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A quinoa salad: one of the 50 easy summer dinner recipes in my favorite list of summer recipes!
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5 from 1 vote

Easy Summer Dinner Ideas

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 mins
Course: Main Course
Author: Sara @ Gathering Dreams


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



  • 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.


Tips to Cook Easy Summer Dinner Ideas

1. Don't cook: Avoid turning on the stove or the oven! There are so many delicious no-cook summer ideas that simply require chopping some ingredients together.
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 your prep work and heavy cooking in the cooler parts of the day (before the sun comes up or after it goes down).
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. Make your meals fun with spiralized veggies, or add something fresh and filling like seasonal fruit, grains, and nuts.