I wait all year for summer’s warmth, but I end up spending the entire sweaty season trying to stay as cool and still as I can. While I could step up my grilling game or tackle the abundance of vegetables I impulse-purchased at the farmers market, my idea of an easy summer dinner is slightly lazier and reliably delicious: a cheese plate.
Searching for more inspiration, we asked our readers to give us their go-to, easy summer dinner ideas. Here are 15 responses that won’t leave us sweating dinner.
Keep It Cool with Salads, Noodles, and Cold Soups
“Pasta salad with a Greek vinaigrette filled with fresh vegetables and meats and cheeses.” — Elaine Manley-Santacroce
“Cobb salad with fresh romaine lettuce and a creamy dill dressing!” — Heather Campbell
“Gazpacho (maybe with halved poached shrimp and avocado), prosciutto, melon, and marconas.” — Lauren Bloomberg
“I love making cold somen noodles with tsuyu sauce and shiso leaves with cold seasoned cucumber and agedashi tofu as side dishes!” — Judi Ying
“Pasta salad with leftover roast chicken, blanched broccoli, black olives, white beans, cherry tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese dressed with a light vinaigrette.” — Laurie Slifer Lopez
“Lidia Bastianich’s pasta with cherry tomatoes, basil, and bocconcini—only when cherry tomatoes are ripe and delish. Macerate the halved tomatoes in sea salt, add a bunch of crushed garlic cloves, and good olive oil. Toss garlic after an hour, add basil, pasta, and mozzarella.” — Jenny Gardiner
Breakfast for Dinner is So Chill
“Avo toast with fun toppings!” — Laurel Randolph
“Breakfast for supper: eggs, grits, bacon, and fruit.” — Mimi Lauten Fowlkes
“Breakfast for dinner! Scrambled eggs, toast, a sliced red pepper with a side of hummus and some fruit. The key here is that I am hardly using my stove and it takes practically seconds to make!” — Brooke Schuldt
Tex-Mex All Summer Long
“Tostada nights forever! The only things to cook are a pressure cooker of beans and a skillet of ground beef.” — Coco Morante
“Soft tacos. Homemade chili from the freezer, chop some lettuce and tomatoes, grate some cheese, nuke some flour tortillas…splash on some kind of hot sauce or salsa.” — Edith Griffith Jackson
Leave Your Hot Kitchen. Take it Out to the Grill.
“Grilled cabbage and corn salad with pomegranate balsamic reduction, rosemary focaccia (homemade), tomato confit, burrata with pesto, various cheeses, prosciutto di Parma wrapped in slices of cantaloupe.” — Mammabellarte Rita Reade
"Sausage and pepper! In the oven or on the grill! Great during the week or for friends on the weekend!” — Dina Deleasa-Gonsar
“Grilled flank steak, Chinese vermicelli noodles & arugula salad!” — Larson Folkerts
Reader Genius Tip!
“On Sundays we always serve grilled meat and seasonal veggies. We plan ahead to use the leftover meat in a dinner salad one night, and often the leftover vegetables in a simple pasta dish later on as well. A 3-for-1!” — Elizabeth Boisvert