Here are all the best summer vegetarian recipes, from dinner ideas to sides! These recipes highlight all the colorful produce of the season.
Summer is the most exciting season to eat! There’s loads of beautiful fresh produce and the smoky, charred flavors of the grill. You might get stuck in a burger and hot dog rut, but never fear! There are multitudes of beautiful and delicious vegetarian recipes for the season.
Here are all our favorite summer vegetarian recipes! There’s vegetarian grill recipes like portobello mushroom burgers and tomato basil pasta, fresh summer salads, and charred grilled potatoes. For recipes to compliment like summer drinks and desserts, scroll to the end of the post. Let’s get cooking!
Meet: your perfect portobello mushroom burger. This giant meaty mushroom is irresistible on is own. But add it to a burger bun and pile it high with toppings, and it’s downright outrageous! It's the perfect summer vegetarian recipe, and you can make it grilled or roasted. Of course, we prefer it grilled and eaten on the patio with the wafting smell of charcoal..but that’s just us!
Here's a summer vegetarian recipe that works as a main or a side: antipasto salad! This combo between a pasta salad and Italian antipasti is loaded with zingy flavor: briny olives, tangy artichokes, and roasted peppers, contrasted with crunchy veggies and chewy pasta. Load it with fresh basil and there’s so much going on, you might not be able to stop eating it!
This summer vegetarian sandwich recipe is so irresistible, with one bite you'll fall in love. Meet the Italian eggplant sandwich! This mighty sandwich has all the best Mediterranean flavors. Tender grilled or roasted eggplant, creamy fresh mozzarella, basil pesto, and a unique flavor maker: olive spread. Place it all on foccacia bread, and it’s the stuff summer dreams are made of: ideal for patio parties, picnics and beach blankets.
Hold onto your hats: here’s the new best way to use summer tomatoes in a vegetarian recipe. Tomato pie! This one so flavor-packed, it might be the best on the internet. A bold claim, but hear us out. There’s the flaky pastry crust, buttery and scented with thyme. There’s a gooey, cheesy filling: intensely savory from a little mayo and Dijon mustard, mixed with two cheeses. And the best part: two layers of juicy, beautiful ripe summer tomatoes. Heck, we think it’s pretty darn perfect.
It’s not summer until you’ve made this vegetarian corn salad recipe! This one is all about fresh flavor: sweet bursts of corn, juicy tomatoes, and herbaceous basil pair with a tangy, light vinaigrette. If you’re like us…you won’t be able to stop eating it! Top with feta cheese crumbles if you like, or keep it as a plant based salad: it’s just as good either way. Even better, make it grilled! Try Grilled Corn Salad.
A classic summer vegetarian recipe: the veggie burger! This one is something special: it actually stays together on the grill! It's got the perfect firm texture, and painted with BBQ sauce, it's completely satisfying. (You can make it in the oven too!) Top with your favorite toppings, like guacamole or special sauce.
This Greek orzo salad recipe is perfect for summer! Though it looks a little like rice, orzo is actually a small pasta in the shape of rice! It’s often used in Mediterranean diet recipes like Italian and Greek cuisine. All the flavors of Greece are in this vegetarian salad: salty feta cheese, Kalamata olives, and of course, powerhouse herbs like mint and dill! Leftovers save well and it's perfect for lunches.
Here’s a summer vegetarian recipe that highlights the best of the season: cherry tomato pasta! This easy dinner idea stars blistered tomatoes, a technique of cooking tomatoes in a hot pan until the skin blisters and blackens. Mix the tomatoes with tangy balsamic vinegar, then add chewy pasta and peppery fresh basil. You’ll be amazed at the amount of flavor these classic summer ingredients infuse in 20 minutes.
Ready for the best summer vegetarian side recipe to hit your plate? Because man is this Grilled Caesar Salad tasty! Grilled romaine is infused with an incredible smoky flavor that is irresistible. Top it off with our creamy homemade Caesar dressing, and it's a little bit of heaven.
This elote is the perfect summer vegetarian side dish recipe, if you ask us. One bite of this irresistible Mexican grilled corn and you’ll be a believer: it’s sweet, smoky, savory, creamy, and tangy: all at once. It’s charred perfection and slathered in a creamy spiced sauce with cheese crumbles. Here’s the very best elote recipe you can make at home (though of course, it’s better on the street in Mexico!).
The best way to make a simple summer vegetarian recipe? Pesto spaghetti! It’s herby, Parmesan-y, garlicky and always a crowd pleaser. We’ll show you the trick to getting a silky sauce covering all your noodles: no more gummy, dry pesto here! Serve them as is, or top with veggies or fresh mozzarella for a fast and easy dinner.
The moment that summer hits, it's cucumber salad time! This vegetarian cucumber salad recipe is so refreshing: in fact, it’s hard to stop eating! Adding a bit of sour cream makes an irresistibly creamy sauce. While it has a summery vibe, this delicious salad works any time of the year. Also try: Cucumber Salad with Vinegar
Jackfruit is a tropical fruit that is used as a vegan substitute for pulled pork: and man, is it the perfect summer recipe! This jackfruit BBQ sandwich has barbecue sauce that’s perfectly balanced with sweet, tangy, savory, and a little boozy. Serve it on a bun with our easy vinegar coleslaw or our best creamy coleslaw. It’s one of the most seriously satisfying vegetarian meals out there.
Eggplant can be under appreciated, but this Mediterranean-style vegetable is one of the tastiest around. You’ve got to try this grilled eggplant: perfect for summer grilling! It comes out smoky and tender, lightly charred and full of flavor. Top it with a sauce and you’ve got a killer summer side dish or appetizer! Here we used a fresh tomato salsa fresca, and a creamy, lightly spicy white BBQ sauce. The combination of the two is spot on.
Another great summer vegetarian recipe that's unexpectedly good? Tofu. Yes, this grilled tofu tastes simply irresistible, charred to perfection and then painted with a sweet and savory marinade. Summer can be harder for designing plant-based meals when the grill is king. You can eat piles of grilled vegetables…but you need a protein to stay full. Grilled tofu is a healthy grilled dinner idea that’s full of plant-based protein. You might even convert the meat eaters when they take a taste…it’s darn delicious.
Here’s a fresh spin on the classic broccoli slaw! And who knew it could be so irresistibly tasty? This is a summer vegetarian recipe you can make with store-bought broccoli slaw bags or fresh broccoli and carrots. It’s got a creamy dressing that’s equal parts savory, tangy, and a little sweet. It works as a summer side dish for a cookout, or an anytime side dish that works with…well, anything! Try this stunner of a broccoli recipe…you won’t be disappointed!
Grilling transforms humble vegetables into something brilliant. And this is the case with these grilled veggie fajitas! Bell peppers, portobello mushrooms, and onions transform into the most delicious meld of savory flavors you could fit into a taco! Alongside them, grill up a packet of black beans. It’s one of our favorite crowd pleasing grilled dinner ideas.
These grilled sweet potatoes are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, the ideal summer side recipe! They’ve got a little smoky char to the flavor and are absolutely delicious. Cut into wedges, they’re the perfect side dish for a grilled dinner on the patio. They have just a few tricks to get them perfect: here’s what to do! Also try: Perfect Grilled Potatoes or Grilled Potatoes in Foil
What could be more of a classic summer vegetarian recipe? This salad takes only 10 minutes to throw together and is the perfect accessory to any barbecue or cookout. It features juicy sweet watermelon, salty feta cheese, and cool cucumber, topped with lemon zest and a bit of chopped basil. If you haven't had watermelon and feta before, it's a classic combination that's begging to be part of your summer traditions!
Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (375 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit) or preheat an oven to 450 degrees*.
Clean the portobello mushrooms and remove the stems. Place them on a baking sheet gill side up. Drizzle the tops the olive oil and use your hands to rub on the bottoms. Then place them back on the sheet gill side up and sprinkle with garlic powder, smoked paprika, kosher salt and several grinds of black pepper. Rub them until evenly coated.
For the grilled method: Place the mushrooms directly on the grates gill side up, and grill 10 to 14 minutes until tender and juicy. Liquid will pool in the cap. Flip the mushrooms (this drains the liquid into the grates). Then top with the add cheese slices and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes until melted. Tip: Step up your burger and grill the burger buns for about 1 minute on one side until lightly toasted!
For the roasted method: Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast for 15 minutes until tender. Drain of any excess liquid, then top with cheese and roast another 1 minute until the cheese melts.
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.