The 40 Best Summer Dinner Ideas

Thinking of what to make for dinner on a summer evening can be an arduous task. It’s hot, you may have had a long and stressful day at work, and the last thing you want to do is think about what to make for dinner!

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Thankfully for you, we’ve had a look at the easiest and tastiest dishes to serve up during the summer months which will appeal to the whole family. 

The 40 Best Summer Dinner Ideas

From traditional salads to fiery zucchini dishes, we have covered all bases to create light and easy summer dishes that will impress even the fussiest of eaters. Not only that, many of the meals listed are no-cook or one-skillet meals for convenience and quick and easy cooking.

With our list below, eating delicious and easy meals during the summer months will be quick and painless. In fact, you will probably be spoilt for choice!

So let’s get started on our comprehensive list of 40 of the best summer dinner ideas to suit the whole family. Ready, Steady, Cook!

1. Shrimp Scampi With Zoodles

Spiralizing zucchini is a great alternative to traditional pasta and will not only cut your carbohydrate intake but enhance your vegetable quota. 

Seasoned with a range of fresh herbs, garlic, and lemon zest, this dish is light and zingy and full of flavor.

This dish is perfect for a summer’s evening and is perfectly served with a crunchy and colorful side salad.

2. Chargrilled Vegetable Salad 

This tantalizing dish is a great spin on a traditional salad and can be served as a light dinner option or as a lovely starter. Combining red peppers, eggplant, onion, and sundried tomatoes with chili, garlic, and olive oil, this is a lovely summer dinner recipe.

3. Spicy Stir-Fried Zucchini

This simple stir fry is a quick and easy dinner option perfect for a summer evening meal. Made with only 5 ingredients it is perfect for busy nights and thanks to the kochujang (Korean chili paste), has a surprisingly fiery kick.

The sesame seeds add a crunchy element to this dish and will be enjoyed by the whole family. Add a protein source such as chicken or beef to bulk out this dish further.

4. Asado Chicken Breast With Sauteed Lemon Zucchini

This beautiful chicken dish is the perfect choice for an elegant and easy dinner-time meal. The zesty zucchini offers a light and healthier alternative to pasta, and the marinated boneless chicken breast is juicy and tender. The lightness of the zucchini makes this a perfect choice for a summer dinner.

5. Brown Rice Tabbouleh With Eggs & Parsley

This lovely simple dish is full of vitamins and minerals and packed with fiber. Topped off with protein-rich boiled eggs, this brown rice tabbouleh is a perfect choice for a light summer dinner. Perfect to eat outside whilst watching the sunset. Dreamy!

6. Mango And Shrimp Salad

This colorful and refreshing salad is full of fresh fruity flavors and puts a spin on the traditional salad. Bursting with zingy lemon and sweet and juicy mango, this beautiful dish is the perfect choice for a summer evening meal.

7. Chicken Caesar Salad 

This chicken caesar salad is timeless and classic, but still as delicious. The creamy garlic dressing, crunchy croutons, and tender chicken strips make this an ideal option for a summer’s evening meal.

8. Rainbow Pasta Salad

Quick, easy, and colorful, this pasta salad ticks all of the boxes for an Instagram-worthy salad. Easy to prep and a great choice for bulk prepping for the week, this is a great dinner choice for summer.

9. Mediterranean Shrimp

This beautiful Mediterranean dish is quick and easy to make and packed full of flavor. Lending itself to its name it contains a host of Mediterranean staples such as oregano, olive oil, feta, and olives, and plenty of white wine!

The Mediterranean diet is renowned for its health benefits and you will see why with this nutritionally balanced yet equally delicious meal.

10. Baked Feta Pasta

You may have seen this recipe doing the rounds on Tik Tok, and quite frankly we can see why! Beautiful roasted tomatoes and a block of delicious and gooey feta. It’s a dream! And perfect for a carefree summer evening meal.

Baked in the oven and then mixed together, this viral sensation ticks all of the boxes when it comes to creating a quick and super easy family meal that still tastes delicious.

11. Zucchini Salad

This beautiful and fresh salad is the perfect dinner option for summertime. Raw zucchini and served with toasted pumpkin seeds, this salad is a crunchy delight.

Whilst this salad is perfect on its own, you can add fish, seafood, or an alternative protein source to add depth to this dish. We recommend pairing it with our Mediterranean Shrimp for a perfect summer meal.

12. Spicy Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

These flavorsome wraps are bursting with color and spice and are a great choice for a fresh dinner in Summer.

13. Summer Squash Pizza

For a light and summery pizza, this ticks all of the boxes. Topped with fresh herbs, zucchini, goats cheese, and peppers, this is a lovely summer dish.

14. Grilled Haloumi

This vegetarian halloumi salad is packed with protein and taste with a host of green veggies, herbs, and grains, and complemented with halloumi cheese throughout.

Haloumi takes only 20 seconds to grill so is a perfect option for a quick and easy meal. The mixture of fresh herbs and grated lemon vegetables make this a light and delicious summer dinner idea.

15. Lemon, Ricotta, And Spinach Pasta

This creamy and light pasta dish is perfect for a summer midweek dinner and can be ready in less than 15 minutes! The mixture of ricotta, zesty lemon, and spinach make a great combination for this pasta dish and can be prepared whilst your spaghetti is cooking.

Serve with fresh ciabatta bread for a true Italian dining experience.

16. Quick Summer Tuna Pasta Salad

Can you go wrong with a tuna pasta salad? Full of flavor and bursting with color, this dish is a firm staple for a quick and easy weeknight dish.

Combining tuna with a range of vegetables found in your pantry, this quick and easy dish is a great choice to introduce kids to cooking. 

17. Chicago-Style Chicken Dogs

These BBQ favorites will appeal to the whole family. Sweet and spicy pickles, with chicken sausages, honey, and mustard make these dogs a hit for summer nights.

Pair with some loaded fries and plenty of mustard for a great game night summer meal.

18. Lemony Steamed Fish

This versatile dish will work with a number of fish choices such as cod, salmon, halibut, or trout. Seasoned with a host of fresh herbs, lemon pepper, and lemon juice, this zingy dish is best served with a rice accompaniment such as the perfect fried rice listed below.

19. Grilled Vegetable Orzo With Feta Vinaigrette

This tasty dish can be served hot or cold and is a super simple and easy dish to throw together for a quick dinnertime meal. Tossed through with feta vinaigrette to add a deep flavor to this veggie-packed bowl.

20. Hawaiian Chicken And Rice

This dish is full of flavor and color and will be enjoyed by the whole family. Made with chicken, rice, peppers, carrots, and pineapple, this dish is then served with an Asian barbecue sauce.

This dish will be a sure-fire hit with the whole family and will become a family regular in no time.

21. Taco Salad

This taco salad is a simple way to use up any excess frozen pre-cooked ground beef you may have stored. Heat and mix with taco seasoning, and mix with any beans and salad staples you have for a delicious one-bowl meal.

22. Lemony Grilled Okra

This quick and easy side dish is perfect for a summer BBQ and can be prepared in just 10 minutes. Blending okra with paprika, garlic, lemon juice, and pepper, this is a really tasty dish to spice up your meal.

23. Grilled Fish Steaks

This beautiful halibut dish is full of flavor with fresh parsley, lemon juice, and garlic to season. Serve with fresh and colorful vegetables such as asparagus or red cabbage.

24. Vegetarian Paella

This is a great seasonal dish full of color and flavor. Using saffron-infused rice, this traditional Spanish dish is a real delight to the taste buds. To make this dish non-vegetarian, you can add chicken or seafood.

25. Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken

This classic chicken dish is a great choice for adding some deep flavor to your standard chicken meal. Serve with a fresh colorful salad or crunchy veggies for a great summer dinner.

26. Coconut Shrimp

These coconut-covered shrimp are crispy and delicious and perfect to accompany a summer salad. We also love the homemade dipping sauce made with mustard, orange marmalade, and horseradish.

27. Steak With Grilled Green Beans, Fennel & Faro

Fire up your grill to cook up this summertime feast. We recommend using a sirloin or strip steak, plenty of seasoning, and some delicious greens for the ultimate summer dinner.

Make sure to use a good quality cut of meat for extra taste and quality. 

28. Perfect Fried Rice

This versatile dish is a great way to use up any pantry stores you need to use up, yet still creating a timeless dish that can be eaten on its own or as a side dish.

Pair with our lemony grilled fish dish above for a delicious summer dinner option.

29. Panzanella (Tuscan-Style Salad)

This is a no-nonsense salad dish for the hot and balmy evenings where cooking is the last thing you want to do! Full of color and flavor, this Tuscan salad is a Mediterranean delight.

Packed with fresh summer vegetables, oodles of olive oil, and bread pieces, this dish is easy to throw together but is an eye-catching centerpiece offering for large summer gatherings. 

30. Spicy Chili Garlic Noodles

This quick and easy recipe can be as fiery as you like by adding the amount of chili sauce to suit your taste. The true beauty of this dish is its speed. By the time you have made the sauce, your noodles will be ready. Perfect for a quick dinnertime meal.

31. Chicken Fajitas

This is a perfect dish to get the whole family involved. Simply throw all your ingredients into one skillet with some BBQ seasoning and see the flavors come together. Serve with tortilla wraps, sour cream, and guac for a fun and no-nonsense evening meal.

32. Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

If you’re looking for a light dinner idea or a vegetable accompaniment, these spicy stuffed peppers are a perfect choice. You can pretty much use anything to stuff these bell peppers, but we love falafel, garlic, and a sprinkling of cheese. 

33. Prawn, Mango, And Avocado Salad

This salad bowl screams summer due to the mixture of fresh seafood, ripe vegetables, and sweet and juicy mango. So bright and colorful, and full of flavor, this easy salad bowl is a lovely dinner option for summer.

34. Peach And Prosciutto Flatbreads

These delicious flatbreads ooze Mediterranean vibes with the combination of rich and salty prosciutto and sweet and juicy peach slices. Use your grill to give these flatbreads a charred and wood-fired pizza vibe.

Serve with a fresh and vibrant salad bowl for a delightful summer dinner.

35. Chicken Bolognese

A twist on a classic, using ground chicken makes this dish lighter and healthier with a mixture of fresh herbs and zingy lemon zest. From skillet to table in around 20 minutes, this is a real family favorite. 

36. Chorizo And Cod Traybake

This is a simple traybake recipe that doesn’t substitute flavor. You can substitute cod for another white fish but the flakey texture of this white fish is the perfect complement to the strong taste of the chorizo.

37. Pad Thai

This Asian-inspired dish is a great homemade takeout substitute that will appeal to the whole family. Prawns, rice noodles, and fish sauce make this a great dish. Perfect for a Saturday night dinner.

38. Barbeque Grilled Pineapple And Tofu Kebabs

This vegan dish is super easy to make and super tasty to boot. Sweet and sour flavors, packed with antioxidant-rich veggies and fruit, and complemented with creamy Tofu, this dish will be a firm favorite.

39. Summer Zucchini, Mint, And Pecorino Pasta

This dish is perfect for a change to your regular pasta dish using seasonal ingredients to complement a summer’s evening. Lemon juice, zucchini, and mint perfectly complement each other to lighten up this pasta dish.

40. Thai Green Curry

This versatile Thai curry is a great choice for a super quick and tasty evening meal and can be made with chicken, fish, or tofu. Mixed with coconut milk, fresh chilies, and a range of fresh vegetables, this dish will tantalize the taste buds.

Serve with fluffy white rice for a quick and easy summer dinner dish.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What Is Good For Dinner In Summer

Thinking about what dinner to make in summer can be a time-consuming process. Factor in the heat of the day, and busy working life, and you can be left increasingly frustrated. 

Unlike in winter months, you are less inclined to spend hours over a stove cooking hearty and wholesome meals such as casseroles or broths. Instead, we tend to opt for quick and easy dishes such as salad bowls, fresh seafood, and quick and easy one-skillet meals.

Meals that are light and fresh, easy to prepare, and not too time-consuming to make are the best dining options for summer. These can include:

  • Salad Bowls
  • Quick And Easy Pasta Dishes
  • Seafood Platters
  • Grilled Halloumi
  • One-Skillet Meals
  • Grill Cooking

What Time Should I Eat Dinner In Summer?

The time that you eat dinner each day can affect your body’s ability to digest and process the nutrients consumed. As a rule, it is generally considered that the earlier you eat dinner before bedtime, the better.

Eating a late dinner can affect the way your body absorbs blood glucose which can lead to high blood sugar. It will also impact the way your body can burn fat. Generally speaking, eating dinner at 9 pm instead of 5 pm may cause weight gain and could lead to high blood sugar levels. 

Final Thoughts

So as you can see, there are plenty of meal options for a summer dinner to keep your meal planning super tasty and easy. 

These meals can be used on a rotational basis to keep your evening meals interesting and varied. They are also extremely versatile and can be changed to suit any dietary requirements by adding or removing meat and fish and substituting for vegan and vegetarian alternatives.

As most of the meals are no-nonsense with minimal or zero cooking required, they are a great choice to cook alongside your kids and to get them involved in the preparation. You could even prepare outdoors for a truly al fresco dining experience.

We hope you enjoy these delicious summer dinner ideas as much as we have!

The 40 Best Summer Dinner Ideas

5 from 2 votes

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy a delicious, hot meal outdoors. Here are 40 delicious ideas for summer dinner recipes.

Directions

  • Pick a recipe from the list above
  • Click the recipe name and visit the website
  • Collect the ingredients and cook the food
  • Enjoy – don’t forget to leave a review
Jess Smith
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