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11 Easy, Healthy, Fast Summer Dinner Ideas

May 16, 2024
Courtesy of Alexandra Cooks

We always want quick, healthy dinners that we can toss together without a fuss — but especially in the summer, when it stays light longer and we can hang out outside. We’d much rather be taking a walk, seeing an outdoor concert, or doing any of our other favorite warm-weather activities than spending tons of time making dinner. So we gathered summer dinner ideas that are quick and easy to prepare, full of flavor and in-season ingredients, and, best of all, packed with nutrients to give you all the energy you need to really savor the summer.

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1. Summer Squash Pasta

Squash pasta

Courtesy of How Sweet Eats

Here’s a dish that’s on the table in 20 minutes — plus, it’s a delicious way to use up the zucchini and summer squash that are so abundant at the market this time of year. Pine nuts and goat cheese add richness and healthy fat to keep you sated, and fresh basil lends brightness and color.

Try this recipe from How Sweet Eats.

2. Mediterranean Farro Salad

Mediterranean farro salad

Courtesy of Jar of Lemons

If you haven’t tried farro yet, get ready to meet your new favorite ancient grain. This chewy, nutty-tasting grain, a strain of ancient wheat, is a good source of protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins. It’s also ready in 10 minutes; while it’s cooking, you can cut up the vegetables and make a quick vinaigrette. Toss the veggies, farro, and dressing, and dinner’s ready (or serve it as a side with whatever protein you have on hand). 

Try this recipe from Jar of Lemons.

3. Fish en Papillote

fish en papillote

Courtesy of Alexandra Cooks

Fish en papillote sounds fancy — and it looks fancy, too — but it’s actually one of the simplest ways to cook fish. Wrap fish, vegetables, lemon, a little white wine, and seasonings in parchment packets, bake for about 10 minutes, and dinner is ready. 

Try this recipe from Alexandra Cooks.

4. Southwestern Chopped Chicken Salad

Southwestern chopped chicken salad

Courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction

A chopped salad is such a fun meal — especially when it’s loaded with hearty, flavorful ingredients like black beans, corn, chicken, avocado, and tomatoes. Toss everything with a zesty Greek yogurt-based dressing that includes taco seasoning, lime, and jalapeno to keep up the southwestern flair. Start with rotisserie chicken, and this salad is on the table in 15 minutes.

Try this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

5. Shrimp Tacos

Shrimp tacos

Courtesy of Skinnytaste

Air fry or saute some seasoned shrimp, make a quick slaw and sauce, and watch everyone run to the table for taco night. Start with a bag of coleslaw mix to save on prep time, and use corn, flour, or grain-free tortillas, depending on your preference.

Try this recipe from Skinnytaste.

6. Couscous Summer Salad

Couscous summer salad

Courtesy of Pinch of Yum

We love the mix of crunchy, fruity, fresh, and savory in every bite of this salad, which works as a stand-alone dinner or as a side for grilled meat or chicken. With summer favorites like nectarines, cucumber, and fresh herbs tossed in, this nutrient-rich salad has something for everyone.

Try this recipe from Pinch of Yum.

7. Chipotle Cheddar Turkey Burgers

Chipotle cheddar turkey burgers

Courtesy of Fit Mitten Kitchen

Wake up lean turkey burgers by adding smoky chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and spices, and topping the patties with sharp cheddar. Serve on buns, or on top of a salad made with corn, tomatoes, and radishes for a hearty southwestern-style meal.

Try this recipe from Fit Mitten Kitchen.

8. Antipasto Salad

Antipasto salad

Courtesy of Feasting At Home

White beans, capers, artichoke hearts, baby mozzarella balls, lots of fresh herbs – there’s nothing boring about this hearty vegetarian salad. Plus, it’s ready in 20 minutes. Add jarred tuna packed in olive oil for added protein, if you like.

Try this recipe from Feasting At Home.

9. Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Chicken lettuce wraps

Courtesy of Budget Bytes

Lettuce wraps are the most fun way to eat those all-important leafy greens; it’s one of the best summer dinner ideas we know. In this recipe, the filling is ground chicken, which you season with soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger. Top it all with a rich peanut butter-based sauce with lime juice and more ginger. Drizzle on a little sriracha if you enjoy some heat.

Try this recipe from Budget Bytes.

10. Firecracker Salmon with Peach Avocado Salsa

Firecracker salmon

Courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen

Omega 3–rich salmon gets the trendy sweet-and-spicy treatment here. Top the fish with a mix of soy sauce, honey, balsamic, and plenty of red pepper flakes and bake, then spoon a peach-avocado-jalapeno salsa on top. You can grill or air fry the fish instead of baking, if you prefer.

Try this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.

11. Moroccan Meatballs

Moroccan meatballs

Courtesy of The Mediterranean Dish

Richly spiced meatballs (use lean ground beef or lamb) are the star of this quick dinner, with an assist from a refreshing carrot salad flavored with orange juice and fresh mint. Serve in warmed pitas, over couscous, or on top of a salad.

Try this recipe from The Mediterranean Dish.

Read next: 8 Healthy Summer Lunches That Are Refreshing and Simple

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