10 Best Summer Meals
There’s no wrong time of year to enjoy delicious food, but there’s something about a summer meal that feels extra special. Whether you’re gathering up your grilling accessories to thrill family and friends with your backyard cookout skills or cooking up a sumptuous vacation dinner at the beach, summertime meals are the stuff that treasured memories are made of. Looking for some ideas to create a scrumptious summer table? Read on for ten tempting meal concepts that are made to accompany long evenings, cool breezes, fireflies and all of the other delights of summer!
- BBQ Ribs
Summer is the perfect time to indulge your taste buds, and it’s hard to get more indulgent than a succulent rack of BBQ ribs. Ribs are especially great if you’ve got a smoker grill to fire up and create those ridiculously delicious slow-cooked, wood-fired flavors that make backyard barbecues such a wonderful part of the season. Serve with any of your favorite cookout sides like mac and cheese, baked beans or slaw. Oh, and don’t forget the sweet tea if you want a true southern-style throwdown!
- Greek Salad
Craving fresh summer flavors? A Greek salad is an incredibly easy and tasty way to enjoy the snap and crunch of garden veggies. Throw in the iconic Mediterranean flavors of feta, olives and an oil and vinegar dressing, and you’ve created an easy summer salad that makes a great complement to almost any other recipe on this list. Add some watermelon or strawberries for an unmistakable summertime vibe, or add some sweet Italian peppers for a little more pop and kick.
- Mahi Mahi Tacos
Seafood is also a great fit for summer, especially if you have access to fresh catches straight from the sea. Mahi mahi tacos are a go-to summer option for many seafood lovers. They’re quick and easy to cook, and they taste fantastic with a remoulade and some homemade red cabbage slaw. Plus, they’re easy to scale up if you’re feeding a crowd, and they can even be reasonably healthy, thanks to the lean, low-calorie nature of mahi mahi.
Backyard burgers didn’t become a summer staple by accident! They’re easy to make and easy to eat, and they offer tons of ways to create your own spin on a classic. If you’re cooking for guests, offer a selection of cheeses and fresh veggies so everyone can create their perfect burger setup. Want to level up the flavor in standard cookout burgers? Try using a pellet grill to cook them low and slow over natural wood pellets. You’ll be amazed at the explosion of savory deliciousness that slow smoking adds.
- Shrimp Skewers
Shrimp skewers on the grill are an incredibly simple summer delicacy. They’re a sure-fire hit at any cookout, but they’re equally good for an easy weeknight dinner. First, use your favorite shrimp marinade to get them bursting with flavor, and then chop up some hearty and flavorful veggies like zucchini, yellow squash and onions into small chunks. Spear them all onto some bamboo skewers, and then throw them on the grill. A few minutes later, you’re ready to experience seafood nirvana!
- Spring Rolls
Don’t let the name fool you. Spring rolls might be even better in summer! These Asian cuisine favorites are light, delicious and easy to serve at gatherings. Plus, you can use a variety of mains in them like shrimp, minced pork or veggies. We highly recommend serving them with a traditional Southeast Asian-style peanut sauce — it’ll bring just the right touch of hearty flavor to this summertime favorite.
Can a savory soup be refreshing? Allow us to highlight the miracle of gazpacho, a cold Spanish vegetable soup that pulls its weight (and then some) in any vegetarian or vegan summer meal. It’s crazy easy to make too — all you need are some fresh veggies and a blender. Most recipes recommend serving gazpacho with some lightly toasted bread, but it goes well with all kinds of sides, including calamari, pasta salad and numerous others.
- Poke Bowl
These sushi-esque bowls are a takeout staple for many people, but you can make them yourself for a fresh and tasty summer treat. Grab some sushi-grade tuna or salmon and some rice and greens for the base. Then, pile on avocado, edamame, shaved carrots, cucumbers, wasabi or just about anything else that strikes your fancy! For sauces, spicy mayo and soy sauce glaze are both popular options that also taste great together. If you’re serving a larger group, consider setting up a poke bar so guests can choose their own preferred ingredients.
- Corn Dogs
They may not exactly be a nutritional superfood, but it’s hard to deny the good-time appeal and crowd-pleasing excellence of a great corn dog. Plus, they’re extremely simple to make, as long as you’re comfortable frying in oil. Of course, dipping sauces are one of the best parts of a corn dog, so make sure to have ketchup and mustard available at the very least. If you’re in the mood to get creative, however, experimenting with some signature sauce creations can also yield some delicious results.
- Summer Pasta
Pasta doesn’t have to be heavy. When prepared right, it can easily be a light, summer-friendly dish! The secret is to focus on lighter ingredients and proper seasoning for tons of flavor without the density. Pesto pasta is a great starting point if you want to go for a zesty Italian flavor profile, or you can choose a pasta primavera for something a little creamier. You don’t even always need to make a true sauce; some olive oil, fresh veggies, melted butter and spices are often all you need.