July is such a perfect time for fresh produce — and the delicious family recipes that make use of them. My backyard garden is starting to produce some radishes and cabbage right about now, and I’m seeing the most delicious peaches and tomatoes at local roadside stands lately. So I am going to be picking dinner recipes for my family that focus on July’s fresh produce, so we can make the most of these ingredients while they’re at their peak.
From a savory-sweet peach chicken to an easy tomato quiche, to grilled skewers that take veggies to a whole new level, I think you’ll love these favorite July recipes of mine that freshen up dinner time for all of us.
And if it’s too hot where you are for al fresco dining, spread a gingham tablecloth on the kitchen table and have the kids snip some flowers from the yard to arrange in a mason jar for a summery dinner table setup indoors.
Top image: Molly Keesling on Unsplash
This post was updated in 2022
Related: 5 meals to get you through a heat wave. Turn off that oven!
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5 family-friendly summer recipes using July produce
1. Tomato Pie
Tastes Better from Scratch
Tomato pie is standard southern fare, and if you have never tried it before, you’re missing out! For the uninitiated: it’s simply layers of herby tomatoes and creamy cheese in a pie crust — like a lighter, more summery lasagna. The tomato pie recipe at Tastes Better from Scratch is outstanding. It has the perfect mix of cheesiness with bursts of herby flavor.
I’d serve this with a easy summer salad if you do #MeatlessMonday, or accompany with some grilled chicken on the side for those who want some meat to make the meal more substantial.
2. Pesto Peach Chicken
This pesto peach chicken recipe from Halfbaked Harvest will make great use of my burgeoning basil plants and the overflowing baskets of peaches I’ve picked up from a local grower—if I can keep my kids to keep from eating those peaches straight from the fridge before I can get to them. Give some asparagus a quick sear for a fresh veggie on the side, and you’ve got a delightfully summery dish all using July’s delicious produce.
Related: 5 fantastic dinners featuring summer veggies
Let me take a minute just to recommend a good cast iron pan that will get a ton of use with all these fresh fruits and veggies. Staub cast iron pans are pricey, but they are worth every extra penny. I have Staub, Lodge, and Le Creuset in my kitchen and my Staub pan is, hands down, my favorite — but whatever you prefer is totally fine. I use a gentle brush and a little dish soap to wash it out after I’m finished cooking, and it still looks brand new more than two years later. If you’re not sure which piece to buy first, start with this Staub double handed fry pan; it’s perfect for the recipes you’ll cook this week.
Related: A surprising, non-toxic way to clean cast iron
3. Hoisin Glazed Tempeh Bowls
The Curious Chickpea
To use up some of the fresh July radishes, cabbage, and kale in my garden, I’m planning to make these Hoisin Glazed Tempeh Bowls at The Curious Chickpea. I’ll serve them DIY style (you know how families love food bars and DIY dinners!), so the kids can pick which ingredients they want in their own bowls.
You can absolutely substitute tempeh by the way — grill some chicken or steak, try this plant-based steak that my teen loves, or even cut some fresh ahi tuna.
4. Fajita Bowls or Tacos
What’s Gaby Cooking?
You can make the most of July’s fresh avocado, peppers, tomatoes, and herbs that are in markets and gardens now with this recipe for chicken fajita bowls from What’s Gaby Cooking?, which is just terrific. As with the tempeh bowls, serve DIY style and let everyone make their own.
Alternatively, use her recipe and turn into tacos or even quesadillas, accompanied with a generous helping of easy homemade guacamole on the side. My only suggestion: make some margaritas to go with them! You know, for the adults.
5. Grilled Caesar salad Skewers
One last recipe using July produce that I really want to recommend, and this one is so easy! I picked up some in-season zucchini with the idea of making my family’s favorite zucchini bread recipe, but instead, I think I’ll keep the oven off and stick with the grill to make these grilled caesar salad skewers from Skinny Taste. Just load these skewers up grill, then slide them off for a ready made chicken Caesar salad that really changes up your family dinner.
Tip: You might even want to add some fresh red bell peppers for a little more “rainbow” on your plate.