Trying to stay healthy is always a chore—especially during the months when barbecues and decadent vacation dinners are the norm. Healthy dinners are filled with protein, verdant fresh veggies, low in fat, and don’t contain too much sugar. 

Summertime can be a hard time to prep dinner. You don’t want to spend all that time over a hot stove indoors. You don’t want to waste hours on a meal when you just want to hang out with friends. Are you ready to go on a summertime dinner journey that will tease those tastebuds and please your guests?

Grab your apron and get ready to whip up some amazing treats. This is our list of healthy summer dinner recipes meant to be easy, delicious, and nutrient-packed. 

10 Healthy Summer Dinners

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Check out these 10 delicious and healthy summer dinner ideas.

1. New Delhi Spiced Lettuce Wraps

New Delhi Spiced Lettuce Wraps
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Let’s kick off this list with a dinner that’s easy, waistline-friendly, and spicy enough to make you break a sweat. These Indian-style lettuce wraps make it possible to get that savory, spicy, and sweet flavor profile you’d expect from a top-rated Indian restaurant. 

It only takes about 20 minutes to make and will offer you a great party dish that people will remember for years to come. What’s not to love?

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef (or Impossible burger)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup mango chutney
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 package (12.70 ounces) Asian crunch salad mix (keep salad dressing packet and toppings set aside)
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • 12 Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves
  • 1 medium mango, peeled and sliced

Directions:

  1. Start by cooking the beef, onion, and garlic cloves in a pan over medium heat for about 6 to 8 minutes. Use a spatula to break apart the beef. (The beef should be brown and the onion should be soft by the time you’re done here.)
  2. Add the mango chutney, soy sauce, garam masala, and salad mix to the pan. Set aside the salad dressing packet that came with the mix. Stir and continue to cook until the beef soaks up most of the spices and the salad is wilted.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the coconut milk with the salad dressing. Stir.
  4. Spoon the beef mixture onto individual lettuce leaves, then add salad toppings over it. Drizzle the coconut milk mixture on top and serve. 

2. Air-Fried Lemon Pepper Shrimp

Air-Fried Lemon Pepper Shrimp
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Shrimp and summer are perfect together. There are few types of protein as light, beachy, and easy to work with as shrimp. This recipe lets you enjoy fried shrimp without the heavy dose of fats or lard that most other fried shrimp will have. 

The trick to the lower calorie count is the use of an air fryer. If you’re ready for crispy, lemony shrimp worthy of a boardwalk bash, this is the recipe for you. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 12 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced

Directions:

  1. Combine the first five ingredients in a bowl, whisking gently to help the flavors meld together. Turn your air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Drop the shrimp in the bowl, toss them around, and make sure they’re coated. 
  3. Cook the shrimp in the air fryer for 6 to 8 minutes, until they are pink. Serve with lemon slices. 

3. Simple Pesto Pasta

Simple Pesto Pasta
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Italian is always in style, but let’s face it. Sometimes, you’re going to want something lighter than a pasta pomodoro. Pesto pasta is a great pick for people who want to load up on greens and also keep their waistlines slim. 

Vegetarian-friendly, delicious, and still awesome for leftovers, this is a recipe that is just as easy to make as it is to eat. Bon appetit!

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces prepared spaghetti (reserve 1/2 cup starchy pasta water)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup basil pesto or vegan pesto
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • Pinches of red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan or vegan Parmesan

Directions:

  1. Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Drain it, set aside ½ cup of pasta water, and toss the pasta in olive oil.
  2. Heat a large skillet to a very low heat, then add the pesto and pasta water. Stir, then add the pasta. Make sure the pasta is coated in pesto juice.
  3. Turn the stovetop off, and add the rest of the ingredients. Toss the pasta until the arugula is lightly wilted, and serve.

4. Grilled Chicken Mynokos

Grilled Chicken Mynokos
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Is it even summer without a single grill session? We think not. While most people are working on getting that perfect BBQ sauce on, you could be taking a more global approach to your grill. In Greece, grilling is a part of life. 

This grilled chicken recipe trims the fat, offers up a pop of protein, and also has that classic Mediterranean flavor profile people adore. Add some tzatziki sauce, and you’ll be ready to say “Opa!”

Ingredients:

  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed or finely minced (adjust to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 6 chicken leg quarters
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • Kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Start by grabbing a large bowl. Add the garlic, oregano, red pepper, black pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, and vinegar to it. Stir gently. Transfer the contents of the bowl to a large plastic bag.
  2. Use a serrated knife to cut slashes in each chicken leg. Rub Kosher salt into each drumstick. Transfer the drumsticks to the bag, seal the bag, and shake it so that all the chicken gets covered.
  3. Place the sealed bag in the fridge for a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 12 hours. Allow the chicken to marinate undisturbed. 
  4. Transfer the chicken to a grill and toss out the bag. Turn the grill on and grill it on semi-direct heat for 7 minutes. Turn each leg over, and then grill for an additional 7 minutes. 
  5. Check to make sure the internal meat temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Serve with lemon wedges.

5. BLT Hot Dogs

BLT Hot Dogs
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Is it even a summer without eating at least one hot dog? This healthy take on your favorite grillable summer treat offers tons of protein and tons of ways to “healthy it up.” 

We chose to do it by using vegetarian or vegan dogs. After all, real hot dogs tend to be filled with nitrates. These won’t be. 

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices cooked bacon, finely crumbled
  • 1 small tomato, seeded and finely chopped
  • A handful of dill pickles, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 4 vegan hot dogs
  • 4 hot dog buns
  • 2 lettuce leaves, thinly sliced, or to taste
  • 1 green onion top, thinly sliced, or to taste

Directions:

  1. Start by combining tomatoes, mayonnaise, sour cream, bacon, and pickles together in a bowl. Allow it to sit in the fridge for four hours, wrapped so that flavors can mix.
  2. Cook the vegan hot dogs on a grill, then place them on the hot dog buns. Line the sides with thinly sliced lettuce and onion. 
  3. Top the dogs with the tomato-bacon mixture, and serve. 

6. Grilled Salmon-Anchovy Salad

Grilled Salmon-Anchovy Salad
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Do not underestimate anchovies! They are amazing for adding a punch of umami and saltiness to almost any dinner. That’s why they are so prominent in Italian seafood dishes…and why some people enjoy them on a pizza. 

If you want a savory, spicy salad that will have people begging for the recipe, try this healthy dinner recipe. You might be surprised at how much you like it. 

Ingredients:

  • 8 anchovies packed in olive oil, drained
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 ounces very small new potatoes
  • 1 1/4 pounds skin-on salmon fillet (about 1 3/4 inches thick)
  • 12 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 6 large eggs, hard-boiled and halved
  • 3 cups watercress, trimmed

Directions:

  1. Place the anchovies, mustard, two tablespoons of lemon juice, and olive oil in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is cloudy. Pour the mixture into a bowl, and use a fork to mash the anchovies if they’re still fully intact.
  2. Cover the potatoes with water in a pot, add a tablespoon of salt, and boil for 12 minutes until they are soft. Drain the potatoes, wait for them to cool, and then halve them. Set them aside.
  3. Heat your grill to medium-high. Prep your salmon by brushing it with a thick coat of olive oil, then add the remaining lemon juice and lemon zest on top. 
  4. Use a brush to spread oil on the grill grates, then place the salmon skin down on the grates. Cook the salmon for six minutes, until skin is crispy and brown. 
  5. Grab a vegetable grill grate and place it on the grill. Toss snap peas until they are lightly browned in spots, and remove the grate from the grill. 
  6. Put the half of the dressing mixture in a bowl, then add the potatoes, coating them. Add the watercress, toss the salad, and then flake the salmon on top of the salad. Add the eggs and peas, then serve with the remaining dressing. 

7. Grilled Balsamic Steak

Grilled Balsamic Steak
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Mediterranean food has been hotter than ever among foodies, and rightfully so. There are few things as satisfying as a good steak. It’s even better when you realize that it’s made with a culinary style that’s been linked to better heart health, lower cancer rates, and more. 

Fans of grilling, steak, and all things savory are going to love this treat. It’s a steak topped with a classic Mediterranean salad. Yum!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds flank or London broil steak
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus fresh black pepper to taste
  • Garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 3 to 4 medium tomatoes, chopped (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs such as oregano, basil, or parsley

Directions:

  1. Use a fork to poke holes throughout the steak. Then, use 1 ¼ teaspoons of Kosher salt as a rub throughout the steak. Top with pepper and garlic powder to taste. Use your hands to rub the spices into the meat. Set aside on a plate for 10 minutes. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix the onion, olive oil, vinegar, and remaining salt. Use a spoon to blend the flavors together, then add the chopped tomatoes and herbs. Taste it, adjust the seasonings to your liking, then proceed to the next step. 
  3. Grill the steak for 7 minutes on each side for a medium-rare cook. (You can adjust the time to suit your level of doneness.)
  4. Let the steak rest on a plate for five minutes so that the juices settle. Score with a knife. Top with the tomato salad and serve.

8. EZ Vegan Gazpacho

Vegan Gazpacho
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Gazpacho is one of the most iconic summer meals in the soup category. There’s something so satisfying and refreshing about this chilled soup, it’s hard to hate. Savory and crisp, gazpacho remains a great pick for anyone who wants a Spanish treat in summer. 

If you are hankering for a healthy, low-calorie vegan meal, this gazpacho is going to be perfect for you. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds vine tomatoes, chopped (approximately 6 tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (60 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (30 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (for garnish)

Directions:

  1. Bring water to a boil. Slice a small ‘x’ on the bottom of each tomato, then drop the tomatoes in the water for 30 seconds. Remove them, submerge them in an ice bath for 2 minutes, and pinch the skins off the tomatoes. Toss the skins, and set aside the tomatoes. Chop the tomatoes into medium-sized chunks.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the basil. Stir, transfer the mixture to a blender, and blend until (fairly) smooth. Chill for at least two hours.
  3. Serve with chopped basil sprinkled on top for a garnish. 

9. Shrimp Cobb Salad

Healthy Shrimp Cobb Salad
Healthy Shrimp Cobb Salad

A good old-fashioned Cobb salad is a classic summer dinner. If you need to add a little more “meat” to it, then you might as well jazz it up with some summery protein. Shrimp are great with almost any salad. 

This rendition of a classic Cobb salad will breathe life into your dinner planning…and also feel totally appropriate for your next summer shindig. 

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices bacon, roughly chopped
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest, plus 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (lightly packed)
  • 1 bunch watercress, stems removed (about 3 cups)
  • 2 hearts of romaine, thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
  • 1-pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and halved
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced

Directions:

  1. Start by cooking the bacon in a pan until brown and crispy. Lay the bacon out on a paper towel, then remove all but a single tablespoon of the drippings from the pan. Turn the stovetop to medium heat. 
  2. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, then place the shrimp in the pan. Cook them in a single layer for four minutes. They should be firm. 
  3. Make a dressing by whisking together the lime zest, juice, olive oil, cilantro, and salt and pepper. Mix the salad ingredients together, then add the shrimp and bacon. 
  4. Serve with dressing on the side.

10. Aussie Potato Meat Pies

Aussie Potato Meat Pies
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Did you know that Australian food is very similar to traditional British fare? The country’s ties to the United Kingdom mean that you can expect a lot of delicious “stick to your ribs” food to be the norm there. 

This authentic meat pie is a great summer dish for people who want to have something warm to cozy up with during chillier nights. After all, summer isn’t always warm. 

Ingredients:

Potato Topping:

  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt

Beef Pie Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 14 ounces lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup beef stock
  • 1/8 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Vegemite (or Marmite)
  • 2 frozen ready-rolled pie crusts, thawed

Directions:

  1. Start by boiling the potatoes in a pot until soft and tender, approximately 15 minutes.
  2. Drain the potatoes, return them to the pot, and add the milk, butter, and salt. Use a potato masher or stirrer to whip them. Set the mashed potatoes aside to cool.
  3. In another pan, heat the oil over a medium-high setting. Add the onions, and cook for four minutes until they have turned clear. Add the ground beef and cook for an additional four minutes, using a spatula to break the beef apart into small chunks. 
  4. In a separate bowl, mix a tablespoon of beef broth and cornstarch. Stir until it’s well-mixed and set aside. 
  5. Add the remaining beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and Vegemite to the beef filling. Stir with a spatula or spoon, ensuring that the sauce blends all over the beef evenly. 
  6. Bring the beef mixture to a boil for 10 minutes. Stir it until it’s a nice, thick sauce. Remove it from the heat and let it cool.  
  7. Preheat your oven to 425. Place a pie crust on a pie dish, making a point to push the pie crust into the dish. Trim off any excess crust from the edges. Fill the pie dish with half of the beef mixture, then top with half of the mashed potatoes. Repeat with the second pie crust.
  8. Place the pies in the oven and let them bake for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden brown. Serve with gravy or ketchup.

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