What Is Your Favorite Easy Summer Meal?
Real Simple readers share their cool warm-weather recipes.
I spoon quick-cooking couscous onto a platter and sprinkle it with chopped nuts and raisins. Then I season sliced yellow and green squash, tomatoes, and a few pieces of striped bass with salt and pepper, grill them, and rest them on the couscous. Finally, I whisk together olive oil, shallots, parsley, salt, and red pepper flakes and drizzle the mixture over the whole dish.
Arlene Stewart Damiba
New York, New York
I set up a salad bar: lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, deli meat, shredded cheese, olives, nuts. Everyone makes their own mix.
My version of a shrimp cocktail. It’s cool, healthy, and quick. You can buy the shrimp already cooked and chilled. I eat mine in a “soup” of cold tomato juice: chopped onion, tomato, jalapeño, and avocado, and a big dollop of cocktail sauce. Serve with Parmesan crostini and a lime wedge on the side.
I put together an easy seafood seviche. Gently poach some scallops and shrimp, then toss them into a marinade of orange juice, lime juice, finely chopped red onion, red pepper flakes, and salt. Refrigerate about 3 hours, uncovered, then scoop into bowls and sprinkle with cilantro.
New York, New York
Our family’s go-to summer dinner is the BLT. We use extra-thick bacon; huge, juicy tomatoes; romaine lettuce; hearty whole-wheat bread; and a little mayo.
Overlook Park, Kansas
Summer is all about boiled lobster, with lemon, melted butter, new potatoes, and fresh corn. These are the joys of living in New England!
South Weymouth, Massachusetts
Nothing tastes better than a grilled pizza with ripe garden-grown tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil. I use prepackaged dough, pop it on the grill for about three minutes, flip it over, and add the ingredients. I just wait for the cheese to melt and it’s ready.
My family loves to make kebabs with pineapple, red pepper, red onion, and shrimp. During a quiet moment earlier in the day, I chop and prep everything, have my kids help skewer the pieces (I tell them to make pretty patterns on the skewers), and refrigerate them. When we’re ready to eat, all I have to do is place the skewers on the grill while some rice steams and a quick, colorful summertime dinner is ready.
Ellicott City, Maryland
Clams on the barbecue! We get bunches of littlenecks and toss them on a heated grill. When they open, they’re done. You can eat them dipped in cocktail sauce or melted butter, or just plain. Simply add some pasta or a salad and you’ve got a meal.
Sayville, New York
When it’s too hot to cook, my work is done with just five little words: “Honey, get out the barbecue.”
I buy goat cheese and crusty bread, then set them out on a wooden cutting board with a good rosé and a bunch of cold grapes.
My easiest summer meal? A tortilla filled with chopped green and red peppers, cucumbers, and cilantro; a few spoonfuls of roasted-garlic hummus; and crumbled Feta cheese. The vegetables are cool and crunchy, and the hummus adds protein.
Oak Park, Illinois
Smoothies with blueberries, strawberries, low-fat yogurt, and orange juice are the best way to cool off―and get a little energy boost.
Stockton, New Jersey
I keep homemade pesto cubes in the freezer. When I don’t feel like cooking, I boil pasta, then throw in a few cubes. Add a salad of sweet tomatoes and some fresh bread from the farmers’ market and we have a meal.
Margaret O’Neil Nosti
I mix cooked pasta with toasted pine nuts, olive oil, chopped garlic, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. You can top it with herbs from your garden, and it goes great with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
Go Greek. Pick up pitas, Feta, kalamata olives, tomatoes, hummus, and red onions. Make tzatziki out of yogurt, cucumber, and mint. Marinate chunks of chicken, stick them on skewers, and grill until done. Serve on a bed of orzo, and use the pitas to dip into the hummus and the tzatziki.
I love Cowboy Caviar, a flavorful and colorful vegetarian dish made with black beans, avocado, cumin, green onions, tomatoes, and corn. Dress it with some garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper.
Saint Joseph, Michigan
My family makes banana splits instead of a meal. Scoops of chocolate and vanilla ice cream, bananas, nuts, whipped cream―the works. You can’t help but stay cool with a smile on your face.
Shasta Lake, California
Sometimes my husband and I will have milk shakes for dinner. We feel like kids getting away with something naughty!
Try quick and easy Real Simple summer recipes.