There is no better time to enjoy fresh locally grown vegetables than summer. When we eat them they need to be prepared in a healthy way. Most of the time this means not battered and fried. I know I like them made that way too, but they should only be enjoyed occasionally this way and always shared.

Soon those of you who garden will be having lots of summer squash, dark green lettuces, spinach, and zucchini squash. One of my favorite recipes is for “Roasted Vegetable Medley.”

This involves roasting veggies in the oven or grilling them in one of the grill pans on the grill. This recipe really allows one to be creative and use what you have on hand when it comes to fresh vegetables.

Ingredients are 2 medium onions, 2 small yellow summer squash and 2 small zucchini cut into ½” slices, and 3 sweet peppers (one of each color: red, yellow, and orange) also cut in ½” squares. I don’t use green as their flavor is strong and they overpower the other flavors. For the dressing use 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.

The recipe also calls for 4 cloves of garlic that you need to use for sure. I have used 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and the chopped garlic in a jar as well as the garlic paste in a tub and it all works the same. The garlic is part of the flavor since there is very little salt and oil.

For oven roasting, set the temperature to 425°. Mix all the vegetables together in a glass 9” x 13” x 2” baking pan, mix all of the seasonings together, and drizzle the seasonings over the vegetables to coat. I do this in the glass pan. Roast for about 25 minutes or until vegetables are still a little firm.

For grilling, I have the grill pan hot and add the vegetables to the pan and stir a few times throughout the grilling process. If you want to add some potatoes to either way of cooking, I would precook the potato chunks in the microwave, oven, or stovetop until they are about half done and then add them to the vegetable mix.

Fresh, raw broccoli salad is another tasty recipe for summertime. I believe the smaller you cut the broccoli the better. The ingredients are 4 cups of broccoli florets and ½ red onion. The dressing is 2 T of vinegar, 3 T of low fat mayonnaise/salad dressing, and 2 T of sugar substitute. Mix together, drizzle over the broccoli and onion, and stir. Add ¼ cup raisins or craisins.

So, explore the possibilities of fresh summertime vegetables by trying new (and healthy) recipes!

Mary Ann Lienhart Cross is Extension Educator, Health & Human Sciences, Purdue Extension Elkhart County. She can be reached at 574-533-0554 or

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