What’s in season in summer? The best summer foods and how to use them


by Alessandra Stasnopolis, RDN, LDN

Jul 2, 2024

There’s nothing better than enjoying a refreshing glass of lemonade at the end of a hot summer day. Eating seasonally in the summer is a treat because there are so many produce items available during this time to satisfy your taste buds and quench your thirst.

If you’re exploring the benefits of seasonal eating, here’s your guide to what’s in season in summer and how to make the most of your meals during summertime.

What's in season during summer?

The good news is, you have plenty of options for fresh, tasty foods to fill your plate during summertime. It’s also convenient because many of these foods can help hydrate you after a hot day outside.

Foods like pickles, watermelon, berries, cucumber, stone fruits, cantaloupe, and cherries all contain higher amounts of water and electrolytes to help replace what you lose when sweating.

Here’s a quick list to use as a guide next time you head to the grocery store.

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Basil and other herbs
  • Beets
  • Bell peppers
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Green beans
  • Honeydew melon
  • Lemons
  • Lima beans
  • Limes
  • Mangos
  • Okra
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Summer squash
  • Tomatillos
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Zucchini

Fun ways to enjoy summer seasonal foods

Now that you know which foods are in their prime during summertime, let’s talk about how to incorporate them into your diet. There are so many fun ways to get creative and make summer seasonal eating a fun activity with your family or friends.

  • Go blueberry or strawberry picking with your friends or family.
  • Pick up a watermelon for a beach visit or summer picnic.
  • Make slushies or popsicles using peaches, limes, lemons, melons, herbs and more.
  • Make a cobbler or crisp recipe with stone fruits, mango, cherries or berries.
  • Add pickles to a sandwich or eat them after a workout.
  • Make “guacasalsa” (guacamole and salsa) from scratch.
  • Grill veggies skewers (tomatoes, zucchini, tomatillos, bell peppers, summer squash and eggplant) alongside your proteins for a cookout or party.
  • Use the air fryer to make fried okra.

If you’re shopping on a budget, you’ll be happy to hear that these items should be cheaper or on sale during the summer. Shop around for the best price at both grocery stores and farmer's markets. Frozen, canned and dried varieties of these items are also nutritious and budget friendly!

Recipe: Summer Pesto Pasta

Adapted from Love and Lemons


Here’s what you’ll need to make this delicious summer pesto pasta.

Pesto (makes 1 cup total)

  • ½ cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1-3 garlic cloves
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup shredded or grated parmesan or nutritional yeast (if vegan or dairy allergy)


  • 6oz whole wheat spaghetti or noodles of choice
  • 1/2 cup or more of basil pesto
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • ½ cup corn (frozen, canned or fresh)
  • Oregano, pepper and salt to taste
  • Optional add-ins:
    • Protein of choice. I would recommend sausage, vegan sausage, chicken, salmon or shrimp
    • Black pepper, olive oil and parmesan to garnish


1. Bring a pot of water to a boil with a pinch of salt and add the spaghetti in to cook. Also, you can cook your extra protein at this time if you would like (if you really want to cut down on cooking time, consider using leftover or frozen proteins).

2. While the pasta is cooking, add the nuts, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper into the food processor and pulse until well chopped.

3. Add the basil in and pulse until combined.

4. With the food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil and continue to pulse until combined. Add in the cheese or nutritional yeast. You can add more olive oil for a smoother pesto. Set the pesto aside for now.

5. Heat up a skillet to medium heat and add olive oil or cooking oil of choice.

6. Throw in the cherry tomatoes, oregano, salt, and pepper and cook for 1-2min.

7. Next, add the chickpeas and corn (if the corn is frozen, heat it up in the microwave first). Cook the tomatoes and mixture to your desired texture. I like to cook the tomatoes to a point where they are starting to wilt a little but not too soft or squishy.

8. Add the cooked pasta and mix for 30 seconds to a minute.

9. Remove the pasta mixture off the stove top and transfer to a bowl.

10. If you like your pesto warmer, add the pesto immediately. Otherwise, allow the pasta mix to cool and then add pesto.

11. Garnish with desired toppings and you’re done! Enjoy!

Looking for nutritional support on your wellness journey? Connect with a dietitian today.

About the Author

Alessandra Stasnopolis, RDN, LDN, is a clinical dietitian and wellness coordinator in the Baylor Scott & White Health wellness department.

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