19 Summery Vegetarian Recipes That'll Have You Grabbing Seconds
Because the best veg-friendly dishes don’t just skip meat—they make the most of the season’s bounty.
Photo By: Matt
Photo By: Teri Lyn Fisher
Photo By: KATE MATHIS
Photo By: Matt
Photo By: Matt Armendariz
Photo By: Teri Lyn Fisher
Photo By: KATE MATHIS
Photo By: Matt
Photo By: Antonis Achilleos
Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved
Photo By: RYAN DAUSCH
Photo By: Andrew Purcell
Vegetarian Dishes to Make All Summer Long
Could summer be the easiest time to be a vegetarian? Fresh produce abounds and is at its best, so it needs little coaxing for maximal flavor. Throw some veggies on the grill, add them to salads or turn them into meatless apps to feed a crowd—whatever you decide they’re sure to have everyone (even meat eaters) grabbing seconds. Just take these corn ribs, for example. If you need a veg-friendly starter that will wow everyone, and, dare we say it, stick to your ribs, try these. We slice corn cobs into quarters and grill them so that they curl up in a way that adds some fantastic char to the edges. Add barbecue sauce and you have a dish that earns the right to be called ‘ribs’.
Get the Recipe: Grilled Barbecued Corn Ribs
Summer Pasta with Grilled Eggplant Sauce
Those summer stars of eggplant and fresh basil appear in many classic Italian preparations, perhaps most famously in eggplant Parmesan and pasta alla Norma, the latter typically crowned with salty ricotta salata. This recipe takes these besties in a different and very satisfying direction. Except for the pasta itself, everything is cooked on the grill—the eggplant until soft, and packets of cherry tomatoes and aromatics that cook until they burst and meld. They unite in a beautifully textured sauce that becomes luscious with the inclusion of regular ricotta.
Get the Recipe: Summer Pasta with Grilled Eggplant Sauce
It can’t really be summer until you flip your first burgers on the grill. If it sounds daunting to make your own veggie patties, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy these are. Just chill for 1 hour to ensure that they’ll hold together through every flip. The veg-forward flavor and wonderful texture may convince you never to start from frozen again.
Get the Recipe: Veggie Burger
Summer Butter Bean Salad with Hot Sauce Vinaigrette
Not surprisingly, Carla Hall’s take on a bean salad is woven through with personality. Like a classic three-bean married to a Southern succotash, it has the best of both worlds, and keeps amazingly. You’ll serve it right after making it at the barbecue, but you’ll also be thrilled when you find the leftovers in the fridge at lunch the next day.
Get the Recipe: Summer Butter Bean Salad with Hot Sauce Vinaigrette
Tofu Lettuce Wraps
Ree’s wraps are as tasty as they are utterly simple. Tofu seasoned with soy sauce, scallions, and chili powder are enhanced with buttery slices of avocado. This is the best kind of summer DIY that everyone eating will love.
Get the Recipe: Tofu Lettuce Wraps
Summer Gnocchi with Sweet Corn and Mixed Mushrooms
You’ll always keep ready-made gnocchi on hand once you try this weeknight hero. Sauteed mushrooms and leeks make it uber-umami, complementing the sweetness of corn and a little honey. If you don’t have basil in the house, any snippings from your summer garden will be gorgeous here—fresh chives, mint or cilantro would work too.
Get the Recipe: Summer Gnocchi with Sweet Corn and Mixed Mushrooms
BBQ Spaghetti Squash Sliders
Everyone knows of how good a mimic spaghetti squash is. Sauce it up, and it really does a convincing stand-in for pasta. Here, its meatiness is played up, as it becomes the filling for sliders. Shredded cabbage and cucumber give it a nice crunch.
Get the Recipe: BBQ Spaghetti Squash Sliders
Soba and Veggie Summer Rolls with Vegan Nuoc Cham
If you need a knockout vegetarian appetizer (which actually happens to be vegan), look no farther. These soba-filled summer rolls are a party in the mouth, spiked with flavor from a dip in the nuoc cham, which, yes, is also vegan—a boon for this and any other vegetarian Vietnamese dishes.
Get the Recipe: Soba and Veggie Summer Rolls with Vegan Nuoc Cham
Sheet Pan Baked Feta with Summer Vegetables
"Summer on a sheetpan," says the headnote, and we agree heartily. This recipe takes the craze of baked feta and summerizes it, laying it on a bed of sweet corn, peppers and zucchini, then serves it up over bulghur, for a seriously interesting bowl.
Get the Recipe: Sheet Pan Baked Feta with Summer Vegetables
Summer Veggie Flatbread
Store-bought naan means that even a homemade flatbread is quick enough for a weeknight dinner, or as a lovely simple starter to serve on the screen porch. Zucchini ribbons almost melt into the crust with their sweetness, and the vegetal punch of asparagus pairs well with Parmesan.
Get the Recipe: Summer Veggie Flatbread
Grilled Summer Vegetable Bibimbap
There’s just so much to love about this dish, which brings together everything that’s fun about bibimbap—contrasting textures, crispy rice, a runny egg, and lots of interesting veggies. But you don’t have to heat up the whole kitchen, as you can prepare the whole thing on the grill. We’re sure you’ll come back to this one again and again.
Get the Recipe: Grilled Summer Vegetable Bibimbap
Summer Vegetable Enchiladas
Poblanos have a unique, assertive flavor that is the protagonist of these enchiladas—but don’t count out the gorgeous summer squash and cherry tomatoes in there, too. Ree Drummond knows Tex-Mex, so her version is sure to be scooped up through firsts and seconds until that baking dish is empty.
Get the Recipe: Summer Vegetable Enchiladas
It goes without saying—in summertime, sometimes you just need tacos. This simple tofu preparation will become your new back-pocket favorite. Pressing the tofu ahead of time squeezes out excess moisture and ensures a good smoky char. With lots of bracing veggies like radish and cabbage, it becomes a zesty dinner.
Get the Recipe: Tofu Tacos
Hearty Summer Pasta
You probably think you know the ingredients in this main-course pasta dish, but their bewitching nuance might surprise you here. Shredded cabbage softens in flavor and adds delicacy to the dish. Fried rosemary, too, is toned down, and its crispness creates a nice foil to the veggies. Toasted rotini take on an almost nutty flavor. Tossed all together, with some beans to round it out, it’s just a great dinner.
Get the Recipe: Hearty Summer Pasta
Vegetarian Chili with Summer Vegetables
Smoky and rich, with tofu, beans and cheese, this chili hits all the right notes for a cozy campfire dinner or a lakeside potluck. A quick saute of the shredded tofu gives it a toothsome texture that will stand up to all the mix-ins.
Get the Recipe: Vegetarian Chili with Summer Vegetables
Summer Veggie Pasta Scampi
Eddie Jackson brilliantly brings all the irresistible flavors of shrimp scampi to a fully vegetarian version, and gives it staying power by swapping in hearty vegetables. Lemon zest and juice and fresh parsley keep things bright; as with the classic version, be sure to have crusty bread on hand for swiping up the last bits of sauce.
Get the Recipe: Summer Veggie Pasta Scampi
Kale and Tofu Salad
Massaged kale salad, but make it dinner! Millet adds whole grain, and sauteed tofu becomes the protein, and there are plenty of other additions to keep things interesting: tahini, honey, and varying seeds for crunch.
Get the Recipe: Kale and Tofu Salad
Indian Summer Stew: Butternut Squash, Coconut, and Lentil Stew
Reviewers have not been able to say enough good things about Aarti Sequira’s lentil and coconut milk stew since it debuted more than 10 years ago! A little sweet and very tropical, but spiked through with heat and spice, it works well on its own or over rice. When everyone’s spent so much time paddling in the lake that their toes are blue, just hand them a mug of this and eat while watching the sunset.
Get the Recipe: Indian Summer Stew: Butternut Squash, Coconut, and Lentil Stew
Fettuccine With Summer Vegetables and Goat Cheese
When the temperature climbs too hot for Alfredo, but that’s what you’re still craving, try this number, which gets its creaminess and tang from goat cheese, and is lightened with yellow squash, tomato, fresh chives and lemon zest.
Get the Recipe: Fettuccine With Summer Vegetables and Goat Cheese