Quick Summer Meals | Meal Plan Menu
This week’s menu of quick recipes is filled with fresh summer flavors and bright colors!
If it hasn’t been feeling quite like summer before, it definitely does this week! With all the sunshine we’re getting here in California, and the days warming up, we’re really feeling all the summer vibes now. And, if you are anything like us, you probably want to enjoy some of the longer daylight hours doing a bit of outdoor hiking, playing with the kids in the backyard, listening to a concert in the park, or taking to a hammock.
To help you have ample time to soak up the sun each evening, we put together a menu of quick recipes that will get dinner on the table in a flash! All of this week’s meals take less than 40 minutes of active cooking time (and that’s only if you don’t do any weekend meal prep!).
Whether you’re a big fan of direct sunlight or not, these summer flavors will help you enjoy the season from the comfort of your AC unit or outside on a picnic bench. Keep reading to find out about each recipe, meal prep tips, suggestions for leftovers, and ways to enjoy these meals in our gluten-free, vegetarian, or Paleo variations.
“It hasn’t even been a week, and last night, my boyfriend said, ‘I’m so glad you joined [Cook Smarts].’ The recipes have been easy and fairly quick, which is great given our schedules. We’re excited to try more recipes!”
– Alexandra B. (Member since May 2018)
All meals come with gluten-free, paleo, and vegetarian options, as well as a grocery list and optional weekend prep steps.
On the Menu
This fresh, citrusy meal pairs the delicious flavor of salmon with an orange marinade over quinoa. For an additional bright and refreshing finish, our Watermelon Arugula Salad with Feta is sure to secure a place among your favorite sides.
This recipe is easy to customize for different dietary needs! Our gluten-free version of this meal swaps soy sauce for Tamari and our vegetarian version uses grilled tofu instead of salmon. Our Paleo meal uses Bragg’s / coconut aminos, nixes the grain, and adds shelled sunflower seeds to replace feta cheese.
While we try not to play favorites with our entree salads, this one always seems to hit the right balance of flavor and texture! With the taste of Middle Eastern spices in the lamb, the crunch of crisp pita chips, and the creamy tahini dressing, we bet this 30-minute dinner will become one of your favorites, too.
Keeping with Middle Eastern flavors, our vegetarian recipe uses spiced and sauteed chickpeas instead of lamb. To make this fattoush salad gluten-free, you can simply use any GF pita chips. Since those on the Paleo diet can’t eat feta and pita, we beautifully round out our Paleo salad with diced bell peppers and walnuts for a nice crunch.
Eggs Benedict is usually topped with ham and hollandaise sauce, but this twist on the classic includes bacon, fresh arugula, and a smoky paprika aioli. With a side of honey and mint stone fruit, this meal will be on your table in just 40 minutes and have you wanting it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
This meal is easy to make meatless by replacing the bacon with sauteed mushrooms, and is easy to make gluten-free by picking up GF English muffins at the store. To enjoy the same flavor beats on the Paleo diet, our Paleo Bacon and Mushroom Saute with Poached Eggs recipe will do the trick.
In Thailand, larb is the name for a super simple dish of finely chopped protein that is sauteed with a bit of seasoning and tossed with fresh herbs and lime juice. We’ve given this dish a Cook Smarts twist by adding quinoa and serving it in lettuce cups. Eaten with a side of mango and cucumber salsa, this 30-minute meal is absolutely perfect for summer.
To achieve a similar texture to the ground pork, our vegetarian recipe uses pre-cooked lentils. Our gluten-free version also only needs one substitute: Tamari. Our Paleo lettuce cups streamlines the ingredients in the original recipe and swaps out peanuts for cashews.
Smart meal planning ideas come with every weekly menu. The smarts listed below are only a portion of the meal prep tips we include to help you make the most of your ingredients and your time. Join our community to get the full benefits of our meal plan service every day!
Meal Planning Tips
- Even though the recipes this week are quick, you can save even more time by making your sauces and dressing early. The orange vinaigrette, creamy tahini dressing, smoky paprika aioli, and Thai larb sauce can all be made up to 5 days ahead, so set aside a little time over the weekend to get saucy!
- You can easily make this week’s Thai Larb recipe ahead of time since it reheats extremely well. Then when Thursday rolls around, you can simply stir in the fresh herbs right before serving.
- Mint – This sweet and cool herb is a simple and flavorful way to add freshness to summer dinner recipes. To prevent leftover herbs from happening (and wilting in the fridge), this week’s meal plan calls for mint in Tuesday’s Fattoush and Thursday’s Thai Larb Lettuce Cups.
- If you have extra salmon from Monday night, use the leftovers for a twist on tuna salad! Simply shred your cooked salmon and combine it with a small amount of mayonnaise and mustard to enjoy on crisp toast or fresh greens.
- Using leftover vegetables and larb in a quick stir-fry will bring you yet another quick and delicious meal! To add even more protein and flavor, serve it with a fried egg on top. (To learn how to make the perfect stir-fry, check out our Guide to Stir-Frying here.)