Person lounging on chair with lazy summer dinners around them

Simply Recipes / Jesse Wong

Table Talk

Lazy Summer Dinners

Go ahead and linger in the cool summer breeze a bit longer.

What do you think of when you picture your perfect summer day? I see myself sitting by a pool reading with a glass of blended whole lemon lemonade in hand; or having a simple picnic outside with my friends in Los Angeles as we watch the sunset. I see ice cream trucks, long walks around too many lakes in Minnesota with my family, and drinking cans of ice-cold beer while staying up late playing board games.

What I don't see is staying inside and cooking all day. I don't see turning on an oven and making my already too-warm apartment even hotter. Don't get me wrong: I love cooking! But there's something about the summer where I crave ease. And this summer I'm leaning into it instead of feeling guilty. That's why Simply Recipes is giving you all of our tips, ideas, and recipes for the best easy summer dinners ever so you can enjoy everything else that the season has to offer. From Trader Joe's shortcuts to a simple (but delicious!) spicy cucumber noodles, we want to help you embrace your inner lazy—because it's actually the smartest option.

— Ariel Knutson, Editorial Director

Image of grill, fried eggs, and salad

Simply Recipes / Jesse Wong

Here at Simply Recipes, we are constantly looking for dinner inspiration, especially when we've been busy lounging poolside. So, we asked our readers (you!) to inspire us with your go-to easy summer dinner ideas. And you pulled through victoriously! Thank you!

Read the story15 Readers Share Their Easiest Summer Dinner Ideas

image of Trader Joe's storefront

Simply Recipes / Jesse Wong

When Stephanie Ganz needs to get dinner on the table fast, she turns to her favorite grocery shortcuts. "I hit up my arsenal of Trader Joe’s secret weapons, my go-to shortcuts for getting dinner on the table quickly while staying cool." Here are her five favorite picks!

Read the storyMy 5 Favorite Trader Joe's Shortcuts for Easy Summer Dinners

Image of 4 bagged salads

Simply Recipes / Jesse Wong

"Bagged salads are a convenient option when you’re short on time, but they can be a little lackluster," writes Laurel Randolph. Her solution? Throw in a couple easy ingredients (cheese! nuts!), and suddenly your dinner or lunch feels a lot more exciting—not to mention so easy.

Read the storyHow to Upgrade Salads Kits For No-Stress Summer Meals

Kendra Adachi headshot with The Lazy Genius Kitchen book

Simply Recipes / Jesse Wong

Annelies Zijderveld interviewed author Kendra Adachi, a champion of embracing what matters and letting go of what doesn't. "Be a genius about what matters. Be lazy about what doesn’t. And don’t judge each other," she says. Learn about how to let go of kitchen perfection.

Read the story: Let Author Kendra Adachi Guide Your Inner Lazy Genius

Hot smoked salmon on a platter

Simply Recipes / Jesse Wong

When writer Sheela Prakash's motivation to cook is low, she turns to hot smoked salmon. "It delivers the texture and satisfaction of cooked salmon without me having to crank up the oven or fire up the grill," she explains. Learn about how she uses it in salads, toast, and even as a quick dinner dip (yes, that's right).

Read the storyHot Smoked Salmon Is My Secret to Easy, Flavor-Packed Summer Meals

Baguette, tuna, and tomato sandwich stacked

Simply Recipes / Jesse Wong

When Stephanie Ganz just can't with turning on the oven, or stove, or any other kind of heat source in the kitchen, she leans on sandwiches. "Something about having sandwiches for dinner just feels different. It feels like breaking the rules, which kids love, and the secret truth of the matter is that moms love it too," she writes.

Read the storyWhy Sandwiches Are the Ideal Lazy Summer Dinner for Families

Instant pot with summery images around it.

Simply Recipes / Jesse Wong

While you might associate your Instant Pot with winter stews and soups, it can be used for so much more than that. "When the temperatures rise, I make all of my grains, beans, steamed veggies, hard-boiled eggs, and more in the device—even a few desserts," writes Laurel Randolph. Don't pack it away for the summer!

Read the storyThe Instant Pot Should Be Your Go-To Summertime Gadget