As we’re moving into the summer months (yay!) that also means that there’s a whole variety of foods that are now available to you and so many great summer recipes we can now make.
Of course, you can simply eat the produce on its own, but I really love incorporating these things into my meals so that I’m getting plenty of fruits and veggies throughout the day.
There’s three things that I always strive for with our recipes: making them nutritious, delicious, and easy. When you truly enjoy the food you’re eating, you’re nourishing yourself well, and it’s easy for you to make, you’re going to be so much more consistent with your healthy eating habits. And we know consistency is key for making you feel your best on a daily basis and caring for your long-term health.
As you’re thinking about what summer produce to buy and what summer recipes to make, ask yourself what recipes really excite you — which use your favorite fruits and vegetables and which use some new ingredients that maybe you don’t use as often?
Have fun in the process and you’ll notice yourself naturally choosing nutrient-dense foods and recipes that you enjoy.
These are a few of my favorite summer recipes! All of these are gluten-free and dairy-free to support those of you with any allergies, sensitivities, or special diets.
In this article, you’ll find:
- Breakfast Ideas
- Side Dish and Salad Recipes
- Dinner Ideas
- Dessert Recipes
- Drink and Cocktail Recipes
Summer Breakfast Ideas
This bowl looks like summer! Making use of bright, vibrant summer produce, this yogurt bowl is a great way to start your morning! This Rise and Shine Yogurt Bowl gives a boost of protein and healthy fat and is the perfect basis for whatever fruits and goodies you have on hand.
Any smoothie is a great option for a cool summer breakfast, especially if you’re on the go and want to enjoy your smoothie at the beach or pool! Beets can be challenging to incorporate into your diet — other than by tossing them into your salad, which is a great option. But another fun way is in this almond butter pink beet smoothie.
Summer Salads and Side Dish Recipes
Of course, almost any fresh, crisp salad can be a summer salad. But there are a few summer salad ideas that really make most of the products and flavors of the season and that pair really well with other summer recipes like barbeque or fresh, wild-caught fish.
This broccoli salad is a perfect option for summer, whether you’re grilling at home or heading to a potluck!
This ranch dressing tastes amazing mixed with a broccoli salad, but you can use this dressing on anything you like. I recommend making a large batch (double the recipe) and save the rest of the week as a dipping sauce, dressing for a quick greens salad, or however, you like to use ranch.
Truly, this is a summer salad made with fresh seasonal tomatoes, that takes 5 minutes to make! (Depending on how quick you chop!) I love this recipe because it’s quick and it uses tomatoes which are always so fresh and available in the summer. I love to make a batch and use it as a side dish for dinner and use leftovers used for a quick lunch (with added protein and goodies to make it an entree).
This potato-salad is a go-to in the summer. Potato salad is traditionally a summer recipe for many, but I personally don’t love mayo and I don’t eat dairy either, so I wanted to create a potato salad that was packed with nutrients and made from whole-foods. Since basil is so abundant in the summer, this was such a natural idea to use a pesto as the dressing for this salad.
Bonus — make a double batch of the pesto to use for other meals throughout the week as well!
There’s nothing better than having a huge bowl of cold pasta salad ready to eat, loaded with fiber, veggies, protein, and healthy fats! This is also a great base to use for leftovers, making use of any produce you have on hand before it goes bad. This salad is something you can make in 10 minutes, toss with a simple dressing, and pop it in the fridge for a healthy leftover for lunch, dinner, or bring it to the next BBQ and pool party with your pals!
Whether you’re enjoying a veggie burger, a big green salad, or summer bbq, this fresh corn salad is the perfect side dish. It gives you that crisp, fresh texture and makes use of so many great summer produce picks.
We love this recipe because it’s not only simple and takes less than 5 minutes to make, but it’s also so easy to play with! We make versions of this almost every other week, sometimes adding fresh cucumber to the mix or tomatoes! So give this one a try and then play around with making it your own too!
Because this Easiest Crunchy Coleslaw is made without quickly perishable ingredients like mayonnaise, it’s perfect to pack up for potlucks, picnics, whatever the occasion!
Whether you are packing it up to take with you, or just whipping it up for a crunchy delicious side with lunch, this coleslaw is a super easy option that everyone will love! We also love serving this with crab cakes or chickpea burgers to give a nice crunchy texture to them!
Summer Dinner Ideas
Summer definitely meals more BBQ, so you’ll find plenty of healthy BBQ dinner ideas here! Every recipe has both plant-based and animal-protein options so that you can choose what’s you’d like.
We absolutely love tacos at Nutrition Stripped! They’re easy and fun to make, and you can use the leftovers in a different way the next day (like a nourish bowl instead!)
For a vegan or vegetarian option of this recipe try using Crispy Tofu, your favorite tempeh, or roasted sweet potatoes such as the filling from this taco recipe. Just toss your tofu or tempeh in your favorite BBQ sauce and you’re all set.
Typically crab cakes that you purchase from the store are packed with filler ingredients such as bread and less quality crab meat — we made this recipe with gluten-free bread crumbs so no matter what lifestyle you practice you can enjoy these crab cakes.
When we think of seafood meals, we always want the ingredients to complement each other, which means less of the bread and oil from frying, and more fresh herbs and fresh crab meat. And of course, pair this with the crunchy coleslaw recipe for the perfect meal!
For a vegan or vegetarian option, crumble the tofu and follow the same recipe steps and ingredients!
What makes this delicious recipe even better healthier option is the fact that it’s gluten-free and baked so without all the extra oil from frying. Baking the potatoes at the same time also makes for a super easy meal with minimal cleanup. What’s not to love?
If you don’t consume animal proteins, you can make this recipe using tofu as the protein. If using this path to the recipe, then you’ll need an egg replacer to make sure the breading sticks to the tofu and then follow with all the remaining ingredients.
Maybe it’s because I’m born and raised in the midwest and our summers in Ohio were filled with sweet BBQ, corn on the cob, and cucumber salads, but there’s something about this nourish bowls flavor and texture combination that’s so delicious!
This simple herb pasta truly is so simple to make using fresh herbs that you probably have in your kitchen already, lemon, garlic, salt, and pepper. Along with fresh dill and parsley, this pasta is a great summer dinner recipe — just add a salad and protein of your choice! It also makes a great side dish and can be served hot or cold if you’re leaning into the salad side dishes.
What makes these tacos so great for summer is the pickled vegetables (carrots and radishes) — they add a crunch with a slightly tangy and slightly sweet flavor that only pickles can give.
If you’re not into tofu, you can make this recipe with any animal protein you enjoy or cooked lentils. The sauce in this recipe is delicious and can easily translate into any other protein you enjoy.
We can’t have a summer recipe roundup without calling out a delicious veggie burger. These chickpea burgers are packed with so many goodies — from pecans to chickpeas, herbs and spices. At first glance, the recipe may look intimating because there’s so many ingredients, but there’s actually only 4 simple steps, and most of the ingredients are things you can stock up on and keep in your pantry, making these a great go-to option year-round.
This Piña Colada Sherbet is a delicious, dairy-free, simple dessert packed with fresh fruit. I took two of my favorite frosty treats — a Piña Colada and coconut ice cream — and made this up. It’s a mixture of pineapple, lime and coconut, and refreshing, dairy-free ice cream and it’s perfect for a hot summer day!
Love traditional banana pudding? You’re going to love this simple dairy-free version that doesn’t have all of the extra sugar.
Want to make it even more fun? Grab some popsicle sticks, and pop this Dairy-Free Banana Pudding in the freezer for a couple of hours. Voila — you have super fun and healthy pudding pops!
If you love antioxidant-rich blueberries, chocolate, and dessert, then you’re going to love these Blueberry Chocolate Bars.
This recipe is a simple coconut milk ice cream that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser, easy to make, and delicious to top with your favorite ingredients from chocolate chips to shredded coconut.
I’ve merged a classic lemon bar with a lemon curd pie and sprinkled some berries in the mix for these Simple Lemon Berry Bars. They’re not only delicious and healthy but also beautiful to make and share with friends this season.
Lemon curd pie is famous for it’s luxurious, velvety, and creamy filling and lemon bars or lemon squares have the same filling-vibe, but they’re a bit more starchy in order to hold up to being cut into bars and re most often served with a dense crust. My mission was to fuse these two delicious desserts, make them simple, and amp up the nutrition a bit.
Summer Cocktails and Drinks
Staying hydrated is key year-round, but especially in the hot summer months. I love using refreshers as a fun way to remind yourself to drink more throughout the day. Enjoy this delicious, sparkling strawberry goji rose herbal infusion as a refreshing beverage, as a mocktail, or cocktail.
From a culinary standpoint, when you blend an avocado with this margarita recipe, it’s silky smooth, cold/refreshing, and delicious! Just like most cocktails, enjoy them immediately after you make them and you can make them in a large batch just be sure to serve right away.
Trying New Summer Recipes
As you’re browsing these recipes and looking for inspiration, challenge yourself to pick up one new food every week or trying one new recipe every week. (You can ask the farmer at the market for their recommendation of what’s really good right now!)
This will help you expand your tastes, find new things that you enjoy, and challenge you to learn a few new cooking skills to make that ingredient.
If you make any of these recipes, I’d love to see them! Snap a picture and post to your Instagram Stories and be sure to tag me @nutritionstripped so I can share!