Now that we’re in the heart of hot summer days, refresh your lunch or dinner menu with these fresh, straight-from-the-farm recipes.

Story and photos by Natalie Paramore

Farmers-market stands are full of delicious produce nowadays, from just-plucked peas to bright-yellow zucchinis and sweet, juicy watermelons. Who doesn’t love all the colors and flavors of summer? Not only are these three nutritious recipes quick and easy to whip up, but they also don’t require much heat coming from the kitchen, a saving grace when the thermometer outside starts reaching higher than 100. So, keep cool and focus less on what you’re going to put on the table and more on relaxing and enjoying the tastes of summer.

Mint and Pea Pesto Pasta

Serves two


1/2 pound tubular pasta, like rigatoni
1 1/2 cup fresh (or frozen) peas
1/4 cup fresh mint, packed
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, packed
3 to 4 small cloves garlic
1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated


  1. Boil the pasta until it’s al dente, then toss it with cool water and set it aside.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the peas, mint, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, salt and olive oil on low speed until just combined. The consistency should be a little chunky.
  3. Toss the pesto with the pasta and top with the Parmesan.

Grilled Zucchini and Corn Tacos

Makes four tacos


1 ear sweet corn
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1/2 avocado
4 flour tortillas
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Cilantro and lime wedges, for garnish


  1. Slice the zucchini and squash into 1/2-inch-thick pieces.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic powder, cumin, paprika, salt, cayenne, olive oil and lime juice.
  3. Toss the zucchini, squash and corn in the olive-oil mixture.
  4. On a grill or panini press, grill the vegetables over medium heat for about two to three minutes per side, or until grill marks form and the vegetables are tender. The corn may take an additional five minutes.
  5. Once the corn is cool enough to touch, slice the kernels off the ear.
  6. Put the vegetables into the tortillas and add slices of avocado. Add cilantro and lime wedges.

Watermelon Wedge Salad

Serves two


1/4 personal seedless watermelon
2 cups arugula
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Italian herbs
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup crumbled feta


  1. Slice the watermelon into 1 1/2-inch-thick wedges.
  2. Toss the arugula with the olive oil, herbs, salt and lemon juice.
  3. Place two watermelon wedges on each plate and divide the arugula evenly. Sprinkle with feta and serve.


  1. Pingback: Grilled Zucchini and Corn Tacos | Natalie Paramore

  2. Pingback: Summer Mint and Pea Pesto | Natalie Paramore

  3. Pingback: Watermelon Salad with Gorgonzola | Natalie Paramore

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