It’s almost summer, you guys! This means it’s time to put our Crockpots away, retire our butternut squash and chicken soup recipes until fall, and embrace the sun in all its glory. I’m starting to see peaches and corn make their sweet debut at the grocery store, strawberries are looking rosier than ever, and the smell of barbecue is now our perma-perfume. I know it’s still chilly in some places, but we’re going to thaw out soon enough, and when that day comes, everyone should have some recipes ready for the perfect summer picnic. Here are some delicious and eclectic picks that are absolutely drool-worthy:
1. Sriracha Street Corn
Recipe from: Camille Styles
As I’m writing this, it’s about 95 degrees outside and all I want is an ear of corn and maybe a new bikini. SIGH. Corn is at its sweetest in the summer, so eat it up. If plain old butter and salt sounds a bit too mainstream, try this spicy, slightly-charred version. It’s super flavorful, but simple. Calling for mayo, cilantro, Sriracha, chili powder, and a few limes, this amazing side is relatively healthy and easy.
2. Grilled peaches and pecans
Recipe from: The Pioneer Woman
Grilled peaches glazed with real maple syrup and served with either vanilla ice-cream or Greek yogurt and topped with crushed pecans? Hell to the yes. This recipe is super simple. All you need is a grill, some peaches, maple syrup (seriously though, buy real maple syrup –there is a difference!) butter (for grilling) and pecans. When peaches are truly in season, grilling them just brings out even more of the flavor.
3. Greek yogurt, avocado, shrimp, and tomato salad
Recipe from: ifoodreal
I love this salad recipe because it’s so light! The last thing I need is a dauntingly heavy meal when it’s super hot out, and so this is my go-to. I always keep a bag of shrimp in the freezer, because you seriously never know, and shrimp is just so versatile. Tomatoes are going to be in their prime pretty soon, so I like to splurge and buy some pretty heirlooms from Trader Joe’s. Totally worth it.
4. Grilled pesto shrimp skewers
Recipe from: Skinnytaste
The grill isn’t just for barbecue sauce, and like I said, shrimp is incredibly versatile. So, pesto? Why not. It creates instant flavor, and it’s easy to make from scratch. All you need is basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper (and pine nuts if you fancy).
5. Mason jar banana pudding
Recipe from: Let’s Dish
I’m a sucker for Mason jars. I think they’re adorable and make anything look presentable, even if it’s plain old banana pudding (which this is NOT). Last summer I went to a picnic with some friends and someone brought a huge glass bowl of banana pudding. I was skeptical at first, because bananas and pudding sounded so basic. But I tried it because you should always try things once (unless it’s like, murder, then no), and I loved it. Ever since then, I’ve been looking for different ways to recreate banana pudding and I found a winner. This one includes Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies, and cream cheese, so basically it’s heaven in a jar.
6. Strawberry Gazpacho
Recipe from: Food52
Strawberry soup is a thing? Why, yes. Yes it is. And it’s super yummy and refreshing, because who wants hot soup when it’s grossly hot outside? If you’ve ever had chilled cucumber gazpacho, this is similar. The sweet strawberry notes are combined with savory and spicy garlic and Tabasco flavors, so it makes for a unique meal. Give it a try!
7. Bahn Mi Dog
Recipe from: Real Simple
I love Vietnamese cuisine. Specifically, I love Vietnamese sandwiches. They’re crunchy, slightly sweet, and always served on a freshly baked French baguette. Pair that with a Vietnamese iced coffee and I will want nothing more in life (other than air conditioning and free WiFi, obviously). I also love hot dogs, so when I spotted this Banh Mi dog recipe, I rejoiced. This is insanely easy to make, and it’s very different from your standard ketchup-mustard-relish hot dog (or LA dog where I’m [kind of] from).
8. Watermelon lime sorbet slices
Recipe from: Food For My Family
How cute is this recipe? SO cute. It’s also easy, healthy, and well…perfect. All you need is a watermelon, sugar, and some limes. This is a fab substitute for ice-cream, and it definitely hits the spot.
9. Greek turkey burgers
Recipe from: Budget Bytes
Why mess around with cheeseburgers when you can make Greek burgers? This recipe shows you how to make patties from scratch using ground turkey, dried tomatoes, onion, spinach, and feta. Way more exciting than a cheeseburger.
10. Creamy Chicken and Asparagus Pasta
Recipe from: Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom
Summer salads are just the best, and this salad is no different. If you’re like me and little bit weary of vegetables in general (and would much prefer carbs any day), this salad is for you. It’s creamy, it’s flavorful, and it has a nice texture. It’s ideal for a side, or whatever, a meal!
11. S’more pie
Recipe from: Yes, I Want Cake
Summer isn’t actually summer without s’mores, you know. If you’re like me though, and don’t own a fire pit (or feel like absorbing campfire smell for days), you can always make a s’more pie. And I’m telling you, it’s mighty tasty.
12. Cinnamon coffee cubes
Recipe from: Yes, I Want Cake
Is this not one of the most beautiful things you have ever seen? It tastes pretty beautiful, too. This recipe suggests you pair these genius little cubes with coconut milk, but you can also use soy, rice, or regular. It tastes kind of like horchata, but with coffee. Best of all, all you really need is leftover coffee and cinnamon, which I’m pretty sure we all have in our kitchen right now.
13. Thai Green Mango Salad
Recipe from: Food For My Family
One of my favorite entrees to order at a Thai restaurant is their mango salad. I usually pair it with beef, but you can use tofu, shrimp, chicken, or duck. Or ostrich for all I care. This salad is amazing. It’s light, refreshing, and it allows you to use those mangos that are just ripe for the picking at the market. I know the recipe calls for fish sauce, but I promise your salad will not taste like fish. If you’re still skeptical, or want a vegetarian salad, I like to combine Trader Joe’s sweet chili sauce and cilantro dressing to make the perfect Thai dressing.
14. Grilled Kale Salad with Berries and Nectarines
Recipe from: Two Peas & Their Pod
Kale can be bitter and kind of rough. But not if you prepare it correctly. With nectarines and berries, as well as a sweet dressing made from honey, agave, and lemon juice, you will hardly even notice you’re eating kale. Plus, I like this recipe’s idea of grilling your kale for a little bit before serving it; it makes it crunchy and seem less like an intimidating vegetable.
15. White strawberry lemon sangria
Recipe from: Kitchen Treaty
Summer is, most importantly, a time to seriously relax. Give yourself an hour after work to just sit outside, enjoy the weather, and have a cocktail. Or two or three. Who’s actually counting? I personally prefer white wine, so I love this recipe (it calls for some, as well as rum). It’s almost like a strawberry lemonade, but fiercer. Also, sangrias make me feel like I’m vacationing in Europe, which is always a good thing.