50+ Easy Summer Dinner Ideas To Keep You Cool

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Summer is the perfect time to enjoy incredibly fresh tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, berries, and all the other veggies bursting with flavor you’ll find at your local farmers’ market. Here are 50+ easy summer dinner ideas that are quick to put together and will leave you time to chill!

Top view of a mediterranean quinoa salad with summer vegetables, one of many summer dinner ideas
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad from Gathering Dreams

Who says cooking in the summer needs to be hard and sweaty?

These easy summer dinner recipes are so simple to put together that they will give you enough time to chill by the pool while sipping a cool margarita – or some infused water if alcohol isn’t your thing!

These are perfect for cooking when it’s so hot outside that you feel like you can barely lift a finger. Let alone cook something in an oven!

5 tips for cooking dinner in the summer

Before you leave to cook your favorite summer dinner recipes, I want to share some tips that help me cook on a hot day.

My motto for summer recipes is that they have to be: simple, exciting, and lazy!

1. Don’t cook

Yep! That’s right. My number one tip is to avoid turning on the stove or the oven. There are so many delicious no-cook summer ideas that simply require chopping some ingredients together. Plus, by using raw fresh seasonal ingredients, you can make the best out of your local produce or any veggies you grow in your garden, like summer zucchini or heirloom tomatoes.

2. Keep it simple

Stick to recipes with a few fresh ingredients, and when you have to heat the stove, keep it to a minimum. Most seasonal ingredients like zucchini, corn, cucumber, or tomatoes require minimal cooking or no cooking at all.

3. Cook al fresco

And if you want something more exciting, how about cooking outside under the stars? Fire up the grill and cook some incredible bruschettas, burgers

4. Plan ahead

Do you prep work and heavy cooking in the cooler parts of the day (before the sun comes up or after it goes down). If you are making a pasta salad, cook your pasta in the morning and keep it in the fridge, ready to dress. Or boil your potatoes and let them cool for your evening meal.

5. Keep it light and exciting

The last thing you need in the summer is to eat heavy meals that will take hours to digest. But this doesn’t mean you need to eat boring salads every day. I eat mostly plant-based meals, but I never eat a boring green salad. It’s just not exciting enough. Make your meals fun with spiralized veggies, or add something fresh and filling like fruit, grains, and nuts.

And now, let’s get cooking! Or shall I say, cooling?

Also check 35 Dinner Ideas For Tonight that Are No Fuss, Big Flavor

50+ Easy Summer Dinner Ideas

Here are my favorite healthy recipes perfect for summer, filled with fresh ingredients and quick and easy to make!

More Favorite Summer Recipes

If you love these summer dinner ideas, make sure to check out these favorite summer recipes next:

There you have it!

Over 50 quick and easy summer dinner ideas that will help you survive the heat outside! Whether you are firing up the grill or simply looking for a light summer meal, I’ve got you covered!

A quinoa salad: one of the 50 easy summer dinner recipes in my favorite list of summer recipes!
4.80 from 5 votes
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50+ Easy Summer Dinners

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the incredibly fresh tomato, zucchini, peppers, and berries you'll find at the farmers' market. Here are 50+ easy summer dinner ideas that are incredibly simple to put together and will leave you time to chill! Here I am going to share my delicious Mediterranean Quinoa Salad recipe.
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Author: Sara Trezzi

Ingredients

Summer Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 can chickpeas - rinsed and drained (15 ounces)
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes - halved
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives - cut in half

Dressing:

Instructions

  • Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh colander. Combine it with 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Add half a teaspoon of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and let it cook for about 15 minutes until the quinoa has absorbed all the water. Remove from the heat, cover, and let it rest for 5 minutes to make it soft and fluffy.
  • Wash all the veggies, chop the red onion, cucumber, and yellow bell pepper into small chunks. Cut the cherry tomatoes and black olives in half. Drain the chickpeas and rinse them well. If using cooked chickpeas, you'll need around 1 1/2 cups.
  • While the quinoa cools a bit, prepare the dressing. Squeeze one lemon and finely chop the basil leaves. In a small bowl or a small jar, combine the extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, the juice of one lemon, and apple cider vinegar. Whisk or shake well until blended.
  • Add the quinoa to a serving bowl, then add the chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, red onions, cucumber, yellow bell pepper, and black olives and drizzle the dressing on top. Mix well, taste, and add more salt and pepper if needed.
  • If you have time, let it rest for 10 minutes before serving to allow the dressing to infuse the salad with its fresh summery taste.
  • This salad is great served at room temperature, or you can prepare it in advance and serve it chilled.

Did you make this recipe? Tag @gatheringdreams on Instagram. I want to see it!

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11 Comments

  1. TheFlowersPoint says:

    5 stars
    Very informative

  2. 5 stars
    Can’t wait to try these out! My wife and I just finished our spring cleaning (carpet cleaning, decluttering, power washing the deck, etc). It got me so excited for summer meals. Thank you for sharing your ideas!

  3. 5 stars
    Along with taste, vegetables also have numerous benefits.

  4. 4 stars
    I have been reading your blog for the past 1 year. All the recipes ideas are cool with the clear and cut of the detailed process explained in a good manner.

  5. Grilled Corn Tacos looks good. Sure will give it a try

  6. 5 stars
    Love these summer dinner ideas! Thanks so much for sharing!