When it comes to cooking in early September, things can get a bit tricky. After all, fall’s first apples are landing on grocery store shelves and you’re starting to crave comforting meals again, but it still feels like summertime outside. So how do you cook the season when you’re sweating it out in steamy temperatures even though signs of fall just can’t be missed? Our end-of-summer recipes are sure to get you through these last few humid weeks. Check out a few of our favorite vegetarian selections below, then tell us what your favorite in-season dish is these days.
Ina’s Zucchini Gratin (pictured above) combines the best of summertime ingredients while celebrating hearty textures that are so typical of autumn. She fills this five-star casserole with light, in-season zucchini, but mixes it with a warm, creamy sauce of nutmeg and milk before topping it with crunchy breadcrumbs and gooey Gruyere cheese. Just a few minutes in the oven is all it takes to turn out a completely meat-free side dish that’s at once flavorful and satisfying but not altogether rich, thanks to the filling of fresh produce.
For an easy afternoon snack that doubles as a party-ready appetizer, check out Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes (pictured left) from Food Network Magazine. Bursting with the sweetness only late-summer tomatoes can offer, these bite-sized treats boast classic Mediterranean ingredients like feta cheese and black olive paste that are deliciously decadent but won’t weigh you down. If you’re serving this colorful tray as part of a pre-dinner spread of munchies, consider adding a batch of Food Network Magazine’s Crostini With Thyme-Roasted Tomatoes to your table — these golden toasts let farm-fresh tomatoes shine and are made with only a handful of ingredients.