20 in 20: Fresh and Healthy Summer Dinners You Can Make in Under 20 Minutes


Quick and healthy dinner ideas aren’t always easy to come by. But one of the best things about summer is that making fast, healthy dinners gets a whole lot easier. From fresh produce like tomatoes, watermelon, greens, and summer squash to cookout classics like burgers and corn, summer presents a host of mouth-watering ingredients that need only a few minutes of preparation and cooking, or none at all. That gives you more time to go for a sunset stroll or sit on the porch drinking shandies. Below the jump, 20 of our favorite quick summer meals that you can have ready to go in 20 minutes or less!

  • Dip It! 1 of 20
    Make dinner fun by laying out a spread of fun dippables. Start with a couple of proteins like hummus, white bean dip, or chèvre, then add toasted pita triangles and lots of healthy veggies like sweet peppers, summer squash, or carrots sticks. Kids will love the break from routine, and you'll love that you don't need to turn on the oven!
    Dinner ready in about 10 minutes
    Make pinto bean dip
  • Flatbread Pizzas 2 of 20
    Flatbread makes a terrific base for a quick pizza night. Use some store bought marinara, shred some cheese, sauté a few veggies like broccoli rabe or asparagus, add some herbs or pesto, and throw it under your broiler for a few minutes. Presto! Healthy pizzas that are ready in minutes.
    Dinner ready in 15 minutes
    Make flatbread pizza
    Image: Mackie West
  • Salad Bar Feast 3 of 20
    Serve up a host of healthy flavors by stopping by your local salad bar to pick up dinner. Get lots of fruit, veggies, slaws, grains, and salads, and serve with a couple slices of toasted whole wheat bread, flatbread, or soft pita. This relaxed approach to dinner takes almost no time, and gives kids the chance to pick and chose from a variety of healthy options.
    Dinner ready in 5 minutes
    Check out these kitchen shortcuts for busy cooks
    Image: Angie McGowan
  • Quinoa Salad with the Works 4 of 20
    Pre-rinsed quinoa is a protein-rich, satisfying grain for dinner. Add almost anything to your quinoa salad, such as sweet cherry tomatoes, diced peppers, sauteed zucchini or summer squash, rinsed canned beans, or chopped fresh greens or herbs, and then toss with a simple lemon vinaigrette. For added protein, try a fried egg on top.
    Dinner ready in about 20 minutes
  • Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes, Feta, and Sardines 5 of 20
    Where would any family be without pasta? For our family dinners, we start with whole wheat pasta and add flavorful ingredients like garlic, feta or Pecorino, minced herbs, broccoli florets, cherry tomatoes or canned sardines. For brighter flavor, throw in a little lemon zest and top it off with toasted pine nuts or pumpkin seeds.
    Dinner ready in about 15 minutes
    Image: Julie Van Rosendaal
  • Simple Sandwiches 6 of 20
    There's a day I look forward to each summer -- the day that the tomatoes are perfect enough to be the main component of dinner. And one of my favorite ways to enjoy the season's best tomatoes is with a tender baguette, creamy fresh mozzarella, olive oil, and lots of fresh basil. Serve with a big bowl of simply dressed greens or veggie sticks. Kids will love this hands-on, causal approach to family dinner, even if it's just for one night.
    Dinner ready in 7 minutes
    Make tomato basil sandwiches
    Image: Kelsey Banfield
  • Tabouleh 7 of 20
    Tabouleh is a summer classic for a reason (namely, it's fast and delicious), and quick-cooking bulgar is a terrific whole grain option for healthy family dinners. The typical tabouleh recipe has tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, and lots of parsley and mint, but you can change things up with unexpected ingredients like peaches, cherries, sauteed summer squash, or even melon chunks.
    Dinner ready in 20 minutes
    Make tabouleh salad
  • Use Greens to Make Quick, Healthy Pesto 8 of 20
    A good pesto can be a godsend in the summer. We have a CSA share, and after a few weeks the herbs can really pile up. Pesto is essentially minced herbs, a little garlic, nuts, olive oil, and sometimes a Parmesan or Pecorino, but there's no reason to stick to the beaten path. Try subbing the pine nuts for toasted pumpkin seeds, or adding in some blanched greens like chard or spinach.
    Dinner ready in about 15 minutes.
    Make spring leek pesto
    Image: Kathy Patalsky
  • Veggie Quesadillas 9 of 20
    Quesadillas are not only fast, they're also inexpensive, and so simple to make that anyone can do it -- a perfect option for a parent who doesn't cook often. With crispy tortillas and gooey cheese, kids love them. To make them a little more interesting and nutritious, try adding a little shredded sweet potato, sauteed greens, or avocado slices and topping with a quick pico de gallo.
    Dinner ready in 15 minutes
    Make quesadillas
    Image: Julie Van Rosendaal
  • Roast Broccoli Salad with Whole Grains 10 of 20
    Roast broccoli has a smoky, nutty flavor that makes for a great break from the ordinary. Cut the broccoli into thin florets for the fastest cooking time. Sprinkle the florets with a little salt, lemon zest, and olive oil and roast in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make a quick-cooking grain like pre-rinsed quinoa or bulgar, mince some herbs, and then toss everything together with a toasted pumpkin seeds, raisins, and a lemony vinaigrette.

    Dinner ready in 20 minutes
    Image: Jaime Mormann
  • 10 Minute Chili 11 of 20
    We all know that the best chili takes hours, or even days, but the quick stuff can be pretty good, too. Saute an onion over high heat, add some minced garlic, and a pound of ground beef. Sprinkle liberally with salt. Once the beef is browned, add a can of beans and a quart of crushed tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Add flavor with a few pinches of salt, fresh ground pepper, chili powder, and paprika. A squeeze of Sriracha can also go a long way to adding flavor. Serve over quinoa or leftover brown rice.
    Dinner ready in 20 minutes
  • Cobb Salad 12 of 20
    Kids aren't known for their love of salads, but if you think back to your own childhood when you went somewhere with a salad bar, you could make a salad that you liked by adding enough ham and other non-lettuce ingredients. Making a hearty cobb salad with hard boiled eggs, tomato wedges, cheddar cheese, chicken or chopped ham, avocado, and a creamy salad dressing provides a sophisticated flavor for adults and lends enough novelty and counterbalance to the vegetables to keep kids' interest.
    Dinner in 15 minutes
    Make cobb salad
    Image: Angie McGowan
  • Fruity Salsa Cheese Melts 13 of 20
    Grilled cheese has a big role in any parent's quick dinner arsenal, but even the best comfort foods can get old. Keep it fresh by spooning a fun fruit salsa (try grapes or mangoes) over open-faced cheese melts.
    Dinner in 10 minutes
    Make grape salsa
  • Crustless Summer Quiche 14 of 20
    A crustless quiche is essentially a potato-less frittata, or veggie and cheese-laden scrambled eggs and is a great way to get kids to eat some veggies. Simply make the egg base and toss in whatever seasonal vegetables you have around -- onions, greens, peppers, broccoli, or tomatoes are all great options!
    Dinner in 20 minutes
    Make crustless quiche
  • Chicago Dogs 15 of 20
    Turn a plain, old hot dog into something that's almost a meal on it's own by making it a Chicago-style dog. A Chicago dog is served on a poppy seed bun and topped with a dill spear, chopped onions, tomato slices, pickled sport peppers, green relish, and mustard. Though purists will tell you it's wrong, feel free to add to and take away from this formula to suit your tastes. For a healthier hot dog option, look for turkey dogs with less sodium or hot dogs that are preservative- and nitrate-free.
    Dinner in 10 minutes
    Make Chicago-style dogs
    Image: Angie McGowan
  • Avocado Burgers 16 of 20
    Add a few avocado slices to make an ordinary burger feel like something special. Switching up your burger toppings can breathe some life into an old standby and hitting upon the right one can have you making burgers more because you want the toppings as much as the meat. We had a good run with avocado burgers last summer and suggest you try the same. And summer is the perfect time to add a big, fresh slice of tomato and some crisp lettuce. Serve on a whole wheat bun for added healthiness.
    Dinner ready in 15 minutes
    How to make a great burger
  • Fish Tacos with Avocado, Lime, and a Quick Tomato Salsa 17 of 20
    Fish tacos sound fancy, but they're actually a super fast, light summer dinner option. Use a mild fish like tilapia, dredge, fry, and serve! We like ours topped with a simple fresh salsa, sliced avocado, and a squeeze of lime.
    Dinner ready in 15 minutes
    Make easy fish tacos
  • Salmon Salad Sandwiches 18 of 20
    Do a new take on an old classic by swapping salmon for tuna iin your favorite tuna salad recipe. Whether you do yours with pickles, diced onions, capers, or just mayo, whip this up and serve on whole wheat toast for a tasty and nutritious dinner.
    Dinner ready in 10 minutes
    Image: Aggie Goodman
  • Summer Vegetable Stir Fry 19 of 20
    Make the most of the season by cooking up the vegetables you can't get the rest of the year. Chop some summer squash, zucchini, carrots, bok choi, or cabbage, and give them a toss in your wok with a little oil. Serve over soba noodles.
    Dinner ready in 15 minutes
    Make a soba noodle noodle stir fry
    Image: Aggie Goodman
  • Ramen or Quick Soba Noodle Soup 20 of 20
    Cut up some vegetables, throw in some leftover roast chicken (or quickly saute a chicken breast), and simmer in some chicken broth for a few minutes. Then add your favorite Asian noodles and cook until they're soft. This easy soup is also a great way to use up extra summer vegetables! (We like to make our ramen with chicken broth -- for optimum health, ditch the packet which is loaded with sodium and can have additives like MSG.)
    Dinner ready in 15 minutes
    10 ways to eat ramen for dinner

    Image: Brooke McClay

Image: Aggie Goodman


Article Posted 6 years Ago

Videos You May Like