These light Vegan Summer Dinner Recipes and Ideas are perfect for those hot days when you just want to stay out of the kitchen. Make these healthy and easy Light Summer meals in only minutes!
Check out these 11 favorite plant-based recipes for your summer menu, which includes a full lineup of recipes in all categories, from beverages to desserts.
Summer is all about light, healthy, outdoor eating. It’s about celebrating the bountiful summer harvest of vegetables like tomatoes, zucchini, corn, and cucumbers, and summer fruits like peaches, melons, and berries. It’s about growing a few vegetables on your own (hey there, basil and squash!). It’s about spending time at the table with people you love.
That’s why I put together some of my favorite summer plant-based recipes I turn to time and time again to prepare for my own friends and family. Many of these recipes feature vegetables and fruits that come from my own garden. I hope you get out there and enjoy a beautiful summer day today, and spend some time nurturing your own plant-based eating style that pays homage to the seasons.
11 Favorite Plant-Based Summer Recipes
Iced Green Tea with Lemon and Cucumbers
Making your own iced green tea blend is one of the healthiest and greenest things you can do! Those bottles of iced tea can contain sugar and a plethora of unwanted additives. So, just think how many of those things you’ll avoid by simply brewing up your own custom blend of tea every day. Not to mention how much you can lower your environmental footprint over a year by avoiding all of those plastic bottles, which must be prepared then shipped to your nearby supermarket, consuming fossil fuels along the way. Making your own beverages (or drinking filtered tap water) is a powerful step you can make in the right direction.
I love a good veggie-rich salsa dip to serve with whole grain crackers, corn or bean chips, and veggies. And this avocado salsa is packed with extra goodies: corn, green onions, cilantro, black olives, corn, and jalapenos. It’s not only delicious, but it’s beautiful to boot. While this avocado salsa is great at snack time or as an appetizer, it’s also delicious served as an accompaniment to veggie-burgers, lentil patties, veggie “meat” balls, tacos, burritos, and sandwiches. Bring it to your next party or picnic as a delicious dish that will be the hit! With only 10 ingredients, not including pantry staples, it’s a go-to recipe you will turn to again and again.
Confetti Potato Salad
Looking for a classic, comfort food potato salad with a healthy crunch? Then you’ll love my sunny, colorful, nutritious, and delicious potato salad. Bring it to a party and everyone will lap it up! The colors of veggies—carrots, peppers, herbs, red onions—shine right through in this light Confetti Potato Salad, which is completely plant-based (vegan) and gluten-free to boot. I have served this at countless outdoor picnics and summer parties, and always get requests for this recipe, which is why I put it on the blog a few years ago. With a vegan, yet flavorful creamy mustard-mayo dressing, this fluffy, creamy potato salad is as delicious and luscious as it is pretty.
Farmers Market Tomato Arugula Salad
When I bring back a perfect tomato—gorgeous, heavy, juicy, and ripe—from the farmers market, this is one of my favorite easy salads to showcase that perfect tomato. Inspired by the classic Caprese salads in Italy, I pair my perfect tomato with arugula, olive oil, pine nuts, basil, balsamic vinegar, and EVOO and leave out the customary goat cheese to make this recipe completely plant-based. This is also a great recipe to showcase a bumper crop of tomatoes in your garden.
Summer Green Bean Salad
This simple salad recipe is pure summer. It celebrates all of the ripe, abundance of just harvested green beans and vine-ripened tomatoes—fresh from your garden, CSA, farmers market or neighborhood grocer. You can whip it up in mere minutes, and serve it at room temperature or chilled as an accompaniment for a warm weather dinner or picnic.
Corn and Potato Boil
Inspired by the “boils” celebrated in the South and New England, this plant-powered version excludes the seafood normally included in these big steaming pots. This dish is the perfect way to celebrate simply perfect, late summer produce, such as fresh sweet corn and tender new potatoes. My version includes handfuls of fresh dill and whole cloves of garlic. It’s ideal for your next outdoor meal or party.
Zucchini Oat Veggie Patties
These savory, home-made Zucchini Oat Veggie Patties are filled with nutrient-rich whole plants, like zucchini, carrots, kidney beans, oats, pistachios, chia and flax. Make a batch and enjoy them all week long. They are delicious served as a veggie burger in a whole grain bun with lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado, as well as an entrée with a flavorful dipping sauce, such as this avocado salsa. If you have a garden and you have a bounty of zucchini growing, this recipe offers a great solution for using up your seasonal produce.
Grilled Spicy Sesame Tofu
This easy recipe for Grilled Spicy Sesame Tofu pays homage to traditional Asian flavors, including sesame, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger, red chili, and seaweed. All you have to do is mix up this flavorful marinade—which takes just a few minutes and 8 ingredients—and then marinate your extra firm, pressed tofu to allow it to seep up those wonderful flavors. Then you can grill it, allowing the surface to caramelize and gain a little crispness.
Ratatouille with White Beans
A harvest from your summer vegetable garden or trip to the farmers market—and rummage through the kitchen cupboard—never looked so delicious! With one large saucepan and a few simple ingredients, this mouthwatering plant-based Ratatouille with White Beans is sure to satisfy any hearty appetite.
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
You won’t believe that this ooey-gooey, fudgy chocolate cake is loaded with shredded zucchini, nor that it is completely plant-based (vegan). This recipe showcases the magic of aquafaba, reserved bean liquid that whips up like a meringue, replacing eggs in baking recipes. This delicious cake also highlights how veggies can add so much moisture to recipes, such as the zucchini in a luscious cake.
Grilled Peaches with Basil
It’s peach season! So enjoy these yummy, succulent fruits while you have the chance. I love this easy way to serve fresh, ripe peaches. Just brush them with this olive oil-basil marinade and grill them up. Serve them with plant-based ice cream for a special treat.
For other ideas on plant-based summer eating or plant-base beginner, check out these: