5 Hearty Bowl Dinners to Beat the Summer Heat

Bring on the fresh produce and create flavorful dinner bowls for the whole family. Black Bean Burrito bowls, BLT Salad with Buttermilk Dressing, and Sesame Noodle Salad offer the versatility and ease we all crave.

A large serving bowl with Caprese Pasta Salad and two smaller bowls, two forks and a linen.

Salad gets a bad rap because people automatically relate it to diets or boring restrictions, but we shouldn’t judge and we shouldn’t assume salad means a bed of green leaves.

All it takes is a bit of inspiration to tweak all of those garden greens into something you’d want to center your meals around. The simple addition of starches like noodles or rice can elevate your salads to entrée-level status. But don’t stop there! Mix in your favorite proteins like shrimp or chicken.

This week’s meals are all spins on salad—some with greens and some without. You can make them as they are, lighten them up, or fill them out. Either way, they are sure to help you beat the summer heat.

  • Black Bean Burrito Bowl

    Black Bean Burrito Bowl
    Elise Bauer

    A vegan option that punches up a simple taco salad to more substantial fare. For those who aren’t following a vegan diet, toss in a pound of grilled shrimp and you have an added source of protein. Double your grains—I’m going with steamed brown rice tonight, and any leftovers can be served with tomorrow’s meal.

  • Asian Tuna Salad

    Asian Tuna Salad
    Elise Bauer

    This is the unicorn of dinner! Make it in the evening, then transform it into a totally different lunch for the following day. For dinner tonight, try scooping it onto steamed brown rice that’s leftover from last night’s dinner. Tomorrow for lunch, serve it on bread and you’ll have a sandwich with a global twist.

  • BLT Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

    BLT Salad
    Sally Vargas

    Flip the popular BLT sandwich on its head and tackle this mid-week meal like a pro. I’m not overthinking tonight’s dinner, but I am going to gussy it up with the help of a medley of salad greens. Mixed greens with herbs are pretty easy to find these days. Look for ways to liven up even the most basic salads by tossing in a new (to you) lettuce or other green leaf.

  • Sesame Noodle Salad

    Sesame Noodle Salad
    Elise Bauer

    I’m going to top this salad with Grilled Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce. It’s my take on a mandarin orange chicken salad. The pasta noodles replace canned chow mein noodles, and I’m tossing in mandarin orange segments to brighten up the flavors. If you’re chickened out, swap the chicken satay for thinly sliced skirt steak.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • Caprese Pasta Salad

    How to Make Caprese Pasta Salad - bowl of caprese salad with pasta
    Sally Vargas

    This version uses one of the coolest pastas out there—orecchiette. Sure, you can hold fast to the traditional twisty noodle, but venture further down the pasta aisle and see how many different pasta shapes are available to toss into this dish. Farfalle or agnolotti are two other fun pastas to toss into this salad. Pun very much intended.

  • Weekend Baking: American Flag Pie

    American Flag Slab Pie
    Elise Bauer

    American Flag Pie will bring some of the festivities we’re accustomed to this holiday weekend. Go ahead and turn the oven on for this weekend baking project. The little bit of heat is totally worth it in my opinion. We may not be able to have the cookouts we want to, but we can still commemorate the holiday deliciously.