It's Not Summer Until You Try Your Hand at These Fresh Recipes

Updated 09/04/19

The First Mess 

Fresh produce, tangy flavors, and aromatic ingredients define the summer season. As soon as the weather starts to warm up, it’s time to trade in hearty soups and rustic pasta for fruity salads and playful tacos. It’s also time to start enjoying food al fresco by serving dinner outside on the patio or packing a picnic for the park or the beach.

Each season is a chance to start fresh with new and exciting recipes. Ahead, take note of some of the best summer recipes around. They’re healthy, satisfying, and bursting with unexpected flavors. Think spicy jackfruit tacos, artichoke pesto and burrata pizza with lemony arugula, vegetable tofu skewers with blueberry barbeque sauce, and honey mustard salmon—just to name a few. Try your hand at these delectable summer recipes while the weather is hot.

Asparagus and Brie Quiche

Asparagus and Brie Quiche
Half Baked Harvest 

The Hero Ingredient: Wedges of brie cheese give a rich flavor and creamy texture to this summer recipe. It blends beautifully inside a simple sesame crust filled with eggs, milk, Greek yogurt, asparagus, and fresh herbs like thyme, basil, and dill.

Pro Tip: Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest points out that this recipe can easily be made in advance so you can host a summer party in a snap.

Why We Love It: Nothing says warm weather quite like an asparagus and brie quiche. The final result is a light and savory vegetarian dish perfect for the season.

Honey Mustard Salmon With Summer Vegetable Salad

Honey Mustard Salmon
The Modern Proper 

The Hero Ingredient: A simple, homemade mustard sauce is the hero ingredient of this summer meal. It's made with stone ground mustard, honey, garlic, and smoked paprika.

Pro Tip: "I like to use both yellow summer squash and zucchini for color in this honey mustard salmon dish, but you can use either one solo with equally great results in this recipe," Holly Erickson of The Modern Proper explains.

Why We Love It: You can whip up this honey mustard salmon and summer vegetable salad for dinner any night of the week. The recipe is easy to pull off and is full of fresh summer flavors. Simply prepare the salmon on the grill or in the oven in less than 30 minutes to go along with a raw zucchini and summer squash salad.

Spicy Vegan Jackfruit Tacos

Spicy Jackfruit Tacos
Minimalist Baker

The Hero Ingredient: If you haven’t already been introduced to the magical ability of jackfruit to disguise itself as meat, you need to try this recipe. The fruit is definitely the star of this vegan dish.

Pro Tip: "The key to this recipe is infusing tons of flavor, adding enough moisture on the front end so the jackfruit 'marinates' while cooking, and then turning up the heat near the end so you get a bit of a caramelized effect," Dana Shultz writes on her food blog Minimalist Baker.

Why We Love It: Besides the fact that these tacos are a healthy, vegan twist on classic summer food, the best part about this recipe is that it calls for just one pot. All you have to do is add ingredients like chopped jackfruit, onion, lime, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and spices to a pot on the stove. Once your filling is done cooking use it to fill corn or flour tortillas and top with shredded red cabbage, cilantro, and lime wedges.

Roasted Chicken Gyros With Tzatziki and Feta Fries

Roasted Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki and Feta Fries
Half Baked Harvest 

The Hero Ingredient: Roasted chicken is the main attraction of this Greek recipe. It's marinated in yogurt and served up in a warm pita along with tzatziki, pickled onions, radish, and lettuce.

Pro Tip: According to Gerard, leftovers from this dish work great in the salad the next day.

Why We Love It: Why head out for gyros when you can make them at home? These roasted chicken gyros make for a great summer recipe. Oh, and don’t forget the homemade feta fries on the side made with russet potatoes, olive oil, garlic, oregano, cayenne pepper, and feta cheese.

Deconstructed Sushi Bowls

Deconstructed Sushi Bowls
Wu Haus

The Hero Ingredient: Sesame oil gives this deconstructed sushi bowls the flavor you'd expect from the traditional Japanese dish.

Pro Tip: If you want to keep this dish vegetarian, Alison Wu of Wu Haus suggests swapping smoked salmon for tofu.

Why We Love It: A fun play on traditional sushi, these bowls are a unique recipe to try while the weather is warm. You’ll start by preparing sushi rice with rice vinegar and black sesame seeds. Then, you’ll gather toppings, including smoked salmon, avocado, radishes, arame ginger kraut, Japanese cucumber, scallions, and toasted nori. Finally, the bowls are completed with a drizzle of sesame oil and tamari.

Mediterranean Turkey Burger

Mediterranean Turkey Burger
The Modern Proper 

The Hero Ingredient: Instead of red meat, the recipe calls for lean, ground turkey which you’ll form into patties and season with oregano, garlic, onion, parsley, and cumin for flavor.

Pro Tip: "If you are looking for an even lower calorie dish, we recommend wrapping your burger in lettuce," Erickson writes. "Skipping the bun in favor of the 7% fat content will be the best flavor decision you’ve ever made," she continues.

Why We Love It: One of the best summer recipes of all time is a good burger. Upgrade your usual barbeque fare with these Mediterranean turkey burgers. Along with healthy turkey meat, it calls for a homemade tzatziki sauce to top your cooked patties along with lettuce, tomato, and feta.

Summer Vegetable and Tofu Skewers With Blueberry Barbecue Sauce

Summer Vegetable and Tofu Skewers with Blueberry Barbecue Sauce
The First Mess 

The Hero Ingredient: Blueberries are a summer essential and that’s just one reason why this recipe for vegetable and tofu skewers is perfect for the season. The star of this recipe is definitely the blueberry barbecue sauce.

Pro Tip: "Extra firm tofu is my protein of choice here, but I think some lightly steamed tempeh pieces would also be great," Laura Wright of The First Mess points out.

Why We Love It: The skewers come together with cubes of tofu, bell peppers, zucchini, peaches, and red onion. Once the blueberry barbecue sauce has thickened on the stove, it’s time to brush it on top of the skewers on the grill. It's a bright, colorful dish that looks and tastes like summer.

Avocado, Broad Beans, and Goat’s Cheese Salad

Avocado, Broad Beans, and Goat’s Cheese Salad
Stuck In the Kitchen 

The Hero Ingredient: While the focus of this healthy summer salad is definitely the greens, the hero of this dish is really the buffalo mozzarella cheese. It gives the dish a fresh, cool flavor to balance out the rest of the ingredients.

Pro Tip: Sarah Tuck of Stuck In the Kitchen recommends pairing this dish with a main course of salmon.

Why We Love It: No summer menu would be complete without a fresh, green salad. Try your hand at this recipe for a salad brimming with broad beans, peas, baby watercress, avocado, buffalo mozzarella, feta, and mint leaves. Top it off with a drizzle of lemony dressing, a sprinkle of dukkah, and just a shake of chili flakes.

Artichoke Pesto and Burrata Pizza With Lemony Arugula

Artichoke Pesto and Burrata Pizza with Lemony Arugula
Half Baked Harvest 

The Hero Ingredient: Pesto provides the dominant flavor of this summer pizza recipe. It's light, zingy, and just the thing to complement the dollops of burrata cheese and lemony arugula leaves.

Pro Tip: While Gerard notes that you can use another cheese like mozzarella instead of the burrata, she recommends sticking to the recipe and going for the burrata. It will make all the difference.

Why We Love It: This homemade pizza is perfect for serving a crowd this summer. Top homemade or store-bought pizza dough with pesto, olives, spinach, and artichokes and give it a quick bake before adding the rest of the vibrant ingredients and popping it in the oven one more time.

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