Food is my love language, I really enjoy cooking and eating a variety of foods. I tend to mix up my meal plans a lot, constantly rotating what we eat and trying new things. However, when it comes to summer, all of that goes out the window. With all three of my kids home with me all summer long I tend to prefer to spend my days outdoors, doing fun things with my kids and therefore prefer to keep summer recipes quick, simple and easy to throw together after a day of fun in the sun.
For me, summer recipes need to be on the lighter side (because BIKINI SEASON), they need to be ready in less than 30 minutes and involve minimal cooking (because no one wants an oven overheating their house or to stuck at the stove in the heat of summer).
Here are 25 of my go-to summer recipes with some side dishes, desserts and cocktails thrown in to celebrate all the flavors summer has to offer.
Summer Dinner Salads
1. Cobb Salad: With three forms of protein this classic salad is hearty and filling
2. Cheeseburger Salad: All the flavors of a cheeseburger without the heaviness of the bun.
3. Peanut Chicken Salad: A Thai-inspired dish.
4. Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad: To make this super simple, you can even use a rotisserie chicken for the cooked chicken.
5. Curried Chicken Salad or Avocado Chicken Salad: I like to serve these salads over a bed of romaine or wrapped up in lettuce leaves.
6. Thai Steak Noodle Salad: This salad packs so many good flavors and textures.
Summer Recipes From the Grill
7. Hot dogs and hamburgers: You hardly need a recipe for this. My family eats these about once a week during summer and we always have the ingredients on hand. They’re inexpensive, easy to feed a crowd and pretty much everyone loves a good burger or hot dog.
8. Kebabs: This is quintessential summer fare, everything gets cooked up on the grill, serve it with some rice or pita bread for a complete meal.
9. Brats or Sausages: It doesn’t get much easier than grilling some sausages and setting out some buns and condiments.
10. Flank Steak with Chimichurri: This is a favorite of everyone in my house.
11. BBQ Chicken: If BBQ Chicken doesn’t scream summer then I don’t know what does!
12. Tequila Lime Shrimp: Quick cooking and light for the summer meal win!
13. Jerk Chicken: This dish will whisk you away to a tropical isalnd.
14. Firecracker Salmon: Slightly tangy, spicy and sweet, hitting all the best flavor notes.
15. Grilled Tuna Steak: Just a few minutes on the grill standing between you and dinner for this meal.
16. Fish Tacos or Fish Taco Bowls: This is what I think when I think summer dinner.
17. Vietnamese Banh Mi Bowl: These bowls please picky eaters, vegetarians and gluten-free eaters all in one meal.
18. California Roll Bowls: All the flavors of the classic sushi roll in an effortless meal with the only cooking being the rice.
19. Bruschetta Chicken: This dish highlights fresh summer produce of tomatoes and basil.
20. Chicken Fajitas or Chicken Fajita Bowls: You’re going to want to serve these with some margaritas listed below.
21. Chicken Gyros or Chicken Shawarma Bowls: A build-your-own meal that pleases all the picky eaters.
22. Low Country Boil: Classic summer fare.
23. Shrimp with Feta and Tomatoes: Just a few simple ingredients yet so much flavor in this dish.
24. Jerk Fish with Mango Salsa: Very summery!
25. Mediterranean Fish: Quick, easy and healthy!
Watermelon Feta Salad: My absolute favorite summer side dish!
Caprese Salad: My second favorite summer side dish.
Cole Slaw: You can shred the cabbage yourself, or make this effortless by buying a bag of pre-shredded cole slaw.
Israeli Chopped Salad: Just a few simple ingredients required to make this crunchy salad that pairs well with almost any meal.
Sesame Noodles: So much flavor in this quick and easy side dish!
Mexican Street Corn: Enjoy the bounty of summer corn with an extra kick.
Crudite Platter: The easiest summer side dish.
Grilled Vegetables: If you’re already grilling a protein, throw your veggies on the grill also to save dishes.
Strawberry Shortcake: To make this super simple you can buy canned whipped cream and pre-made shortcakes.
Berry Trifle: Enjoy all the berries summer has to offer.
Chocolate Fondue with Fruit: A favorite dessert in my house, everyone loves dunking their fruit.
Lemon Bars: Tart and crisp flavors.
Key Lime Pie: A cool and refreshing summer dessert.
Watermelon Lime Cocktail: My favorite summer cocktail!
Frose: This is delicious! I leave out the lemon and simple syrup and just do frozen strawberries, vodka and frozen rose.
Jalapeno Gimlet: A little spicy, a little tangy, and a little sweet.
Bees Knees: Honey, lemon and gin make a clean and crisp summer cocktail.
Skinny Margarita: The perfect pairing for the Fish Tacos or Chicken Fajitas above.
Jalapeno Margarita: A spicy twist on the classic.
Skinny Paloma: Grapefruit juice, agave and tequila are a match made in summer heaven.