11 Summer Recipes That Make Outdoor Entertaining Easier Than Ever

Summer is no time to be tied to the stove, so we rounded up some of our most delicious low-maintenance recipes the whole family will love.

Summer Entertaining Recipes

These easy-to-make meals will give you more time for what really matters: sipping wine, watching the sunset, and spending time outside with your family. We've included a range of recipes for every palate—kids and adults alike will love these chicken skewers, springy salads, salsa cornbread, seared lamb burgers, s'mores packets, and more. Serve these simple recipes at your backyard barbecue or whip them up after work for an easy weeknight dinner. Less time spent slaving away in the kitchen means more time with your loved ones (or your new book).

01 of 11

Chicken Skewers With Almond Couscous and Kale

Greg DuPree

Here's a quick chicken dinner that's great for a dinner party. To serve family style: arrange the charred kale and couscous on a platter with the skewers piled on top. (Any chicken drippings will be welcome on the pilaf.) Before cooking off the skewers, you'll marinate the chicken, ensuring every bite is juicy, tender, and flavorful. Pay homage to the Moroccan-inspired flavors by serving fresh mint tea alongside dessert. Shopping tip: Lacinato kale is sometimes called dinosaur or Tuscan kale. In a pinch, curly kale will work, but lacinato's flat leaves make grilling easier.

Get the recipe: Chicken Skewers With Almond Couscous and Kale

02 of 11

Roasted Eggplant and Olive Pasta Salad

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

Who doesn't love pasta salad? Salty olives and feta cheese combined with fresh tomatoes, chewy pasta, and tender cubes of roasted eggplant make this the perfect satisfying and healthy lunch or dinner. The longer it sits, the more the flavors meld together, so make extra and eat well all week long!

Get the recipe: Roasted Eggplant and Olive Pasta Salad

03 of 11

Spring Green Salad with Avocado and Herbs

Greg DuPree

This simple salad recipe proves that a fresh-tasting hearty plate of greens and mix-ins can be part of a delicious dinner that the whole family will love. The base is romaine lettuce hearts—the crispiest of lettuces—with chopped cucumber, snap peas, and edamame mixed in. Add in chives and mint from the garden, plus pistachios for crunch and it's pretty much a perfect salad. The dressing's a creamy avocado and yogurt situation with a Caesar-esque twist. If anchovies freak your kiddos out, you can skip them and just season the dressing to taste with salt.

Get the recipe: Spring Green Salad with Avocado and Herbs

04 of 11

Peel and Eat Shrimp With Butter and Herbs

Peel and Eat Shrimp With Butter and Herbs
Victor Protasio

Cook 2 lb. unpeeled jumbo shrimp in a large pot of boiling salted water until pink and just cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Toss with 6 Tbsp. melted butter and cup chopped fresh herbs (we like a mix of chives and parsley). Serve with lemon wedges and a lot of napkins.

05 of 11

Salsa Cornbread Muffins

Antonis Achilleos

Here's a clever way to upgrade a standard box mix of cornbread. Jarred salsa and a spicy hit of pickled jalapeños add just the right amount of heat without going too far. And while salsa isn't a classic cornbread batter ingredient, it's a welcome one. It makes the texture epically moist, plus, the bits of vegetables in the salsa add a nice texture. If you want to take the spice even further, sub pepper jack cheese for the Monterey Jack cheese. Serve with BBQ or alongside chili.

Get the recipe: Salsa Cornbread Muffins

06 of 11

Spring Vegetable Pasta With Pistachios

Victor Protasio

If you don't already use this method for making pasta at home, it's time to add it to your weeknight repertoire. It's simple, just save a cup of starchy pasta water, which you'll use to thicken the vegetable pan sauce. The result is a creamy, restaurant-worthy sauce. And, while there are a lot of vegetables involved—a whole bunch of asparagus as well as chopped zucchini, this hearty dish will also satisfy your inner carb monster. To finish it off is a cornucopia of flavorful garnishes, including earthy pistachios, fragrant lemon zest, salty Parmesan, and peppery basil leaves. Time-saving tip: Start the pasta water right away, then chop the vegetables.

Get the recipe: Spring Vegetable Pasta With Pistachios

07 of 11

Greek Lamb Burgers with Baked Eggplant Fries

Greg DuPree

This delicious burger recipe is a simple upgrade to the typical beef variation. The patties are a mixture of lamb, feta, and onion, topped with a cucumber-and-onion yogurt sauce. Alongside, are crispy eggplant fries. The key to the coating on these crispy on the outside and tender on the inside fries, is a bath in frothed egg whites and then a toss in panko, or Japanese breadcrumbs. It's easy, but with complex flavors—the best kind of entertaining recipe.

Get the recipe: Greek Lamb Burgers with Baked Eggplant Fries

08 of 11

Eggplant Caviar

Eggplant Caviar
For a fun alternative to salsa or hummus, serve this dip made from roasted eggplant, onion, garlic, and parsley. Get the recipe: Eggplant Caviar. Ditte Isager

For a fun alternative to salsa, guacamole, or hummus, serve this dip made from roasted eggplant, onion, garlic, and parsley.

Get the recipe: Eggplant Caviar

09 of 11

Salted Pineapple-Lime Granita

Victor Protasio

A great dessert hits many different flavor notes. Case in point: this refreshing granita recipe. You've got your sweet and floral pineapple, a tart spike of lime, and a fiery ginger syrup to tie it all together. If you've never had a granita, think of it like a grown-up snow cone. The key is to let the mixture freeze and then rake it with a fork to create melt-in-your-mouth icy flakes. The next step is cueing up hot summer night, beach, or fun barbecue to enjoy your frosty treat.

Get the recipe: Salted Pineapple-Lime Granita

10 of 11

S'more Packets

S’more Packets
Victor Protasio

Toss 8 graham crackers with 8 large marshmallows and 4 1-oz. chocolate bars broken into pieces. Divide mixture among 4 large pieces of aluminum foil. Seal packets and throw on a roaring campfire or hot grill or in a 400°F oven until chocolate melts, 5 to 10 minutes. The hardest part is eating just one!

11 of 11

Easy Iced Fruit Pops

Easy Iced Fruit Pops
Victor Protasio

Divide chopped fruit (such as strawberries, cherries, kiwis, and blackberries) among 4-oz. ice pop molds. Fill each mold with lemonade or lemon-lime soda. Insert ice pop sticks and freeze until firm.

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