Back-to-Basics Summer Recipe Meals

I don’t know what it is about summer that makes me want to eat simple food, but most evenings I’m content with tomatoes on garlic toast (a.k.a. bruschetta), cannellini beans with rosemary (on garlic toast) or olive tapanade on, you guessed it, garlic toast.

This time of year there’s something wonderful about rediscovering food that is so full of flavor it doesn’t need any fancy preparation. I admit I also enjoy having dinner prep time cut down to almost nothing.

In most areas of the country, gardens are just going in, but it won’t be long before there are tomatoes and zucchini coming out of your ears. Freeze drying extra vegetables in individual batches (like Debra M did with her rhubarb in last week’s post) keeps them full of flavor for when you’re ready to assemble a quick summer dish. Here are a couple of our favorites:

Ina Garten’s Gazpacho

1 cucumber
2 red bell peppers
4 plum tomatoes
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups tomato juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Rehydrate any of the vegetables that have been freeze dried. Put each separately into a food processor and pulse to a course chop. Add vegetables to garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir and chill before serving.
Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
We like this recipe because you can freeze dry the stuffing ingredients in batches and rehydrate and stuff fresh bell peppers when you’re ready. Stuff peppers with re-hydrated stuffing, then sprinkle with feta cheese and bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.
Bell Pepper Stuffing:
1 cup quinoa cooked in 2 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 small firm eggplant, trimmed of half the skin, chopped
1 small to medium firm zucchini, seeded and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 fresh chile pepper, such as Fresno, thinly sliced, or 1 teaspoon dried crushed pepper
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, a handful, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, chopped

Do you have a recipe that allows you to freeze dry summer vegetables and assemble a simple meal quickly? Share it with other freeze-dry foodies on our Facebook page!


I have been freeze drying things from our winter garden, but would like information on freeze drying soups and foods with a high liquid content. Do I put the liquid into the trays? When looking at purchased freeze dried soups and foods with gravy, I notice there is a dry powder…is this what’s left from the liquid? Any help is appreciated. Thanks

You will love freeze drying soups and meals. Yes, you are right. Simply pour the liquid in the trays and let your freeze dryer do the rest! We suggest running a batch with the trays partially full so that you can see how it works. You will be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is.

I just crack several dozen, whisk them up, and then put them in my trays in my freeze dryer. Then once done, take them out and crush them to powder and seal in the bags or canning jars. OR you can put your trays in a deep freeze then add your whisked eggs and freeze. Once frozen, take them out and load them into the freeze dryer.

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