Summer Solstice Harvest and Recipes

Just picked BLISS from my little garden by the lake!

Just picked BLISS from my little garden by the lake!

The heat is on and my little garden by the lake is in transition from spring to summer here in Phoenix. To prepare the soil for the monsoon plantings, I’ve been removing spent plants and harvesting a lot the last few days to make way for the new. The day before the Strawberry Full Moon, I harvested this bounty and I’m ready to prepare meals to celebrate the arrival of summer!

Don’t worry if you don’t have a garden, a trip to your local farmer’s market will offer a wide assortment of beautiful vegetables, herbs and fruits fresh from their fields to your table.

Here’s what’s in my Summer Solstice Harvest Basket!

Fairy Tale Eggplant

Rainbow Swiss Chard

Pimento Peppers

Shishito Peppers

Porter’s Pride Tomatoes

Cherokee Purple Tomatoes

Indigo Apple Tomatoes

Gooseberry Cherry

Camp Joy Cherry

BBQ Rosemary

Bay Laurel

English Thyme

Dwarf Garden Sage

Onion Chives and Blossom

Hollyhock and Queen Anne’s Lace Seed pods to collect and save seed.

Here’s what I’m Making for Seasonal Summer Meals:

Roasted Eggplant with Cashew Butter and Pickled Peppers

I just adore these little sweet, tender lavender striped fairy tale eggplants. I’ll sauté them in a cast iron pan in olive oil then finish them in the oven to get that caramelized seared goodness. I’ll whip up a savory cashew butter with Thai basil, lime, garlic, shallots and fish sauce for that layer of earthy umami, then top with a mélange of pickled pimento and shishito peppers. Find the recipe from Bon Appetit here

Heirloom Gazpacho topped with Grilled Shrimp and Basil

Summer in a bowl, is what I think of when I sip on gazpacho. If your tomato harvest was plentiful - enjoy this perfect chilled soup for sipping. I’ll use my harvest of heirloom porter’s pride, Cherokee, indigo apple, camp joy and gooseberry tomatoes, aromatto basil and onion chives then go to my favorite fish market, Chula Seafood , to buy shrimp from Rocky Point. I’ll top the gazpacho with spicy grilled shrimp, cherry tomato halves, sprigs of basil and onion chives. Get the recipe here!

Chipotle Spiced Rosemary Orange Pecans

Rosemary grows in my garden all year round. Besides using rosemary on a grilled steak or roasted potatoes, I make up batches of these roasted spiced pecans that I can serve with a slice of Manchego cheese and glass of wine on the patio, sprinkled on the top of an Oaxacan taco bowl or tossed in a green salad. Here is a simple recipe below to try!


  • 3 cups whole raw or roasted pecans (lightly or no salt)

  • 1 - 2 tablespoons organic Vermont maple syrup (barrel aged is my fav)

  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary

  • 1 tablespoon orange zest

  • 1.5 teaspoons smoked Spanish sweet paprika + 1.5 teaspoons of chipotle chili powder blended

  • Sea salt      


Preheat oven to 325F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss the pecans with maple syrup, paprika/chipotle spice mix, rosemary and orange zest in a bowl. Then pour onto the baking sheet.

Place in the oven for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned. Watch closely as they burn fast.

After you remove from the oven, give nuts a quick toss with a spatula to loosen them up, so when they cool, they are easy to remove.

Taste. If desired, add more sea salt.

Smoothie Verde

I rotate a variety of smoothies during the week, but this one really uses a lot from my garden depending on the timing of the season. Right now I’ve been harvesting the last of the rainbow Swiss chard, apple mint and flat leaf parsley to my NutriBullet Pro to make this nutrient rich boost in the mornings. Here’s how to make it!

  • 1 large handful of power greens (chard, spinach, kale)

  • 1/2 apple (Fuji or gala)

  • 1 celery stalk

  • 1 small slice of ginger

  • squeeze of lime

  • 1 or 2 sprigs of Italian flat leaf parsley

  • 1-3 springs mint (apple or Kentucky colonel mint are my favs)

  • pinch of cayenne pepper

  • 1 cup organic pear juice plus a splash of water

  • 1/2 teaspoon each of moringa powder and spirulina crunchies

  • 1 tablespoon super seed & ancient grain blend or hemp seeds

  • small squeeze of agave nectar

  • 5-6 ice cubes


Add all to a blender or NutriBullet cup and process for 1 minute.

Vegetable Stock:

I’ll use the bay laurel and English thyme in vegetable stock. I keep 4 quartz of it in my freezer at all times! I use it for so many things from soups to sautéing vegetables. Find the recipe to make vegetable stock from my blog post here

Leslie HonakerComment