We’ve got delicious, healthy dinner recipes that celebrate the incredible flavors of late summer produce coming your way this week!
This time of year our gardens, farmers markets, and grocery stores are practically bursting with fresh summer produce. The colors are vibrant, the flavors are fresh, and the aroma of fruits and herbs fills the air. What’s not to love?
Well, sometimes even with all this fresh produce, it can be daunting to plan meals and find recipes that complement each other in a way that use up the produce efficiently without spending a lot of time and money.
That’s where we come in. Helping you cook with seasonally fresh ingredients and get dinner on the table quickly and affordably is what we do best! Take this week’s meal plan menu, for example. We’re featuring juicy tomatoes and sweet basil in ready-in-under-an-hour meals like Caprese Pizza and Summer Farro Saute. Garden-fresh green beans and red bell peppers shine in easy dishes like Nicoise Salad and General Tso’s Chicken.
We strive to create delicious weeknight dinner recipes that everyone will love – especially if you have special dietary needs like a gluten sensitivity or are trying a Paleo diet. Let us help you get the most out of the end-of-summer produce while saving time and money with our weekly meal planning service.
“The meal plans are thought out as a whole to make the most of ingredients and minimize food waste. There are often elements you cook once to use for two different dinners. The menus are also seasonal and make good use of fresh produce.”
– Rebecca K. (Member since May 2015)
All meals come with gluten-free, paleo, and vegetarian options, as well as a grocery list and optional weekend prep steps.
On the Menu
A perfectly crisp pizza inspired by the classic Italian salad of ripe tomatoes, creamy mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil is just what’s needed for a late summer Monday night. Choose your own adventure by grilling the pizza outdoors (a great way to keep the heat out of your kitchen!) or keep the party indoors and bake to perfection in your oven. Naan is the perfect shortcut that makes this dish come together effortlessly and quickly. Serve with grilled garden-fresh zucchini and sweet peaches on the side and we guarantee that each bite will lock in the flavors of summer.
Our Caprese Naan Pizza is a great vegetarian meal, perfect for summer entertaining. If you follow a gluten-free or Paleo diet, you’ll enjoy the flavors of tomatoes and basil over grilled pork chops.
The abundance of fresh summer produce and herbs is the inspiration for this farro saute with savory pancetta, summer squash, leeks, tomatoes, basil, and sweet summer corn. Topped with a fried egg, this meal comes together in 45 minutes and is versatile, so feel free to use up any produce you have on hand. Packed with protein, fiber, and summer veggies, this meal is deliciously hearty, but not too heavy for a summer evening!
Vegetarians will skip the pancetta in this recipe and our gluten-free members will use rice instead of farro. Our Paleo recipe for Chicken and Pancetta Saute is full of protein and summer produce, making it an extra satisfying meal.
WEDNESDAY | Nicoise Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette
One bite of our Nicoise Salad will whisk you away to Southern France, where the summer flavors of vine-ripened tomatoes, crisp green beans, creamy potatoes, salty olives, savory tuna, and fragrant herbs are in abundance this time of year. Top this entree salad with hard-boiled eggs for even more indulgence and satiety.
Gluten-free members do not need to make any substitutions to this recipe. For a Paleo alternative, add savory prosciutto to your salad in place of potatoes. Use garbanzo beans instead of tuna for a vegetarian Nicoise Salad.
THURSDAY | General Tso’s Chicken with Broccoli & Farro
If you find yourself reaching for a take-out menu or pulling up a meal delivery app on your smartphone come Friday, head to the kitchen instead! At Cook Smarts, we love a good “fake-out” recipe, and we know you’ll love our spin on General Tso’s Chicken. This recipe is a favorite among our community members, so we’re bringing it back for you to enjoy! With a tasty savory sauce, crisp bell peppers and broccoli, and a side of already-made farro from Tuesday night, this dinner will be ready faster than waiting for take-out (and it’s healthier to boot!).
For a gluten-free alternative, use Tamari instead of soy sauce and serve the dish over rice. Our recipe for General Tso’s Tofu is a great way to enjoy all the flavors of this classic dish without the meat. Our Paleo-approved General Tso’s Chicken served over cauliflower rice uses aminos and arrowroot flour. Your local take-out restaurant could not provide these dietary substitutions – but we are happy to accommodate so that everyone can enjoy this dish!
Smart meal planning ideas come with every weekly menu. The smarts listed below are only a portion of the meal prep tips we include to help you make the most of your ingredients and your time. Join our community to get the full benefits of our meal plan service every day!
Meal Planning Tips
- Farro is a hearty grain that stands up well to the cooking time for Tuesday’s saute. To save time this week, cook the farro over the weekend. You can even make the entire saute recipe; just fry the eggs right before serving. (Learn more about cooking farro with our Guide to Whole Grains.)
- Hard-boiled eggs are one of the hallmarks of Wednesday’s Nicoise Salad. Save time during weeknights by hard-boiling eggs ahead of time. Bonus tip: Cook extra eggs for an easy protein-rich snack to have on hand for the rest of the week!
- Fresh tomatoes are at their peak right now, so we use these summer beauties in three meals this week – Monday’s pizzas, Tuesday’s farro saute, and Wednesday’s salad. Remember to store tomatoes at room temperature (not in the fridge!) to preserve flavor and texture.
- There’s nothing quite like the bright, herby flavor of fresh basil. (It’s the perfect companion to all those tomatoes!) Make sure no basil goes to waste by using it in several dishes this week to bring out the best flavors in summer produce. Learn more about properly storing and cooking with fresh herbs with our Guide to Herbs here.
- Eggs are an egg-cellent form of affordable protein! This week we prepare eggs 2 ways – fried in Tuesday’s farro saute and hard-boiled in Wednesday’s salad. Our meal plan archives (which you have full access to when you subscribe to our meal plan service) will give you more ways use the rest of the carton of eggs, such as these delicious breakfast sandwiches!
- Make the ultimate summer meal by turning leftover tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and peaches into our Avocado Caprese Sandwich with Peach & Walnut Salad. Yum!
- With leftover cooked farro, leftover cubed mozzarella cheese, and marinara sauce that you have in your pantry / freezer, you can make a delicious Italian casserole! Just bake until the cheese is melted.
- Looking for a fun summertime treat? For a tasty breakfast or snack, top leftover grilled peaches with Greek yogurt, a bit of honey, and your favorite granola. For a sweet treat, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and crumbled amaretti cookies to the grilled peaches!