Skip to Content

10 Best Summer Dinner Recipes for Easy, Delicious Meals

10 Best Summer Dinner Recipes for Easy Delicious Meals

This article covers the essentials for crafting delicious summer dinners that are both hearty and refreshing. Readers will discover a range of recipes that are perfect for warm evenings, including a list of ingredients, preparation steps, and the yield for each dish. These recipes are designed to make cooking enjoyable and straightforward, allowing more time to relax and enjoy the season.

From light salads to grilled favorites, these dinner ideas are sure to please everyone’s palate. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or just looking for something easy to whip up after a day in the sun, there’s something here to suit every taste and occasion.

Additional Reads:
10 Bucket List European Destinations For This Summer
20 Enchanting American Movies Set in Europe to Watch This Summer
Tips and tricks for this summer in Ibiza
Travel Insurance to Get if You’re Traveling This Summer

1) Grilled Lemon Herb Chicken

summer recipes to try lemon herb chicken

This dish is perfect for a summer evening. The bright flavors of lemon and fresh herbs make it delicious. Here’s how to prepare it.

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. In a bowl, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, minced garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  2. Place the chicken breasts in a large plastic bag or shallow dish.
  3. Pour the marinade over the chicken.
  4. Seal the bag or cover the dish, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to 4 hours.

Grilling the chicken brings out its rich flavors. Heat the grill to medium-high. Remove the chicken from the marinade and let the excess drip off. Place the chicken on the grill. Cook for about 6-7 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).

Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute, making the chicken tender and juicy.

This recipe yields 4 servings. The grilled lemon herb chicken pairs well with a fresh salad or grilled vegetables. It’s a simple and tasty meal that everyone will enjoy.

2) Spicy Shrimp Tacos

spicy shrimp tacos summer recipes to try

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 small corn tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Preparation: Combine the chili powder, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and salt in a bowl. Toss the shrimp in the mixture until coated.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until they are pink and opaque.

Warm the corn tortillas in another skillet for about 30 seconds on each side.

Assemble the tacos by placing 4-5 shrimp on each tortilla. Top with shredded cabbage, avocado slices, and a dollop of sour cream.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

Yield: The recipe makes about 8 tacos, perfect for serving 4 people.

3) Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

summer recipes to try mediterranean quinoa

This Mediterranean Quinoa Salad is both nutritious and delicious. It’s perfect for a summer dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Rinse the quinoa under cold water. In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa and water. Bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes or until water is absorbed.
  3. Fluff quinoa with a fork and let it cool.

Putting It Together: In a large bowl, combine the cooled quinoa with cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, olives, feta cheese, and parsley.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Drizzle over the salad and toss to combine.

This recipe makes enough for about 4 servings. Perfect for a light and refreshing summer meal.

4) Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

summer recipes to try Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

Prosciutto wrapped asparagus is a tasty and easy-to-make dish. It’s perfect for summer dinners when you want something light and flavorful. This dish combines the salty taste of prosciutto with the fresh crunch of asparagus.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of asparagus spears
  • 1 pack of prosciutto slices
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

First, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Trim the tough ends off the asparagus spears.

Then, wrap each asparagus spear with a slice of prosciutto. Make sure the prosciutto covers most of the asparagus but leave some green showing at the ends.

Arrange the wrapped asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over them and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until the prosciutto is crispy and the asparagus is tender.

This recipe yields about 4 servings. Enjoy it as a side dish or as a starter for your summer dinner.

5) BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders

summer recipes to try BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders

BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders are perfect for summer dinners. They’re easy to make and packed with flavor. The combination of tender, slow-cooked pork with a tasty BBQ sauce is irresistible.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds pork shoulder or pork butt
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 12 slider buns
  • Coleslaw (optional)

Preparation

  1. Prep the Pork: Rub the pork shoulder with paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper. Make sure it’s evenly coated.
  2. Slow Cook: Place the pork and diced onions in a slow cooker. Pour in apple cider vinegar and add brown sugar. Cook on low for 8 hours or until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily.
  3. Shred the Pork: After cooking, remove the pork from the slow cooker. Use two forks to shred the meat. Discard any large fat pieces.
  4. Add BBQ Sauce: Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker. Pour in the barbecue sauce and mix well. Let it heat for an additional 30 minutes on low.
  5. Assemble the Sliders: Take slider buns and fill them with a generous amount of pulled pork. Top with coleslaw if desired.

Yield

This recipe makes about 12 sliders, perfect for feeding a small crowd or family dinner. These sliders are a hit at summer gatherings, offering a delightful mix of flavors and textures.

6) Garlic Butter Steak Bites

summer recipes to try Garlic Butter Steak Bites

Garlic Butter Steak Bites are a quick and delicious dish. They’re perfect for a summer dinner. These bite-sized pieces of steak cook fast and pack tons of flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of steak, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

To start, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the skillet. When the butter melts and starts to sizzle, add the steak pieces.

Cook the steak for about 3-4 minutes, turning them so they brown on all sides. Make sure not to overcrowd the skillet. You might need to cook the steak in batches.

Once the steak is browned, remove it from the skillet and set it aside. Add the remaining butter to the skillet, along with the minced garlic. Cook for about 1 minute, until the garlic is fragrant.

Return the steak bites to the skillet. Toss them with the garlic butter until they are well coated and heated through. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with freshly chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

This recipe yields about 4 servings. The steak bites pair well with a side of steamed vegetables or a fresh salad. Enjoy your Garlic Butter Steak Bites!

7) Summer Vegetable Stir Fry

summer recipes to try Summer Vegetable Stir Fry

A summer vegetable stir fry is quick, healthy, and full of seasonal veggies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 cup snap peas
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.

Add broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini, snap peas, and carrot. Stir occasionally until vegetables are tender but still crisp, about 5-7 minutes.

Season with soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Yield:

Serves 4.

8) Caprese Stuffed Avocados

summer recipes to try Caprese Stuffed Avocados

Caprese Stuffed Avocados are a refreshing and tasty summer meal. They’re simple to make and perfect for a hot day. The mix of creamy avocado, juicy tomatoes, and mozzarella makes this dish special.

Ingredients you’ll need are:

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup mozzarella balls
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare, start by cutting the avocados in half and removing the pits. Scoop out a bit of the avocado to make space for the filling. Dice the scooped-out avocado and set it aside.

In a bowl, mix the cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and diced avocado. Add some chopped fresh basil. Season with salt and pepper.

Fill the avocado halves with the tomato and mozzarella mixture. Drizzle with balsamic glaze. Garnish with whole basil leaves for a touch of color.

This recipe yields 4 servings, perfect for a light lunch or a side dish at dinner. The cool and creamy flavors are sure to be a hit. Serve immediately for the best taste.

9) Cilantro Lime Rice

summer recipes to try Cilantro Lime Rice

Cilantro Lime Rice is a fresh and tasty side dish that pairs well with many summer meals. It combines the zesty flavor of lime with the refreshing taste of cilantro.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Start by rinsing the rice under cold water to remove extra starch. This helps the rice cook more evenly and prevents it from becoming too sticky.

In a medium saucepan, combine the rice, water, olive oil, and salt. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and let it simmer for about 18-20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed.

Once the rice is cooked, remove it from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes.

Fluff the rice with a fork. Stir in the lime juice and zest. Then, gently fold in the chopped cilantro.

Serve the Cilantro Lime Rice warm. It makes about 4 servings, making it perfect for a small family dinner or a meal with friends.

This dish can be easily made in advance and reheated, making it a convenient choice for busy summer evenings.

10) Mango Salsa Chicken

mango salsa chicken

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 ripe mangoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, minced (optional)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Preparation:

  1. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for about 6-7 minutes per side or until fully cooked and no longer pink inside.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the mango salsa. In a bowl, combine the diced mangoes, red bell pepper, red onion, chopped cilantro, minced jalapeño, and lime juice. Mix well.
  4. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the skillet and let it rest for a few minutes.
  5. Spoon the mango salsa over the chicken breasts before serving.

Yield: Serves 4 people

Health Benefits of Summer Ingredients

Eating summer’s bounty provides vitamins and nutrients that are essential for good health. Fresh produce is at its peak, ensuring maximum flavor and nutritional value.

Seasonal Vegetables

Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. They are also high in vitamin C and potassium. Grilling tomatoes or adding them to salads brings out their natural sweetness.

Cucumbers are mostly water, helping you stay hydrated. They also contain antioxidants like beta-carotene and flavonoids, which help fight inflammation. Slicing them into salads or blending them into smoothies is a refreshing way to enjoy them.

Bell peppers are a great source of vitamins A and C. They also contain fiber and antioxidants. Adding them to stir-fries or stuffing them with quinoa and beans makes for a tasty dish.

Fresh Fruits

Berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, are high in antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage. They are also a good source of fiber and vitamins C and K. Eating a handful daily can improve overall health.

Watermelon is another hydrating fruit, composed of 90% water. It is also rich in vitamins A, B6, and C. Watermelon contains amino acids like citrulline, which can boost heart health. Slice it for a cool snack or blend it into a juice.

Peaches are high in vitamins A and C, which are great for skin health. They also offer fiber, which helps with digestion. Roasting peaches with a bit of honey or adding them to yogurt are delicious ways to enjoy them.

Tips for Preparing Light Summer Dinners

Light summer dinners should be fresh, flavorful, and easy to prepare. Using fresh herbs, grilled ingredients, and balanced flavors is key to making these meals a success.

Using Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbs can add a lot of flavor without adding extra calories. They can be used in salads, marinades, and as garnishes.

Ingredients:

  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro

Preparation:

  1. Rinse herbs under cold water and pat them dry.
  2. For salads, chop herbs finely and mix with greens.
  3. In marinades, combine chopped herbs with olive oil and lemon juice.
  4. Use whole leaves for garnishes.

Yield: Makes enough for 4-6 servings.

Incorporating Grilled Ingredients

Grilling brings out the natural flavors in vegetables and proteins. This method is perfect for light dinners.

Ingredients:

  • Zucchini
  • Bell peppers
  • Chicken breasts
  • Shrimp

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Slice zucchini and bell peppers.
  3. Season chicken and shrimp with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
  4. Grill vegetables for 5-7 minutes per side.
  5. Grill chicken for 6-8 minutes per side and shrimp for 2-3 minutes per side.

Yield: Serves 4 people.

Balancing Flavors

A balanced meal has a mix of sweet, salty, sour, and bitter tastes. Achieving this balance makes dinner more enjoyable.

Ingredients:

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Honey
  • Soy sauce
  • Lemon juice

Preparation:

  1. For a balanced dressing, mix 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice for a hint of sour.
  3. Drizzle over salads or grilled meats.

Yield: Enough dressing for 4 servings.

Storage and Preparation Tips

Proper storage and meal preparation can make summer dinners more manageable and enjoyable. Here are key points to ensure ingredients stay fresh and meals are easy to prepare.

Optimal Storage of Ingredients

Fresh produce: Store vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers in the refrigerator to keep them crisp. Leafy greens should be washed, dried, and placed in an airtight container with a paper towel to absorb moisture.

Proteins: Keep raw meats and seafood below 40°F in the fridge and use them within 1-2 days, or freeze immediately if not using soon. Store cooked proteins in airtight containers and refrigerate within two hours of cooking.

Pantry items: Store dry goods like pasta, rice, and canned beans in a cool, dark place. Seal opened items in airtight containers or resealable bags. Make sure to check expiration dates regularly.

Meal Prep Strategies

Plan ahead: Create a weekly meal plan, considering which ingredients can be prepped in advance. Chop vegetables, marinate meats, and measure dry ingredients the night before or on weekends.

Batch cooking: Prepare multiple portions of dishes like grilled chicken, pasta salad, or vegetable stir-fry. Store in individual containers for quick reheating. Use freezer-friendly recipes that can be made in bulk and defrosted as needed.

Utilize kitchen tools: Invest in a good set of storage containers, sharp knives, and a reliable cutting board. Kitchen gadgets like food processors or slow cookers can save time and simplify meal prep.

By following these tips, meal preparation becomes easier and ingredients stay fresh longer, making summer dinners less stressful and more enjoyable.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on these links and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Please note that we only recommend products and services that we have personally used or believe will add value to our readers. Your support through these links helps us to continue creating informative and engaging content. Thank you for your support!