I just love the summer! Especially the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables from our local farmers markets in Hampton Roads and Northeastern North Carolina. I am also a fan of light summer meals featuring colorful salads. These are easy to prepare and you will notice that fresh summer tomatoes, cucumbers, and watermelon are the star ingredients. Don’t forget the fresh herbs too!


Arugula and Strawberry Salad

This recipe showcases how delicious strawberries can be when used outside of the dessert realm.

Chinese Chicken Salad with Red Chile Peanut Dressing By using shredded rotisserie chicken, you can make this salad a no-cook option. This is a flavorful and colorful salad. Toss with the peanut dressing and drizzle with chile oil for some extra heat.

Fresh Corn Tomato Salad You can serve this corn tomato salad on its own, on top of mesclun greens or pasta or even as a taco topping for an extra-fresh flavor.

Bruschetta This is easily an all-time favorite appetizer! It is a perfect homemade bruschetta recipe for your fresh, juicy summer tomatoes. Purchase pre-made baguette toast for a no-cook light summer meal or starter.

Classic Gazpacho This classic, refreshing no-cook gazpacho is a mix of fresh veggies and store-bought tomato based vegetable juice for a perfect blend of smooth and chunky textures. The link provided also includes variations on gazpacho using beets, zucchini, and corn as the stars.

Radish Rainbow Salad This is a beautiful and colorful salad made with a farmers market bounty of fresh radishes. It gives you a reason to try new radish varieties.

Ricotta Blueberry Cheesecake Serve this stunning dessert without turning on the oven. This light and creamy cheesecake is made with ricotta cheese, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and heavy cream. And it is made even better with the delicious blueberry topping. Use fresh blueberries and some blueberry preserves for a no-cook option.

Tomato and Watermelon Salad This is a salad bursting with fresh summer ingredients from local markets. For best results, make the salad with room temperature tomatoes and with the watermelon cold from the refrigerator. This contrast of temperatures will give the salad an extra-fresh taste.

Watermelon with Lime Dressing and Peanuts This unique and flavorful salad will surprise you! Have some fun and cut the chunks of fruit in irregular shapes to make it clear that something unexpected is about to happen.

Watermelon-Cucumber Salad This just tastes like summer to me. The cool crunch of the cucumber and the juiciness of the  watermelon make this salad perfect for a summer day.

Watermelon Gazpacho You can kick off a summer meal with this quick and refreshing gazpacho. The blended watermelon keeps the soup light, and a bit of serrano chile will add just the right amount of heat. Add salad and bread and you have the perfect summer dinner.

Zucchini Salad This simple salad can be made in just ten minutes! It is loaded with fresh flavor thanks to the chopped fresh herbs and tangy vinaigrette.


Many of our local farm markets are back open within CDC guidelines. Here are a few that are open: Virginia Beach Farmers Market, Moyock Farm Market in Moyock, NC, Cullipher Farm Market in Virginia Beach, Dean & Don’s Farm Market in Newport News, Farmers Market at City Park in Chesapeake, Suffolk Farmers Market at The Pavilion, and Old Beach Farmers Market in Virginia Beach. What is your favorite market to go to? Let me know.

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