40 Sizzlin' Summer Dinner Ideas

Two Images, Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini Boats and Teriyaki Beef Stir Fry
MediaFeed / Feel Good Foodie

It's Dinner Time!

Whether you need a no-cook meal for a hot day or a must-try recipe using summer produce, you'll find your favorite summer dinner ideas here!

When summer hits at my house, the kiddos are always buzzing around, hungry for adventure and, of course, good food to fuel their long days of fun. Meal prep becomes top of mind and having a list of Dinner ideas to pull from that are quick and easy is a must for me. While creating my Summer dinner recipe collection this year I though I would share it with you guys as well!

Chicken Lettuce Cups
Feel Good Foodie

Type of Summer Dinner Recipes You’ll Find Below

  • Seasonal: Summer is the time for farmer’s markets and lots of seasonal goodies. I love using fresh, seasonal produce that’s at its peak during the hot summer. Make sure to include lots of vegetables such as summer squash like zucchini, bell peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes. And in the fruit department, I indulge in juicy watermelon, strawberries, peaches, and cherries.

  • Satisfying: Warmer months bring lighter foods but that doesn’t mean you have to leave the table hungry. Now is the time to prioritize lean meats, yogurt over mayo (trust me, this swap is amazing!), and lots of fiber from whole grains and veggies so you’ll stay fuller longer.

  • Convenient: I don’t know about you but I’m all about easy, quick, and convenient summer dinners that don’t require cranking up the heat in the kitchen too much. Grilling recipes, sheet pan dinners, and large salads are my go-tos.

  • Family-friendly: Kids are home from school during the summer months so I like to have a trusty list of summer dinner ideas for family. I don’t want to be caught off-guard; instead, I want to be prepared with kid-friendly meals to avoid dinner rush hour stress.

  • Simple: Save the stews and complicated (but oh-so cozy) meals for the cooler weather. I like to stick to simple dishes that highlight the natural flavors of summer, focusing on recipes with minimal prep time, a short ingredient list, and light cleanup.

Pesto Grilled Salmon
Feel Good Foodie

Tips for Making Summer Dinners

  1. Lean into easy proteins. A successful summer dinner is as simple as knowing how to make shredded chicken, cook frozen fish, chickpeas, or how to brown ground beef. I like to hit the easy button and make a big batch at the beginning of the week to add to my meals all week long.

  2. Experiment with marinades. You can easily switch up the flavor of your meats and vegetables by marinating them in flavorful marinades and sauces. Check out these delicious chicken marinade recipes or 4 different ways to make a steak marinade.

  3. Embrace outdoor cooking. Say goodbye to your oven and take your cooking (and eating) outdoors. If you’re new to grilling, be sure to check out all my tips and tricks for how to grill. And if you’re ready to add smoky flavor to your summer meals, you’ll love my tasty collection of grilling recipes to keep you busy all summer long.

  4. Know summer basics. You’d be surprised how knowing the basics, like how to make yogurt or salad vinaigrette makes summer mealtime a breeze. It’s these simple tasks that look daunting but in reality are more simple than we give them credit for. Check them out now so you’re ready when it’s time to serve dinner.

  5. Be ready with condiments. Have an assortment of sauces and dips ready to add to your summer meals. Tzatziki sauce, cucumber yogurt sauce, ranch dip, and salsa can instantly add moisture, flavor, and texture to your dish. A good sauce could make or break your summer dinner.

  6. Stay hydrated. Refresh and cool off with homemade lemonade, chia fresca, mint lemonade, or raspberry iced tea. But don’t overthink it, a tall glass of water will do just fine. If you really want to impress your family and friends – throw in some fruit ice cubes. And don’t underestimate seasonal fruits and veggies that are naturally high in water like watermelon and cucumbers.

Zucchini Lasagna
Feel Good Foodie

Best Summer Dinner Recipes

Let the summer months bring fresh, exciting, and delicious flavors to your table. Whether you’re looking for easy summer dinner ideas that you can make in under 30 minutes or kid-friendly dishes that the whole family will love, this roundup has what you’re looking for. I hope the flavors of summer inspire you to make dinners that are healthy, seasonal, and oh-so-good. Get ready to fire up the grill and soak in the summer vibes with these tasty meals.

Grilled Shrimp Tacos
Feel Good Foodie

Easy Summer Dinner Ideas

  • Chicken Lettuce Cups – Full of flavor and loaded with vegetables for added nutrition, these healthy chicken lettuce cups will become your new go-to when you’re looking for lazy summer dinner ideas.

  • Steak Salad – When I’m thinking about easy summer dinner ideas for family, a satisfying salad is at the top of that list. Throw a steak on the grill and add it to a bed of greens, pickled onions, blue cheese, avocados, and a quick homemade balsamic dressing.

  • Grilled Shrimp Tacos – Redefine Taco Tuesday with these flavorful grilled shrimp tacos. Tender shrimp, boasting their grill marks, are tucked into warmed corn tortillas on a bed of crunchy coleslaw. These are also one of my favorite kid-friendly summer dinner ideas!

  • Chicken Burrito Protein Bowl – This burrito bowl is the epitome of summer. It’s hearty, satisfying, and fresh with chopped tomatoes, sweet corn, zesty red onions, and diced avocado. It’s one of those hit summer dinner ideas for family that you’ll be coming back to again and again.

  • Mediterranean Couscous – Made with shrimp, tomatoes, feta, olives, and feta – this will be a dish you’ll want to have on your rotation of easy summer dinner ideas. It’s fresh, quick to make, and oh-so-delicious!

  • Pesto Grilled Salmon – Salmon kabobs brushed with fresh summery pesto before being grilled to perfection. Serve with parmesan pesto pasta for one of the tastiest kid-friendly summer dinner ideas.

  • Chicken Stuffed Zucchini Boats – When it comes to easy summer dinner ideas that the whole family can enjoy, these zucchini boats check off all the boxes. There’s fiber, protein, and healthy fats all in one serving.

  • Grilled Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa – Whether you’re using an indoor or outdoor grill, one thing is certain – this dish is a must on your summer dinner ideas for family. It’s fresh, healthy, vibrant, and oh-so-delicious!

Oven Baked Cod
Feel Good Foodie

Summer Dinner Ideas for Family

  • Maqluba – This traditional Middle Eastern recipe has all your favorite summer veggies in one delicious, savory, and incredibly satisfying dish. It’s a rice dish that’s layered with onions, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and seasoned meat and it feeds a crowd!

  • Zucchini Lasagna – Healthy and satisfying, this lasagna is easy to make, packed with flavor, and will satisfy your craving for a cheesy, saucy dish. Plus, it’s meatless so it’s a perfect addition to your list of vegetarian summer dinner ideas.

  • Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas – If you’re looking for easy summer dinner ideas that’ll feed the whole family, this fuss-free sheet pan dish will be a winner. With minimal cleanup and maximum flavor, you’ll appreciate having this on your summer meal rotation.

  • Mexican Street Tacos – Skirt steak is marinated in a garlicky citrus mix and then sauteed on the stovetop (or throw it on the grill!) until browned and juicy. Easy to make, tastes oh-so-good, and, best of all – it’ll become one of your favorite summer dinner ideas for family and friends!

  • Sheet Pan Nachos – Load up a sheet pan full of tortilla chips with all the good stuff for a fun way to serve nachos for a crowd. Seasoned ground beef, black beans, and cheese baked until melty and delicious.

  • Oven Baked Cod – Cooked on a sheet pan with green beans and cherry tomatoes, this oven-baked cod makes one of the best lazy summer dinner ideas. Add everything to a baking sheet and pop it in the oven for 15 minutes. Quick, easy, and oh-so-delicious – just my kind of summer meal.

  • Tomato Lasagna – You will love this summery twist on traditional lasagna using fresh heirloom tomatoes layered between lasagna sheets and melty cheese. It’s one of those vegetarian summer dinner ideas that the whole family will love.

  • Shrimp Scampi with Zoodles – Our favorite summer squash, zucchini, shines in this fresh and vibrant one-pan dish. Seasoned with garlic, butter, lemon, and broth, this will quickly become your stand-in when looking for refreshing and easy summer dinner ideas.

Taco Pasta
Feel Good Foodie

Kid-Friendly Summer Dinner Ideas

  • Baked Chicken Tacos – These are so fast and easy to make with leftover cooked chicken and a handful of ingredients to spice it up. Let your family add their favorite toppings like diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, or a dollop of sour cream.

  • Taco Pasta – This one-pot dish will become one of your go-to lazy summer dinner ideas. Made with elbow macaroni and ground beef in a cheesy, taco-seasoned tomato sauce that’s perfect for a hot weeknight dinner.

  • Air Fryer Chicken Tenders – Make a batch of these and enjoy them out on the picnic blanket with your kiddos. They’re perfectly crispy and crunchy on the outside and tender and juicy inside. Quick to make and deliciously satisfying!

  • Teriyaki Beef Stir Fry – This quick and easy summer weeknight meal is loaded with flavor and texture. With flank steak cooked in homemade teriyaki sauce, tender broccoli, onion, and sweet bell pepper, each bite offers amazing deliciousness.

  • Steak Gyros – Simple yet delicious, these steak gyros are made with pita, fresh veggies, and tzatziki sauce. They have the perfect balance of heartiness and nutrition and are kid-friendly enough that they’re one of my favorite summer dinner ideas for family.

  • Sheet Pan Pizza – Easy to make and delicious to eat, this sheet pan pizza is loaded with fresh and flavorful toppings and it’s loved by kids and adults alike. You won’t regret adding this to your list of kid-friendly summer dinner ideas to make this year.

  • Chicken Parm Sandwich – With crunchy breaded chicken, tangy marinara, and creamy mozzarella – all tucked in a ciabatta roll, this parm sandwich will be one of your top easy summer dinner ideas this year.

Waldorf Salad
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No-Cook Dinner Ideas for Hot Days

  • Asian Chicken Salad – Made with two types of cabbages, lots of fresh vegetables, and leftover shredded chicken – all tossed in a flavorful peanut dressing. It’s light but satisfying and refreshingly delicious!

  • Waldorf Salad – This timeless classic has a unique combination of flavor and texture in every bite. Tender chicken, tart apples, crunchy celery, and toasty walnuts come together in one of the easiest lazy summer dinner ideas.

  • Healthy Tuna Salad – Whether you eat this as a salad or in a sandwich between two slices of bread, this lightened-up version will become your new favorite! It’s my go to when I want no-cook dinner ideas for hot days.

  • Smoked Salmon Salad – Simple and easy to make, this salad packs a punch in flavor, protein, and fiber. Made with avocado, cucumber, hard-boiled eggs, and drizzled in a dill and lemon dressing for a delicious summer salad to cool off to.

  • Yogurt Chicken Salad – Made with leftover chicken, green apple, yogurt, and fresh dill, this salad is filling, delicious, and won’t heat up your kitchen. It’s one of my favorite no-cook dinner ideas for hot days because it’s refreshing yet satisfying.

  • Buffalo Chicken Salad – If you love the bold flavors of buffalo, you will appreciate this easy summer meal idea. Leftover shredded chicken is served in lettuce wedges and topped with a cool, creamy buffalo and Greek yogurt dressing. Easy, satisfying, and oh-so-good!

  • Mediterranean Chopped Salad – If you’re looking for easy summer dinner ideas for family, you’ll love this one. It’s enough to feed 6-8 people and packed with so much flavor from tomatoes, cucumbers, chickpeas, feta cheese, and that lemony vinaigrette.

  • Egg Salad Sandwich – When you’re looking for no-cook dinner ideas for hot days, remember this number. It’s made with creamy Greek yogurt, instead of mayo, and is simple yet so delicious and filling.

Cast Iron Pizza
Feel Good Foodie

Vegetarian Summer Dinner Ideas

  • Cast Iron Pizza – This will become your new obsession if you’re looking for lazy summer dinner ideas. Grab your favorite store-bought pizza dough and the best marinara sauce, and you’ll have a delicious deep-dish pizza in no time.

  • Vegetarian Pad Thai – Made with rice noodles, crispy tofu, and fresh seasonal vegetables, this vegetarian hit will be one you’ll be coming back to again and again. It’s quick and simple to make and has the most perfectly balanced flavors.

  • Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta – Blistered summer tomatoes, roasted garlic, and fresh herbs come together with penne pasta in this healthy pasta dish you can feel good about eating. You won’t regret adding this to your repertoire of vegetarian summer dinner ideas.

  • Tofu Tacos – These street-style vegan tofu tacos make a quick, easy, and delicious family meal. Seasoned tofu is served in tortillas with a refreshing cabbage slaw. You won’t regret adding this 20-minute meal to your list of easy summer dinner ideas.

  • Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini Boats – Full of color, flavor, and texture – this dish will be one of your go-to vegetarian summer dinner ideas this year. The summer zucchini is a vessel to a delicious mixture of quinoa, tomatoes, goat cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes.

  • Chickpea Shawarma – Oven-roasted chickpea shawarma is dairy-free and full of satisfying plant-based protein. It’s prepped and roasted in one pan, so be sure to add this to your list of lazy summer dinner ideas.

  • Mediterranean Hummus Bowl – Easy and quick to make, this hummus bowl is a healthy and filling meal. Made with quinoa, fresh seasonal veggies, and homemade hummus, this will become one of your favorite no-cook dinner ideas for hot days fast!

  • Mexican Chopped Salad – Black beans, corn, fresh veggies, and jicama come together on a bed of romaine lettuce for an easy and delicious meatless dish. But if you have meat eaters at the table – just add some grilled meat. This is one of those flexible vegetarian summer dinner ideas that can go either way.

  • Veggie and Hummus Sandwich – Loaded with fresh vegetables, this sandwich is bold, vibrant, and easily customizable. It’s a great recipe when you’re short on time but want something that is delicious and on-the-go friendly.

Sheet Pan Nachos
Feel Good Foodie

Frequently Asked Questions

What foods should I avoid in summer?

I recommend skipping anything that is very heavy and greasy that makes you feel sluggish and uncomfortable. It’s also a good idea to stay away from very spicy foods as they tend to raise your body temperature. Stick with lighter foods like fresh green salads, grilled lean meats, and lots of seasonal fruits and vegetables.

What to make for dinner when it’s hot?

Think about meals that require little cooking time or foods that can be cooked outdoors on the grill. Refreshing salads with grilled chicken, steak, or fish for protein is always a good choice. Other lazy summer dinner ideas are pasta salads, sandwiches, and wraps. I also favor sheet pan meals because everything is cooked on one baking pan.

What is the most popular food in summer?

Barbecued or grilled food is the most popular food during the summer months. Some of my grilled favorites include burgers, steaks, various cuts of chicken, vegetables, and even fruits. You can pair grilled foods with summer salads like coleslaw, potato salad, or macaroni salad to make a well-balanced meal. And of course, summer fruits and vegetables will always be a hit at any summer dinner party.

Summer is the perfect time to uncomplicate mealtime and enjoy simpler, lighter, and seasonal flare. Whether you’re looking for summer dinner ideas for family on a busy weeknight or a relaxing weekend dinner with friends, I hope this roundup will inspire you to embrace the laid-back spirit of warmer months, slow down, and savor the fresh goodness.

This article originally appeared on Feel Good Foodie and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

Egg Salad Sandwich
Feel Good Foodie

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