We are a mere days away from the biggest holiday of the Summer: 4th of July (aka Independence Day). Memorial Day often takes the title of “official summer kick-off.” But for me, 4th of July is the epitome of summer fun. The 4th of July is a time of picnics, barbecues, fireworks, lightning bugs, pool parties, camping, boating, and anything in between! Even if your plans are low-key, you will want to check out this compilation of 20 Amazing & Healthy Summer Recipes that you can whip up this weekend.
Summer Foods, Summer Fun
I have my favorites when it comes to summer recipes. The key to successful summer cooking is minimal use of the stove or oven, which can heat up the kitchen at an alarming rate. Also, who wants to slave away in the kitchen all day when you could be outside?!
Some other key factors to awesome summer recipes:
- Seasonal Ingredients– whether its fresh berries, basil, tomatoes, or summer squash, there is so much delicious produce in season during the summer. Jump on the sweet corn band wagon. Or fill up your basket with the giant watermelon you saw at the store.
- Farmer’s Markets– when you want the best produce that’s in season AND you want to support your local farmers, summertime is booming at your local Farmer’s Markets. Shop for as much as you can find at your local markets. It’s good for the environment, the economy, and your belly. Did someone say farm fresh zucchini noodles?
- Keep it Light(er)– the last thing you want when you are spending the day outside is to be bogged down with a stomach full of heavy, rich foods. Cooking in the summer is great because salads are plentiful, fruits and veggies abound, and you probably aren’t going to fill up on baked mac n’ cheese. Opt for lighter recipes with ingredients that aren’t too hard on your digestive system. This will ensure you can still enjoy all of the fun without a needing a food-coma nap.
- Cold is Good– not every meal needs to be served piping hot. Cold or cool dishes are nice to eat in the summer when the heat outside is sizzling hot. Think cold soups, potato or pasta salads, or fresh salsas on grilled fish.
- Get Out That Grill– you probably don’t need a reminder that most grilling takes place during summer months. But you don’t have to be so predictable! There are more options that grilled brats or hamburgers (although those are sometimes just what you need). Try grilling veggies, a pizza, or a whole chicken. The possibilities are endless, plus you get to hang out outdoors while you cook. Win-win.
20 Amazing & Healthy Summer Recipes
Without further ado, here is a tasty list of 20 Amazing & Healthy Summer Recipes!
1. Slow Cooker Pineapple Pulled Pork Tacos
A slow cooker is a great option for the summer cooking since it doesn’t put off as much heat as a stove or oven. It’s also nice to start in the morning and have ready for your late afternoon/early evening BBQ. Try this recipe for Slow Cooker Pineapple Pulled Pork Tacos.
2. Pineapple Salsa
I might have a slight obsession with pineapple. This recipe is versatile since it can be served with chips or as a topping on grilled chicken or fish. Plus serving it in the hollowed out pineapple? Beautiful and fun! Try out this Pineapple Salsa recipe.
3. Jalapeño Cilantro Corn Salad
I made a version of this salad using grilled corn to add extra flavor. You can also add some shredded Parmesan or crumbled Queso Fresco for some bonus flair. Check out this tasty Jalapeño Cilantro Corn Salad recipe.
4. Harissa Lime Grilled Chicken Salad w/ Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
Harissa Lime Grilled Chicken Salad from “Joyful Healthy Eats”
Look at all of the grill marks on this salad? Scrumptious. And a healthy way to get a good dose of veggies with a generous amount of flavor. Try this recipe for Harissa Lime Grilled Chicken Salad w/Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette.
5. Vegan Strawberry Ice Cream
I don’t know if you have had vegan ice cream before, but even if you are not a vegan, I think you’ll really enjoy it. This coconut based ice cream is simple, healthy, and a delicious use of fresh strawberries that are in season. Try this Vegan Strawberry Ice Cream recipe.
6. Balsamic Garlic Grilled Mushroom Skewers
Don’t these mushrooms make your mouth water? Maybe I’m just hungry, but these easy and flavor packed skewers are perfect for the summer grill. Check out the recipe for Balsamic Garlic Grilled Mushroom Skewers.
7. Grilled Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
Wrap anything in bacon and you are golden. But get it nice and crispy on the grill? Even better. You don’t even need to add a fancy sauce or marinade. Try this simple recipe for Grilled Bacon Wrapped Asparagus.
8. Grilled Sriracha Zucchini Ribbons
This tasty vegan side dish is sure to please, especially the spicy lovers! A beautiful zucchini ribbon wins me over every time. Try this Grilled Sriracha Zucchini Ribbons recipe.
9. Grilled Lemon & Rosemary Whole Chicken
I love grilling a whole chicken like this. A little extra prep-work to flatten the chicken speeds up the cooking time and ensures it cooks evenly. Plus the flavors in this Grilled Lemon & Rosemary Whole Chicken are unbelievable.
10. Avocado Caprese Salad w/Heirloom Tomatoes
I love this fresh take on a traditional Caprese salad. Using avocado instead of mozzerella is a great way to cut out dairy from the dish, if you so choose. Plus, who doesn’t love a ripe, creamy slice of avocado? Try this yummy recipe for Avocado Caprese Salad w/ Heirloom Tomatoes.
11. Lavender Lemonade
One of the best parts of summer? Ice cold, refreshing drinks. This lavender lemonade can be made with raw honey, stevia, agave, rice syrup, etc. How can you go wrong with fresh squeezed lemonade? Try this recipe for refreshing Lavender Lemonade.
12. Spicy Baked Beans w/ Bacon
Alright, so we are bordering on the only “mildly healthy” recipe here. Though let’s be honest, adding bacon to your traditional baked beans is a great idea. Throw in some cooked and/or fresh jalapeños and you have an explosion of flavors. Try this recipe for Spicy Baked Beans with Bacon.
14. Almond Peach Blueberry Crumble
I know, I know, I said no baking. But this recipe is worth heating up the kitchen for. Using fresh, seasonal blueberries and peach, an almond crust, and crunchy crumble on top? Divine. Try this Almond Peach Blueberry Crumble recipe.
15. Three Cheese Peach and Prosciutto Pizza with Basil and Honey Balsamic Reduction (grilled)
If you haven’t grilled pizza before, I suggest you get on that, pronto. This pizza uses summer seasonal ingredients with three flavorful cheeses to create an epic summer pizza. If you want to know the proper technique for grilling this Three Cheese Peach and Prosciutto Pizza recipe, check out this article here.
16. Tumeric-Ginger Shrub
A shrub is a tart, tangy and refreshing beverage that is perfect for summertime. This recipe uses fresh turmeric and ginger to amp up the flavor. A delightful little mocktail, try making this Turmeric Ginger Shrub to help cool you down.
17. Key Lime Pie Popsicles
I believe Key Lime Pie is such a delightful treat, especially when its hot outside. These popsicles are an easy alternative to an otherwise complicated desser. Plus you could easily swap out canned coconut milk for the half and half for a healthier option. Either way, try this recipe for Key Lime Pie Popsicles.
18. Beet Gazpacho
I couldn’t help myself with this one. It’s purple! I didn’t always used to like beets, but now that I do, I love this recipe for a cold beet and cucumber soup that is both beautiful and healthy. Try this recipe for Beet Gazpacho.
19. Marinated Grilled Skirt Steak w/ Chimichurri
For the most tender and flavorful steak, marinate this for 24 hours. You’ll be glad you did! A little chimi goes a long way! That burst of green makes it beautiful though! Great use for your garden fresh herbs, try this recipe for Marinated Skirt Steak with Chimichurri.
20. Marinated Grilled Vegetables w/ Avocado Whipped Feta
For the last recipe, check out this plateful of awesome grilled veggies. All paired with a creamy, savory dip? Um, yes please. You can use whatever veggies you could find at the farmer’s market that week. Go ahead and make this Marinated Grilled Vegetables with Avocado Whipped Feta recipe.
I hope you enjoyed reading through these healthy summer recipes! Hopefully you found some fun inspiration for some delicious food to cook up this 4th of July and all summer long! Thanks for reading and feel free to leave your questions, comments, and feedback below.