12 Light Summer Meals That are Easy to Make
It’s summer: the days are longer, the temperatures higher, and the foods you’re craving are a little different than the ones you want in the dead of winter. Summer’s uptick in heat might come with a quick downshift in your motivation to spend time in the kitchen; after all, you have some quality hours of sunshine to take advantage of!
The perfect summer meal has three key components: a combination of satisfying and refreshing ingredients; a recipe that is easy to make (and doesn’t require you to turn on the oven); and a dish that is portable and shareable for an outdoor gathering with friends and family.
If you are looking for light eats to make for yourself or an event, here are some of our favorite recipes to fuel your summer adventures.
Salads are a classic summertime meal, and they are the perfect side or main dish in warm weather. With a mix of raw and cooked ingredients, these clean eating staples are great for lunch or dinner.
Caprese Pasta Salad
Caprese salad is a great vegetarian-friendly option that has just a few simple ingredients: sliced tomato, mozzarella, fresh basil, salt, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic. If you’re catering for a crowd, this caprese pasta salad takes only 15 minutes to prepare and packs great for a picnic.
Grilled Thai Beef Salad
You’ll feel like a true professional chef (and impress your dinner companions) with this grilled Thai beef salad. The fresh herbs make all the difference.
Buckwheat Soba Noodle and Red Cabbage Salad
This inventive soba noodle salad provides a filling (but not overwhelming) complement to any meal. Adjust the amount of sauce and amp up the nutrients by adding your favorite shredded veggies.
Fire up the grill and cook up some of your favorite ingredients in a way you can’t always have in the winter. We love that grilling is friendly to plant-based eaters and omnivores alike; so don an apron and head outdoors to cook up these summertime favorites.
Portobello Burger with Pesto, Provolone, and Peppers
Instead of heavy beef burgers, make these juicy portobello and pesto burgers. They’re a little lighter and packed with flavor.
Salmon with Apple-Walnut Crust and Roasted Broccolini
Recreate the feeling of being on a beach vacation by grilling this delicious salmon with a smokey spice rub.
Grilled Buttermilk Chicken Kebabs and Broccoli Salad
Line up some lean meat and veggie cubes on a wooden skewer and your dinner just got exponentially more fun! Try these paleo-friendly chicken kebabs made from scratch with buttermilk, allspice, paprika, and a broccoli salad on the side.
Light Summer Meals for Entertaining a Crowd
If you’re looking for inspiration for entertaining a larger group of people, consider these light and nourishing summer dinners that are sure to impress.
Tacos For All!
Outdoor dining begs for tacos, so try these grilled shrimp and caesar tacos or shredded pork and pineapple tacos.
Lobster Two Ways
Recreate your favorite childhood trips to the ocean with a healthier, light lobster rolls for your next summertime gathering. Looking for lobster sans bread? This gluten-free lobster quinoa salad with corn is the perfect substitution.
Healthy No-Bake Desserts
A summertime meal isn’t complete without dessert! These desserts pack up great in a food storage container to-go; and they don't require an oven to make, so you can stay cool in the kitchen.
Strawberry Coconut Blondie Balls
Fuel your warm-weather adventures with these easy, not-too-sweet strawberry coconut blondie balls.
Cookie Dough Bars
Not all cookies have to be baked, and these gluten-free cookie dough bars are proof that no-bake cookies can be just as delicious as their cooked cousins.
When it comes to eating clean, summertime might just be the best season for it. A plethora of in-season ingredients can help the warmest months be some of the most delicious. PlateJoy can help you plan your summertime meals with a wide variety of custom meal plans that are perfect for every preference – and tons of ideas that involve little or no cooking. Check out some simple ideas for healthy meal planning and get inspired by more of our favorite shareable recipes.