Easy Summer Dinners

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy light, refreshing meals that are both delicious and easy to prepare. In this blog post, we have compiled a list of 25 mouth-watering easy summer dinners. These recipes are not only budget-friendly but also packed with nutritious ingredients to keep you energised throughout the season. Let’s dive into these delightful summer dinner ideas!

Pasta Dinners

When in doubt or in a rush….pasta is the answer! Its ability to pair well with various flavours, sauces, and ingredients makes it the perfect canvas for countless dinner options. Whether you’re cooking for adults, children, or the whole family, pasta can be transformed into delicious, quick, and easy meals that everyone will love. These delectable pasta dinner ideas are guaranteed to tantalise your taste buds:

1. Spaghetti and Tuna

  • 1 ½ ripe medium tomatoes, cored and chopped into ½ inch pieces
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1 teaspoon red–wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli flakes
  • Himalayan salt
  • 350g spaghetti
  • 2 x 200g can tuna (in oil), drained

Instructions

  • Combine the tomatoes, oil, garlic, basil, vinegar and chilli in a large bowl.  Allow to marinade for an hour then remove the garlic clove.
  • Cook the pasta according to the instructions. Drain and reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water to use for the sauce.
  • Add the pasta to the bowl with the tomatoes.  Add tuna and the remaining oil.  Mix well.  Add pasta water as required to make a silky sauce. 
  • Serve with plenty of parmesan cheese and basil leaves.

2. Creamy Fettuccine Chicken Alfredo

  • 350g fettuccine pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ⅓ cup salted butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • 3 cups double (heavy) cream
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ¾ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp, garlic paste
  • 1 tsp himalayan salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • Fresh parsley to garnish

Instructions

  • Cook fettuccine according to package instructions.
  • Cook diced chicken breasts until browned.
  • Add garlic paste, heavy cream, chicken stock, and grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Stir until the sauce thickens and coats the chicken.
  • Toss the cooked fettuccine in the creamy sauce.
  • Season with salt and pepper, garnish with parsley and serve.

3. Satay Noodles

I came across this recipe by Eat With Clarity a few months ago and it has become a firm favourite at our house.

Ready in 15 minutes and packed with flavour, what’s not to like?!?

4. Lemon Pasta

  • 350g dried spaghetti
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 5 large garlic cloves minced
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes 
  • 1 large lemon juice and zest
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Himalayan salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese freshly grated

Instructions

  • Cook pasta according to instructions.  This should take roughly 8-10 minutes.
  • Towards the end of the pasta cooking time, heat the oil and butter in a pan.  When the butter starts bubbling slightly, add the garlic and chilli and cook for around 30 seconds.
  • Drain the pasta, reserving the cooking water as this will make your finished pasta silky. Add the drained pasta to the garlic and chilli together with ¼ cup of the reserved cooking water.  Stir well to coat the pasta with the sauce. 
  • If the pasta seems too dry, add some more cooking water.  Add this slowly – you can always add more but cannot take it away!
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and zest.
  • Serve with plenty of parmesan cheese

This pasta is delicious as it is but is also great with chicken, prawns or scallops.

5. Spaghetti and Chorizo

My second son Jamie is a VERY fussy eater.  He doesn’t like bits.  Green bits, orange bits, and red bits equals dinner time meltdown!  However, if he gets this for his dinner there is never a complaint unless there are no seconds that is.

  • 350g dried spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 large garlic cloves minced
  • 6-8 spicy chorizo rings, chopped into bite-sized pieces

Instructions

  • Cook pasta according to instructions.  This should take roughly 8-10 minutes.
  • Towards the end of the pasta cooking time, heat the oil in a pan and add the chopped chorizo.  Cook on medium heat until the chorizo is slightly crispy. Quickly cook the garlic for about 30 seconds
  • Drain the pasta and add to the chorizo and garlic.  Make sure you do not drain the oil in the pan.  This will give you a lovely sauce for the pasta. Stir to coat the pasta well with the oil.
  • Serve with plenty of parmesan cheese

6. Jamie Oliver’s Pregnant Jools’s Pasta

This pasta dish is incredibly easy to make, budget-friendly and absolutely delicious.  Another great thing about it is that since the veggies are all whizzed up in the food processor, picky eaters will not even notice they are there.  Get the recipe here.

7. Caprese Pasta Salad

  • 300g fusilli pasta
  • 240g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 240g mozzarella, cubed
  • ¼ cup fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic glaze
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according to instructions.  Drain, set aside and cool.
  • Combine the pasta, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil.
  • Drizzle with the oil and balsamic glaze.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Rice Dishes

Another pantry staple with which you can easily whip up some quick and tasty dinners which will be loved by the whole family. 

8. Teriyaki Chicken Stir-Fry

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup diced bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a bowl, marinate the chicken in teriyaki sauce for 15 minutes.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the marinated chicken and cook until browned and cooked through.
  • Add bell peppers, and carrots to the skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add cooked rice to the skillet and stir-fry until heated through.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

9. Prawn Fried Rice

  • 250g uncooked prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Heat vegetable oil in a large pan/wok over medium heat.
  • Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Push the garlic to the side and add beaten eggs to the pan. Scramble until cooked.
  • Add prawns, peas, and carrots to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add cooked rice and soy sauce to the pan. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

10. Pesto Prawn and Rice Salad

  • 1 cup uncooked prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup pesto sauce
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • 1 cup cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup pesto sauce
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

11. Mexican Rice Bowl

  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 1 cup cooked corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup diced red onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine cooked rice, black beans, corn kernels, tomatoes, red onions, and cilantro.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, chilli powder, salt, and pepper to make a dressing.
  • Drizzle the dressing over the rice mixture and toss to combine.
  • Serve the rice bowl at room temperature or chilled.

12. Coconut Prawn Curry with Basmati Rice

  • 1 cup uncooked prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cups cooked basmati rice
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup diced bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  • Heat vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  • Add onions and bell peppers to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in red curry paste and cook for another minute.
  • Add prawns and coconut milk to the pan. Simmer for 5-6 minutes.
  • Season with salt and sprinkle fresh cilantro on top.
  • Serve the prawns curry over basmati rice.

Wraps, Fajitas and Tacos

13. Chicken Fajitas

  • 400g Chicken breast, diced
  • 1 Red pepper, sliced
  • 1 Green pepper, sliced
  • 1 Yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 packet Discovery Fajita Mix
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Sour cream

Instructions

  • Marinade the chicken with the fajita mix whilst cooking the peppers and onions.
  • Cook the chicken and then add in the veggies.
  • Enjoy in a flour tortilla wrap with some cheese and sour cream.

14. Honey Chipotle Prawn Tacos with Mango Salsa

  • 450g uncooked prawns, peeled and deveined 
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Mango cucumber salsa:
  • 1 cup mango, chopped
  • 1 cup cucumber, chopped
  • 1 cup red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 8 small flour tortillas

Instructions

  • Mix all the salsa ingredients together and set aside whilst making the tacos.
  • Season the prawns with the chipotle,  garlic and salt.
  • Heat up a little olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat and fry the prawns (with the honey) for about 1-2 minutes on each side. They will turn from grey to pink once ready. 
  • Warm the tortillas in the microwave or on a griddle pan to add some cool-looking lines to the wrap.
  • Assemble and enjoy.

Salads/Veggies

15. Aubergine salad with chilli salsa

  • 700g aubergines
  • 1-2 spring onions, trimmed and julienned
  • 1 ½ tbsp ready roasted and salted almonds
  • 1 tbsp coriander, chopped
  • Flaked sea salt
  • 2 large red chillies
  • 140g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 ½ tsp sherry vinegar
  • 40 ml olive oil
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger

Instructions

  • For the salsa, place a frying pan on a high heat.  Once very hot, add the chillies and cook for around 10 minutes.  Be sure to turn a few times so that you get a nice charring on all sides.  Once ready, transfer to a small bowl and cover with a plate for 10 minutes to soften.  Deseed at least one of the chillies (but if you like your salads fiery, feel free to leave them in!) and chop finely.  Add to a bowl with the tomatoes, vinegar and a ¼ tsp of salt.  Stir together.
  • Add the olive oil, garlic and ginger to a frying pan and cook very gently for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.  If the oil starts to bubble, remove the pan from the heat until it cools as you do not want the garlic and ginger to burn.
  • Cut the aubergines into batons (about 7cm x 2cm).  Toss them together with 2 tablespoons of Himalayan salt in a large bowl.  Transfer the aubergines into a colander over a bowl of boiling water. Lower the heat to medium, cover the colander with foil or a lid and steam the aubergines for 20-25 minutes on or until soft but still holding their shape.
  • Drain the aubergines and add to a large plate or serving platter.  Drizzle over the remaining ½ tsp of vinegar and season with the remaining salt.  Add the spring onions and mix through before spooning over the chilli salsa and garlic and ginger oil.  Finally, scatter the almonds over the top of the salad

16. Watermelon and Feta Salad

  • 4 cups cubed watermelon
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • ¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic glaze
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Combine the watermelon, feta, mint and onion in a large bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic glaze.
  • Gently toss the ingredients to ensure that all the ingredients are covered in the dressing.
  • Season with salt and pepper

17. Strawberry and Walnut Salad

  • 150g mixed salad leaves
  • 1-pint strawberries
  • 120g grape tomatoes
  • 120g walnuts, chopped
  • 60g feta cheese, crumbled.

Instructions

  • Rinse the salad leaves and place them in a bowl.  
  • Slice or chop the strawberries and tomatoes and scatter over the salad leaves together with the walnuts and feta cheese.
  • Drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic glaze.

18. Grilled Peach and Arugula Salad

  • 4 ripe peaches, halved and pitted
  • 6 cups fresh arugula
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat a grill pan over a medium heat.  Grill the peach halves for 2-3 minutes on each side then allow to cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, combine the arugula, crumbed goats cheese and chopped walnuts.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Slice the peaches and add to the salad arugula. 
  • Finally, drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.

19. Mediterranean Hummus Platter

Arrange a variety of chilled hummus flavours on a platter and serve with carrot sticks, sliced peppers, pitta bread and olives.

You may be tempted to buy store-bought hummus but it is so easy (and cheap) to make your own.  For a basic hummus recipe, we love this one by Gimme Some Oven.

And, if you feel like jazzing things up a bit, check out these delicious hummus combinations.

Jalapeno Lime Hummus by Food Faith Fitness

Balsamic Caramelised Onion Hummus  by Once Upon a Cutting Board 

Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Hummus  by Easy As Apple Pie

Couscous

20. Spicy Couscous

  • 350g couscous
  • 400ml warm water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp butter
  • Large pinch of saffron threads
  • 115g blanched almonds
  • 115g unsalted pistachios
  • 1-2 tsp Ras el hanout
  • 115g dried dates, finely sliced
  • 115g dried apricots, finely sliced
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  • Add the couscous to a large bowl.
  • Stir salt into the water and pour over the couscous.  Cover and leave for 10 minutes.
  • Drizzle the olive oil over the couscous and fluff up the couscous with a fork.
  • Heat the butter in a pan and add the saffron, almonds and pistachios.  Cook for 1-2 minutes until the nuts start to brown.
  • Stir in the Ras el hanout, dates and apricots and cook for 2 minutes.  
  • Add the couscous and mix well, heating through thoroughly.
  • Sprinkle the cinnamon over the couscous and serve.

21. Summer Minty Couscous

  • 350g couscous
  • 400ml warm water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh, flat leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
  • 15g butter
  • ½ preserved lemon, finely chopped

Instructions

  • Add the couscous to a large bowl.
  • Stir salt into the water and pour over the couscous.  Cover and leave for 10 minutes.
  • Drizzle the olive oil over the couscous and fluff up the couscous with a fork.
  • Heat the butter in a pan and add the spring onions.  Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Mix into the couscous together with all the chopped herbs and sliced preserved lemon

Summer Soups

22. Gazpacho 

For a delicious gazpacho recipe be sure to give this version a go:

  • 1250g tomatoes
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons Himalayan salt
  • 4 tablespoons good quality olive oil
  • 8 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  • Blend all the ingredients except the oil in a liquidiser.  Then slowly add the oil and a bit of water if the soup needs thinning down a bit.

23. Chilled Cucumber and Avocado Soup

  • 2 large cucumbers, peeled and diced
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh mint to garnish

With zero cooking involved other than blending or chilling, this is another extremely easy recipe to have in your summer menu. Simply combine cucumbers, avocados, Greek yogurt, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, and vegetable broth and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and chill for at least an hour before serving.

24. Watermelon and Pepper Soup

  • 4 cups diced seedless watermelon
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional toppings: crumbled feta cheese and extra basil leaves

Blend all the ingredients except the basil leaves and feta in a blender and blend until smooth. Chill for at least half an hour before adding crumbled feta cheese and serving.

25. Chilled Pea and Mint Soup

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Saute the onion and garlic in a large pot until soft.
  • Bring the peas and vegetable broth to a boil and then continue to simmer for five minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and add the mint leaves
  • Blend until smooth once cooled.
  • Add the yoghurt and then refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Have a stress free summer

We hope these 25 quick, easy and delicious meals will make your summer dinners stress-free. Check out our blog posts on BBQ starters, mains and desserts for more fabulous summer meal ideas.

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