20 Side Dishes That Show Off June's Fresh Produce
June signals the beginning of the summer season, when when many spring fruits and vegetables are still harvestable and summer crops are just starting to emerge. All in all, June is a prime time for farmers markets and outdoor cookouts. When it comes to the latter, it's important to choose dishes that can maintain their integrity even in sunny and very warm conditions, which is why this list of recipes, all of which feature produce that's in-season in June, proves a valuable resource. No mayo-loaded, dairy-heavy salads here: just fresh and temperature-stable side dishes that truly make the most of the June bounty.
Strawberry Avocado Salad
The California avocado reaches full seasonality in June, so if you're West Coast-based, then you're already likely to be on the lookout for these glorious green fruits. This salad uses avocados to their fullest effect by pairing them with a fruit that's in-season all around the U.S. during the month of June: the strawberry. The addition of a tart-and-sweet lemon vinaigrette and crunchy pecans makes this dish a lively addition to any June BBQ spread.
Buttery, crumbly cornbread is a cookout staple for good reason, and this version adds some appealing flavor contrast with tangy in-season blueberries. "This was excellent! Sweet and savory with warm, gooey blueberry bursts," raves atopmtolympus.
Summer Cucumber Jicama Salad
Cucumbers bring a great deal of refreshment to the June harvest, and this salad delivers extra crunch from jicama and a hint of sweetness from cherry tomatoes. A squeeze of lemon juice gives this summery side just the right amount of acidity.
Grilled Green Beans
This summer side dish really lets the green beans sing (with the help of a bit of garlic and olive oil). "Simple and easy grilled green beans," says recipe creator Kassie Calvin Calminiti. "A great way to use up those garden green beans while grilling on a nice summer evening. Incredibly tasty and simple!"
Quick Pickled Radishes
We've all had pickled cucumbers at a summer picnic, but radishes (which are also in season in June) have a natural peppery kick that makes them delicious candidates for the vinegary pickle treatment.
Corn Salad with Lime Vinaigrette
Fresh corn undoubtedly counts among the highlights of the June veggie harvest, and while this recipe suggests the use of canned corn, swapping in the fresh stuff will only enhance the crunchy texture and the appealing contrast of sweet corn and bright lime vinaigrette.
Okra may have a reputation as a tricky vegetable to work with, but local cooks in Louisiana have fully mastered the art. This Creole-inspired okra can be made with frozen okra, but the in-season version gives the dish an authentic flair. "This is as authentic as it comes. and I should know, because my Creole mamma made this all the time," says recipe reviewer dorry.
Warm Grilled Peach and Kale Salad
This salad does a beautiful job of highlighting produce from the end of the spring season and the beginning of the summer season; peaches are at the height of their seasonality in June, while kale season is coming to an end. By placing the peaches and kale on the grill, you can infuse this dsh with plenty of smokiness, which turns the salad into an ideal side for BBQ fare.
Zucchini's culinary flexibility seems limitless these days, but if you're interested in a zucchini preparation that emphasizes the flavor of the vegetable itself while it's in-season, then this refreshing version made with raw zucchini, vinegar, and herbs could be a perfect fit.
Swiss Chard with Garbanzo Beans and Fresh Tomato
Swiss chard may be more closely associated with winter meals, but this hearty green counts as a June crop. This particular recipe uses the Swiss chard's earthiness to full effect while also balancing those flavors with summery fresh tomatoes, zingy lemon juice, and garbanzo beans for substance.
This fruit-forward, spicy dish works beautifully as a salsa or a relish but also has enough texture to work as a side dish. "Nice heat from the habanero and lovely sweetness from the apricots and pineapples," says Melissa Goff.
Sesame Snap Peas
When cooking with in-season snap peas, restraint is a valuable quality; these vegetables possess a delicate (and delicious) natural flavor, so you want to take care to choose seasonings that complement rather than overwhelm. This particular recipe fully delivers on that front. "Sesame and chili oils add rich flavor and a little kick to naturally sweet snap peas," says NJFoodies.
Beets on the Grill
Thanks to their profound earthiness combined with sweetness, beets tend to be a polarizing June vegetable. That said, both characteristics work to their benefit when they're cooked on the grill; beets can stand up to the smokiness and char, which in turn highlight the unique flavors of the beets.
Coleslaw may be a staple at barbecue cookouts, but some hosts and guests balk at the prospect of serving a mayo-heavy side dish under summer heat. This slaw recipe (featuring cabbage, a seasonal June vegetable) does away with the mayonnaise in favor of a vinegar and mustard dressing that balances its tartness with sugar.
Cherry Wild Rice
Cherries regularly appear on lists of the best seasonal fruits of the summer, and while we love cherry pies and cherry cheesecakes, cherries can also be excellent additions to savory dishes like this nutty wild rice salad.
Mango Black Bean Salad
This refreshing salad incorporates mango, black beans, corn, and red pepper. If you adore the bright tropical flavor of the mango (as we do), then this salad belongs in any summer party spread you serve this year.
Potato Salad with Quick Preserved Lemon and Arugula
Potato salad often runs into the same issue as coleslaw; it's a cookout necessity, but it's a mayonnaise-based dish, so you need to make sure that it stays cool and out of the sun. This potato salad, however, takes a Mediterranean direction with its seasonings. Fingerling potatoes compose the base, pickled lemons help create a light, citrusy dressing, and arugula (in-season in June) provides some crunch and a bit of peppery spice.
Lemon Horseradish New Potatoes
For a seasonal spin on roasted potatoes, try this recipe that utilizes new potatoes (part of the June harvest), tangy lemon juice, spicy horseradish, and enough butter to lend the dish a welcome level of richness.
Watermelon Basil Salad
It's tough to think of a fruit that's more closely associated with the summer season than watermelon. In this salad, watermelon joins forces with a fellow warm-weather plant, basil, to create a side dish that's as easy as it is flavorful.
Mediterranean-Style Leeks with Lemon
A member of the allium family (and a relative of onions and garlic), leeks are always a highly anticipated arrival at June farmers markets. They're packed with oniony flavor, but they also have a gentle sweetness, and they lack the abrasive "bite" of some onion varieties. When they're sautéed with garlic and olive oil and dressed with lemon juice, they become an ideal side for grilled fish or poultry.