As much as we love the leafy spinach, hearty artichokes, and crunchy sugar snap peas that fill the produce aisle in spring, summer produce is where it's at. Every year, we not-so-patiently await the arrival of colorful tomatoes, juicy stone fruits, and subtly sweet corn in our local markets. Once we spot summer squash at the grocery store, we know grilling season has officially arrived.
Even though we love the bounty of fresh ingredients at our fingertips come June, we're of the mindset that warm weather recipes should be simple. Everyone wants to spend less time chopping vegetables in the kitchen and more time lounging outside, right? So in search of summer dinner ideas that require minimal prep, we turned to some of our favorite foodies for seasonal recipes that don't require a ton of work. Keep scrolling to pin the ones we're keeping on constant rotation through September.
Grilled Zucchini Stuffed With Tomatoes and Orzo
The Pro Tip: While this recipe is on the lighter side, you can easily add a protein to transform it into a filling dinner. "If you wanted to bulk up the protein, you could add a side of grilled chicken, beef, or even some chickpeas for a vegetarian option," suggests recipe creators Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest.
The Clincher: Cubed feta cheese lends a briny, salty flavor to the dish that pairs well with both the char on the grilled zucchinis and the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes.
Spicy Corn and Peaches With Burrata
The Seasonal Ingredients: Brimming with grilled corn, sweet peaches, spicy peppers, and fresh basil, this recipe is filled with summer flavors.
The Pro Tip: "My secret to this salad is simple, grill some of the corn, but leave one ear raw for a nice burst of sweetness with every single bite," reveals recipe creator Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest. "I love mixing [raw corn] with grilled corn to give a dish a mix of flavors and textures."
The Clincher: Top with creamy burrata and a drizzle of olive oil just before serving to balance out the spiciness of the dish.
Chimichurri Steak Salad
The Seasonal Ingredients: The salad component of this recipe, comprised of charred corn, peppery arugula, and fresh herbs, is heavy on bright summer produce.
The Pro Tip: Before roasting, recipe creator Sarah of Broma Bakery recommends searing the steak first for optimal results. "Carefully place steak in a pan and cook for 1 minute on each side, creating a nice, even char," she suggests. "Sear steak around the edges, as well, to seal in all the juices and flavor."
The Clincher: Creamy cotija cheese crumbled over the top of the salad offers a nice complement to the garlicky bite of the chimichurri sauce.
Heirloom Tomato Carpaccio
The Seasonal Ingredients: As you've probably guessed based on the name, this recipe is simply made up of fresh, thinly sliced tomatoes.
The Pro Tip: Recipe creator Sarah of Broma Bakery recommends heading to your local farmers market for the most flavorful heirloom tomatoes. To really let the produce shine, Sarah tops the juicy fruit with crunchy pistachios, creamy burrata cheese, and a few other simple ingredients.
The Clincher: A drizzle of balsamic glaze and a sprinkle of salt and pepper elevates the flavors of the heirloom tomatoes without overpowering them.
Blackened Salmon Caprese Skewers
The Seasonal Ingredients: Featuring cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and blackened salmon, this recipe is pretty much the definition of an easy summer dinner.
The Pro Tip: Jessica of How Sweet Eats recommends cooking the salmon before building these skewers, as she did when creating this recipe. "I didn't want the cheese melty or the tomatoes bursting—and I really didn’t want to torch my fresh basil!—because that would defeat the purpose of easily serving these," she explains.
The Clincher: A generous drizzle of balsamic glaze puts the finishing touch on these salmon caprese skewers.
Romaine Taco Boats
The Seasonal Ingredients: Romaine lettuce boats filled with creamy avocado, sweet cherry tomatoes, and thinly sliced red cabbage are topped with homemade beet hummus in this recipe, which is about to become a seasonal favorite.
The Pro Tip: Recipe creator Dana of Minimalist Baker notes that this no-cook recipe doesn't require any heat, making it perfect for those summer nights that are just too hot to turn on the oven.
The Clincher: Don't skip the tahini sauce, which adds just the right amount of creaminess to this fresh summer dinner.
Cherry Chicken Salad With Creamy Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
The Seasonal Ingredients: This recipe is filled with sweet yet tangy cherries, which are summer staples if you ask us.
The Pro Tip: The dressing is worth the extra effort. While the seasonal ingredients shine, it's the creamy poppy seed vinaigrette that steals the spotlight in this recipe. "It’s lightly creamy and tangy with a little texture from the poppy seeds," confesses recipe creator of Spoon Fork Bacon.
The Clincher: The thinly sliced avocado lends a creamy texture while the crumbled feta cheese adds a slight saltiness to this salad.
Looking for more summer-ready recipes? Up next, these mint cocktails are so good they'll transport you to a white-sand beach.