20+ Easy Summer Dinner Ideas
Summer is the time to rely on simple and quick dinner ideas. The best thing about summer is the change in routine, the easy living, the more relaxed “summer casual” vibe. When you rely on the season’s bounty, the flavors shine through without the extra fuss.
During summer, I especially want quick dinner ideas because I want to spend less time in the kitchen. For one, it’s hot! I want a quick dinner that won’t heat up my house. Also, my family is home and I want to spend my time talking to them, not working on dinner. I want quick dinners that are fast, healthy and simple and that don’t take a ton of prep or need serious clean up. Here are some of my favorites to help you feed your people all summer long.
Spaghetti and Spiralized Zucchini with lemony pesto. If you don’t want to make pesto, use good quality store bought. Or use Rao’s Original Marinara. I love adding spiralized zucchini to pasta to increase the vegetable content and cut down on carbs. Use your favorite brand of spaghetti, or gluten-free or whole wheat.
Cauliflower Gnocchi with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto. This homemade pesto is super fast, and you can use leftovers for another easy pasta dinner down the road. But! If you don’t feel like making it (I see you, friends!) just use good quality store bought pesto.
Meatless Tacos. We love an easy black bean and cheese taco, maybe topped with kale guacamole or pickled red onions. You can either make your own batch of black beans in the Instant Pot or crack open a can of black beans and warm them up with 1/4 cup of your favorite green or red salsa. If you’d like to add some roasted veggies, roast a sheet pan of chopped cauliflower, zucchini and shallots sprinkled with avocado oil, lemon and salt. If you don’t use all of them for tacos, you can add to salads during the week.
Store bought cauliflower crust pizza. Top with tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella and basil. Done and done.
Snack Dinner! Make a favorite dip and surround it with endive, carrots, cucumber slices, bell pepper slices and cherry tomatoes, flat bread or crackers, maybe some grapes or stone fruit, olives and cheese. Let your family go to town. Other tasty dip contenders: white bean dip, artichoke jalapeño dip or cauliflower hummus.
Tuna poke. Serve it over steamed sushi rice or with cucumber salad or edamame. To make the cucumber salad, slice a peeled English cucumber and combine with a tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons tamari or coconut aminos, a tablespoon of avocado oil and salt. Some very thinly sliced red onions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds would be delicious.
Tuscan white bean and tuna “salad”. Quick, full of protein and no actual cooking required!
Fish en papillote. Set out parchment paper packets, fish fillets and all the toppings. In summer, I like to use cherry tomatoes, thin haricot vert, lemon slices and pesto. Let everyone make their own fish packet and mark the outside with their name. Bake on a sheet pan for 7-10 minutes at 450 degrees.
Breakfast for Dinner
Avocado toast (I like mine with micro greens and a poached egg on top), smoked salmon toast or smoked trout and cream cheese toasts. Add a side of melon and prosciutto or an arugula and watermelon salad. If you don’t want the carbs, roast 1/4-inch slices of sweet potato at 450 degrees for 25 minutes and load them up.
Honey hoisin pork tenderloin comes together super fast. Throw some asparagus on the grill when you flip the pork.
Chili-lime flank steak can be chopped for tacos or sliced against the grain. Add colorful bell pepper slices and zucchini to the grill while the steak cooks. Red cabbage salad would also be a super tasty side.
Grilled spatchcocked chicken. The timing on this recipe seems a little long to me, grill until the thickest part of the thigh reaches 163-165 degrees.
Grilled chicken kabobs with veggies are a one-stop meal.