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Home / 3 Recipes for Your Summer Farmer’s Market Finds

3 Recipes for Your Summer Farmer’s Market Finds

Did you know that Michigan is a top producer of a variety of fruits and vegetables, such as apples, tart cherries, blueberries, asparagus, and cucumbers? During the summer, the state’s climate is ideal for enjoying locally grown produce that is picked at its peak ripeness. In fact, fruits are sweeter and vegetables are more tender when they are in season. By purchasing from local farmers at farmer’s markets, you’re supporting the local economy and reducing the environmental footprint of your food as it has to travel a shorter distance. If you’re looking for delicious meal ideas using the summer crops, check out these tried-and-true recipes.

Roasted Zucchini Pasta – Serves 4

In this summer pasta recipe, zucchini slices with olive oil and panko breadcrumbs get roasted until golden and slightly crisp, then added to a decadent marinara sauce.


  • 16 ounces store-bought marinara or homemade (recipe below)
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced to ½-inch-thick rounds
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil, plus a handful more for garnish 
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces rigatoni or peppardelle
  • ½ to 1 tsp.  red pepper flakes, to taste
  • ½tsp.  dried oregano
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. If making your own marinara sauce, cook the sauce per instructions. If it’s done cooking before you’re ready to assemble, cover the pot and keep it warm over very low heat. If you’re using store-bought marinara, warm it in a covered pot over medium-low heat while the pasta is cooking. 
  3. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Place zucchini slices on the lined baking sheets. Brush the rounds with olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and panko breadcrumbs. Roast until golden and tender, about 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway. Set aside.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente, according to package directions.
  6. When the zucchini is done and the marinara is finished cooking (or warmed through, if using store-bought), gently stir the roasted zucchini into the sauce. Add the fresh basil, red pepper flakes, and dried oregano.
  7. Add the pasta to the sauce and about two-thirds of the cheese, reserving the rest for garnish. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  8. Divide the pasta between four bowls. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the individual servings, followed by some extra fresh basil.

Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce


  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 28-ounce can tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • ¼ cup fresh basil
  • Pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste


  1. Over medium-low heat in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Then add oregano, thyme, and tomato paste and turn the heat up to medium, incorporating the oregano, thyme, basil, and red pepper flakes, if desired, and allowing the tomato paste to sear and get darker in color, moving around often, about 7 minutes.
  2. When tomato paste has gotten a nice sear throughout, add the can of tomatoes, including the juice. Add basil to infuse the sauce with flavor.
  3. Allow it to simmer until reduced down to a thicker, sauce-like consistency. Using a spatula or tomato masher, press down on the tomatoes so they get incorporated into the sauce. (If you desire a smooth consistency, blend tomatoes before adding them to the skillet.)

Grilled Zucchini Salad with Bruschetta and Herbs

Zucchini is a tender summer squash that tastes its best between May and August. It makes for a perfect vegetable for the grill, as the whole veggie is edible. Simply slice, quickly marinate and grill until marks appear. The grilling will bring out sweet flavors from the zucchini that pairs beautifully with the cherry tomato bruschetta.

For the zucchini


  • 3 medium zucchini, about 8 ounces each, sliced 1/4 inch thick longways
  • 1 olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1 red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat grill to medium-high. In a large bowl, mix oil, red wine vinegar, basil and garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Lay zucchini on a plate and lightly drizzle oil and vinegar mixture on top, brushing if needed so all zucchini slices get a little marinate. Allowing to marinate for about 10 minutes.
  3. Once grill is hot, spray with oil.
  4. Using tongs, place zucchini on grill. Cover and cook, ~2 minutes. Flip and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
  5. When zucchini is tender, add to a plate. Serve bruschetta on top and along with fresh basil.

For the bruschetta


  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • Coarse salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh basil leaves, torn or chiffonade


  1. In a bowl, add cherry tomatoes and salt to let some moisture be released from the tomatoes, about 5 minutes.
  2. Rub oregano between your hands to add to the bowl, then drizzle olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste and top with torn fresh basil leaves.
  3. Serve on top of grilled zucchini.

Hummus Dip with Summer Vegetables

Hummus is a protein and fiber-rich chickpea spread that’s tasty year-round, but it’s especially delicious when served with summer in-season vegetables. In this recipe, hummus gets topped with a vinaigrette-tossed vegetable medley.


  • 1 olive oil
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • ½ cup English cucumber, diced
  • 2 stalks green onion
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups hummus, homemade or store-bought


  1. In a medium bowl, add olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, and parsley along with salt and pepper to taste. Once well combined, add fresh veggies and toss. Allow mixture to sit in mixture for 5 minutes, then toss again.
  2. In a wide bowl, spread hummus, creating a ridge along the edge. Pour vegetable mixture on top. Serve with pita or additional vegetables.

Shanthi Appelö is a registered dietitian and health and wellness spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan based in Detroit. Passionate about the science of nutrition and behavior, Shanthi has experience working in clinical nutrition, public health and teaching in the university setting. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, exploring the outdoors, working on art and spending time with family. For more recipes and health information, visit

A Healthier Michigan
Author: A Healthier Michigan

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