Make the most of tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and other late-season summer produce with these fresh-from-the-farm-stand meals.

When the greenmarket runneth over with ripe tomatoes, plump eggplants, and zesty peppers, it's time to cook molto Mediterranean-style, preparing simple dishes that embrace late summer's bumper crops. The days may be long, but the season is short, so seize the moment, and savor every bite. These five vegetable-packed recipes will inspire your end of summer meals.

zucchini carbonara topped with fresh basil leaves
Credit: Marcus Nilsson

Zucchini Carbonara

Picture this: a date night outdoors, the sun low on the horizon, and a glass of crisp white wine on hand as you twirl spaghetti slick with cheese sauce. Sautéed zucchini is a delicious way to make a rich dish like carbonara a little healthier—this recipe for Zucchini Carbonara uses two parts vegetable to one part pasta. Another trick: Don't skimp on the extra egg yolk. The addition helps emulsify the sauce, so it reaches optimum creaminess and renders a flawless carbonara copy.

shelling-bean minestrone topped with fresh parsley and red-pepper flakes
Credit: Marcus Nilsson

Shelling-Bean Minestrone

If you're intrigued by the speckled scarlet runner or borlotti beans at the farmers' market, this minestrone is the perfect excuse to grab a few pounds of fresh shelling beans. The hearty soup is flexible by nature—think of the ingredients for this Shelling-Bean Minestrone as mere suggestions. Didn't find borlottis? Use butter beans instead, or canned versions of either. No escarole or kale in sight? Toss in another leafy green—say, mustard greens or Swiss chard. Last, stir in cooked pasta; any shape you can eat with a spoon will do!

eggplant involtini with fresh tomato sauce topped with fresh basil leaves
Credit: Marcus Nilsson

Eggplant Involtini with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Eggplant can be finicky. Frying in oil makes it succulent, but it can also wind up greasy. Grilling is a lighter way to go, and when you pile up cooked slices as they come off the fire, they continue to soften from the steam. Then roll a mix of three cheeses (melty mozzarella, creamy ricotta, and tangy feta), currants, pine nuts, and breadcrumbs into each piece, and bake them all in our three-ingredient tomato sauce. The result is a vegetarian one-pan dinner, this Eggplant Involtini with Fresh Tomato Sauce is a culinary melting pot, reflecting influences from numerous invasions of Sicily over the centuries.

risotto with herb pesto potato and green beans
Credit: Marcus Nilsson

Risotto with Herb Pesto, Potato, and Green Beans

In Liguria, pesto is often tossed with a short, twisty pasta called trofie. But stirring it into risotto is a revelation, especially as the weather cools and you want something cozier. Resist any shortcuts when you make this Risotto with Herb Pesto, Potato, and Green Beans. When you boil the green beans and potato separately, you can make sure neither overcooks. And while you might be surprised by the blend of potato and rice in this recipe, give it a minute. The cut-up spud has an initial firmness that gives way to lusciousness—an aha! complement to the silky carnaroli rice.

brick chicken with vinegar peppers
Credit: Marcus Nilsson

Brick Chicken with Vinegar Peppers

This bold medley combines brick chicken and sweet-and-sour agrodolce sauce in a single roasting pan. Weighing down the chicken with a skillet while you sear it ensures a crispy, golden skin for this Brick Chicken with Vinegar Peppers. Then you sauté a mess of peppers, any mix works for this dish, with onion and garlic; mix in vinegar, sugar, and capers; and combine it all with the browned bird, so the flavors meld as it finishes cooking in the oven. The meat's juices perfume the peperonata, the acidity of the sauce cuts the richness, and polenta catches everything. With that, we're ready for fall.

mediterranean vegetable spread
Credit: Marcus Nilsson

Recipes by Lauryn Tyrell; Art direction by James Maikowski; Food styling by Rebecca Jurkevich; Prop styling by Tanya Graff.


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