With summer in full swing and garden produce available now is the time to make some fresh garden salads. Check out these fun and different recipes on a hot summery day. 

Lemony Green Bean Pasta Salad

  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 1/2 pound French, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 5 teaspoons lemon zest, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped roasted salted pistachios, plus more for topping
  • 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups loosely packed arugula
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for topping

Cook pasta according to package directions, adding green beans to boiling water during last 2 minutes of cooking time; drain. Rinse pasta and green beans with cold water; drain well.

Place pasta mixture, thyme, and 3 tsp. lemon zest in a large bowl; toss gently to combine.

Whisk together 1/4 cup pistachios, next 5 ingredients, and remaining 2 tsp. lemon zest in a small bowl. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until blended. Drizzle over pasta mixture. Add arugula, and toss gently to coat. Top the pasta with chopped pistachios and Parmesan.

Tomato Beet Salad

  • 1 pound scrubbed small beets
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, preferably Heirloom
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Seal beets in a foil packet. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet until tender, 75 minutes. When cool, rub beets with a paper towel to remove skins; slice. Slice large tomatoes, and halve cherry tomatoes, then arrange with beets on a platter. Top with feta, cilantro, and olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

Shaved-Squash Salad

  • 1 generous handful fresh thyme sprigs (about 3/4 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 baby zucchini (3 ounces total), thinly shaved on a mandolin
  • 4 baby patty pan squashes (a mixture of yellow and green; 3 ounces total), thinly shaved on a mandolin
  • 4 ounces mixed teardrop or cherry small tomatoes, cut in half crosswise (1 cup)
  • 6 zucchini blossoms, halved or quartered if large
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn if large, plus more for sprinkling (optional)
  • Pinch of red-pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Coarsely ground pepper
  • 3 ounces fresh ricotta (1/3 cup)

Place thyme on a cutting board, and bruise with the dull edge of a knife. Place thyme and oil in a small saucepan. Cover and heat over medium heat until small bubbles appear. Turn off heat, and steep thyme, covered, 20 minutes. Discard sprigs, leaving loose thyme leaves in oil. Whisk together lemon zest and juice and 2 tablespoons thyme oil (reserve remaining oil for another use; it can be refrigerated up to 2 weeks). Combine half the dressing with the zucchini, patty pan squashes, tomatoes, zucchini blossoms, basil, red-pepper flakes, salt and pepper then toss. Divide half the salad between 2 plates, and dot with half the ricotta. Top with the remaining salad and remaining ricotta. Drizzle with remaining dressing, and sprinkle with basil.