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.

By Lisa Milbrand
July 15, 2021
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summer-dinners: sandwich
Credit: Greg DuPree

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.

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Lobster Rolls With Corn and Celery
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Lobster Rolls With Corn and Celery

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Using frozen lobster tails makes it much easier to pull together this summer dinner favorite. 

Linguine with Cherry Tomato Sauce
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Linguine With Cherry Tomato Sauce

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

Fancy Tomato Sandwiches
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Fancy Tomato Sandwiches

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

Tofu Banh Mi Sandwich with Pickles
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Tofu Banh Mi Sandwich With Pickles

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A tasty marinade gives tofu a punch of flavor—pair it with pickles and carrots for a satisfying crunch. 

Gnocchi With Summer Squash, Basil, and Feta
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Gnocchi With Summer Squash and Feta

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This simple summer pasta dish comes together in under a half hour—and you can use cauliflower gnocchi to make it a super-healthy summer dinner recipe. 

Slow-Cooker Pulled-Pork Tacos
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Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork Tacos

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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

Salmon With Creamy Cucumber-Fennel Salad
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Salmon With Creamy Cucumber Fennel Salad

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

Homemade nachos recipes - Cheesy Chicken Nachos
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Cheesy Chicken Nachos

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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.

Vegetarian Summer Dinner Ideas

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

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Linguine With Summer Vegetables and Goat Cheese
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Linguine With Summer Vegetables and Goat Cheese

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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. 

Chickpea, Arugula, and Pickled Carrot Salad
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Chickpea, Arugula, and Pickled Carrot Salad

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This flavorful summer dinner idea features quick-pickled carrots, a touch of feta, and za'atar spiced pita on the side.

Cool Southwestern Salad With Corn and Avocado
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Cool Southwestern Salad With Corn and Avocado

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

Lentil Fritter Pitas With Red Cabbage Slaw
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Lentil Fritter Pitas With Cabbage Slaw

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It takes just a few minutes to fry up these tasty fritters for dinner, which are perfectly balanced with a dollop of Greek yogurt. 

Watermelon Poke Bowl
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Watermelon Poke Bowls

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

Vegetarian BLT With Shiitake Bacon
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Vegetarian BLT With Shiitake Bacon

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

Stir-Fried Rice Noodles With Tofu and Vegetables
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Stir-Fried Rice Noodles With Tofu and Vegetables

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

Vegetarian Tacos With Goat Cheese
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Vegetarian Tacos With Goat Cheese

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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.

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.

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Asian Pork Burgers With Minted Watermelon
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Asian Pork Burgers With Minted Watermelon

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A touch of sriracha gives these pork burgers some heat—and the minted watermelon side salad helps cool things down. 

Smoky Butterflied Chicken With Garlic-Mayo Tomatoes and Herbs
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Smoky Butterflied Chicken With Garlic-Mayo Tomatoes and Herbs

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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. 

Grilled Halloumi Salad
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Grilled Halloumi Cheese Salad

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

Steak With Chimichurri Sauce
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Steak With Chimichurri Sauce

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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.  

Mussels and Clams With Chili-Lemon Oil
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Mussels and Clams With Chili-Lemon Oil

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Shellfish on the grill? Sure! Just like when you cook them on the stovetop or oven, they're done when they open their shells. (It takes less than 10 minutes!)

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Grilled Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas
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Grilled Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas

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

Grilled Pork Chops and Zucchini With Mango Salsa Recipe
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Grilled Pork Chops and Zucchini With Mango Salsa

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The summer garden staple plays the perfect supporting role for spiced pork chops in this summer dinner recipe. 

Grilled Pizzas With Ricotta, Summer Squash, and Scallions
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Grilled Pizza With Ricotta, Summer Squash, and Scallions

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

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.

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Lemony Shrimp Salad With Couscous
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Lemony Shrimp Salad With Couscous

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This simply satisfying (and healthy) summer dinner recipe uses precooked shrimp so you don't have to turn on the stove.  

Watercress and Bean Salad With Almonds and Ricotta Salata
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Watercress and Bean Salad With Almonds and Ricotta Salata

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

Roasted Eggplant and Olive Pasta Salad
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Roasted Eggplant and Olive Pasta Salad

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

BLT panzanella
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BLT Panzanella

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Just a few minutes of toasting in the oven helps keep the bread toasty in this tasty take on the traditional panzanella salad. (Consider it a deconstructed BLT.)

Steak and Blackberry Salad Recipe
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Steak and Blackberry Salad

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

Buffalo Tofu Salad
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Buffalo Tofu Salad

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This easy summer salad packs the heat with hot-sauce marinated tofu—then cools it off with a tasty blue cheese dressing. 

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

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

Nicoise Inspired Summer Salad
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Nicoise-Inspired Summer Salad

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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!