Summer is here and the heat has come along with it, which means we have a ton of amazing, delicious summer produce to cook with. Crisp greens, smooth squash, crunchy veggies, juicy fruit — these all taste great in vegan dishes and are very refreshing. Here are 5 essential ingredients for cool summer meals:

1. Cucumbers

Cucumbers are great for sandwiches. Chop some up and put the slices on this Raw Vegan Tomato Cucumber Sandwich and this Vegan Humdinger sandwich. Cucumber also adds a fresh, light crunch to any salad. Chop it up and throw it on top of some dark, leafy greens with one of these salad dressings you can make in under 5 minutes. For a basic salad, toss some tomatoes, onion, and cucumber together with a vinaigrette dressing, or try this spicy Asian Cucumber Avocado Onion Salad.

5 Essential Ingredients for Cool Summer Meals

2. Summer Squash and Zucchini

There are so many possibilities for using zucchini and other summer squash in dairy-free dishes for summer. Try this Summertime Tofu Scramble with both Zucchini and Yellow Squash. If you like pasta, zucchini makes excellent, healthy noodles that are gluten-free. Try this Gluten-Free Carbonara Spaghetti with Zucchini Noodles and these Raw Vegan Zucchini Marinara Pasta. For a light, colorful dish that is perfect for entertaining guests, try these Raw Zucchini Wraps.

5 Essential Ingredients for Cool Summer Meals

3. Peaches

Fresh, juicy summer peaches add a nice, juicy sweetness to your meals to balance out all of the crunchy vegetables. Try this Bangkok Black Rice Salad with Fresh Peach or substituting peaches for the oranges in this Raw Massaged Kale Salad with Fresh Oranges. Though raw peaches are certainly refreshing, also try grilling them. Use this fruit on this Peach and Raspberry Tart with raw Mascarpone and these Upside Down Peach Brownies.

5 Essential Ingredients for Cool Summer Meals

4. Watermelon

Watermelons are one of those fruits that instantly bring to mind summer when you think about it. To cool down in the summer heart, use it to make a light and refreshing Watermelon Gazpacho. For breakfast, use it in smoothies. Try this Watermelon Mint Vega Summer Smoothie and this End of Summer Smoothie. For a unique way to use the seeds from the watermelon, try these Banana Watermelon Seed Muffins.

5 Essential Ingredients for Cool Summer Meals

5. Avocados

Avocados are a delicious summer dish, especially when they’re hot off the grill. Yes, you can grill avocados! Try these Grilled Avocados with Roasted Tomatoes. You can also use them to make a Mexican-inspired taco salad by grilling some corn and throwing it over a bed of lettuce with veggie taco meat, vegan cheese shreds, tomatoes, and big avocado slices. Or, blend them up and make a sauce for raw zucchini noodles; try this Raw Zucchini Pasta with Creamy Avocado-Cucumber Sauce.

5 Essential Ingredients for Cool Summer Meals

Lead image source: Raw Zucchini Wraps