Summer is almost here, finally! After enduring a cold Midwest winter, the slightest increase in temperature above 45 degrees has me looking at swimsuits and yummy summer recipes. Luckily for me, my favorite fruits, especially berries, will be making major appearances in the coming weeks as the harvest season approaches and the bright juicy flavors come alive. Berries are full of antioxidants, flavor, and can be the center of many delightful dishes. So, to indulge your taste buds with berry sweetness (and health benefits), here is a compilation of delicious berry recipes to kick start the warm weather.  

1. Berry Banana Smoothie Bowl 

blueberry, cream, raspberry
Leah Valenti

Skip the line and the expense of fancy smoothie places and make your own beautiful bowl at home. It's a wonderful way to start your day or to have as a refreshing post-workout snack. Top with granola, coconut, chia seeds, hemp seeds, or whatever your heart pleases. 

2. Berry Banana Bread

sweet, chocolate, bread, cake
Helena Lin

Peanut butter banana bread, chocolate banana bread, berry banana bread, are you seeing a common theme yet? Bananas apparently go well with (almost) everything. In this twist of your favorite banana bread, strawberries and raspberries add extra flavor and color to an already delicious snack.

3. Berry Salad

Okay, don't skip this recipe because of the word "salad." Apart from being a super pretty, lettuce-free salad, fresh mint adds a punch of freshness, complimenting the sweetness of the berries. It can be served as a dessert or a side salad, and it pairs great with a grilled salmon entree. Crumble a little feta cheese or goat cheese over the salad for added creamy texture. 

4. Meringue and Sabayon with Berries

cake, pavlova, meringue, cream, chocolate
Caitlin Wolper

Impress your fam with this fancy AF dessert. Meringue is sugar sweet, with a melt-in your mouth texture, and the berries provide beautiful color and freshness. Sabayon is a French custard-like dessert made from egg yolks, so you'll be able to use the leftover yolks from the eggs used for the meringue. Don't be intimidated by this delicate dessert, it's not as difficult as it seems, just be gentle with the eggs and mindful of humidity.

5. Nectarine and Berry Chia Seed Overnight Oats

Maggie Harriman

For busy spring and summer mornings, overnight oats are a great grab-n-go option. Add a boost of vitamins, antioxidants, and flavor with the addition of berries and nectarines, or whatever fruit you want for that matter. And the oats, along with the fruit, give you a little fiber which helps with digestion and satiety. Overnight oats are my favorite breakfast because you can play around with the flavors and toppings, changing it up every day. 

6. Blackberry Basil Grilled Cheese

toast, cheese, bread, bacon
Jackie Kuczynski

I am obsessed with this sandwich. Switch out your everyday, American cheese, grilled sandwich for something a little different. Crispy bread with a melty provolone middle dripping with blackberries will cure your afternoon slump. Don't hate it until you try it. 

7. Triple Berry Mojito 

smoothie, juice, sweet, strawberry, berry, yogurt, mint, cocktail, milkshake
Lucy Todhunter

Refresh yourself from the summer heat with a cold berry mojito. Kiwi gives the berry-dominated beverage a tropical burst, perfect for summer BBQs and gatherings. With all the fruit in this drink, it's practically healthy....right? 

8. Strawberry and Peanut Butter Scones

Eliza Wilkins

A PB&J-like scone to go with afternoon tea or your morning coffee. It's a great way to use up strawberries that may be going bad quickly. You can also sub the strawberries for blueberries and raspberries, whichever you prefer.  Plus, this recipe uses coconut sugar, which is less processed than cane sugar, while still adding sweetness to the scones.  

9. Raspberry Jam

sweet, berry, raspberry, jam, strawberry, gelatin, marmalade
Sarah Silbiger

This may just be the epitome of berry recipes. DIY jam is fairly easy, and it is a great summer boredom buster. This jam is perfect for spreading on toast or to top the peanut butter scones you just made. Did I mention this recipe has only two ingredients? 

Jazz up your summer meals with antioxidant filled smoothies, salads, and breads. Whether you enjoy eating berries as a quick, healthy snack or enjoy making these marvelous berry recipes, take advantage of the warm weather and bursting flavors of the season.