Summer is a time to serve lighter food and enjoy the seasonal bounty of summer produce. Look for locally grown, fresh, high quality ingredients. You’ll not only ensure that your food tastes great, but you’ll eat healthier and have a positive environmental impact.
Whether you’re hosting an outdoor BBQ, looking for something refreshing to serve at your next dinner party, or just planning a relaxing family dinner, these recipes will help you make the most of summer.
Starters and sides
A cold soup is a great way to start a summer meal if you want to serve up something lighter that won’t require a tremendous amount of effort. Consider this pea and mint soup recipe or a cherry tomato gazpacho. Both are simple to make and can be prepared in advance.
Another easy solution is to serve a beautiful salad. You can keep it simple with just some greens and fresh tomatoes and peppers, but if you want something a little heartier try a recipe like this turkey and orange prune salad with toasted pecan nuts. Or check out one of the summer salads here.
If you are serving brunch or lunch the starters listed above could certainly be used as main dishes. But if you want to serve something more substantial, we’ve got you covered. Summertime is a popular time for BBQs, and you’ve probably realised by now that just about anything tastes great grilled. If you want to steer away from the traditional hotdogs and get a little more creative, here are a few recipes to try.
If you want to stick with beef on the grill but serve something unexpected, try a recipe like these BBQ beef short ribs, marinated in a bourbon and chipotle sauce. And while a hamburger may be what people expect, you can always blow their minds with a gourmet homemade beef burger with Stilton rarebit.
Oftentimes people don’t think about grilling seafood, but fish is quick and simple to grill and it’s also light and healthy. Oily fish such as salmon do especially well, as they’re less likely to get dried out. These lemon and herb marinated salmon skewers are guaranteed to be a party hit. Sea bass and mackerel are also good fishes for grilling. This mackerel with sizzled garlic, ginger and tomatoes recipe is easy and requires only 10 minutes of prep time.
Another way to lighten a summer meal is to go vegetarian. For a brunch with friends, try this asparagus and chervil quiche with or without the Parma ham, or this roasted tomato, basil and Parmesan quiche that takes advantage of summer cherry tomatoes. If quiche is not your style, this couscous salad takes only minutes to prepare and works well as a main dish or a side.
The best summer desserts are refreshing and make use mouth-watering seasonal fruits for a healthy end to a lovely meal. For a hearty dessert, try a plum crumble or this blueberry and lime cheesecake. Or if you’re looking for a low calorie dessert that’s completely satisfying, try strawberries in raspberry puree or an apple sorbet.
The trick to the perfect summer meal is to stick to simple dishes made with seasonal ingredients. Grilling outdoors or serving cold soups and salads is a good way to minimise your time in the kitchen on a hot day. For your next garden dinner party or family potluck, these recipes are simple to make and are guaranteed to be crowd pleasers.