Happy Independence Day, my friends! I’m reminiscing on “home” today. It’s a place where we return for so many reasons, and I returned home this week. You see where I grew up in small town Missouri, the 4th of July is THE holiday. So I knew I’d be up for a few days on our family farm. The farm life often reminds me of fresh corn, overflowing gardens, and coming up with fun Summer Meal ideas.
I often come home for reflection and peace, and I needed some of that this week too. My boyfriend and I parted ways (totally amicably I might add) over the weekend, so home was calling my name. Things happen as they should, yet I find I work through these transitions best with the quiet of the country.
And cooking at home and talking food with my mom and sister are always a welcome distraction! I’m loving the fresh produce right now, and I’m excited for the day when I have a yard and garden. And all of the Summer meal ideas for what to fix next consume us so this food won’t go bad.
This time of year, I think about 4 ingredients that we love when it comes to Summer meal ideas. I’m compiling a massive list today, so we have lots of inspiration when these ingredients take over our kitchens.
For today’s post, I’m sharing Summer meal ideas for the following:
- Corn – Because I grew up surrounded by corn fields, and fresh sweet corn brings back so many memories.
- Zucchini – This veggie is insanely versatile, and it’s one of my favorites to cook with.
- Tomatoes – There isn’t much better than fresh tomatoes, and a classic BLT is one of my favorites. And I love tomatoes roasted, so you’ll see all sorts of good recipes in this section.
- Tomatillos – My friend Rebecca grows tomatillos in her garden, and shared some with me a couple of years ago. I’m really excited to keep playing around with this cool ingredient in the future.
I’m also noting on these recipes which ones are dairy free (DF) and gluten free (GF), so look for that. These recipes are ones I’ve cooked here, and I’ve also gathered a ton of delicious-looking recipes as I scoured Pinterest.
Let’s dive into these Summer meal ideas, shall we?!
Salads with Corn:
Healthy Mexican Street Corn Shrimp Pasta Salad – DF & GF – I’m such a fan of this pasta I made last Fall, because it’s filled with fresh flavors but is pretty addictive too.
Zucchini Corn Pesto Quinoa Salad – DF & GF – This recipe combines corn and zucchini, for a really healthy bowl that’s packed with flavor and texture!
Summer Corn Salad – GF – This recipe is a no brainer when it comes to Summer meal ideas, because it’s packed with corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil. These are all amazing Summer produce, so what a great side to whip up for Summer cook outs!
Mexican Street Corn Salad with Avocado – GF – I just love the spices and freshness with Mexican Street Corn recipes, and this one sounds FANTASTIC! So clearly it’s a must for our Summer meal ideas list.
All the Other Corn Goodness:
Cheesy Bacon Corn Dip – DF & GF – While this hot dip calls my name during football season, it’s also pretty fab any time of year.
Spicy Chicken Flautas – DF – I’m kinda obsessed with these flautas, and just thinking about them makes me want them like NOW. They’re spicy yet sweet thanks to the corn and are just crazy good!
Spicy Southern Hot Corn – GF – I love that his is a spicy, cheesy, corn mixture that is baked until bubbly and then topped with more hot sauce. So sign me up!
Sweet Corn Spoonbread – This reminds me of combining creamed corn with cornbread, and that sounds like a seriously good thing!
Easy Creamed Corn – GF – I grew up loving creamed corn, and this one has cream cheese and cheddar cheese. I’m excited for this new twist on the classic, so it’s a clear choice for my Summer meal ideas list.
Bacon Corn Griddle Cakes – Not going to lie here, so I’m tempted to stop writing this right now just to go whip up this dish. Because I literally don’t know how cheese, bacon, and corn in a savory pancake can be a bad thing.
Paleo Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread – DF & GF – For a healthier banana bread/cake option, then definitely make this delicious one. Make it dairy free by using a dairy free chocolate bar, and Endangered Species is my current favorite brand.
Chocolate Zucchini Cake – One of my favorite things to make with tons of fresh zucchini as a kid was 100% this cake. It looks like zucchini bread, but tastes like dessert and is crazy good!
Zucchini Pineapple Quickbread – DF – I love this slightly sweet take on classic zucchini bread, because the flavor is fantastic. The baking bread smells fabulous and the first sweet bite hits the spot!
Stir Fry Zucchini Noodles – DF – This recipe has been one of the most popular ones I’ve shared recently, and for good reason! If Asian flavors are a favorite of yours, then you must give this recipe a shot!
Zucchini Side Dishes:
Sautéed Zucchini with Garlic & Lime – DF & GF – I never thought to put lime with zucchini but you can bet I’ll be doing it on the regular thanks to this recipe. This is one of my all-time favorite sides I’ve made on my blog.
Zoodle Spaghetti Salad – This reminds me of an Italian pasta salad with tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and red peppers, but with zoodles instead! So sign me up!
Salt & Vinegar Zucchini Chips – DF & GF – If you love salt & vinegar potato chips like I do, then I’m betting this healthier option will satisfy those cravings!
Baked Parmesan Zucchini – GF – I think baking veggies is fun, easy, and also produces maximum flavor. So tossing zucchini spears with Parmesan and spices is a lovely way to enjoy a healthy side!
Zucchini Main Meals:
Sriracha Shrimp & Zucchini Lo Mein – This recipe is for all the pasta lovers out there who love some heat, so make this one ASAP!
Zucchini Roni Pizza – If you like the idea of pepperoni but want a veggie version, then you MUST give this recipe a try. This pizza is one my sister has made for years, and I think you’ll see why!
Zucchini Bake – This dish has a base of crescent roll dough that then gets topped with a mix of onion, zucchini, eggs, and mozzarella for a filling Summer meal idea!
Zucchini Meatballs – This Summer meal idea is for when you’re craving meatballs but want to eat veggies instead. The concept for making them is the same, but you’re swapping zucchini for the meat. And then sauté the meatballs and cover them in marinara sauce, which sounds fab!
Lasagna Zucchini Boats – GF – Another healthy way of using zucchinis but this time you’re avoiding pasta and putting the traditional lasagna flavors into zucchini boats. This Summer meal idea is a fun way to involve kids, so let them fill up the boats and enjoy.
Tomato Side Dishes:
Pearl Couscous with Olives & Roasted Tomatoes – DF – This side dish is a delicious option for your Summer meal ideas, because it uses lots of fresh herbs and tomatoes. The tomatoes roast in the oven which then makes a sauce for the couscous, and it’s damn good!
Fried Green Tomatoes – These crispy fried tomatoes make me think of my childhood, because I loved friend green tomatoes. And it even includes a spicy tomato mayo dipping sauce!
Garlic & Balsamic Grape Tomatoes – DF & GF – You basically cook tomatoes and garlic until they’re softening and then stir in some balsamic vinegar to amp up the flavor. This recipe makes a perfect topping on nearly everything, so let’s add this to our Summer meal ideas, shall we?!
Tomato Cucumber Feta Salad – GF – I love a light, veggie filled salad that isn’t all lettuce filled, so this one is a perfectSummer meal idea. Add in chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, and feta mixed together in a light dijon vinaigrette – yum!
Tomato Main Dishes:
Tomato Strawberry Gazpacho – DF & GF – I love everything about this gazpacho, because it’s so refreshing. It’s the perfect way to use fresh tomatoes and strawberries, making it rank high on my Summer meal ideas list!
Crispy Pesto Gnocchi with Tomatoes & Goat Cheese – If you love pesto, then this gnocchi is a perfect way to use fresh grape or cherry tomatoes. There is so much flavor in this dish, and it’s a way to enjoy some goat cheese too!
Dijon Turkey Meatball Buddha Bowl – DF & GF – I love having grape tomatoes around, and they’re a perfect addition to a buddha bowl like this one.
Garlic Roasted Tomato Spinach Flatbread – I’m not sure how on Earth this wouldn’t taste amazing, considering it’s like a margarita pizza except spinach instead of basil. So yeah, we should probably all go make this now.
Hashbrowns, Spinach & Tomato Pie – GF – I have a soft spot in my heart for hashbrowns, because I have loved them forever. This pie starts with hashbrowns topped with spinach, tomatoes and mozzarella with eggs and milk poured then over them. Then bake the pie and promptly devour, I’m assuming.
Heirloom Tomato Galette – Galettes are the prettiest and easiest pastry dish, and this one has goat cheese, shallots, tomatoes and thyme that are baked to roasted perfection!
Tomatillo Side Dishes:
Homemade Salsa Verde – DF & GF – Ever since making this salsa for the first time, I’ve been completely hooked on salsa verde. It’s easy to make and crazy good!
Mango Tomatillo Guacamole – DF & GF – I adore mango and guac, so naturally this dip sounds fantastic! With a roasted tomatillo puree mixed into mango and guacamole, it sounds too intriguing so I must try it!
Watermelon Strawberry & Tomatillo Salad – DF & GF – I’m intrigued at the thought of raw tomatillos chopped and used in a salad, so this had to make the list! Plus I love strawberries and watermelon, so again…here you go!
Tomatillo Main Dishes:
Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas – GF – If you want a gluten free dish, then use corn tortilla. Fill them with chicken and cheese and top with the above salsa verde for one delicious dish!
Chicken Tomatillo Quinoa Bowls – GF – If a creamy tomatillo sauce coating chicken and quinoa sounds good, then this gorgeous Southwest dish should be yours! Andy why wouldn’t it sound fab?!
Roasted Tomatillo Chicken Tamales – DF & GF – When you want some spicy food and have lots of tomatillos on hand, then this dish is the way to go!
Tomatillo Chicken Pasta – Imagine fettuccine, chicken, cilantro, and lime all tossed with a garlic-y tomatillo sauce, and then make this ASAP!
Tomatillo Ranch Chicken – A creamy, tomatillo sauce is used to marinate chicken and then it gets baked. Serve it over rice or whatever you choose, and then dive into what sounds like a yummy meal!
Stuffed Green Chili Turkey Meatballs in Tomatillo Sauce – GF – If you like meatballs, then these turkey ones stuffed with cheese and then covered in a tomatillo sauce sound like a winner!
Now you have absolutely no excuse to say you don’t know what to cook this Summer! Hopefully these Summer meal ideas inspire you to grab corn, tomatoes, zucchini, and tomatillos anytime you see them.
What are some of your favorite Summer meal ideas, and what from this list are you excited to make? The tomatillo chicken pasta and bacon cord griddle cakes are at the top of my list, because yum! Comment below and let’s keep this convo going!
Stay inspired & get yo’self some fresh produce!