The Best Light Meals That Are Perfect For Summertime

Summertime is around the corner, so it's time to break out your favorite pair of sunnies and get that chill playlist rolling. It's the season meant for fun, long beach weekends, bonfires, getting together with friends, and preparing for family barbecues.

When it comes time to put together a gathering, you'll want your plan to be laidback, your guests to feel very relaxed, and the menu that you serve to be light, delicious, and reflective of the whimsical season. It could be difficult to know where to even begin to decide on what to serve, but we're here to help you with some fresh summertime recipes that are all totally on point, and any one of them will make a very successful dinner.

One of the best things about cooking for family or guests in the summer is you can buy so many of the fresh ingredients right from your local farmers market. That actually makes the pre-planning step so much fun! (And of course, if you're having guests over, adding a fresh bouquet of flowers to your basket at the market is always a good idea.)

Kimbap is such a fun meal to prepare with the one you love on date night

Kimbap is a fun meal to prepare that will absolutely be enjoyed by everyone at the table. The entire recipe can be completed in an hour, and it's truly a great choice to make for a light dinner. Kimbap actually a really great recipe to make with that special someone on date night! Set up a bistro for two out on your patio with some candles and fresh wildflowers from your backyard or neighborhood. What could be a sweeter meal to have with your significant other on a hot summer night?

You will only need a few ingredients for this recipe, including white rice, nori sheets, Spam, carrots, eggs, sesame oil, canola oil, spinach, pickled radish, salt, and roasted sesame seeds. Consider putting together a side tossed salad, pick up a bottle of white wine, and you're all set!

Zucchini casserole is a great way to enjoy the fresh veggies in your backyard garden

This zucchini casserole is really yummy, and all you really need to accompany this dish is a great basket of assorted dinner rolls to enjoy on the side or even make sandwiches. If you are a gardener, you may even have fresh zucchini to use for this casserole! The only other items you will need to put this together include an onion, eggs, breadcrumbs, shredded Parmesan cheese, shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese (or both if you like things super cheesy), a clove of garlic, dried oregano, canola oil, salt, and pepper.

This meal can be put together in 55 minutes and would go really well with a bottle of citrusy Sauvignon Blanc. Put this all together, sit back, sip, and enjoy.

Aguachile is undeniably fresh and yummy

Our recipe for aguachile is undeniably fresh and yummy. It can be prepared in 45 minutes, and will look amazing when it's complete and plated on your table.

The items you will need for this recipe include shrimp, limes, red onion, fresh cilantro, white vinegar, salt, two jalapeños (or one habanero pepper and one jalapeño), an avocado, olive oil, a clove of garlic, and a Lebanese cucumber (or half of an English cucumber).

Not only is this dish quite unique, but it's really delicious. It's a perfect choice for a warm-weather meal.

Calibacitas comes together in a quick 15 minutes and would pair so well with grilled steak

If you want to serve something super unique for your summertime dinner, try out our recipe for calibacitas. It's fun to make and even more fun to eat! The best part about choosing this meal is you can whip it up in 15 minutes. It would go exceptionally well with a grilled steak or ribs.

The ingredients you will need for this calabacitas recipe include squash, zucchini (if you have some fresh from your garden, even better), white onion, corn, a jalapeño, chopped cilantro, minced garlic, queso fresco, and olive oil.

Calibacitas is not only extremely flavorful, but it's a really colorful and pretty meal just right for the summer season.

This roasted mushroom salad is the ultimate side for your barbecue this summer

A barbecue menu is always a great idea to put together this time of year. Whether you choose to grill some fresh halibut or swordfish, our roasted mushroom salad will be a perfect complement to both. You can put this salad together in 30 minutes, and you'll just need to pick up mushrooms, farro, asparagus, dried thyme, garlic powder, maple syrup, olive oil, avocado oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, a clove of garlic, feta cheese, walnuts, salt, and pepper. Sounds quite delightful, right?

Salmon patties and strawberry spinach salad are a match made in summer heaven

Salmon patties are always a yummy treat — especially in the summertime when you're entertaining friends or family. And who doesn't love fresh salmon in the summer? These patties are great to eat as an entree, or you can even make salmon patty sandwiches on your favorite rolls, along with lettuce, tomato, and a pesto mayonnaise spread. 

You can prepare this recipe in a hot ten minutes, and there are several items you will need. Pull together a can of salmon, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, green onions, fresh dill, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, an egg, black pepper, and cooking spray — that's it!

A light strawberry spinach and greens salad (Of course, we have a recipe for that!) would go really well on the side to accompany your salmon patties and will bring some bright color to everyone's plate.

Grilled chicken with an orange honey marinade tastes as sweet as it sounds

When it comes to a light summertime meal, you can't go wrong with preparing grilled chicken. Plus, it's so versatile when it comes to side dishes. Our grilled chicken recipe is called "the best grilled chicken recipe we've ever tried" for good reason — it's a must-try. 

The chicken has to marinate for a minimum of two hours, but after it's done marinating, you can make it in a quick ten minutes. It has a super tasty honey orange marinade that you will want to prepare again and again. Make sure you have chicken breast, either navel oranges or orange juice, honey, thyme, fennel, dried rosemary, onion, Nama Shoyu soy sauce, garlic cloves, olive oil, and black pepper. The combination of orange, honey, and seasonings bring such a beautiful, tasty flavor to this poultry dish.

A fresh, cold potato salad would be absolutely delicious served with this grilled chicken.