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    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas

    Summer time… It’s hot and sultry, yet loved by many. Endless beach time and plenty of sunshine to enjoy the outdoors. At the end of the day though, you are looking forward to something light and fresh, yet brimming with flavors.

    Summer dinners should look like a rainbow on your plate, full of colors, vibrant and refreshingly delicious, yet healthy, nutritious and light. We compiled this amazing list of Summer Dinner Ideas that you can save for busy weeknights or lazy “pamper yourself” weekends.

    There are hearty and delicious colorful salads made with all of summer’s bounties along with the proteins of your choice, plus easy 30 minutes casseroles or one bowl meals that looks so irresistible.

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas.

    Then there are great summer get together meal ideas like epic hamburger boards, BBQ chicken and skewers. Go through all these great dinner ideas and start cooking them one after another this hot summer season, and make the most of this wonderful time of the year.

    1. Mediterranean Zucchini Boats

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - zucchini boats.

    We are starting this delicious and colorful list of summer dinner recipes with these stunning and gorgeous Zucchini Boats… Mediterranean style! When zucchinis are abundant in summer, stuff them with herb seasoned ground beef and garnish with cherry tomatoes, pine nuts and feta. They’re a light and fresh version of this low carb favorite.

    Get the Recipe

    2. Garlic Butter Steak Bites

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - steak bites.

    Take your beef to a new level with these tasty pan seared garlic butter steak bites. Perfectly cooked bite sized morsels of tender steak drenched in garlicky butter. No slaving over the stove for these, they’re ready in under 15 minutes.

    Get the Recipe

    3. Shrimp Foil Packets with Summer Veggies

    Are you looking for some Summer Cookout ideas? How about these Shrimp and Veggie foil packs? The perfectly seasoned shrimp and veggies all cook together in individual foil packets. Serve them as they are, steaming hot out of the foil… No extra dishes and clean up!

    Get the Recipe

    4. Portuguese Mussels

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - Portuguese mussels.

    This is as fancy as it gets. A big bowl of mussels drenched in one amazing, out of this world sauce. It doesn’t have to happen in a fancy restaurant. They are perfect if you want to some delicious seafood dish on some special night this summer.

    Get the Recipe

    5. Pasta Primavera with Shrimp

    This Pasta Primavera recipe is a perfect summer dinner when you’re looking for something light, yet satisfying.

    Your favorite pasta is tossed in a delicate cream sauce with plenty of fresh veggies. Today, we’re taking it up just a notch with the addition of shrimp.

    Get the Recipe

    6. Albacore Tuna Tataki Bowl

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - tataki bowl.

    This quick and easy Albacore Tuna Tataki Bowl is full of your favorite Asian flavors. Skip the sushi restaurant and make this great meal in your own home this summer. Some melt in your mouth fish along with a rainbow of colors… Talk about beauty in a bowl!

    Get the Recipe

    7. Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables

    This Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables is a light, healthy and refreshing summer meal idea, and a great make ahead meal prep option. If you’ve never cooked with farro, this is the recipe you need to try…

    Get the Recipe

    8. Greek Steak Salad

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - Greek steak salad.

    Imagine crunchy veggies… tender steak… chewy grains… salty olives… creamy feta… all in one big bowl! That’s my Greek Steak Salad Bowl! Packed with nutrients and protein, this Greek Steak Salad Bowl is sure to leave you satisfied!

    Get the Recipe

    9. Tomato Basil Chicken

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - tomato basil chicken.

    Would you make this chicken dish if I say just three things? Super easy, super quick and super delicious!! It’s actually quite brilliant and good looking too!! Those gorgeous looking cherry tomatoes in a slightly buttery-orangey sauce with hints of basil are just too good on otherwise plain chicken breast. The perfect answer to end a rather busy day.

    Get the Recipe

    10. Flank Steak Fajitas

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - fajitas.

    These flank steak fajitas are the perfect easy option when that Mexican food craving hits. Perfectly marinated, melt in your mouth tender beef strips with colorful peppers. You’re in for a fun meal with this one!

    Get the Recipe

    11. Summer Detox Chicken Buddha Bowl

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - Chicken Buddha bowl.

    Need a healthy meal to wash away those summer hamburgers and ice cream cones? Try this light and tasty Buddha Bowl. In case you haven’t heard, Buddha Bowls are the big thing now! Its colorful and delicious.

    Get the Recipe

    12. Baked Salmon with Mango Salsa

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - salmon with mango salsa.

    Treat yourself to this delicious meal today… What if I tell you it’s healthy and easy (“under 30 minutes meal” easy), yet it would make you feel like you are on a date night or celebrating in some fancy restaurant?

    This moist, tender salmon has so many different layers of flavors. Tangy, lemony, buttery salmon flakes with a slight kick from our spice mix rub, combined with vibrant refreshing mango salsa. Every single bite, a salmon bliss!

    Get the Recipe

    13. Japanese Teriyaki Chicken Bowl

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - teriyaki chicken.

    This Teriyaki Chicken Bowl is absolutely Irresist-A-Bowl! Tender juicy chicken, glistening in tasty sauce, alongside Asian coleslaw and creamy avocado. All atop a bed of hot rice. Yum!

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    14. Gambas al Ajillo (Spanish Garlic Shrimp)

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - gambas al ajillo.

    How does a sizzling platter of garlicky, seafoody goodness sound? Grab some crusty bread for sopping and whip up this famous Spanish tapa, Gambas al Ajillo in your very own kitchen!

    Get the Recipe

    15. Greek Chicken Souvlaki

    Make your chicken skewers loaded with simple, yet refreshing Greek flavors. Chicken pieces are marinated in a greek marinade with plenty of lemon juice, fresh herbs and lots of garlic along with the goodness of olive oil. Marinate them longer to seep the flavors deep into the meat and they are cooked juicy tender.

    Get the Recipe

    16. Korean Beef Tacos (Bulgogi Tacos)

    Korean Beef Tacos, aka Bulgogi Tacos… Thinly sliced, juicy tender steak marinated then flash cooked and wrapped in tortillas with Asian coleslaw and sriracha aioli. They’re a Flavor Bomb! the job.

    Get the Recipe

    17. BBQ Chicken

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - BBQ chicken.

    Summer is incomplete without some BBQ chicken, ain’t it? It’s one of the easiest chicken recipes. You can either grill or bake the chicken until juicy and tender. Brush with the BBQ sauce of your choice and again flash cook until the sauce is caramelized all over. You can it just as it is or make pulled chicken sandwiches, pizzas, tacos and so many other options.

    Get the Recipe @ dinneratthezoo

    18. Mediterranean Fish with Tomato and Olive Tapenade

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - Mediterranean fish.

    Your favorite fish, in a Mediterranean avatar! Imagine a nice chunk of white fish, pan seared and top up with the goodness of this bright delicious tapenade. This looks and tastes like a gourmet entrée, straight from some fine restaurant. But you will be amazed how quick it all comes together and how little effort it demands.

    Get the Recipe

    19. Shrimp Saganaki (Greek Shrimp with Tomatoes & Feta)

    Shrimp Saganaki – This classic Greek dish has some incredible flavors with plump shrimp in a garlicky, savory tomato sauce and finished off with salty feta cheese!

    Get the Recipe

    20. Hawaiian Chicken Salad

    Hawaiian Chicken Salad – Take a look at this colorful platter. It’s full of tropical flavors, a variety of textures, and it happens to be healthy.

    This is a great summertime dish, when you want something light, yet satisfying.

    Give this refreshing tropical chicken salad a try in your house tonight!

    Get the Recipe

    21. Baja Fish Tacos

    These Baja Fish Tacos are one of our new favorite handheld meals. Soft tortillas packed full of beer battered fish, pico de gallo, avocado and chipotle mayo. Serious YUM!

    They’re a fun weekend meal, or a great dish to serve to guests. And you can have your taco bar on the table in about 20 minutes.

    Get the Recipe

    22. Salmon Patties

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - salmon patties.

    These salmon patties are tasty, nutritious and budget friendly. And just look at them. Who said pantry staple meals can’t be fancy? These salmon patties are enhanced with flavors and aromatics and pan fried for a crispy gorgeous crust. It’s light, it’s lean, and it’s healthy. So, do you have a can or two of salmon in your pantry?

    Get the Recipe

    23. Blackened (AKA Cajun) Shrimp and Grits

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - blackened shrimp and grits.

    Shrimp & Grits… A Lowcountry classic. They are the new rage now a days on many restaurant menus. For this version, we use Cajun spices to give it a little kick! For the creamiest grits, go with slow cook!

    Get the Recipe

    24. Chili Lime Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - shrimp tacos.

    Sweet and savory, these tacos are so tasty you will want to go back for seconds, maybe thirds! And they are so quick, they just might become a weeknight staple. Whenever you see a mango, think about these colorful tacos!

    Get the Recipe

    25. Firecracker Salmon

    This Firecracker Salmon is a super easy and super delish meal that must become part of your rotation. It has an amazing Asian sauce and whips up in about 20 minutes.

    Get the Recipe

    26. Gado Gado (Indonesian Salad with Peanut Sauce)

    Gado Gado… meet this Javanese Salad feast. Taste the rainbow on a plate, a medley of different colors, flavors and textures. Yes simple salad that turns into a super tasty complete meal with a good dose of protein, carbs and loads of nutrients on your plate.

    Get the Recipe

    27. Caribbean Coconut Mussels

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - Caribbean coconut mussels.

    Creamy… coconutty… seefoody… Extra yummy Caribbean Coconut Mussels. Easy, delicious, and sure to please any crowd! Try this delicious Caribbean style curry, but be warned, you will get hooked!

    Get the Recipe

    28. Pesto Shrimp & Grits

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - pesto shrimp and grits.

    This Pesto Shrimp and Grits is an amazing fusion of two of my favorite cuisines: Italian and American Southern. Just imagine succulent shrimp coated in that herby, garlicky, nutty pesto sauce. Sound good? Now pile them on a bed of creamy grits enhanced with fresh parmesan cheese. If you love comfort food, this is a new star in your kitchen!

    Get the Recipe

    29. Mediterranean Pasta

    This Mediterranean Pasta is your new weeknight best friend. It’s super quick, like 20 minutes quick, and has great flavors the whole family will love.

    Get the Recipe

    30. Albondigas Soup (Mexican Meatball Soup)

    This is one soup you can have on summer hot days. Why? It is loaded with summer bounties like corn and zucchini when they are at their BEST. This light and fresh bowl is full of flavors and yummy meatballs..

    Get the Recipe

    31. Pesto Pasta

    A great summer recipe when basil is everywhere. Pesto Pasta is a light and fresh Italian dish with a beautiful sauce. It’s great with other add ins like veggies and proteins. Today we’re going with cherry tomatoes and asparagus.

    Get the Recipe

    32. Psari Plaki – Greek Baked Fish with Onions & Tomatoes

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - psari plaki.

    Psari Plaki, meaning roasted fish… Greek style! Treat yourself with succulent, flaky, buttery fish drenched in the most delicious sauce, baked with Mediterranean flavors. When it comes out of the oven, all you need to do is drizzle some more olive oil, throw on some fresh parsley, sprinkle some feta, get a side of some great crusty bread and you are all set…

    Get the Recipe

    33. Fig and Prosciutto Flatbread

    This is the Best flatbread pizza you will ever have. So fancy and so delicious with just 15 minutes bake time. And this Fig and Prosciutto Flatbread is absolutely gorgeous, and would be a WOW-worthy center piece for get togethers and parties. 

    Plus, is its super quick and easy too. Make this sweet and savory gourmet flatbread today, and get amazed with the simple, yet elegant flavors.

    Get the Recipe

    34. Balsamic Steak Gorgonzola Salad

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - steak gorgonzola salad.

    What better way to celebrate summer than heating up your barbie? This dish has a beautiful combo of two grilled things, Steak and Corn!! You can make this colorful, delicious bowl in just 20 minutes.

    It’s loaded with tomatoes, red onion, grilled corn, gorgonzola cheese, gremolata and of course perfectly grilled steak, all drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette… Now personally, we can eat it any day and every day.

    Get the Recipe @ aberdeenskitchen

    35. Creamy Tuscan Salmon

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - Tuscan salmon.

    We love anything in the delicious, creamy Tuscan sauce. This is a restaurant quality meal you can whip up in 30 minutes. Creamy parmesan sauce with garlic, cherry tomatoes, spinach and a little basil is what accompanies the perfectly pan seared salmon. Get some crusty bread or the pasta of your choice to serve with this great meal.

    Get the Recipe @ thefoodcharlatan

    36. Summer Hamburger Board

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - hamburger board.

    Perfect platter to serve to the BIG crowd… This huge Hamburger Board. Don’t fret what to serve to the people. Assemble everything in one large board and make them build their own burgers.

    So much less mess, hassle and clean up later. AND everyone will get impressed when you present something as epic as this platter. This is a MUST for your next summer get together.

    Get the Recipe @ reluctantentertainer

    37. Summer Cobb Salad

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - cobb salad.

    Your usual Chicken Cobb Salad gets tons of fresh summer berries for this colorful twist on regular Cobb. It’s full of grilled chicken, bacon, hard boiled eggs, avocado, berries, cucumber, grilled corn and topped with a balsamic lime vinegar dressing. Now that’s one complete delicious meal for any time this summer.

    Get the Recipe @ therecipecritic

    38. Fresh Spring Rolls

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - spring rolls.

    Now these Thai/ Vietnamese fresh spring rolls shout summer. Fresh, colorful and light. With a simple peanut sweet chili sauce, say hello to healthy and fresh eating this summer with these exotic flavors.

    Get the Recipe @ tastesbetterfromscratch

    39. The Best Taco Salad

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - taco salad.

    Who wouldn’t want a colorful bowl of this delicious favorite, Taco Salad? Yes, they are so much healthier than a plateful of tacos and nachos. Get all the fixings and toppings and enjoy this meal. Make double or triple meat and you are all set for multiple meals.

    Get the Recipe @ thefoodcharlatan

    40. Carne Asada

    The 40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas - carne asada.

    Carne Asada is a popular Mexican dish where steak is marinated in citrusy-garlicky marinade for a few hours and grilled to perfection. The juicy, tender meat ends up with amazing delicious flavors. You can have it straight with some pico de gallo and avocado, or use it as stuffing for tacos, burritos, nachos and salads.

    Get the Recipe @ cafedelites

    WOW… So may excellent and delicious ideas to cook this summer. Pin or bookmark this collection so you know exactly what to cook on that busy weeknight, or you are hosting some dinner party for your friends and family.

    Try firing up the barbie more. Try outdoor alfresco style dining, maybe on your balcony or in your back yard. Enjoy these recipes and share the love for GypsyPlate to everyone by cooking these amazing recipes. Have fun…

    Summer dinner ideas.

    40 BEST Summer Dinner Ideas

    Yield: 6 servings
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes
    Total Time: 30 minutes

    This great collection of easy Summer Dinner Ideas has plenty of quick weeknight meals, as well as fun cookout options!


    • meat
    • seafood
    • fresh veggies
    • grains
    • seasonings


      1. Choose a recipe that looks tasty. Try something you haven't had before, it's fun to experiment!
      2. Make a shopping list and buy the ingredients.
      3. Cook your new favorite Summer Dinner Idea!


    1. Let me know which recipes you try, I love hearing from you!

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

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