Summer is a special time for foodies. Fresh fruits and vegetables are at their ripest and most delicious. The long, lazy days of Summer are ideal for cooking a tasty evening meal and sharing it with special people. Food-culture truly comes alive in the Summer. To me, ideal Summer meals are light, zesty, and fresh–best enjoyed outside at a shaded table, surrounded by friends and family. Today, we want to present to you 11 Summer-inspired recipes for you to enjoy with your friends and family, or even by yourself!
This one is way too easy, delicious and versatile not to try. These are popsicles made from simply frozen, pureed watermelon–but boy, are they good.
-Anything additions you want to add for personal touch
You basically want to slice up and puree watermelon until it is liquid, and freeze it in popsicle moulds. You can get creative with this, too. Depending on your taste, you can go wild with customization.
-Puree as much watermelon as you want (use 1 cup of watermelon puree per popsicle for nicely sized, but not too large watermelon pops.)
-Pour the puree into popsicle moulds
-Add whatever additions you want. Get creative with this. Add chili, lemon, or sliced up fruits like pineapple, mango–whatever you can think of.
-Add a popsicle stick, and freeze until solid.
These are an instant smile-maker, and a perfect frozen Summer treat–refreshing and delicious!
Can you blame us for putting two watermelon recipes on this list? Watermelon is a fruit that was made for Summers. Like the last recipe, this one is also an easy recipe for Summer entertaining. This is a simple lemonade, just with watermelon puree–but it really elevates this drink!
-About 4 cups of watermelon puree (you’ll need around half of one large watermelon for this).
-1 Cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (around 4 large, juicy lemons).
- ¼ a cup of sugar (I like my lemonade on the bitter side. Add more sugar depending on your taste).
Making this is easy!
-Puree your watermelon, and strain it to get out any unpleasant textures.
-Add your puree, lemon, sugar, and mix.
-Add water to taste. If you’re planning to serve it with ice (you should), then under-water your lemonade to account for ice-meltage. Around 2 cups of water is where you probably want to be.
-Garnish! I like to garnish mine with some fresh mint, maybe a lemon slice, or some cucumber.
This lemonade is fantastically delicious, easy to make, and super refreshing.
It’s great to serve before or after a meal!
Apple Walnut Salad
This Summer salad is one of my long-time favourites, and one that my Mom always made all Summer long. It’s fresh, flavorful, and it makes the perfect side dish to any meal. If you add a protein like chicken or fish, it can stand on its own as a quick and easy weeknight meal.
-Spinach (or really any leafy green. This is good with kale, or a spring mix).
-Goat cheese (or feta).
-Walnuts (pecans or almonds are good too).
-Balsamic vinaigrette (You can alternatively dress it with vinegar and olive oil, or lemon and olive oil. Basically, you just want a fat and an acid).
Assembling this dish is straightfoward:
-Slice your apple into cubes or thin slices
-Slice your onion into thin slices (I like to soak my onion in ice-water for a few minutes, it gets rid of the strong, spicy flavour).
-Slice your cheese into small cubes
-Lay down your bed of greens, top with your assortment of toppings, and dress!
This salad is super easy, and has a great variety of flavour. What I love about this salad (and salads in general) is that it's super easy to substitute ingredients based on what you have available in your kitchen.
Thyme and Mozzarella Salad
I know, it might sound weird, but trust me–this dish is so simple and delicious. This is a Syrian dish that my friend’s mother taught me how to make this Spring. Thanks Om Mohammad!
It's just two ingredients: fresh thyme leaves and shredded mozzarella. Strip the thyme leaves from their stems, wash, strain the water out, and combine with mozzarella cheese.
It’s that easy–and it’s so good. This is a unique, off-the-wall salad that is bright, refreshing, and unlike anything your guests will have tried before.
Pan-Fried Cumin and Cardamom Salmon With Roast Veg
This is a complete, easy, weeknight meal that is easy to make in large quantities without too much fuss. This is the type of meal that is simple to make, but that will wow your guests while you’re entertaining this Summer. This recipe is written for two servings, but increase the quantities based on your number of guests.
-2 Salmon Fillets
-Cardamom (freshly ground is the best!)
First, we will talk about the veggies. Chop up all of your veg into equally sized cubes. You want them as close in size as possible so they cook evenly. The brussel sprouts, just cut in half. Put all your veg on a sheet tray, coat evenly with olive oil, and hit it with some salt and pepper ( and whatever other spices you like. I do garlic powder, or maybe some creole seasoning).
Bake at around 350 degrees fahrenheit (176 C). For around 20-25 minutes. You want golden brown crispiness!
For the fish: season your salmon fillets generously with salt, pepper, cumin, and cardamom. Get your olive oil (for a yummy, but less healthy alternative, use butter) hot in a pan. Lay your fish in and fry. With your burner on medium-high, it should only take a few minutes on both sides. Once your fish is crispy outside and done all the way through, squeeze on some lemon.
This dish is culinary, delicious, and easy to make for large groups. It’s a complete meal on its own, with lots of strong flavours.
Fresh Berry Cobbler
Berries are in high-season right now. At their sweetest, and most acidic, now is the perfect time to put some berries to use. This cobbler is a simple and delicious dessert that works with basically most fruits, but especially well with the sweet acidity of berries. This recipe is inspired by the delicious fruit cobblers of the American Southeast.
For serving in a 9x13 inch pan, you’ll need:
- 2 sticks of butter
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup mullberries
-1 cup strawberries (sliced)
The beauty of this recipe is that the batter follows a simple 1-1-1-1 ratio, meaning you should just use equal parts of everything. Then, you can add as many or as few berries as you want. For this recipe, I recommend two cups of berries.
Lay your berries down in the sheet pan, and cover with juice from your lemon. Then, mix the flour, milk, and sugar into a batter. Pour the batter evenly over your berries. Then, cut your butter into slices and lay it evenly across the top of your batter.
Bake at 375 degrees (190 C) for about 40 minutes. You want the cobbler to be golden brown. This dessert is rich, dense, and cakey. It's best served hot with a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream on top. This dessert will wow your guests, especially if they aren’t used to decadent Southern dishes.
This one is another staple of Summertime snackage from the U.S. Midwest. Cowboy Caviar is a fresh, zesty bean-salad that screams summertime. This dish works on it’s own as a delicious salad, or as a dip to be eaten with tortilla chips.
-Black eyed peas
-Salt and Pepper
- White wine vinegar
This recipe also uses a simple ratio that you can adapt depending on your tates. I generally use one cup of all the salad ingredients. If you’re using canned beans, just use the whole can.
For the dressing, I’d recommend using a ½ cup of olive oil and white wine vinegar each.
To make this:
Finely dice your onion, tomatoes, and cilantro. Mix in a bowl along with your beans, and corn. Mix your dressing ingredients in, season to taste with salt, pepper, and chilli powder, and hit it with juice from one lemon. Let the salad sit refrigerated for at least a few hours before you serve–it's going to taste a lot better once everything has had a chance to marinate together.
Fresh Broccoli Salad
If you don’t like broccoli, then you need to try this salad. This delicious, springy salad will turn the hearts of even the deepest of broccoli haters. This salad is fresh, zingy, and smokey. The broccoli heads are great at gripping the dressing, so each bite is packed with flavour.
-A head of broccoli
–½ cup pecans
-½ cup cranberries
¼ cup smoked sunflower seeds (shelled)
-1 red onion
-½ cup mayonnaise
This one’s a cake walk. Cut up your head of broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Slice your red onion (you can soak it in ice water for a few minutes to tamper the strong onion flavours).
Combine everything into a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. This salad is best if left to chill in the fridge for at least 45 minutes to an hour. Doing so will let the flavours marinate, and the broccoli will soften for a better eating experience.
This is one of those classic, mid-century American salads that was made for a Summer picnic!
This is an Italian Summer favourite that will transport you to a beautiful Napoli Summer. This simple salad is an all-time classic for its basic ingredients that work in perfect harmony. This salad is so simple, you don’t even need a recipe. We’ll give you one anyways.
-The freshest, ripest tomatoes you can find
-Fresh, whole mozzarella
-Salt and pepper
To make this wonderful salad, slice your tomatoes and lay them out on your serving dish. Season with salt and pepper. Rip up chunks of mozzarella and basil leaves, and spread them over your tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil and your balsamic vinegar over top, and enjoy!
This salad is timeless, understated, and will always be a quick and easy go-to Summer salad.
Super Low-Calorie Chocolate Avocado Mousse
I know this one might seem weird, but stay with me. This is a rich and creamy chocolate avocado mousse that is extremely diet-friendly. If you are having chocolate cravings in the midst of your Summer diet, this will be your guilt-free quick fix.
-A couple of avocados
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Or less, depending on how chocolatey you like it).
-2 tablespoons of honey (or more, if your sweet-tooth is extra strong).
That's it! Three ingredients. To put it all together, drop all of your ingredients into a blender and blend until you get your desired, creamy texture. I like to serve mine with some crushed nuts like pecans sprinkled over top for a better textural experience.
This mexican dish screams Summer. Ceviche is a seafood-salad type of dish that is delicious served on top of tostadas, or scooped with tortilla chips. It has bright, poppy, and acidic flavours. It's refreshing, healthy, and you’ll never want to stop eating it.
-(lots of) limes.
If your shrimp is already cooked, great. If not, drop a whole yellow onion into water, bring it to a boil, and drop your shrimp in. Cook until they turn that desired pink colour. Peel, devein, and cut your shrimp small.
With your veg, I think it's best to dice everything as small as possible. Doing so lets everything come together more harmoniously. Once your veggies are diced, combine with the shrimp, and season with salt and lime juice to taste. If you want a spicy kick, cut up a few fresh jalapenos and toss them in with the rest of the salad.
This is a great picnic meal. It’s a complete eating experience, and it’s easy to transport.
These recipes are simple, delicious, and they all scream “Summer!” So next time you’re not sure what to make for your family and friends, give some of these recipes a try. They’re new to you now, but if you give them a chance, they might just become old favourites.