When you think of summer eats, you usually think of firing up the barbecue and grilling up some steaks or burgers. But to be quite frank, most of our favorite summer dishes don't come from the grill at all. Summer is full of fresh, vibrant vegetables, and crisp, juicy fruits that pair great with light and lean proteins. Try these 10 summer recipes you can make without firing up your grill.
1. Fish Tacos with Summer Salsa
(Recipe from Rachel Ray Magazine)
- 1 pound halibut or other meaty white fish fillets
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 11-ounce can whole tomatillos, drained
- 4 small zucchinis, peeled, seeded and cubed
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves and stems
- 2 1/2 tsp coarse salt, plus more to taste
- 8 6-inch corn tortillas
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 avocado, peeled and thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 225 degrees.
- Place the fish in a bowl and drizzle with half of the lime juice. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Using your hands, squeeze the juice and flesh from the tomatillos into a medium bowl and discard skins. Mash the tomatillos with a fork.
- Add the zucchini, the remaining lime juice, the cilantro and 2 teaspoons of salt. Toss.
- Spread the tortillas on to baking sheets and warm in the oven for 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cayenne pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.
- Remove the fish from the lime juice, pat dry and cover with the spice rub. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and cook the fish, about 4 minutes on each side. Break the fish into bite-size pieces and season to taste with salt.
- Arrange the fish in the tortillas and top with salsa and avocado slices.
2. Corn and Summer Vegetable Saute
(Recipe from Cooking Light)
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 cup sliced fresh okra
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1 finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
- 1/8 tsp salt 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic; sauté 1 minute.
- Add okra and sauté about 3 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium.
- Add bell pepper and jalapeño. Cook 5 minutes.
- Add corn. Cook 5 minutes.
- Stir in beans and cook 2 minutes.
- Stir in cilantro. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
3. Broiled Fish with Summer Salad
(Recipe from Martha Stewart)
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 4 lemon sole or flounder fillets (1 3/4 pounds total)
- Salt and pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
- 5 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 1 English cucumber, cut into half-moons
- 1 1/2 cups corn kernels (from 2 ears)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Heat broiler. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil on a rimmed baking sheet and arrange sole fillets, flipping to coat in oil. Sprinkle with one-third the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Broil until fish is opaque throughout, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toss together remaining 2 tablespoons oil, remaining garlic, and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate half the tomato mixture for future recipes.
- Stir cucumber, corn, and lemon juice into remaining tomato mixture. Serve fish with salad.
4. Arugula and Corn Salad with Bacon
(Recipe from Simply Recipes)
- 4 large ears of corn
- 2 cups of chopped arugula
- 4 strips of bacon, cooked, chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped green onions
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1/8 tsp ground cumin
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Cook the corn in their husks, either on the grill or by steaming in a large covered stock pot for 12-15 minutes. Let the corn cool (can run under cold water to speed up the cooling), remove the husks and silk. Cooking the corn in the husks adds flavor.
- To remove the kernels from the cobs, stand a cob vertically over a large, shallow bowl. Run a sharp knife downward in long strokes as you work your way around the cob. The dish should catch all stray kernels.
- In a medium bowl, mix the corn, chopped arugula, bacon, and onions together.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, and cumin.
- Mix dressing into salad just before serving.
- Taste and add more vinegar if necessary to balance the sweetness of the corn.
5. Provencal Summer Vegetables
(Recipe from Eating Well)
- 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 cups thinly sliced leeks, rinsed and well drained
- 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper, divided
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3 large tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 small summer squash or zucchini, sliced diagonally 1/4 inch thick
- 1 small eggplant, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1/3 cup finely shredded Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh marjoram or 1 teaspoon dried
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add leeks, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, about 6 minutes.
- Add wine and cook, stirring, 1 minute more.
- Transfer the mixture to a shallow 2-quart baking dish.
- Layer tomatoes, summer squash (or zucchini) and eggplant slices in an alternating shingle pattern over the leek mixture (they will overlap quite a bit). If you have extra vegetable slices, save them for another use.
- Sprinkle the vegetables with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil.
- Bake the vegetables for 1 1/4 hours.
- Sprinkle cheese and marjoram over the top. Continue baking until the edges are browned and the vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes more.
- Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
6. Bleu Cheese Cabbage Slaw
(Recipe from Food Network)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp chipotle puree
- 2 heaping tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp celery salt
- 1/2 tsp celery seed
- 1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
- 1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
- 1 small red onion, grated
- 2 carrots, julienned
- 3/4 cup crumbled bleu cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Potato chips, lightly crushed
- Whisk together the mayo, vinegar, chipotle puree, mustard, celery salt and celery seed in a large bowl.
- Add the cabbage, onion, and carrot. Stir to combine.
- Fold in the bleu cheese, parsley and potato chips.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve immediately.
7. Pasta with Summer Corn, Slow-Cooked Tomatoes, and Garlic Confit
(Recipe from Food52)
- 12 cloves garlic, unpeeled (for the garlic confit)
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes (any size, color, shape)
- 1 tbsp garlic oil (from the pot of garlic confit)
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 6 sprigs fresh herbs (any combination of thyme, rosemary, tarragon, sage)
- 3 ears yellow or white corn
- 1 pound pasta
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 5 tbsp garlic oil (from the garlic confit)
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/3 cup parsley leaves
- With a paring knife, puncture a tiny hole in each clove of garlic. Place cloves in a small pot and cover with the olive oil. If the cloves aren't completely covered, add a splash more oil. Bring to a boil. Turn down as low as the flame will go. Simmer until a paring knife slides in easily (about 15 to 20 minutes). Take off the heat and cool in the pan. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 250° F. Prepare your sheet pan, covering with parchment paper.
- Place the whole tomatoes on the pan and toss with garlic oil (just scoop it right out of your garlic confit pot), salt, and herbs. Place in the preheated oven. Check after 1 1/2 hours to make sure they're not burning. Take them out of the oven when they've shriveled up and darkened in color, about 2 to 3 hours.
- Remove form the oven and squish them with the back of a wooden spoon and cook them for another 15 minutes (watch out, they squirt!) Remove from the oven. Rub the herb sprigs between your hands, sprinkling the dried leaves down onto the tomatoes. Discard sticks. Gently mix and set aside.
- Shuck your corn. Hold an ear of corn vertically by the stem end with the opposite tip pressing down into the center of the bowl. Using a very sharp knife (serrated works well), saw the knife back and forth, working your way down the corn cob removing kernels. Then, turn the knife around and milk the corn by rubbing the dull side of the knife up and down the cob all the way around. Repeat for all corn cobs and set aside.
- Place a large pot of water on high heat and add salt for the pasta.
- While waiting for the water to boil, spoon 5 tablespoons garlic oil (from the cooled pot of garlic confit) into a medium-sized pot. Squeeze all garlic cloves out of their skins into the oil in the pot. With the back of a wooden spoon, break the cloves apart a bit into the olive oil. Warm for 30 seconds on medium heat.
- Add corn and salt. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Turn heat down to low and add your tomatoes. Stir for one minute. Taste and adjust salt as needed. Pour into a large serving bowl. Set aside.
- When the water is boiling, slide in your pasta. Cook until al dente and drain.
- Add drained pasta to the tomato/corn/garlic mixture and toss.
- Add a few more splashes of garlic oil. Taste. Add more salt or garlic oil as needed.
- Garnish with parsley leaves and serve immediately.
8. Romaine Salad with Chicken and Mango
(Recipe from Prevention)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 4 cups shredded romaine lettuce
- 1 small bunch watercress, large stems trimmed
- 1/2 cup finely shredded red cabbage
- 1 mango, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil in large skillet over medium heat.
- Season chicken with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Cook, turning, until golden brown and cooked through, about 6 minutes on each side. Transfer to cutting board.
- Add shallots and 1 tbsp of the vinegar to skillet and cook, stirring, until shallots are softened and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Transfer to small bowl.
- Add remaining 1 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp vinegar to shallot mixture. Season with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper and whisk.
- Place romaine, watercress, cabbage, and mango in to a serving bowl.
- Cut chicken diagonally into long, thin strips. Add to romaine mixture.
- Toss with dressing and serve immediately.
9. Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint
(Recipe from The Kitchn)
- 6 cups watermelon cubes, from about 1/4 of a large watermelon
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 3 ounces feta cheese, drained and crumbled
- 1 loosely packed cup fresh mint leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Flaky sea salt
- Pour off any juice that has gathered around the watermelon. Toss gently with the rice vinegar.
- Toss with the feta cheese crumbles, just until the watermelon begins to look lightly coated.
- Chop the mint leaves very, very finely, into tiny ribbons. Toss with the watermelon and spread in a serving bowl.
- Garnish generously with black pepper. Taste. If desired, add a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Serve immediately.
10. Quinoa Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing
(Recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod)
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- Pinch of salt
Honey Lime Dressing Ingredients
- Juice of 1 large lime
- 3 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
Fruit Salad Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups blueberries
- 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
- 1 1/2 cups chopped mango
- Extra chopped mint, for garnish
- Rinse the quinoa under cold water using a strainer.
- Add quinoa, water, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Let quinoa cool to room temperature.
- To make the Honey Lime Dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk the lime juice, honey, and mint together until combined.
- In a large bowl, combine quinoa, blueberries, strawberries, and mango.
- Pour honey lime dressing over the fruit salad and mix until well combined.
- Garnish with additional mint. Serve at room temperature or chilled.