just that. At their peak, summertime fruits, such as berries, melon, and peaches, are irresistibly delicious and deserve their spot at the dinner table. Why? Because they can balance and round out sauces, grilled dishes, salads, and soups with that touch of sweet that you may not have known you needed.
Read on for some of our favorite ways to enjoy summer fruits in savory-sweet dinners and get our best recipes.
Grill for the Perfect Smoky Char
The grill isn't just for steaks and burgers—add fruit to the grates and their natural sugars will caramelized while they take on a deliciously smoky charred note. For perfect grilled fruit every single time, halve or slice larger fruit into big pieces and brush with oil. Season with salt and pepper and add a sprinkle of sugar or spices, then place on a medium-high grill for just a few minutes per side until lightly charred on the outside but still fresh and juicy on the inside. Use these on top or alongside your favorite dinners, such as Grilled-Peach Pizza, Hawaiian Turkey Burgers, and Grilled Apricots and Pork Tenderloin.
If you're hoping to grill bite-sized pieces of fruit or berries, toss them into a grill basket or skewer them like kabobs. Watermelon and Feta Skewers, Shrimp-and-Pineapple Skewers, and Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Melon are all fun dinner options when paired with a couple of sides.
Spoon Over Savory Dishes
Highlight the robust flavor of summer fruit in zesty salsas, relishes, and sauces that instantly upgrade even the simplest prepared proteins and vegetables. Plus, sauces are a dinner win because they are generally fast to make and don't require a bunch of ingredients. Riff on salsa with our strawberry, mango and avocado, pineapple, or apricot with lemon verbena recipes. Stir together an herbal mango chimichurri, which is delicious drizzled over salmon or any protein you like best. Another tasty idea? Slather whatever you put on the grill with a fruity barbecue sauce like spicy mango or peach-and-bourbon.
Blend Them Into Refreshing Chilled Soups
A refreshing antidote to hot summer days, chilled soups are especially tasty with fruit blended right in. For the prettiest soup, select fruits that complement the colors—not just the flavor—of the other ingredients. While contrasting color can be pretty in a salad or entrée, a blended soup needs to be an appealing color. Look to cantaloupe or honeydew for vibrant yellow and green soups—a great recipe is our Mix and Match Melon Soup. You could also blend a deep red soup by complementing tomatoes with red or pink fruits, as we've done in our recipes for Watermelon Gazpacho and Strawberry Gazpacho. For a yellow or orange gazpacho, combine the same color tomatoes with mango or peach. Slices of fresh fruit also makes for an appealing garnish and added pop of sweetness in chilled soups, as evidenced by our Tomato, Peach, and Hyssop Soup, so don't be afraid to slice or dice extra fruit and scatter it over the soup with a drizzle of olive oil before serving.
Pair Them with Ripe Tomatoes
We would be remiss not to mention tomatoes when we're talking about summer fruits. Though they are usually treated like a vegetable and used in savory dishes, tomatoes are a fruit and summer is when they are at their brightest and absolute best. Plus, tomatoes pair well with any summer fruit, which coax out the right amount of their natural sweetness to balance acidity and add to their irresistible flavor. Cut any fruit into bite-sized pieces and toss into a caprese salad, then add protein to turn it into a meal. For some refreshing combinations play around with these recipes: Watermelon and Tomato Salad with Basil Oil, Tomato and Mango Salad with Chiles and Tomato Essence, Heirloom Tomato, White Peach, and Ricotta Salata Salad, or Tomato, Peach, Buffalo Mozzarella and Bresaola Tartine.
Toss Them Into Crisp Summer Salads
Fruit isn't the only tasty item in the produce aisle in summer—so many vegetables are also at their peak and there is no better time to combine the two, complementing your favorite crisp dinner salads with a burst of sweetness and additional texture. Start by whisking up a zesty vinaigrette, like the mint-lime dressing in our Grilled Chicken and Mango Salad or the creamy yogurt-tarragon dressing in our summer waldorf salad. Drizzle the dressing over super ripe slices of summer fruit for the simplest salad to serve alongside dinner or add in greens, crisp vegetables, proteins, and grains to create an entrée.
If you're going the latter route, try pairing peppery greens, such as watercress and arugula, with fruit; you'll love the contrast. Try them in our Watercress, Strawberry, and Toasted-Sesame Salad or Summer Salad with Blueberries. Another amazing complement to fruits are rich, creamy cheeses, such as mozzarella or ricotta; our Mango and Blackberry Salad with Mozzarella and Frisée and Beet, Plum, and Ricotta Salad are two examples in which this combination shines. You could also adding your favorite fresh grains to the mix, which is exactly what we've done with our Grilled Heritage Pork with Plums and Farro. Another great ideas is to throw the fruit into bread salads and let the bread soak up the sweet juices; take one bite of our Peach Panzanella, a juicy spin on the classic tomato and bread salad, and you'll be sold on the idea.
- Brooklyn Delhi Founder Chitra Agrawal Serves Weeknight Dinners with a Generous Helping of Sauce
- Dinner Won't Always Be Instagram-Worthy, Says Cookbook Author Leanne Brown—Here's Why That's Perfectly Fine
- Molly Yeh of Girl Meets Farm Leans on These Seven Tips When She Needs to Get Dinner on the Table Fast
- Baker and Cookbook Author Vallery Lomas Knows How to Make Weeknight Dinners Easy—Get Her Tips Here