When I go to the farmers market, I rarely have a plan for what I will pick up. You have to let the produce speak to you! But at the same time, it can really feel like you’re on an episode of Chopped when you select items willy-nilly.
It’s so rare that I’ve paired vegetables together and didn’t like the way they tasted. I remember last fall I paired shishito peppers, delicata squash and red onion together, because it was all we had in the house. I was expecting it to be a horrible combination. I was bracing myself for the false pleasantries from my husband. But surprise! It was a VERY tasty meal!
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by this summer’s bounty, and you’re not sure which veg to reach for at the market, just keep in mind these favorite dynamic duos. And you will not regret it, because these pairing always work beautifully with each other.
Garlic Scapes & Peas
In Season: June – July
Not sure how much time we have left to enjoy this combination, but it’s too good not to point out! The sweetness of the peas is a delicious balance with the pungent, spicy qualities of garlic.
I love to chop garlic scapes into bite size pieces and sauté them up quickly over high heat with any kind of pea: snow, snap, or shelled. Then I mix them up with whatever carbs we have in the house: pasta, rice, rice grits (pictured above and made with Blue Moon Rice grits!), orzo, gnocchi/gnudi, etc.
Easy peasy (sorry :P)
Featured Recipe: Spring Pea Gnocchi with Parmesan & Garlic Scape Sauce
Summer Squash & Peppers
In Season: June – September
These two summer vegetables (technically fruits, but I will still call them vegetables) are commonly seen together in summer ratatouille with tomatoes and eggplant. But how else can they be paired up together?
I will try pairing charred zucchini with blistered non-sweet peppers together for a taco filling, or with corn to be served as a salad on the side of some barbecue pork ribs. Padron and shishito peppers are my favorite, and they have become more common at the farmers markets in recent years. I buy up as many as I can when I see them!
Featured Recipe: Corn, Zucchini and Padron Pepper Hash
Corn & Tomatoes
In Season: July – September
Well, you knew this one was coming, right? According to the harvest availability report,an early start to the season should provide for more volume than usual by the July 4th holiday. Yay!
There’s nothing better than a corn and tomato salad. Throw in a little avocado, red onion and herbs to change it up! I don’t recommend complicating things with these two ingredients. They are so fresh and flavorful on their own.
Featured Recipe: Garlic Prawns with Corn, Tomato and Avocado Salad
Carrots & Beets
In Season: June – November
These root veggies are starting to pop up now, and will last well into November. So you have plenty of time to experiment with them together.
These take very well to both roasting and pureeing. So you could roast one and puree the other, and serve with roasted chicken or fish. Or just roast them together
Since these vegetables have very earthy flavors, to “summer” them up I recommend incorporating some vibrant seasonal herbs as part of a zesty citrus vinaigrette, chimichurri, or pesto.
Featured Recipe: Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad With Beet Green Salsa Verde