32 Healthy Summer Dinner Ideas That Are Perfect for Hot Days

It's 5:00 and you're hungry and hot—here are some of the best summer dinner recipes you can put together in a flash.

A platter of chicken tacos on a table

Summer dinners shouldn't require a lot of stove or oven time. (Who wants to heat up their kitchen even more by baking something for an hour?)

But you don't have to look at that as a limitation—there are still tons of delicious and super-easy summer dinner ideas to explore that are full of flavor, use peak summer produce (hello, corn and tomatoes!), and let you get dinner on the table with minimal fuss and cooking time.

Add a few of these to your weekly menu to make dinnertime simpler.

Quick and Easy Summer Dinner Recipes

Let's face it—in the summer, you have better things to do than spend an hour over a hot stove. These easy summer dinners come together in no time flat.

Summer Tacos With Scallion-Peanut Relish
Jen Causey

Summer Tacos with Scallion-Peanut Relish

On those summer nights when you don't want to cook—aka every night—make these easy tacos that use rotisserie chicken as a base. All you need to do is quick-pickle carrots and daikon radish, make a quick flavorful sauce to dress the chicken, and mix some peanuts and herbs for a super easy relish. Given how simple this dish is to make, it's no surprise that it's ready to eat in just 25 minutes. Get the recipe.

Linguine with Cherry Tomato Sauce
Greg DuPree

Linguine with Cherry Tomato Sauce

This easy dinner recipe requires little chopping, minimal cooking—and results in a pasta dish that practically screams summer. Get the recipe.

Fancy tomato sandwiches on a wooden board displayed on a table with fruit juice and sunglasses.
Greg DuPree

Fancy Tomato Sandwiches

Fresh summer tomatoes are the show-stopping centerpiece of these tasty sandwiches, perfect for a light summer dinner. Get the recipe.

Speedy Pork Banh Mi Sandwich Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

Speedy Pork Banh Mi Sandwiches

While Banh Mi might seem intimidating to make, these speedy sandwiches are ready in just 30 minutes. You'll start by glazing the pork (just before roasting it), which adds flavor to the meat and helps keep it tender. Then, you'll make the quick-pickled vegetables and Sriracha mayo, both of which complete this classic Vietnamese meal. Get the recipe.

Gnocchi and Broccoli Sheet-Pan Dinner Recipe
Jennifer Causey

Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Broccoli

Not a fan of doing tons of dishes once the temperature rises? Try this sheet pan dinner, which features gnocchi, broccoli florets, onions, and pesto all baked on one dish. What we love about this recipe is that it's extremely adaptable. For a pizza-inspired version, use marinara sauce and mozzarella instead. You can also add cauliflower and some cooked Italian sausage to make this meal even more filling. Get the recipe.

Slow-Cooker Pulled-Pork Tacos
Kan Kanbayashi

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork Tacos

This make-ahead summer dinner takes just five minutes to pull together—and can simmer in your slow cooker while you're out having some summer fun. Get the recipe.

Salmon With Creamy Cucumber-Fennel Salad
José Picayo

Salmon with Creamy Cucumber Fennel Salad

Salmon is an easy weeknight dinner—especially when paired with this make-ahead salad. Get the recipe.

Homemade nachos recipes - Cheesy Chicken Nachos
Greg DuPree

Cheesy Chicken Nachos

Hey, it's summer—it's the perfect time to have something fun for dinner. This dish comes together in under 20 minutes, and is the perfect accompaniment to an outdoor movie night. Get the recipe.

Vegetarian Summer Dinner Ideas

Whether you're planning for Meatless Mondays (or for vegetarians everyday), these meat-free summer dinners are healthy and satisfying.

Linguine With Summer Vegetables and Goat Cheese
Gentl & Hyers

Linguine with Summer Vegetables and Goat Cheese

Use the best veggies from your garden or the farmer's market for this simple summer dinner—a crumble of goat cheese and walnuts finishes off the dish. Get the recipe.

Toasted Israeli Couscous With Corn and Herbs

Toasted Israeli Couscous with Corn and Herbs

Give your standard pasta salad recipe a break and make this more modern dish instead. It features a toasted couscous base and pairs juicy summer corn kernels with a showering of fresh herbs—think basil, chives, and dill—plus some caramelized onions for good measure. If you're headed to a summer picnic or potluck, this dish is bound to be a hit. Get the recipe.

Cool Southwestern Salad With Corn and Avocado
Con Poulos

Cool Southwestern Salad with Corn and Avocado

This vegan-friendly salad is even better when you use fresh-from-the-cob summer corn. Get the recipe.

Japanese Cabbage Pancake
Jennifer Causey

Japanese Cabbage Pancake

Savory pancakes for dinner? Yes, please. This Japanese dish, also known as okonomiyaki, has eggs like a frittata, but gets some added richness and body from sautéed cabbage and flour. Top the pancake with some Sriracha mayo and a Worcestershire-ketchup combo to give it some extra flavor. Get the recipe.

Watermelon Poke Bowls

Watermelon Poke Bowls

The Hawaiian classic dish gets a vegan-friendly tweak by using marinated watermelon in lieu of seafood. Get the recipe.

Vegetarian BLT With Shiitake Bacon
Caitlin Bensel

Vegetarian BLT with Shiitake Bacon

For a fast and easy summer dinner idea, try this vegetarian take on the classic sandwich. Get the recipe.

Stir-Fried Rice Noodles With Tofu and Vegetables
Christopher Baker

Stir-Fried Rice Noodles with Tofu and Vegetables

If you're going to cook, make it fast—and this tasty stir fry requires just a few minutes of cooking time. Get the recipe.

Vegetarian Tacos With Goat Cheese
Con Poulos

Vegetarian Tacos with Goat Cheese

The filling of these tasty tacos takes just under 10 minutes of cooking time—and you can sub in fresh corn if you have it for the perfect vegetarian summer dinner. Get the recipe.

Grilled Summer Dinner Recipes

Summertime is the perfect time to break out the grill—and these easy grilled summer dinner recipes help you avoid a hot kitchen (and a lot of cleanup). They're the perfect summer dinner ideas for hot days.

Open-face Grilled Turkey-Zucchini Burgers with chips on the side on a white plate
Caitlin Bensel

Grilled Turkey-Zucchini Burgers

Fire up the grill to make these healthy burgers, which consist of a combination of zucchini, lean ground turkey, and an egg. Garlic powder and cumin help flavor the burgers from within, while a honey mustard and mayo topping adds irresistible creaminess. Serve the burgers alongside sweet potato chips and you're good to go. Get the recipe.

Smoky Butterflied Chicken With Garlic-Mayo Tomatoes and Herbs
Gentl & Hyers

Smoky Butterflied Chicken With Garlic-Mayo Tomatoes and Herbs

Butterflying a chicken before grilling cuts the cooking time in half and almost guarantees a more succulent bird—making it easy to get dinner faster on a scorching summer day. Get the recipe.

Grilled Halloumi Salad

Grilled Halloumi Cheese Salad

Grilled cheese? Yes, please! This flavorful firm cheese can take the heat—and adds richness to a simple salad. Get the recipe.

Steak With Chimichurri Sauce
Charles Masters

Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

This entire dish (including the corn on the cob on the side) comes together on the grill—and flavorful chimichurri helps lighten up a meaty steak. Get the recipe.

Halibut With Grilled Eggplant Salad
Quentin Bacon

Halibut With Grilled Eggplant Salad

Since this recipe calls for you to grill the halibut and eggplant slices at the same time, it takes just 20 minutes to prepare. Both components of the meal get brushed with a soy sauce mixture, which adds a pop of flavor to this easy dinner. Get the recipe.

Grilled Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas
Alex Farnum

Grilled Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas

This light summer dinner comes together fast on the grill, thanks to rotisserie chicken and pre-shredded cheese. Get the recipe.

Sriracha Pork Chops with Smashed Cucumbers
Caitlin Bensel

Grilled Sriracha Pork Chops with Sesame Smashed Cucumbers

When it comes to grilling food, pork chops are often overlooked in favor of steak or chicken, but we're here to tell you they absolutely shouldn't be. Here, the pork chops are marinated in a spicy sesame-soy sauce, which adds flavor and helps tenderize the meat. What's more? The honey in the marinade helps give the chop a caramelized crust, which pairs perfectly with the side of vinegary cucumbers. Get the recipe.

Grilled Pizzas With Ricotta, Summer Squash, and Scallions
Jonny Valiant

Grilled Pizza with Ricotta, Summer Squash, and Scallions

Grill the veggies first, then cook the dough on the grill before you assemble these tasty, veggie-packed pizzas. Get the recipe.

Summer Salad Dinner Ideas

When the weather is really hot, salads make for perfect light summer dinners, since they're heavy on the veggies and other light ingredients.

Japanese-Style Shrimp Salad

Japanese-Style Shrimp Salad

Ditch your standard summer salad for this Japanese-inspired dish, which features crunchy romaine and cucumbers, juicy shrimp, healthy avocado chunks, and a creamy soy-mayo dressing. For an easy shortcut, you can always make this salad with pre-cooked shrimp, though we suggest poaching your own crustaceans using this simple method at least once. Get the recipe.

Watercress and Bean Salad With Almonds and Ricotta Salata
Anna Williams

Watercress and Bean Salad with Almonds and Ricotta Salata

Toss a few ingredients together for this perfect summer dish—a little crusty bread on the side makes it a meal. Get the recipe.

This pasta salad will satisfy all of your savory cravings. Get the recipe for Real Simple's Roasted Eggplant and Olive Pasta Salad.
Greg DuPree

Roasted Eggplant and Olive Pasta Salad

This Mediterranean-inspired salad makes a great picnic side—or can be a perfect summer dinner for a hot day. Get the recipe.

Eggplant Panzanella Recipe
Andrew Purcell

Eggplant Panzanella

A salad with bread as the main ingredient is a salad we can get behind. This dish includes cubes of deliciously toasty, grilled sourdough bread, eggplant slices, crunchy kale, fresh cherry tomatoes, and shaved Manchego cheese. The whole thing comes together courtesy of a bright, lemony vinaigrette. Get the recipe.

Steak and Blackberry Salad Recipe
Andrew Purcell

Steak and Blackberry Salad

Don't want to heat up your kitchen? Cook the hanger steak on your grill instead for this fast and easy summer dinner. Get the recipe.

Grilled Chicken and Pepper Salad Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

Grilled Chicken and Pepper Salad

Garlicky-herb-filled yogurt pulls double duty in this recipe, as both a marinade for the grilled chicken (keeping it flavorful and moist) and as a savory dressing that tops the entire meal. You'll also find plenty of greens, toasted torn pita pieces, charred mini peppers and red onion. What's not to love? Get the recipe.

Torn Pita and Eggplant Salad With Parsley and Green Tahini
Jennifer Causey

Torn Pita and Eggplant Salad with Parsley and Green Tahini

The broiler makes fast work of cooking the ingredients for this fresh, Mediterranean-inspired dinner salad. Get the recipe.

Nicoise Inspired Summer Salad
Caitlin Bensel

Nicoise-Inspired Summer Salad

This fresh take on the French classic calls for sugar snap peas in lieu of green beans, and smoked trout in place of tuna. It's an easy summer dinner recipe that comes together super quickly—especially if you have pre-cooked hardboiled eggs! Get the recipe.

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