Dinners with Late Summer Ingredients | Meal Plan Menu

Make the most of late summer produce with this week’s meal plan menu inspired by global flavors.

  • By Chelsea Paxton
  • August 24, 2018

Have you ever strolled up and down the aisles of the grocery store or farmers market and been struck by all the gorgeous summer produce? Bright red tomatoes, vibrant green herbs and vegetables, juicy stone fruits, and plump berries – oh my!  But what do you do with all this beautiful produce when you get home? How do you be sure none goes to waste?

At Cook Smarts, we plan meals that take full advantage of the seasons, and with so many fruits and vegetables at their peak in late summer, we’ve got the perfect menu lined up this week. We will show you how to prepare healthy, fresh meals for the whole family that are in season, inspired by bold global flavors, and budget-friendly.

We start the week with Caprese pizzas, inspired by the Italian salad, with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and homemade pesto. Tuesday’s meal is perfect for late summer transitioning into fall with a smoky slow-cooker twist on tortilla soup. We use leftover pesto in a shrimp pasta dish on Wednesday that is paired with a fresh salad of strawberries, fennel, and arugula. We finish the week with a hearty Indian-inspired Tandoori chicken dinner, served with a refreshing cucumber tomato salsa.

All of our meal plan menus come with options to customize the meals according to your dietary needs, access to over 2,000 previous recipes in our meal archives, instructional videos for prepping the ingredients, and more! Now you can head to the grocery store or farmers market with our grocery list and strategies for a successful week of summer dinners (and delicious leftovers)!

“Having a weekly plan has really helped make my grocery store trips hassle-free, and using ingredients throughout the week helps me throw less things out.”

– John W.  (Member since Sep 2015)

All meals come with gluten-free, Paleo, and vegetarian options, as well as a grocery list and optional weekend prep steps.

Meal Planning Smarts


  • Naan is an Indian flatbread, widely available in grocery stores.  Use naan as an easy base for pizza on Monday and slice it into wedges to serve with an Indian-inspired meal on Thursday. (Kiddos love this flatbread, too!) Any other flatbreads, such as pita, will work as a substitute.
  • Fresh herbs are abundant this time of year, so we’re using two types – cilantro and basil – throughout the week.

make ahead:

  • Tuesday’s dinner is Sopa Azteca and it reheats well. Make the entire soup ahead of time to reheat during the week.  Wait to add the tortilla chips until just before serving, and you are good to go!
  • Make a double batch of fresh pesto to use in two meals this week.


  • Fold extra pesto into omelets or frittatas or serve it as a dip for raw vegetables. Any extras can be portioned into an ice cube tray and frozen as individual servings to be used throughout the year.
  • Wrap extra Tandoori chicken and cucumber tomato salsa in a tortilla or serve over fresh greens for a hearty lunch salad on Friday.
  • Serve extra pesto pasta chilled as a pasta salad. Simply add roasted vegetable cubes, some leftover grilled zucchini from early in the week, and cubed cheese of your choice.

On the Menu

MONDAY | Caprese Naan Pizzas + Grilled Peaches & Zucchini

Naan pizzas are a fantastic weeknight-friendly way to enjoy homemade pizza. The toppings are inspired by Italian Caprese salad, which consists of fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, and bright summery basil. We keep this meal light by serving sides of grilled zucchini and juicy peaches.  

This is a vegetarian-friendly dish that can be easily be made gluten-free by using GF naan bread or your favorite GF flatbread.  For our Paleo members, we have Salmon with Fresh Tomatoes and Pesto.  This dinner takes full advantage of summer produce at its peak and is guaranteed to help everyone eat their fruits and veggies with a smile!

TUESDAY | Slow Cooker Sopa Azteca with Chicken, Tortilla Chips & Avocado

This soup is perfect for the end of summer because you can enjoy the warm spices and smokiness of the adobo sauce with hearty vegetables and chicken without heating up your kitchen! Our trick for giving the soup great body, texture, and flavor? We ladle the soup over crushed tortilla chips (feel free to add more on top for extra crunch).  Topped with cool sour cream and creamy avocados – this dinner has your name on it!

It’s super simple to make this soup gluten-free by using your favorite GF corn tortilla chips. Pepitas are used for crunch and texture instead of tortilla chips and sour cream in the Paleo variation for this dish.  Vegetarians can enjoy all the tastes and textures of this soup by substituting lentils for chicken.

WEDNESDAY | Pesto Pasta with Shrimp & Peas + Strawberry, Fennel & Arugula Salad

This satisfying midweek pasta dish comes together in a flash, especially if you made fresh pesto ahead of time. Shrimp and peas are slightly sweet and provide a nice flavor contrast to the savory pesto sauce – they are an excellent source of protein as well! The salad on the side is balanced with strawberries for sweetness and fennel for a naturally peppery bite.

Simply use a GF pasta to make this dinner gluten-free. Paleo members will love this summery saute of Pesto Shrimp and Asparagus. Vegetarians will omit the shrimp and add asparagus. Everyone will be on board with how delightfully delicious fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, and lemon juice can be in easy-to-make homemade pesto!

THURSDAY | Chicken Tandoori with Cucumber Tomato Salsa & Naan

Chicken Tandoori is a traditional Indian dish that produces fragrant and tender chicken thanks to a marinade of spices and yogurt. We love the depth of flavor that comes from the optional step of toasting the spices. It’s an easy way to take an easy weeknight meal to the next level!  We serve a cool and refreshing cucumber tomato salsa on the side with toasted naan bread.

Use GF naan bread or substitute another GF flatbread to make this dish gluten-free. Paleo members will keep all the flavors of this Indian dish by using coconut milk in place of the yogurt to marinate the chicken and will make Indian-spiced roasted cauliflower instead of naan bread.  Vegetarians will love this creative twist on traditional shakshuka, inspired by Indian flavors. (Next time you have a crowd over for brunch, give the vegetarian shakshuka a try!)

Weekly Meal Planner | Menu for Week of 8/27/18 via Cook Smarts

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