45+ Easy Summer Meals That Take 20 Minutes or Less
Chicken and Bulgur Salad With Peaches
A quick-cooking whole grain, bulgur is perfect for time-crunched weeknight cooking. If you can’t find it on the grains aisle, you can substitute quinoa or whole-wheat couscous.
Chicken and Cucumber Salad With Parsley Pesto
This hearty supper salad is a lean-protein powerhouse thanks to chicken, chickpeas, and edamame; the parsley pesto delivers bone-boosting vitamin K. Pick up frozen shelled edamame to make this meal extra speedy.
Gnocchi With Spinach and Pepper Sauce
Our shortcut version of Spain’s beloved romesco sauce boasts all the smoky flavor of the original with a fraction of the prep time.
Meatball and Tomato Salad
Use ground beef or bison here. Available in most grocery stores, bison is eco-friendly and has fewer calories and less sat fat than beef. Try these meatballs with spaghetti, or pile them on a whole-wheat hoagie for a wholesome take on the classic meatball sub.
Extra-Crispy Veggie-Packed Pizza
Our taste testers loved this pizza’s crunchy crust and zingy zucchini salad, but the real hero was the halloumi—a dry, salty cheese similar to feta.
Pork Chops With Corn Relish
Call on your grill and farmers market bounty to make summer dinners simple. Keep this relish recipe handy for adding fresh flavor to grilled fish or pasta salad.
Shrimp and Leek Spaghetti
Light and lemony, this pasta provides nearly a third of your daily fiber goal. Thanks to prepeeled shrimp and frozen peas, it’s the epitome of weeknight-fast. Dress it up with a glass of crisp white wine.
Creamy Chicken-Tomato Skillet
Yes! You can make chicken and rice in 20 minutes. When a craving for comfort food hits and you need it in a hurry, this fast take on chicken and rice hits the spot. Stirring chopped baby spinach into warm brown rice is a smart way to get more vegetables and jazz up an otherwise plain starchy side.
Our pro tips for speedy cooking: Cut chicken into bite-size pieces so it cooks in just a few minutes, use precooked rice and heat it in the microwave, then use the hot rice to wilt the spinach for you while you finish the chicken. Fresh thyme, chopped basil, or parsley are all good stand-ins for the rosemary. Round out the meal with a glass of sauvignon blanc.
Bacon, Arugula, and Egg Wraps
Precooked potatoes make these wraps quick and easy to whip up; eggs and whole-wheat tortillas deliver protein and fiber to keep you full all morning.
Black Bean Tostadas With Cabbage Slaw
Look for salty crumbly fresh Mexican cheese—queso fresco—near other fresh cheeses. Swap crumbled feta or shredded Jack cheese in a pinch. Look for crunchy premade tostada shells near the taco shells. Use up the extra shells as a base for a batch of after-school nachos, or break them into pieces and use in place of tortilla chips. For even more veggie goodness and an extra punch of flavor, try adding a few slices of creamy avocado and a sprinkle of charred corn kernels.
Pork and Charred Pineapple Sliders
Hawaii’s traditional Kalua pork requires a beach pit, a whole hog, and a day’s worth of smoking. Our weeknight version delivers all the flavor with a fraction of the effort—no shovel required. Pineapple pulls double duty in this recipe—caramelized rings add smoky sweetness, while the just-tangy-enough pineapple juice makes the slaw a tasty stand-alone side dish. Save time by picking up a peeled and cored pineapple in the produce section—the flavor is far superior to canned rings.
Buffalo Chicken Tacos
Your favorite appetizer just got upgraded to the dinner menu. These reinvented tacos check every craving box with less than a third of the sodium and half the fat of traditional Buffalo wings.
Warm Pasta Salad With Tomatoes and Eggplant
Congratulations—You just found your new go-to pasta salad! This veggie-packed beauty is nice and filling, thanks to meaty eggplant. If you can’t find burrata, simply tear 6 ounces of fresh mozzarella into bite-size pieces.
Heading to a potluck? Feel free to make this recipe ahead of time; just be sure to let it come to room temperature and toss with an extra drizzle of vinegar and oil before serving. Add a few tablespoons of chopped fresh basil leaves for an extra layer of flavor.
Grilled Heirloom Tomato and Feta Panzanella
This salad comes together in just 20 minutes. But spring for heirloom tomatoes—their rich flavor and vibrant color add a huge wow factor. Beans bulk it up with fiber and protein.
Fig and Arugula Salad With Walnuts and Goat Cheese
Chickpeas, goat cheese, and walnuts pump up the protein in this arugula salad, making it a hearty meatless main. Dried figs add a big fiber boost—more per serving than any other fruit.
Grilled Lemon-Rosemary Chicken and Leeks
Chicken cutlets get great flavor from a lemon-rosemary marinade while the leeks cook into a silky, caramelized vegetable side dish. If you’ve never enjoyed the darker green leek tops, give them a try in this recipe.
Garlic-Miso Pork Noodle Bowl
Pick up unpasteurized miso—fermented soybean paste—for the best probiotic boost. Look for it near the refrigerated tofu products at your grocery store.
Spicy Scallops With Watermelon Salsa
Here we season quick-cooking scallops with inspiration from Caribbean pepper pot recipes. To get a nice sear on the scallops without any sticking, be sure to thoroughly pat your scallops dry and preheat the skillet until it’s nice and hot.
The spicy scallops are cooled by the sweet, minty watermelon salsa. Ask for “dry” sea scallops at the fish counter. Other scallops have been treated with a sodium solution that prevents them from browning nicely and can make the texture of the meat less pleasant.
Fresh Corn Cakes with Summer Salsa
This speedy vegetarian entrée is absolutely bursting with peak-season produce. Side suggestion: an herby white bean and arugula salad.
Haricots Verts and Grape Tomato Salad with Crème Fraîche Dressing
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.
BBQ Chicken with Peach and Feta Slaw
This summery crunch-tastic slaw is guaranteed to find its way into your recipe rotation for the rest of the season. Using ripe, juicy peaches, it's the perfect sweet-salty side dish for any number of grilled or smoked proteins.
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.
Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
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.
Corn and Summer Vegetable Sauté
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.
Open-Faced Prosciutto and Plum Sandwiches
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.
Greek Yogurt with Warm Black and Blueberry Sauce
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.
Chicken and Summer Vegetable Tostadas
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.
Skillet Pork Chop Sauté with Peaches
The bright, bold flavors in this dish mean you don't need a side with a lot of high-impact flavors. Serve over quick-cooking couscous.
Summer Squash Soup with Pasta and Parmesan
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.
Hot Dogs "Run Through the Garden"
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.
Asparagus Ribbons with Lemon and Goat Cheese
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.
Summer Squash Pizza
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.
Stone Fruit Salad with Toasted Almonds
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.
Omelet with Summer Vegetables
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.
Creole Tomato Salad
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.
Grilled Halibut and Fresh Mango Salsa
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.
Fresh English Pea Salad with Mint and Pecorino
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.
Summer Corn and White Bean Soup
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.
Turkey Burgers with Special Sauce
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.
Fruit Medley with Mint and Lime
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.
Crab, Corn, and Tomato Salad with Lemon-Basil Dressing
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.
Yellow Squash Ribbons With Red Onion and Parmesan
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.
Green Beans with Lemon and Garlic
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.
Chicken Kebabs with Creamy Pesto
Creamy pesto is the perfect cooling counterpoint to these flavorful chicken kebabs.
Seared Tuna with Avocado Salsa
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.
Crab and Heirloom Tomato Salad
You'll find colorful, mini sweet peppers in 8-ounce bags in the produce section.
Chicken Cutlets with Strawberry-Avocado Salsa
This colorful, flavor-forward dish makes the most of peak-season produce with a sweet and tangy fruit salsa that would be equally delicious served over pork chops or with whole-grain tortilla chips. The heat from the seeded jalapeño is mild, but it can be omitted. To round out your plate, try serving the chicken and salsa over a bed of rice or with a simple side salad.
What’s the secret to getting this zucchini pizza on the table quickly? Use pre-baked crusts. Cut the zucchini and mozzarella as thin as possible to guarantee tender zucchini and expertly melted cheese in under 10 minutes. If you like to make your own pizza crust and have one on hand, pre-bake your crust for about 8 minutes before flipping it over and adding the toppings.