Superfast Summer Recipes
Celebrate the season with these 20-minute recipes using the freshest produce.
This dish turns your table into a fancy French bistro, but it requires exactly two minutes of cooking. Seek out real crème fraîche―it's thicker and a bit less tangy than sour cream―though sour cream will do in a pinch. This dressing is excellent on any kind of salad, and you can leave out the shallots to use it on fruit salads, too, especially those with melon.
This simple, six-minute recipe for salmon patties could easily become a regular part of your weeknight repertoire. Mix things up by varying your condiments and breads: Cut patties in half and serve on French bread with Rémoulade Sauce for salmon po-boys, or go all-American with ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise on hamburger buns.
The pairing of fresh strawberries and a thick-and-sweet poppy seed dressing is a classic everybody loves. We add a bit of white wine vinegar to the dressing for a little zing, and top the salad with almonds for crunch as well as healthy unsaturated fats. Pair this salad with grilled chicken or fish, and add any other berries you like―blueberries are especially good.
This ultra-easy recipe takes advantage of all the flavors summer vegetables have to offer. We add almost nothing―salt, pepper, and a little cilantro―and let the spicy jalapeños, sweet corn, pungent green onion, and crunchy okra speak for themselves. To make this dish a meal, add lightly seasoned cooked chicken, shrimp, or cubed tofu to the mix at the very end.
Sweet fig preserves balance the tartness of the plums. Choose red or purple plums with bright, unblemished skin that are firm and plump to the touch.
Substitute fresh berries for frozen when making this year-round treat in the summer. This sauce also pairs well with biscuits or as a stand-in for syrup on pancakes.
Cumin is a key spice for authentic Mexican flavor, used here to flavor chicken, corn, and zucchini atop crisp broiled tortillas with Monterey Jack cheese. The recipe only takes about 15 minutes, but you can shave even more time by skipping the broiling step and serving as soft tacos instead. Serve with extra salsa and sour cream, and add your favorite variety of beans―black, pinto, or refried―as a side.
Cooking the pasta and squash together in chicken broth is a great way to give everything in this soup great flavor. Fresh thyme, oregano, and basil, and a generous sprinkle of Parmesan help too. Stir in chopped leftover chicken or pork to make this dish more substantial, or serve alongside a fresh salad for a quick and healthful meal.
If you thought these kiddie faves were off-limits in a healthy diet, think again. These Chicago-style dogs take about 15 minutes to cook, are covered in healthful and tasty vegetables, and weigh in at only 225 calories apiece. For a real treat, serve with our baked Seasoned Fries.
The fun ribbons created by shaving asparagus with a vegetable peeler are easy to make, and don't have to be cooked, so they retain their crunch and flavor. This fast salad makes a great light, fresh side for just about any summer dish, from burgers to grilled fish to barbecue.
Healthful and abundant squash and zucchini get the family-friendly pizza treatment here. A balsamic marinade makes the squash extra sweet, then it's grilled, along with the pizza crust itself, for lots of smoky, charred flavor. A topping of tomatoes, pecorino cheese, and herbs finishes it all off.
With a dressing of almond oil and a white wine reduction, plus a topping of tangy goat cheese, this recipe brings some added elegance to the everyday fruit salad. It makes a nice light lunch or dinner starter on its own, but you can top with sliced chicken breast to make it more substantial. Either way, serve with chilled glasses of the wine you used in the dressing.
Eggs are a great source of protein and other vitamins and minerals, so an omelet makes an excellent meatless supper. For the fluffiest omelet possible, whip the egg mixture until frothy before cooking. Smoked gouda is a wonderful, deeply flavored cheese, but anything you have in the fridge, from cheddar to feta, will work here.
This simple no-cook salad is one of the best ways to highlight heirloom tomatoes, with its counterpoint of pungent raw onion and a light Dijon vinaigrette. You can also make this salad the spotlight of a great BLT (use the dressing in place of mayo), or add sliced mozzarella cheese for a Creole Caprese Salad.
With onion, cilantro, tomato, and mango in a lime-cider vinegar dressing, this salsa strikes the perfect balance between sweet and savory. It also brings out the natural sweetness of the simply grilled halibut. Ask your fishmonger what's freshest and use that, as this preparation will work with just about any kind of fish.
English peas and mint are a classic combination, given extra depth of flavor here with the addition of savory pecorino and bitter arugula. Fresh lemon juice (always better than bottled) in the dressing brightens all the flavors. Crumbled feta or goat cheese make excellent substitutes for pecorino, and if you can't find fresh English peas, try green beans or sugar snap peas, or use frozen.
The perfect summer soup is light and full of quick-cooking, fresh, and flavorful seasonal vegetables. This hearty dish features fiber-rich navy beans, spicy green chiles, meaty ham, and crunchy sweet corn, and takes less than 10 minutes to prepare. Other summer produce like zucchini, tomatoes, and fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley would make excellent additions.
These burgers get added flavor from orange juice, soy sauce, and ginger, while the Special Sauce amplifies those tastes with creamy mayo and honey mustard. Whole-wheat buns are a good choice because their hearty nuttiness stands up to the sauce, but thick slices of dark rye or pumpernickel bread are great substitutes too. For a bit of cheesy indulgence, top these burgers with slices of Swiss or provolone.
Summer is the best time of year for fruit salads; fruit is sweeter and fresher when it's in season. All this dish needs is a little mint and lime to highlight the natural freshness of grapes and stone fruits. It makes an excellent side for nearly every main dish in this gallery, and you can always add whatever other fruits look best at the market, from watermelon to raspberries.
This dish looks super-summery: It's just a heaping helping of fresh vegetables mixed with delectable crabmeat in a lovely light dressing. Show off your own garden by adding other fresh veggies like zucchini or green beans. If you don't like crab, try chopped chicken or canned tuna or salmon instead.
This dish looks gorgeous on the plate, but it's super-simple: Shave ribbons of squash with a vegetable peeler and sauté with onion and garlic for four minutes. The same ribbon technique will also work with zucchini or large carrots in this dish. If you have fresh herbs like parsley, oregano, or thyme, sprinkle a bit on top at the end for a fresh zing.
While many fall and winter vegetables need long cooking to be tender, summer produce is much more superfast friendly. Green beans cook in just over 10 minutes with simple flavorings―lemon, garlic, and butter―for a sublime side with only 49 calories and half a gram of saturated fat per serving. It's shown here with Roasted Fresh Corn, Poblano, and Cheddar Pizza, but it's an excellent pair for any summer meal.
Before you sear the tuna, be sure to get the pan screaming hot–this gives you a deep crust without overcooking the interior. Look for yellowfin tuna caught using the troll or pole-and-line technique.