With all the extra hours of sunlight, no school for the kids, and the nice weather that comes with summer, you’d think we’d have more time to prepare our meals.
You know what I’m talking about: dreamy, leisurely family dinners on the deck in the warm evening breeze with lots of laughter and good conversation…
But, alas, it’s not always like this.
We still have to crazily rush sometimes to get food on the table!
For many of us, this season means we’ll have an extra busy schedule – with an increase in outdoor activities, sporting events, chauffeuring kids, weekend getaways, and potentially long work days.
Who really wants to spend time in the kitchen, when all you want to do with the limited time you do have available is to spend it relaxing outside?
To get the most out of summer while it’s here, we’ve put together a handy list of 7 healthy and easy meal ideas – a vibrant selection of recipes that you can make for each day of the week.
They can set you up for nearly effortless dinners or easy, breezy, hassle-free lunches.
All of them are made with nutritious, fresh ingredients, and they can easily be adapted to your own family’s tastes – and with the right strategy, you might be able to sneak even more healthy foods into each recipe.
And best of all, they’re quick! From start to finish, the recipes we compiled here will be ready in an hour or less.
You’ll also find some easy dishes on the list where most or all of the ingredients are prepped or cooked together. These usually take less prep and cooking time overall, and there are also fewer dishes to wash up after dining.
Get your week of meals planned out right now, with our help!
7 Fast and Tasty Summer Meal Ideas for Every Day of the Week
1. Chickpea Veggie Burgers
A classic hamburger on the grill is a summer favorite – delicious, easy to make, quick to cook, and versatile with assorted toppings.
The only possible drawback is the red meat…
Chickpea Veggie Burgers – Get the Recipe Now
If you like the taste and convenience of burgers but are trying to cut back on meat consumption, opt for a homemade vegetarian option with this recipe for chickpea veggie burgers – a leaner, healthier version of this classic.
Choose to sear them in a frying or saute pan, or grill them outside.
And for more ways on how to liven up your burgers, check out this article for some fun ideas.
2. Crab and Mango Stuffed Avocado
There’s nothing better than minimizing kitchen cleanup – and that’s easy to do when you use edible bowls!
For a light and low-carb meal, we’re serving a chilled crab salad stuffed in buttery avocado halves.
Crab and Mango Stuffed Avocado – Get the Recipe Now
We fold together luscious lump crab meat with a sweet and spicy mixture of crunchy bell peppers, juicy mango cubes, and fiery minced jalapeno.
3. Grilled Flatbread Pizza
Use your favorite flatbread for these fun and easy pizzas cooked directly on the grill!
Pita bread, naan, pre-cooked pizza crusts, kulcha, farl, focaccia, and many others are suitable for this style of recipe.
Grilled Flatbread Pizza – Get the Recipe Now
Add whatever sauce, flavorful combinations of ingredients, and seasonings you like – anything that you prefer to eat on top of your favorite pizza crust will all be winners here.
For this particular recipe, we load up on herbaceous pesto, gooey cheese, sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, and chopped chicken.
But do make sure that the flatbread you choose can handle the weight!
An incredibly thin wrap stacked with a Dagwood-esque pile of ingredients is likely to become soggy and collapse, a disappointment no one wants to experience when you are just moments away from eating!
4. Grilled Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce
Fish on the grill? We’ll dive right into that meal!
Healthy and nutrient-packed fish like salmon is an absolute favorite option to grill during the summer. Its flaky flesh absorbs the wonderfully smoky flavors from the time spent cooking on hot grates.
Grilled Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce – Get the Recipe Now
And the trio of salmon, lemon, and dill will never get old, especially when you use freshly squeezed citrus juice and dill fronds harvested straight from the garden, or picked from a local market.
Make sure you have plenty of extra lemon wedges on hand for serving!
5. Grilled Steak with Feta and Tomato Salsa
Want a fast – yet impressive – dinner you can get on the table in 20 minutes?
Our grilled steak with feta and tomato salsa is the best recipe for a hearty main course that is perfect for a casual family dinner – or a grownup outdoor summer dinner party.
Grilled Steak with Feta and Tomato Salsa – Get the Recipe Now
We love using a NY strip for this recipe, but choose a cut that you love to eat, and one that you know you’re a master at grilling.
6. Pesto Chicken Pasta with Asparagus and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
When you don’t want to be weighed down by artery-clogging meat sauces or creamy alfredo sauces, turn to this special dish for a lighter approach to your next pasta night.
Our pesto chicken pasta with fresh asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes is a refreshing mix of seasonal flavors, made with lean poultry.
Pesto Chicken Pasta with Asparagus and Sun-Dried Tomatoes – Get the Recipe Now
We grill both the asparagus and the chicken breasts for a touch of smoky flavor, slice them up, and mix them together with al dente farfalle pasta, sun-dried or oven-dried tomatoes, and bold basil pesto.
Finish the dish with a hefty grating of salty parmesan or pecorino cheese.
7. Skillet Cajun Shrimp
One-dish skillet meals are fast and easy to make, they’re tasty and satisfying, and cleanup is a breeze.
You could cut a lean protein such as chicken or flank steak into cubes or strips, and marinate it for at least 30 minutes to tenderize tougher cuts before cooking.
Skillet Cajun Shrimp – Get the Recipe Now
But we like to use a fast-cooking option like shrimp to make a quick dinner packed with flavor and spicy heat, like our skillet Cajun shrimp!
We saute a colorful combo of carrots, zucchini, sweet bell peppers, and green beans with peeled and deveined large shrimp tossed with a homemade Cajun seasoning blend.
Your Summer Meals Are Set!
Well, they’re figured out for at least one week of the season!
These seven easy and nutritious summertime meals are yours to enjoy. They are quick to prep and cook, and you’ll feel good about serving a healthy meal for your family – and keeping that busy summer schedule going with a satisfied stomach!
Let them serve as a great starting point for you to design your own variations throughout all the weeks of summer, based on the availability of ingredients and your taste preferences.
We’re sure you’ll create something new and unique in your own kitchen!
Searching for more summertime dishes and drinks? You’ll love serving these sunny favorites for your next barbecue or outdoor party:
- Top 10 Easy S’mores Makeovers for Fun Summer bonfires
- Recharge with 5 Cold Coffee Cocktails
- 23 of the Best Summertime Sweet Corn Recipes
Photos by Kelli McGrane, Fanny Slater, and Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on August 19, 2015 by Lorna Kring. Last updated on July 11, 2023.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and cheesemonger living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.