Dragging open a can of anchovies. Cubing cold, snappy vegetables to toss in a mustard jar vinaigrette. Spooning anything at all onto toast, with pepper and cheese and salt. There's something wonderfully languid about making summer dinners, the kind that come half-prepped right from the produce bag (or, okay, pasta box).
The best are not just easy, but also quick — even unnervingly so. "Didn't I just open the fridge?" you'll say to yourself, sitting down to Brie-cloaked noodles and tomatoes. Or skillet-grilled fish tacos. Or the undeniable genius of a salad made from cornbread.
Here are 50 impossibly easy, quick-to-prep dinners for the summer, depending on just what kind of cooking you feel like doing.
Simple summer salads
Hot-off-the-grill peaches and apricots get tossed with fresh kale, crumbled feta cheese, and thin slices of prosciutto for a light and easy dinner that was made for the warm weather months.
Sweet and crunchy raw corn might be the star of this hearty summer salad, but that doesn't stop a tangy, creamy buttermilk and yogurt dressing from making quite the entrance.
Nutritious and wholesome, farro (an ancient whole grain) brings a nutty texture to this breezy salad, which calls on punchy red onion, garlic, bright parsley, ripe tomatoes, and precious hunks of mozzarella to keep all the flavors perfectly balanced.
Our favorite part about this Vietnamese rice noodle salad — aside from its crunchy peanut topping and tangy homemade dressing — is just how easy it is to riff on: You can add grilled steak or chicken, or make it entirely vegetarian without skipping a beat.
Bottarga, a type of salted, cured fish roe, is the secret ingredient to this crunchy green salad; the bottarga brings a brininess that plays off the creamy yogurt dressing in the dreamiest way.
Bread for dinner? We'll never say no to that. Especially when this panzanella of day-old cornbread (so easy!) and farmers market heirloom tomatoes is on the table.
Vibrant and refreshing, you can't keep us away from this "forbidden" rice salad with an addictive coconut milk-based dressing that doubles as an excellent dip for spring rolls, chicken skewers, and more.
Quick seafood dinners
These one-pan (a cast iron pan, that is) fish tacos couldn't be easier — a light and flaky fish gets seared in just a few minutes, and the tortillas get warmed up in the same hot skillet.
This dish might sound fancy-schmancy, but it's actually oh-so-simple: Fatty, bright pink salmon bakes in the oven for just 15 minutes while you cook up the spiced couscous and chickpeas.
According to recipe author, the key to this ethereal, brothy dish is to clean the clams properly — otherwise, you might end up with gritty bits in the end result.
A fresh, high-quality catch shouldn't need much more in the way of cooking besides a quick flash on the grill and a simple dressing of lemon juice, capers, and butter.
This seemingly unlikely combination — herb and oil-poached tuna, roasted corn, potatoes, and zucchini — actually makes a very delicious and satisfying dinner.
Bread as dinner for the win yet again, only this time things get a bit more balance with smoked salmon, colorful roasted dressing, and an herby dressing of crème fraîche (or Greek yogurt) and champagne vinegar.
14. Spicy shrimp
Five ingredients and a handful of skewers? Of all the recipes, we'd wager this spicy shrimp has the the biggest payoff in terms of flavor with the absolute least effort.
Flipping patties is a breeze when you're working with salmon burgers you can make a few days ahead and store, covered, in the fridge. We recommend making the creamy avocado aioli fresh, though, especially since you can just whiz it up in a food processor.
Make this satisfying and simple rice dish just once, and we bet it'll quickly work its way into your weekly dinner rotation before you can say, "Seconds, please."
Would you believe these zesty pork tacos with creamy black beans and avocado can go from the kitchen table to the dinner table in just 20 minutes? If you don't, well, we suggest trying 'em for yourself and washing everything down with a margarita.
Hearty meat dishes
Over 100 reviews of this recipe confirm what we already knew to be true: These are the most flavorful and moist chicken kebabs you will probably ever feast your eyes on.
We're a sucker for a sheet-pan dinner's ease and convenience, but even more so when the flavors are spot on, like they are in this Greek-inspired chicken winner with lots of spices, crunchy green beans, and tangy feta cheese.
This recipe's description delivers on everything it promises, and then some: "An honest dinner, cooked simply, from only four ingredients that took up space in the refrigerator."
"Tart, herbaceous, and absolutely addictive," writes Bon Appétit editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport, this easy chimichurri sauce is happiest when drizzled over a juicy skirt steak. But really, any cut of steak will do.
When you're feeling stuck in a grilling rut (and you simply can't eat another burger or hot dog), make these spiced lamb skewers with a pantry-friendly, wonderfully salty, herby dipping sauce.
An updated riff on a party meatball (you know, the kind with a toothpick for easy snacking), these never-dry meatballs with yogurt dipping sauce actually make the perfect no-fuss dinner.
All about the pasta
Make the most of seasonal asparagus with this creamy, six-ingredient pasta. A handful of lemon zest gives these noodles a hit of bright summer flavor, while the chopped walnuts bring a very welcome crunch.
A true pantry pasta in every sense of the word (even the tomatoes here are canned!), the only fresh ingredients you'll need to whip up this linguine are lemon, fennel, and garlic (which lasts forever anyway).
Vermicelli or thin rice noodles are preferred in this refreshing sesame salad, but if you're in a pinch, plain old spaghetti will work just as well.
Meet a lighter, more laid-back way to enjoy a cozy classic: In this broken lasagna, you'll toss the cooked, wide noodles with a lemony ricotta mixture and top the whole thing with sautéed asparagus and peas.
Make this smoky, herby tomato sauce while your pasta boils, and you'll find that dinner's ready in just over 20 minutes.
This chilled noodle-y number might say "scallops," but really it's just seared king oyster mushrooms, meaning this recipe is vegetarian-friendly. But if you'd like to mix things up with some grilled chicken, pork, or even real scallops, this salad will make them feel right at home.
Green coriander, which is the seed of a cilantro plant before it dries and becomes regular old coriander, adds a unique burst of flavor — somewhere between cilantro and lime — to this pasta.
If you think Brie should just be reserved for a cheese board, give this wonderfully gooey pasta a shot. The combination of the extra-creamy cheese and tart tomatoes tastes sublimely of summer.
Whether you're headed to the supermarket this summer or are a farmer's market regular, it's likely you're going to find yourself with a lot of squash on your hands throughout the season. The best way to use it up: this light and fresh 30-minute pasta that's all about squash.
This extremely riff-able pasta has been a once-a-weeknight summer affair for Food52 co-founder Amanda Hesser for years. It always changes depending on what's in season, meaning it'll probably be a little different each time you make it, though reliably delicious.
The next time you buy a big, beautiful bunch of Swiss chard, don't toss the stalks! Save and blanch them for this tasty pesto that you can not only toss with pasta, but also spread on sandwiches or use as a dip.
This Genius-approved cheeseburger requires just five simple ingredients — a soft hamburger roll, good-quality ground beef chuck, American cheese, and salt and pepper — and as many condiments as your heart desires.
If you've never heard of a torta (a type of Mexican sandwich), you're going to want to bookmark this one. In this version, marinated steak, quick-pickled onions and jalapeño, mashed beans, and a crema drizzle get layered on a fluffy roll — basically, heaven between buns.
You know it's officially summer when you can start eating sandwiches with nothing but toasted bread, mayonnaise, and high-season tomatoes. And we certainly wouldn't say no to bringing a little bit of crispy bacon and avocado aioli into the mix.
Bagna cauda, a traditionally hot Italian dish made from garlic and anchovies, anchors this dinner-worthy toast with its bold flavors. The smattering of crisp, fresh greens and hard-boiled eggs are just a bonus.
When you're in the mood for dinner for breakfast, make this fried egg-topped toast with a Moroccan-inspired avocado mash that's sprinkled with Aleppo pepper or harissa (whichever you have on hand).
In this Nicoise salad-turned-sandwich, tangy olives, fresh herbs, and vinaigrette mingle with olive oil-packed canned tuna to make what one reviewer called "a glorious riot of colors, flavors, and textures."
Take your passion for green goddess dressing beyond salad with this grilled chicken sandwich, which makes the perfect vehicle for this creamy, herby sauce.
Who could ignore something both fabulous and legendary? Not us. And this pan-fried provolone and salted tomato sandwich (with mayo-slathered bread, of course) is without a doubt both of those things.
"If you're looking for tuna salad, turn back now," recipe developer Sarah Jampel writes. And she's right. This healthy, wholesome salad celebrates the versatility of chickpeas by treating them like tuna salad and combining them with Greek yogurt, tahini, herbs, and alliums.
Just add eggs
Keep these 10-minute scrambled egg tacos in your back pocket for when you've had a very long day or come home late from a night on the town. They're tasty, fast, and you can eat them with your hands, which means one less thing to clean when you're done.
This one-skillet strata (it's kind of like a frittata, but with the addition of bread) is by all accounts totally delicious and very easy to make. Plus, it has bacon, so ... we're sold.
For something a little saucier, make this chipotle-spiced tomato stew with eggs that get poached right in the skillet. The brown rice gives it plenty of heft, but we always like to keep a few slices of bread nearby for dipping.
When we say egg noodles here, we actually mean a flat, scrambled egg pancake with scallions, cilantro, soy sauce, and mirin, that gets sliced into strips — just like fresh pasta.
In the reviews describing this zucchini frittata you'll notice the word "delicious" pop up more than a few times, which makes this easy, eggy dish more than worthy of being a summer dinner.
These tomato-poached eggs are as simple of a dinner as you'll ever find, but don't let the tiny ingredients list fool you into thinking it's bland or boring.
This eggy stew with a healthy sprinkle of chile flakes might be spicy enough for purgatory, but you'll be in heaven every time you make it for dinner.
This story was originally published on Food52.com: 50 impossibly easy, slightly lazy, 100 percent reliable summer dinner recipes.