Light Summer Recipes | Meal Plan Menu

Get ready for summer with our new weekly meal planner! This week’s menu is filled with light summer dinner recipes the whole family will love.

  • By Jackie Sun
  • May 18, 2018

As the weather warms up, we find ourselves pulled towards recipes and ideas for light and healthy meals. Theme parks, movie nights, and dining al fresco awaits, which means less time spent in the kitchen and more time spent outdoors. That’s why we need our healthy weeknight dinners to also be simple and quick.

Our meal plan menu for this week features dinners that can be made start to finish in under an hour. The line-up of fresh and light dinner recipes may be easy to cook, but by no means does that mean boring! Homemade herb sauces lend refreshing flavor to a couple of dishes this week, and lip-smacking marinades punch up the taste of your favorite proteins. A variety of vegetables provide a ton of nutritional value, and whole grains add bulk without feeling too heavy.

Each of our meal plans come with meal planning tips, some of which we share below. So continue reading to increase your meal planning smarts and browse the full menu of light summer recipes!

If you’re ready to cook new, fresh, and healthy meals each week, join our cooking community here:

“I felt like our old recipe books had meals that were so involved. Cook Smarts’ meals are easy to follow, healthy, and still adventurous. Not the same old boring recipes mom made. You have us cooking with ingredients we never tried before and loving it.“

— Nicole P. (Member since Jul 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


  • Chimichurri is an Argentinian sauce made with fresh cilantro and / or parsley and can easily be made at home using a blender or food processor. Make a double batch to save time in the kitchen and enjoy with two different meals for the week.
  • This week’s barley is also something you can cook once and eat twice. We love cooking extras for an easy meal later in the week, or even to keep in the freezer for those nights you don’t have time to cook.


  • Vinaigrettes, marinades, and sauces – all of which can be found on this week’s meal plan – can be made over the weekend, saving you lots of time during the weeknights.
  • For an even easier start to the week, make Monday’s tuna salad and dinner will take less than 15 minutes to put together.


  • Leftover corn and black bean salsa from Wednesday’s tacos is delicious when folded into a Southwestern-inspired omelet and sprinkled with cheese.
  • Spread leftover chimichurri sauce in a grilled cheese sandwich and add sliced avocado. Now that’s leftovers done right!

On the Menu

MONDAY | Tuna Melts + Green Salad with Radishes & Snap Peas

We love a good tuna salad sandwich, but a tuna melt takes it up another notch. Because toasted bread and melted cheese makes everything better! Serve these tuna melts open-faced for a super easy and quick weeknight meal. The lemony notes in the fresh green side salad complement the fish nicely.

Gluten-free folks still get to enjoy the goodness of a tuna melt with gluten-free bread, while those who opt for the Paleo option will be making tuna salad over a bed of bright greens and spring veggies. The vegetarian recipe is for an Avocado and Tomato Melt that is both rich and light at the same time.

TUESDAY | Beef Kebab Grain Bowls with Barley, Cucumbers & Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri is best paired with grilled meats, and this recipe is no exception. These grilled beef kebabs have a smoky flavor that is the perfect match for the fresh herbs found in the sauce. Enjoy over some fluffy, nutty barley and crisp cucumbers, and you have a dinner filled with an amazing blend of textures and flavors.

Since barley is not gluten-free-friendly, our gluten-free members will be using quinoa instead. We add mushrooms to our Paleo recipe’s kebabs, which are served over a delicious cucumber and avocado salad. Vegetarians replace the kebabs with a sauteed, spiced medley of chickpeas, bell peppers, and zucchini.

WEDNESDAY | Chimichurri Shrimp Tacos with Corn & Black Bean Salsa

Shrimp tacos can seem really simple, but add a drizzle of fresh chimichurri sauce and it really elevates the entire meal. Topped with a tangy, spicy corn and black bean salsa, this meal has a summer vibe that can enjoyed year round.

Chimichurri is tossed with a quick shrimp and zucchini saute for our Paleo cooks, while it is topped on scrambled eggs for breakfast tacos for anyone who wants a meat-free option.

THURSDAY | Honey Dijon Chicken Salad with Barley, Tomatoes & Croutons

Entree salads are extra appealing as the weather gets warmer. Even though this salad is light and fresh, barley, homemade croutons, and sauteed chicken give it enough substance to stand on its own. Plus, you’ll want to put that honey dijon marinade on everything!

This salad is easily customizable to suit any diet preferences – use quinoa instead of barley if you’re going gluten-free, swap croutons for walnuts if you’re following a Paleo diet, or exchange chicken for tofu if you’re eating vegetarian.

Weekly Meal Planner | Menu for Week of 5/21/18 via Cook Smarts

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