Easy Summer Meals

A delicious summer meal doesn't require a long day in the kitchen

During the height of summer, we like to spend as much time relaxing outside as possible. This means that we aren't always in the mood for a day in the kitchen. For those occasions, we rely on quick and easy recipes. Whether you're tucked away at home or relaxing in a beachside getaway, we've rounded up our favorite recipes for summer meals that come together in 20 minutes or less.

A light, cool pasta salad makes for a great meal on a hot summer day. Perfect for a picnic, our Greek-inspired pasta salad pairs rotini with tangy feta and ripe veggies. Slightly heartier is our sausage and arugula pasta salad with a simple vinaigrette. For an Asian twist, try our soba noodle salad with marinated cucumber and ponzu or our sesame noodles with a creamy peanut butter and and sesame paste sauce.

Grilling might seem too involved for a quick meal, but once you master the basics it becomes totally doable on a weeknight. Get your fire going and cook up a smoky brisket burger, lobster, or even a whole sea bass.

Fish cooks quickly, so it's a prime candidate for a fast summer meal off the grill, too. Try cooking fish fillets in a skillet with cherry tomatoes for an easy but elegant supper. Even easier is blue catfish, which we very simply pan-fry in butter. Sole meunière is a French classic that sounds intimidating, but comes together in minutes with butter, flour, and lemon.

Find all of these dishes and more in our collection of quick and easy summer recipes.

Sausage and Arugula Pasta Salad

Sausage and Arugula Pasta Salad
Pasta salads are essential summer food: they travel well; they're easy to adapt to whatever produce you have on-hand; and they're simple to make in large portions, making them perfect dishes to carry to parties, picnics, and barbecues. Get the recipe for Sausage and Arugula Pasta Salad »Farideh Sadeghin

Blue Catfish

Blue Catfish
This catfish recipe is incredibly simple—the fish doesn't need more than a quick pan-fry in butter.Farideh Sadeghin

The "Grill Everything but the Burger" Brisket Burger

The "Grill Everything but the Burger" Brisket Burger
The all-brisket patty for this burger—from San Francisco's Wes Rowe, a pop-up burger slinger—is grilled, but in a cast-iron pan over the flame.Michael Turek

Summer Bolognese

Simple Weeknight Meal, Summer bolognese
This recipe for summer bolognese has the classic comfort of bolognese, but without the heaviness of a red sauce, instead embracing the summer's bounty of gorgeous tomatoes and fresh basil.Farideh Sadeghin

Soba Salad with Marinated Cucumber and Ponzu

Houston, Chris Shepherd, Grilling, Soba Salad
Instead of the cookout-classic pasta salad, serve this refreshing Asian noodle dish zipped up with crunchy vegetables.Drew Anthony Smith

Whole Grilled Sea Bass

Whole Grilled Sea Bass
Fish stuffed with loads of herbs and rubbed with a simple garlic butter are grilled whole, which leaves them with a smoky, charred flavor and tender meat.Marcus Nilsson

Pan-Seared Cod with Spring Vegetables

Pan-Seared Cod with Spring Vegetables
Writer Isabel Gillies tosses together this summery dish with cod fresh from the Maine shoreline and seasonal garden greens. Rainbow chard, bibb lettuce, spring peas, and fresh herbs contrast with the richness of butter-basted pan-seared cod.Ingalls Photography

Grilled Lobster with Cilantro-Chile Butter

Grilled Lobster with Cilantro-Chile Butter
Chiles, lime, and cilantro flavor these grilled lobsters.Penny De Los Santos

Sesame Noodles

Sesame Noodles
A garnish of chopped peanuts and slivered cucumber and carrot add crunch to the silky, savory Chinese-American noodle dish.Maxime Iattoni

Linguine with Clam Sauce

Linguine with Clam Sauce
The secret to this simple and satisfying pasta dish is boiling the linguine until it's just al dente, so that it will absorb plenty of the briny, winey sauce when the two are cooked together.Landon Nordeman

Gluten-Free Corn Dogs

Gluten-Free Corn Dogs
These golden corn dogs are gluten-free. The absence of wheat flour intensifies the corn batter's natural nutty sweetness.Anna Stockwell

Grilled Swordfish with Mango Salsa

Grilled Swordfish with Mango Salsa
A bright salsa made from ripe mangoes, cilantro, red onion, and lime is the perfect foil for thick swordfish steaks.Farideh Sadeghin

Greek Pasta Salad

Greek Pasta Salad
Tangy feta and crunchy veggies get extra body from rotini in this classic Greek-inspired pasta salad.Maxime Iattoni

Seared Scallops with Wasabi-Ginger Butter

Seared Scallops with Wasabi-Ginger Butter
After discovering that fresh whole wasabi plants were available in the United States, Adrian J.S. Hale found all kinds of innovative uses for them, such as this butter-rich sauce in which the pungent heat of the wasabi root, or rhizome, is balanced by the delicate earthiness of the leaves for a mild heat and slight bitterness that accentuate the sweet flavor of plump pan-seared scallops.Helen Rosner

Panfried Softshell Crabs with Garlic-Herb Butter

Panfried Softshell Crabs with Garlic-Herb Butter
Manhattan's Grand Central Oyster Bar serves this dish each spring in softshell crab season, but it's delectable all summer long.Maxime Iattoni

Swiss Chard and Chipotle Tacos

Swiss Chard and Chipotle Tacos
Onions, mushrooms, sweet corn, and chiles in adobo add hearty, smoky flavor to this Swiss chard-based taco filling.Helen Rosner

Whole Grilled Fish with Lemon (Riba na Rostilju)

Whole Grilled Fish with Lemon (Riba na Rostilju)
Seka Salamun, a home cook in Tisno, Croatia, uses olive wood to impart a mild smokiness to this grilled fish. Though delicious with just a squeeze of lemon, it also pairs beautifully with classic French fish sauces.Penny De Los Santos

Chile-Garlic Shrimp (Gambas Al Ajillo)

Chile-Garlic Shrimp (Gambas Al Ajillo)
These shrimp are cooked in a hot cast iron pan with tons of garlic and red Thai chiles.Todd Coleman

Spicy Yuba Stir-Fry with Edamame

Spicy Yuba Stir-Fry with Edamame
Stir-frying yuba crisps its edges, intensifying its flavor and texture.Todd Coleman

Sole Meunière

Sole Meunière
Dover sole is a remarkable fish—meaty and succulent, but with a delicate flavor. When it comes to cooking it, the simplest way is the best, as in classic sole meuniere, where butter and lemon subtly enhance the taste and texture.Landon Nordeman

Curried Mussels

Curried Mussels
Curry powder and cilantro add zest to classic white wine-steamed mussels.Todd Coleman

Tagliatelle with Poppy Seeds and Prosciutto

Tagliatelle with Poppy Seeds and Prosciutto
Poppy seeds lend their toasty aroma to a creamy pasta dish based on one served by chef Matthew Accarrino at SPQR in San Francisco.Maxime Iattoni

Quick Fish Filets in Tomato Sauce

Quick Fish Filets in Tomato Sauce
Bring all the ingredients along for this simple main dish on a camping trip and make it with freshly caught fish.Todd Coleman