17 Summer Dinner Ideas That Are Quick, Light, & Delicious

Are you looking for new and delicious summer dinner ideas? I love cooking in the summer because there are so many fresh fruits and vegetables to add to your meals. The summer is also a great time to get together with friends and have dinner on the patio or at a park. The summer is…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 25, 2023

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Are you looking for new and delicious summer dinner ideas?

I love cooking in the summer because there are so many fresh fruits and vegetables to add to your meals. The summer is also a great time to get together with friends and have dinner on the patio or at a park.summer dinner ideas

The summer is the perfect opportunity to try different recipes because of all of the in-season produce.

But, it’s also so hot outside that you may want to find lighter recipes to help you beat the heat while also eating a satisfying meal.

In this post, the recipes you’re going to learn about take advantage of fresh ingredients and are perfect easy dinners for the summer months.

Any of these recipes would make great meals to serve at a summer dinner party with friends or family.

I’ve already tried a few of these recipes, and one of my favorites is the Baja fish tacos because I needed to find new ways to use up all of the fish Wes was catching on the boat. I can’t even count the number of times we made these.

The cabbage slaw is so light and delicious on the tacos, and I love having leftovers of it for the next day. Just don’t skip the avocado crema when you make it!

The sesame chicken salad is so good too, with toppings like oranges, almonds, cilantro, and purple cabbage. 

You can easily substitute the chicken for pre-cooked rotisserie chicken bought from the store, and it makes this meal even faster and easier. I also like to make extra dressing and add it to other salads throughout the week.

If you are vegetarian or vegan, you have to try the vegan burrito bowl with cashew chipotle cream sauce. 

The recipe calls for red peppers and corn, but you can add whatever vegetables you have. I think it would be delicious with zucchini or summer squash. She also includes variations of the recipe to pack it with more protein by adding tofu or fried eggs. 

The next recipe on this list of easy summer recipes that I’m going to try is the egg roll bowls. It’s a gluten-free and paleo-friendly recipe that looks really easy to make because you use a pre-cut bag of coleslaw mix for the vegetables.

As you can probably tell, there are so many exciting summer dinner ideas to try. These recipes will be a great way to add some fun to your summer menu or help you get out of a weekly cooking funk.

There are recipes on this list for nearly every kind of diet — vegetarian, vegan, paleo, gluten-free, and more. I’m sure you will find at least one summer recipe on this list that you’re excited to make.

Now, here are 17 summer dinner ideas for you to try, enjoy!

If you’re interested in more recipe posts, please read:

Note: If you’re looking for easy weekly meal plans that are full of budget recipes, I recommend $5 Meal Plan. $5 Meal Plan is a meal planning service that sends you a delicious meal plan and shopping list every week for just $5 a month.

Here are 17 summer dinner ideas.


1. Burrito Bowl With Cashew Chipotle Cream Sauce

Get the recipe here.


2. Baja Fish Tacos With Avocado Crema

Get the recipe here.


3. Sesame Chicken Salad

Get the recipe here.


4. Salmon With Mango Salsa

Get the recipe here.


5. Egg Roll Bowls

Get the recipe here.


6. Shrimp Scampi

Get the recipe here.


7. Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

Get the recipe here.


8. Corn Tomato Avocado Salad

Get the recipe here.


9. Cauliflower Chicken Fried Rice

Get the recipe here.


10. Baked Feta Salmon

Get the recipe here.


11. Santa Fe Chicken Foil Packets

Get the recipe here.


12. Harvest Farro Packets

Get the recipe here.


13. Avocado Tequila Lime Pasta

Get the recipe here.


14. Vegan Cobb Salad

Get the recipe here.


15. Lemon Chickpea Orzo Soup

Get the recipe here.


16. Avocado Salsa Over Grilled Chicken

Get the recipe here.


17. Chicken Caprese Salad

Get the recipe here.

What are your favorite summer dinner ideas?

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Great ideas also forr leftovers lunch box!

  2. Fraser

    Great ideas, can’t wait to try the Lemon Chickpea Orza Soup. My go to is Pesto Pasta for dinner in summer.

  3. wow, so many delicious food ideas you have shared. My favorite is Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad. Food images are too nice

  4. Melody Kenoyer

    Ooh, thanks Michelle! I’ll be trying some of these. I’m trying to incorporate more vegetables and less starch so these are perfect and look so full of flavor. Those fish tacos look incredible!

  5. Alyssa Padgett

    Drooling and now grocery shopping over here 🌮