Need summer dinner ideas? Here are all the best recipes for the season: grilled or no cook, with fresh seasonal ingredients!

Summer dinner ideas, summer dinner recipes

Summer is one of the best seasons for home cooking…if you can call it cooking at all! This is the time of year to whip out the grill or make fresh, minimally-cooked recipes. Grab your tomatoes, basil, and corn, because we’ve got the freshest ideas for your patio!

Here are all top summer dinner ideas! They’re either grilled, involve minimal cooking, or feature the best fresh summer ingredients you’ll find at your farmers market or in your garden. After the list, keep reading for some side dish suggestions and drink pairings. Let the season begin!

And now…the top summer dinner ideas!

Summer side dishes to pair

Got your summer dinner recipes covered? Let’s move on to sides! Here are all our top summer side dishes and summer salads that make the most delicious complete meals.

Top it off with drinks & treats

Need some ideas for summer cocktails or summery desserts? We’ve got that too! Pair some of these tasty ideas:

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Cherry tomato pasta

Best Summer Dinner Ideas: Tomato Pasta & More!


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This cherry tomato pasta pairs sweet tomatoes blistered in a hot pan with fresh basil and Parmesan. An easy dinner idea that’s simply stunning!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 ounces short pasta (penne, rigatoni, orecchiette (shown here), shells, cavatappi, etc)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 pints whole cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • ¼ cup pasta water
  • 1 handful fresh small basil leaves, chopped if large

Instructions

  1. Make the pasta: Start a pot of well salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until it is just al dente. Start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside; usually around 7 to 8 minutes. Before draining, reserve some pasta water with a liquid measuring cup (at least ¼ cup). Drain the pasta.
  2. Blister the tomatoes: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a very large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add the tomatoes, making sure there is space around each tomato (they are not touching) and the pan is not crowded. If you’re using a medium pan, cook the tomatoes in 2 batches.* Cook for 1 minute without touching the pan, then 2 to 3 more minutes until blistered, shaking the pan several times to rotate the tomatoes. Turn off the heat and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar, gently shaking several times to coat. Add 2 pinches kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Remove the tomatoes from the pan to a bowl.
  3. Finish the dish: Mince the garlic. Once the pasta is done, in the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium low heat. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute until fragrant. Deglaze the pan with ¼ cup pasta water, scraping the pan with a spoon to release all of the flavor of the tomato juices. Turn off the heat.
  4. Add the pasta to the pan and toss to coat. Add the blistered tomatoes, ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, and basil. Season with 2 pinches of kosher salt and lots of fresh ground pepper. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Serve with the remaining ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Notes

*If the pan is too crowded, the tomatoes will steam instead of blistering. It all depends on the size of your pan: if you’re using a medium pan, you’ll have to cook 1 pint at a time.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Summer dinner ideas, summer dinner recipes

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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