Summertime means BBQs, picnics, and tons of outdoor fun. It also brings along a lot of delicious summer treats. Especially in the form of summer produce. After making my Top 10 recipes for the first year of the website about 6 months ago, I decided I should make another list. Here are some of our favorite summer recipes for your next picnic, party, or backyard barbecue!
Some are frozen drinks to cool you down, some are meals to grill outside to help keep the house cooler, and others focus on using foods that are at their peak flavor while in the summer season.
Bring summer to the table with these 10 awesome summer recipes:
I love summertime. And one of my favorite things to cook is grilled meats. Grilling meat over a fire makes it taste so delicious. And this recipe is perfect for grilling outdoors. Just get a grill and some sturdy skewers and you are off to the races.
This is one of my personal all-time favorite summer recipes, so I made sure to put it first on the list.
First, mix together the chimichurri sauce, which is a bright, fresh, herb-based sauce that really takes the dish to the next level in flavor. This is then added to a marinade for the meat, along with a few other ingredients.
The marinade for this dish includes ingredients like garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, herbs, and spices. This makes it perfect for serving with your favorite side dishes.
While the meat is marinating in that herbaceous mix, take the time to chop, cut, and slice the veggies and everything else for the skewers. Then assemble and grill until the meat is cooked to your liking. Note – if you are using wood skewers, then soak them beforehand.
And, if you’d rather eat a vegetarian option, try making them all vegetable skewers. You can use vegetables such as eggplant and mushrooms along with those that are already included in the recipe.
With summer comes heat, so you know that you have to start thinking about refreshing drinks. Nothing’s better than a frozen drink to cool you off on a hot day. And with three frozen drinks on this list, you know I mean it. If you’re looking to add to your summer recipes, then you might be interested in trying this easy frozen mint lemonade.
To make this recipe, all you need to do is mix together some ice cubes with fresh mint leaves and a peeled lemon. Then, add some sugar and water. You’ll want to blend the mixture until it becomes a smooth consistency.
Serve the drink straight away after blending so that it doesn’t melt and separate. It can still taste pretty good, but the texture will be a bit off and it won’t be quite as refreshing if the ice all melts.
Make it fun by using some green and yellow straws to complement the lemon and mint.
Most interestingly for this recipe, I peel the lemons like you would an orange. I’m not sure if many people would think to approach it this way. But it is fast, easier than juicing. And if I’m already blending it up anyway, then why not. Whenever I make frozen lemonades it is my go-to move.
Watermelon is the epitome of summer fruit. That’s probably why I have two different watermelon recipes in this list. The combination of watermelon, mint, and feta cheese makes this dish taste delicious. You can serve it with grilled chicken or fish, or as a side dish to any summer dinner.
Salty, creamy, and sweet, You can make this watermelon feta salad to bring summer to the salad bowl. You’ll need fresh watermelon, feta cheese, and mint leaves. The best thing about this dish is how easy it is to prepare. All you have to do is chop up your ingredients, toss them together, and serve!
Though I use this watermelon salad as a side, it can also make a perfect appetizer.
If you want to add more flavor, then you can try squeezing some lime juice over the salad. Another option is to use other fruits in place of the watermelon. Try using strawberries, peaches, or nectarines instead. Just be sure that they are ripe.
You also don’t have to make the homemade watermelon dressing – I’ll be honest it does take a fair amount of effort. So feel free to substitute any dressing that will pair with the watermelon flavor.
Caprese salads are so simple to prepare. But their simplicity is what really lets them shine. You are getting pure, fresh flavor. Because it is a simple dish, the quality of your ingredients makes a big difference in the final flavor. So make certain that you source excellent components so that every part can shine through.
Or even try using some home-grown produce where possible.
The best caprese salads have fresh mozzarella cheese, thick tomato slices, large fresh basil leaves, and a drizzle of olive oil. Sprinkle a bit of salt on top at the end for added punch.
I try to kick it up a notch with a homemade balsamic glaze and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. The balsamic glaze is essentially just balsamic vinegar that has some of the water cooked out of it. So that it gets a little thicker.
This is great to make as an appetizer for a large gathering because it is easy to make a large platter.
Summer is here, and it makes it lovely to cook outside. So once again I bust out the grill to make some kabobs. Kabobs are just so versatile for all your summer recipes. You select the main protein (shrimp in this case) and then add any vegetables or fruits to cook alongside it on the grill.
Just skewer everything up and get to cooking.
To fully lean in to the ‘summer’ of these summer recipes, I pair these shrimp kabobs with a sweet coconut sauce. Great for dipping your shrimp or drizzling it over a bed of rice.
These kabobs cook quite quickly, so we’ll make sure they won’t dry out by using a marinade on the shrimp. Plus, it’ll also infuse even more coconut into the dish.
Pizza is one of the most popular foods in the U.S. for good reason. So why not mix things up with another summer recipe favorite – the pasta salad. If you’re looking for a new recipe that’s perfect for summer, then this pesto pizza pasta salad might be just the thing that you’ve been searching for.
This dish combines the three P’s: pizza, pesto, and pasta. The combination makes for an incredibly tasty meal. And I highly recommend checking out my recipe for homemade basil pesto to make this dish.
This recipe assumes you’ll be starting with prepared pesto, whether homemade or store-bought. Then, get to cooking that pasta. I like using rotini pasta since it seems to hold on to the sauce and some of the cheese really well. But you can honestly use whatever variety you prefer most.
Remember that it is for a pasta salad though.
With the pesto and pasta ready, it all comes down to mixing everything together in a tasty summer concoction.
Another frozen drink, and certainly not the last. And this one’s so good you’ll probably want to make sure you have enough ingredients on hand to make more than one batch. Because it goes fast, especially when it’s warm out.
This recipe also uses summer’s favorite fruit – the watermelon. This time in a sweeter fashion than the more savory-focused salad. If you’re looking for a different citrus-based refreshment, then try my rainbow lemonade recipe.
Always use freshly-squeezed lime juice. I promise you it is better than any type of concentrate from a container. Even though I’ve been known to turn to those in desperate times on occasion…
This is a great summer treat that’s easy to prepare and it will keep you cool throughout the day. Which I really envy with my air conditioning being out during this current heat wave.
I like serving this in a tall glass and, if I’m feeling real fancy, garnishing the top of the drink with a slice of lime and a skewer of fresh watermelon.
For me, guacamole is like getting ice cream at Cold Stone. You smash together the avocados and then choose all of your mix-ins. And while the base itself is really good, the mix-ins help determine your final flavor profile. This is how to make the best possible guacamole that is tailored to your own tastes.
Making guacamole isn’t difficult. The first step is to choose everything you’d want inside and then prepare all of the ingredients. Then, you need to mash the avocado. Finally, you simply combine everything into the avocado bowl and give it a good stir.
You can serve guacamole as an appetizer, snack, or even as a side dish along with the meal. But, in my mind, it goes best as an appetizer with tortilla chips. Use ripe avocados and fresh lime juice for the best flavor possible.
Guacamole is delicious. It’s creamy and tangy, with just the right amount of spice. This summer recipe is all about getting creative, so try adding different ingredients until you find your favorite flavor combo.
A good sauce can complete a meal. And for summer recipes the typical go-to is usually a sweet and tangy bbq sauce. If you have a grill outside, then you should definitely give this recipe a go. You’ll be amazed by how delicious the results will turn out.
I originally wanted to make my own barbecue sauce because so many of the commercially available sauces relied on corn syrup. I’m not totally against it as an ingredient, but I wanted a sauce that used molasses and brown sugar to sweeten it.
And, when I looked at a lot of other barbecue sauce recipes, they tend to use ketchup as the base. Ketchup has never been my favorite, so I wanted to start off with crushed tomatoes and tomato paste.
I’m also a sucker for anything with black cherry flavor. So I definitely didn’t impulse buy 100% black cherry juice when I saw it at the store and then have to retroactively come up with a recipe to justify having made the purchase.
I’d never do that.
To round out the list we finally have our last frozen drink. Perfect for keeping cool and bringing on all of the summer vibes.
If you’re looking for an easy way to enjoy your summer vacation, then you need to start thinking about how you can turn pineapple and coconut into a refreshing drink. And for this family-friendly version, we won’t be using any alcohol.
Just that pure pineapple-coconut flavor. The epitome of lounging on the beach with a drink in your hand and the ocean waves lulling you into a calm afternoon nap. All distilled into a simple drink.
And, luckily, the ingredient list isn’t too complicated. Just make sure you can get your hands on some lusciously-sweet cream of coconut.
Frozen drink perfection? Maybe. Though I’d probably have to set up a bracket and let it contend with my frozen butterbeer to see which is the true winner.
So, choose your favorite summertime recipes from this list and try making them at home. Then, tell me what you think. Which of all of these is your favorite? Any iconic summer recipes that are missing? Let me know in the comments.