I struggle with summertime… I’m constantly trying to regulate my body’s temperature which is basically a 24 / 7 battle (read more about my struggles, plus tips for staying cool here!). That being said, one of the things that I actually do enjoy about this time of year is the abundance of fruits and vegetables. I naturally prefer to have a mostly vegetarian diet, so this is a pretty ideal time of year for me from that perspective. It’s such a great time for cool salads, gazpacho, and fruit popsicles (always looking for ways to chill out – haha)! I’m sharing a roundup of some of my favorite recipes for dinners at home that would also make for great BBQ, picnic, or by-the-pool dishes. Any of these dishes could be made portable — these reusable containers are perfect for use in coolers, picnic baskets and tote bags.
Cocktails – These beverages are perfect for day-drinking
– Lightened Up Cocktail Classics
– Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri
– Frozen Aperol Spritz
– Smashed Berry Rosé Spritz
– Balsamic Peach Spritz
– Strawberry Gin Mojito
– Blackberry Champagne Mule
Panzanella Salad – Such a yummy way to repurpose stale bread (and we all know everyone’s been making hella sourdough in quarantine).
– Classic version
– Herb-Marinated Tomato
– Extra Greens
– Greek Salad with Ina’s Panzanella Twist
– Avocado Panzanella
– Peach, Burrata and Bacon Panzanella
– Savory Fruit Panzanella
Summer Squash & Halloumi Salad by local restaurant Cafe Flora which contains: shaved roasted squash, fresh peaches, grilled green beans, seared halloumi, arugula, and a citrus-mint “pesto” vinaigrette. So delicious!
Summer Fruits / Veggie Salad – Salads are the BEST part of summer dining.
– Classic Caprese
– Avocado Caprese Salad
– Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad
– Classic Summer Corn Salad
– Addicting Corn Salad
– Grilled Zucchini Salad
– Cucumber Tomato Salad (Vegan)
– Chickpea Salad (Vegan & Oil-Free)
– Cranberry Almond Broccoli Salad
– Peach Spinach Salad
– Berry Balsamic Salad
– Watermelon Salad
– Berry Fruit Salad
– Summer Fruit Salad with Mint + Honey Dressing
This Avocado Salad pictured above is easily one my favorite salads EVER and it’s from a local Seattle restaurant called Fiasco. I’m salivating just thinking about it! 😂 If you want to try making it at home, the ingredients are: avocado, frisée, basil, cucumbers, shallots, pepitas, crispy quinoa, orange zest, and champagne vinaigrette.
Salads with Protein – Heartier salads that could be used as a filling main.
– Classic Chicken Salad
– Lightened Up version 1 & version 2
– Southern Style
– Southwestern Style (Keto)
– Pineapple Chicken Salad
– Jalapeño Popper Chicken Salad
– Asian Chicken Salad (Vegan)
– Chicken Avocado Roasted Corn Salad
– Cole Slaw BBQ Chicken Salad
– Sesame Chicken Salad
– Crispy Buffalo Chicken Salad (Paleo, Keto, Whole30)
– Blackberry Chicken Salad
– Melon and Prosciutto Salad
Chilled Pasta Salad – I’ve never understood why these dishes are called “salads” since they’re the farthest thing from… maybe because they have salad dressing on them? At any rate, they’re a cool, delicious dish that can be used as either a main or a side.
– Pesto Caprese style
– Pesto Tuscan style
– Pesto twist
– Pesto Tortellini Salad
– Basil Lemon Pasta Salad
– Low-Carb Pesto Pasta Salad
– Mexican Streetcorn Pasta Salad
This bowl of gazpacho was one of many that I had while we were in Paris in September 2018 (this particular bowl was my favorite from when we had lunch at Ladurée Paris Royale). After walking around sightseeing all day it was nice to cool down with a bowl of gazpacho.
Gazpacho – I’m a HUGE fan of soup in general, and a chilled gazpacho is so perfect in the summertime.
– Cucumber Tomatillo
– “White” Gazpacho
– Roasted Tomato
– Creamy Corn Gazpacho (Vegan)
– Thai twist
Grilled Skewers / Kebabs – In two words: Grill. Heaven.
– Lemon Garlic Chicken
– Grilled Lemon Chicken
– Cilantro Lime Chicken
– Greek Style Chicken
– Rosemary Garlic Steak
– Grilled Brussel Sprouts
– Teriyaki Chicken
– Fajita Style Chicken
– Grilled Ratatouille
– Tandoori Grilled Chicken
– Maple Bourbon Shrimp
– Balsamic Grilled Vegetable Kebabs
– BBQ Pineapple & Tofu
– BBQ Chicken
I love a black bean burger. They’re so delicious and a great classic meat burger substitute because they’re so filling! If there’s a black bean burger on a menu, you can guarantee that I’ll be ordering it.
Black Bean Burgers
– Classic (Vegan!)
– Spicy Black Bean
– Cilantro Lime-Flavored
– Salsa Black Bean
– Avocado Black Bean
– Sweet Potato / Black Bean
– Jerk Sweet Potato / Black Bean
– Butternut Squash / Quinoa / Black Bean
– Spicy Lentil / Black Bean
– Quinoa / Black Bean
– Brown Rice / Black Bean
– Mushroom / Black Bean (Vegan / GF!)
– Tofu / Black Bean
– Beet / Black Bean
– Jalapeño Cheddar
– Jalapeño Popper-Stuffed
– Mediterranean Style
– Jamaican Style
– Teriyaki (Vegan!)
Sides – Side salad alternatives.
– Elote In A Cup!
– Corn & Tomato Salsa
– Black Bean and Corn Salad
– Parmesan Oregano Breadcrumb-topped Tomatoes
– Roasted Garlic Zucchini, Squash and Tomatoes
– Lightened Up Pineapple Coleslaw
– Grilled Zucchini with Balsamic Glaze
– Mango Jicama Slaw
Popsicles – I just ordered these popsicle molds and can’t wait to make all of these tasty treat recipes in them this summer!
– Classic Froyo Base (Customizable!)
– Classic All-Fruit Pops (Customizable!)
– Strawberry Cheesecake Froyo
– Orange Dreamsicle
– Peaches & Cream
– Cherry Creamsicle
– Coffee & Coconut Milk (Vegan!)
– Dole Whip Style
– Mint Chocolate Chip Froyo
– Creamy Coconut
– Lava Flow Style
– Coconut Cream & Vanilla Poptail (Boozy!)
– Margarita Poptail (Boozy!)
– Bahama Mama Poptail (Boozy!)
– Peach Sweet Tea Poptail (Boozy!)
– Strawberry Lemonade Poptail (Boozy!)
– Key Lime Poptail (Boozy!)
We don’t have a safe space for an outdoor grill, so I’ve been eyeballing this stovetop grill pan for our gas range as well as these stainless steel skewers. I’m looking forward to enjoying some yummy grilled items at home this summer… if we decide to get one I’ll definitely keep you posted on how we like it!
Do you have any favorite summer recipes? Feel free to link them in the Comments section below!
Happy grilling & stay cool!
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