Summer Cookout Recipes From Your Garden

There's nothing more rewarding than being able to eat food that you've grown in your own garden. Not only does it have its share of cost-saving and health benefits, it also gives you the freedom to use those fruits and veggies in your favorite dishes, plus share them with your friends and family all summer long.

The next time you host or go to a warm-weather gathering, consider trying one of these summer cookout recipes from your garden that everyone can enjoy.

  • Berry salad: For a refreshingly sweet side dish, pick a mix of berries, like strawberries and blueberries, and mix with leafy greens such as kale, romaine or spinach  from your garden to create a fruit bowl salad. You can also add almonds, feta cheese and a balsamic dressing to give your salad a combination of sweet and savory flavors.
  • Kabobs: Use favorite veggies from your garden to create kabobs. Simply slice vegetables, marinate them, grill to your preference and add seasoning, if desired. Vegetables like zucchini, peppers, onions and cherry tomatoes tend to work best for kabobs, but you can experiment with other vegetables as well.
  • Guacamole: Instead of making the traditional salsa for a gathering, opt for another side dish favorite - guacamole. To create a more traditional type of guacamole, use cilantro, avocado, tomato, onion and lime juice, but if you want to try something new, you can also add other vegetables like corn and black beans.
  • Pasta salad: This side dish classic is easy and fun to make, because you can experiment with different vegetables and other ingredients. After the pasta is boiled, drained and cooled, finely chop vegetables like peppers, cucumbers, olives and tomatoes and mix into the pasta. Then, top and mix in with the dressing of your choice - though Italian dressing tends to be the most common for pasta salad. Chill in the refrigerator and it is ready to serve.