Happy (basically) Summer, my friend! Last weekend was my birthday, and it was great! I spent the whole weekend eating great food, enjoying delicious adult beverages, and laughing a lot with the people I love. A big thank you to my family and fella who made it so special for me. And it was heat advisory level hot, so naturally I thought about all of my favorite Summer Recipes.
Before I headed back, my mom loaded my sister and I up with tons of fresh herbs from her garden. And it reminded me how amazing this time of year is with loads of fresh produce at our fingertips. That thought definitely had me wanting to cook this week, and I started going through some of my favorite recipes.
I realized that I’ve made so many delicious recipes that are perfect this time of year, that I just had to share them with you. So you’ll find a little of everything in my Summer recipes list. From food you can take to a cookout, to things to whip up for a light meal and even some sweet treats and cocktails.
I also noticed that I’ve published over a THOUSAND posts on my blog, so I had a lot of great options to choose from. Seriously, a thousand, and that blows my mind because I’ve clearly been a busy girl!
So I’m about to share 25 of my favorite Summer recipes with you, and I’ve got them categorized as you see here. I’ve also noted if they are dairy free (DF) or gluten free (GF), because I do watch those things these days. If you want to go directly to a category, then click on the area here:
- Appetizers– because they’re perfect for bringing to a party.
- Soups– because yes, you can even enjoy (cold) soups this time of year.
- Salads– because it’s kinda the time of the year that (I at least) crave salads the most.
- Sides– because again these can be great things for a party or to enjoy along with your favorite grilled proteins.
- Main dishes with veggies– because veggies are filling and super versatile.
- Main dishes with fruit– because fruit is seriously in season right now.
- Desserts– because you can have sweets with less guilt!
- Cocktails– because there’s something crazy refreshing about sipping on a cocktail by the pool!
Alright, let’s dive into my favorite Summer Recipes!
Skinny Poolside Dip (GF)
Originally this dip was one I made to honor Shark Week, and if you see the pic above, then you’ll see why. But it’s also fairly light and something that is packed with veggies, so it’s guilt free. In fact, I had people asking for me to make more as soon as it was gone.
I love rollups any time of year, and these travel so well for parties. This recipe makes a ton of rollups, so you’ll be able to feed a large crowd with them. They’re filled with cheeses and olives and are so delicious you can’t stop eating them.
Taco Ranch Dip (GF)
I’ve shared this recipe MANY times here, but it’s one of my favorites when I want to snack on dip. You can dip tortilla chips, crackers, or veggies in it, and it’s basically filled with cheese and spicy Rotel. Trust me and make this, and then you can thank me later. Plus it’s even better left over!
Classic Gazpacho (DF & GF)
I first made this gazpacho recipe during year one of my blog, and I couldn’t believe how delicious and refreshing it was. It’s packed with veggies, and is the perfect lunch on a hot, hot day. Gazpacho is a chilled tomato-based soup, and it can be blended or not (in this case). So great when you’re needing Summer recipes!
Tomato & Strawberry Gazpacho (DF & GF)
A few years later I made a strawberry and tomato gazpacho on a hot Summer day. I more made it out of curiosity, and I’m SO glad I did, because it was delicious! I made it for my sister and I, and we absolutely devoured this cold soup, and I still can’t stop thinking about it today.
Fair warning on this recipe that it requires a LOT of chopping, but once it’s done you’re left with tons of salad. More than tons, really, because it makes so much! But I enjoyed every last bite of this Thai-flavored dish with its bright flavors. I’m such a fan!
I grew up loving tuna and that includes tuna salad and tuna casserole. This recipe is kind of like a fusion of the two, and you’re left with a chilled pasta salad that is awesome for taking to a party. It makes a lot, and the flavors are delicious!
Basil Chicken Salad (GF)
This salad is one of my absolute favorite summer recipes that no list of mine is complete without. My family first enjoyed this at my mom’s cousin’s home in Colorado probably 2 1/2 decades ago, and we still make it every summer. Just trust me on this one, and know that it’s even better the next day.
Avocado Tuna Salad (DF & GF)
For a healthier tuna salad option without the pasta or bread, then this is the one! It’s bright, flavorful, and you just top half an avocado for a completely delicious lunch. Make plenty so you can enjoy it all week! I kept it light with a lemon vinaigrette, and it works so well with the avocado.
Blueberry Quinoa Chicken Salad (DF & GF)
This salad is one I whipped up last week that is packed with flavor and is super versatile. Use whatever Summer fruit veggies you have on hand, and make it hearty with lettuce, quinoa, and chicken. I used a cashew sauce that can act as a dressing or sauce depending upon what you have on hand. I love it this salad, and I’m betting you will too!
This may be my favorite zucchini recipe I’ve ever made on the blog, because it paired with lime is out of this world. I never had the combination until this dish, and it seriously is hard to beat. The toasted garlic adds a nice crunch, and it’s a perfect way to use a surplus of fresh zucchini!
Lemon-Dill Green Beans (DF & GF)
When green beans are in the garden, you’re usually picking a lot at a time. And this green bean recipe is a Summer recipe you will adore, because it’s simple and delicious. I could easily enjoy this side weekly!
Elevate spinach a bit with this fresh spinach recipe, that gets cooked and topped with Feta and pine nuts. You won’t believe how delicious fresh spinach can be, when you transform it with this Summer recipe. I just adore it, and it certainly has me wanting to buy tons of fresh spinach this year.
This simple stir fry just has peas and chicken with a light sauce, and it’s great when you’re rushed but want some fresh veggies. I served mine with rice, but you could certainly use quinoa or noodles or whatever you enjoy. I just love it for the summer when you’ve got fresh peas on hand!
I ended up with a great haul at the farmer’s market and this recipe was the end result. I used noodle beans from the market for an Asian meal that tasted delicious! You’ll love how fast it comes together on a busy weeknight, and all of the Asian flavors in this recipe!
Gluten Free Summer Veggie Pasta (DF & GF)
Last year I was in the mood for pasta, but I wanted a gluten free option. So I used Ancient Harvest pasta, which is one of my favorites, and paired it with tons of fresh veggies from the store. They get combined in a light, healthy pasta dish that had me eating up veggies like crazy!
Tilapia Ceviche (DF & GF)
Ceviche is a Mexican dish that typically has seafood or fish cooked by using acid from fruit. I ended up cooking my tilapia for a short time so it wasn’t raw, and it made for a citrus lover’s ideal meal. Tons of veggies and avocado along with lots of citrus makes this a perfect add to my Summer recipes list!
Mango Chicken Bowl (DF & GF)
This recipe is one of my favorite ones I’ve made in recent years, because I found myself loving mango in the past year. You’ve got this great mango marinade for the chicken that gets baked and served with quinoa and kale. The end result is a meal that you’ll forget is healthy, because it’s so good!
This one is for the adventurous pizza lovers out there, because we’ve got a lot of unique flavors happening. From sweet peaches, to savory brie, to a bourbon onion that ties it all together, there’s a lot to love. I topped mine with fresh basil, and then pretty much devoured it.
Brie makes another appearance in these quesadillas with a homemade jam. The jam is from chia seeds and nectarine making it pretty healthy and super good! I loved how light and fresh the quesadillas were, and I added in a little fresh spinach for some green. Wow, I really sound like my mom there with that “green” comment, because she loves a visually pleasing plate. Can’t say I blame here!
BLT Avocado Summer Rolls (DF & GF)
If you love BLT’s but don’t want all the bread, then this Summer recipe is a great option. Admittedly rice paper is a pain to work with but once you get used to it, then it’s not so bad. Keep in mind it’s very fragile, so you want it to be pliable without being too thin where holes get crated. But this one is refreshing and absolutely bacon-filled deliciousness!
I wasn’t sure if I’d like a paleo version of zucchini bread, but I was also curious to try it out. Oh wow, this sweet treat is wonderful, not too sweet, and super for when you’ve got chocolate cravings. You’ll love this healthier treat!
I guess you can’t really call this “ice cream”, but rather has a banana base. It makes for the creamiest dessert that you can really customize as you like. I created a coffee ice cream that had dark chocolate folded into it for a dessert you’ll feel good serving!
I adore Moscow Mules, and this one just screams Summer. Fresh basil and sweet strawberries get mixed into a classic mule for a drink that will have you going back for more. Plus they’re a perfect excuse to use my copper mugs that are the best!
Pimms & Lemonade (DF)
This is the drink of Summer for the English, and this time of year always has me craving it. So I’m sharing the classic Pimms & Lemonade drink with my twist, because honestly there are tons of variations. It’s refreshing with ginger ale and lots of fruits and mint, so bring on Summer with one of my favorite Summer recipes!
These 25 Summer recipes are all well tested, and ones I totally love. I’m so happy for all the fresh fruits and veggies around right now, so let’s all take advantage of that. Each recipe will hopefully inspire you to get into the kitchen and create some lovely food!
What are your favorite Summer ingredients and Summer recipes? Comment below and let me know! I’ve shared my recipes and my favorite foods are probably basil, lime, and zucchini, which you’ll find plenty of in the above dishes!
Stay inspired & happy cooking!