Say “Yes” to Crazy-Good Summer Produce From the Land of Fruit and Nuts
Keep your eyes peeled for what’s grown in California — but only if you want the best. Sponsored by CA GROWN.
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Sponsored by CA GROWN.
California is more than a place — it’s also an ideal. There’s a reason we’re called the Golden State: Brilliant ideas flourish here, whether in thrilling films and thoughtful TV, dining trends that sweep the nation (food trucks first gunned their engines in LA), tech that changes the world, or world-class wines and olive oil.
Sure, haters will mock, “Oh, the land of fruit and nuts,” but the truth is they’re right: We grow nearly 90% of America’s strawberries, which in our lovely climate produce fruit year-round. Avocados arrived in the 1870s, and everyone’s favorite, the Haas avocado, came from a mother tree in La Habra Heights. In total, California grows two-thirds of our nation’s nuts and fruit, and a third of the vegetables.
The recipes below showcase the best of the bounty from a California summer, so don’t skimp when you shop: It’ll be hard to stop eating the ruby red cherries, lush green avocados, juicy strawberries or shiny purple eggplant, and the happy news is you don’t need to. It’s all good vibes for you, in body and in spirit. Because that’s how we roll in the Golden State … shine bright and enjoy.
Prepare for gasps when people see these exquisite berry crostini. California berries do the decorating for you on these bright toasts, with a lemony ricotta to add a soft citrus pop — and ensure the raspberries, strawberries and blackberries stay where you put them! This flexible recipe can use any ripe summer berry. It's gilded by a drizzle of honey that really ties the dish together. Serve with a sparkling rosé from California wine country for maximum pleasure.
A summer tomato needs little help to be stunningly delicious. This lush salad calls for three varieties of tomatoes, buttery avocado, and fresh basil and mint, though really any fresh herb would be delightful. Store herbs upright in water on the counter, as you would flowers, and they’ll provide beauty and last longer. A spoonful of finely minced onion provides a contrasting sharpness, and a simple red-wine vinaigrette makes this salad a snap to prepare. Don't refrigerate tomatoes; the cold harms their texture and dampens their flavor.
Some of the most refreshing fruits — strawberries and lemons — come together in this sparkling cocktail that uses wine from the best coast. Lemon simple syrup is quick to whip up and the citrus does double duty in wagon wheel slices in each glass. This cocktail can be had anytime you need a taste of summer sun, year-round.
Not only is this a lightened-up version of a cold ramen dish, but also a no-cook Japanese paleo meal — and Whole30-friendly to boot. The crunch comes from the matchstick-cut cucumbers and shredded carrots, while the ginger, the fish sauce, and its coconut aminos give the salad its rich salty-tangy flavor. The noodles are replaced by spiralized daikon radish for a nutritional powerhouse of a wheat-free bowl.
This Whole30 Cobb Salad Sandwich with strong BLT vibes is your summer go-to. It’s got the classic California twist of added avocado and a runny fried egg for umami appeal. The “buns” are made of crisp iceberg lettuce, which gets the carb count way down and sends the crunch factor through the roof. The tangy marinated red onion rings are the crowning touch.
A hot summer day is ideal for heading to the beach or a shady spot in the park. And this portable sandwich full of grilled veggies is easy to tuck under your arm and go — the longer the journey, the more the flavors meld and delicious it becomes. Seek out shiny globe eggplants, colorful unblemished bell peppers, and heirloom tomatoes that smell like a tomato (if it smells like a photograph, that’s what it’ll taste like). Grilling the eggplant and peppers adds smoky notes — or grab any leftover grilled veggies you have on hand, some zucchini would be great in this — and olive tapenade and fresh mozzarella deliver umami depth and a hint of richness. Use a bread knife to reveal an edible rainbow when you cut this sandwich.
California grows some of the sweetest apricots around as summer warms up. This quick fruit dessert takes advantage of delicate puff pastry filled with an easy homemade almond cream. Then freshly grown apricots are simply sliced, pitted and sprinkled with a little sugar before a brief trip to the oven.