Summer Recipe Ideas
Ah, summer- when produce blossoms into a real life Picasso. Flavors, colors, and shapes dance from the eyes to the mouth as these vibrant fruits and vegetables grace our plates for just a few short months. Farmer’s markets are in full swing, crowded with home chefs anxious to get their hands on the season’s finest.
Time to fire up the grill and whip out those summer recipe ideas ladies and gents!
Grilling out is on you this weekend. Ideally grilling means keeping all the fun and heat outside, leaving you with a cooled kitchen to escape to when the going gets hot hot hot! We’ve put together some summer recipe ideas that ensure just that, with an added nuance of course.
Tempted to buy some hamburger patties, dogs, and buns and call it a day? Don’t get us wrong, the classics are the classics for a reason. But perhaps it’s time to switch things up.
Wanting to impress your guests, try something new, and have it come out as delicious as the hottest magazine’s summer recipe ideas? Look no further! We’ve got a fresh look at some classic recipes and techniques that will send your guests home wondering how this creative flare kicked in (leaving you to all the leftovers!)
With each summer ingredient, look out for a quick guide to picking out the necessary produce to make these summer recipe ideas come to life.
Now, let’s keep the heat outside and the cool drinks flowing all day with these summer recipe ideas!
Hot Curry Deviled Eggs
It’s ideal to have a quick and easy appetizer out when guests start arriving, giving you the opportunity to catch up with friends, instead of running around worrying about things in the oven or on the stove. Focus on remaining cool, calm, and collected this summer with our simple plan ahead appetizers.
Instead of putting a store bought dip or hummus out and calling it a day, we’ve made a not so classic deviled egg using Obour’s Hot Curry Hummus, providing that touch of spice to your cool down meal. Techniques follow traditional methods- boil eggs, remove cooked yolks, mix with other ingredients, and add back to egg whites. Though the Hot Curry sprinkled with a touch of cayenne will surprise you as the heat and flavor develops as you chew. You’ll struggle not to pop them all in your mouth before company arrives!
Recipe: (yields 10 servings)
- 5 hard boiled eggs
- 3 tbsp Obour’s Hot Curry Hummus
- 1 tbsp sour cream
- ½ tsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat with a splash of vinegar. This helps the peeling of the eggs go a little bit smoother. Once boiling, add the eggs and cook for 13 minutes. Remove eggs and place in an ice bath, thus halting continuous cooking of the eggs. Remove egg shells after they’ve cooled down.
- Cut the hard boiled eggs in half and carefully add the crumbly yolks to a medium bowl. Reserve whites. Mix the yolks with the hummus, sour cream, lemon juice, and salt.
- For a presentation sake, take a zip lock bag and cut a corner off, enough so to be able to fit a piping tip through. Add the bright yellow mixture and squeeze back into egg whites.
- Garnish with a touch of cayenne and a slice of radish, chives, or any other seasonal summer recipe idea for easy slicing!
A classic BLT: mouth watering crispy bacon, beefy slices of ripe tomato, crunchy water filled lettuce, all blanketed between two slices of mayo-slathered bread, seasoned with a turn of the peppermill. Elbow lickin’ good! Here we’ve made the classic sandwich into a dippable delight. This is an appropriate summer recipe idea for snacking on beach days, kids picnics, or even as a weeknight meal.
The dressing will keep for a few weeks in the fridge so don’t be afraid to make this dish until you run out of fresh ingredients! Anything crunchy like pita chips, white bread crostini (for the old school vibe), or any other crunchy tool to shovel into your pie-hole will do the trick. Though, you’ll be eating this with a spoon once guests skedaddle!
Recipe: (yields 1 ½ cups)
Green Goddess Dressing
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup cream cheese
- 2 ½ tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp anchovy paste
- ½ tsp dijon
- ½ cup packed basil leaves
- 1 tbsp packed parsley
- ½ bunch chives
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- ½ tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- Blend until smooth and combined.
- 3 hearty tomatoes
- ½ cup diced cucumbers
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 heart of romaine
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 lb bacon (reserve fat)
- ⅓ c scallions
- 1 tbsp black sesame seeds (optional)
- Turn oven up to 350°. Cook bacon about 10 minutes, until nice and crispy. Reserve bacon fat. This can be done the day before or early morning before guests arrive.
- Toss tomatoes and cucumbers in salt and sugar and let drain over a colander for 30 minutes.
- Chop up romaine, focusing more on the stem than the leafy green. Reserve green leaves for leftover salads.
- Toss tomatoes/cucumbers, ¾ chopped romaine stems, ⅓ chopped chives, salt, and pepper with a couple tablespoons of the green goddess dressing.
- Add to serving bowl and top with the remaining romaine, then bacon and scallions. Finish it off with an extra pinch of black pepper (optional sesame seeds).
- Serve with bread/chip of choice.
Grilled Peach Bellini
Peaches have left us s-peach-less!
The soft, fuzzy outer blanket holds the golden summer juice just waiting to drip down your chin. Add a few slices to your morning toast, yogurt, or smoothies for some seasonal summer recipe ideas to start your day.
Picking out a good peach takes nothing more than a sniff and squeeze. The stone fruit should smell like, you guessed it, peaches! Ripe, ready-to-eat fruit should give off an overwhelming aroma of how they should smell. Pretty simple, right?
Give them a very light squeeze without bruising the skin and see how forgiving the fruit is. Too hard? Those need to ripen up on your countertop a few more days. For peach eating now, you’re looking for just the right amount of give so when you take a bite your teeth will glide right through. For our recipes, we’re looking for a couple medium ripe peaches and a few soft, overly ripe ones.
Traditional bellinis involve a bottle of premade peach puree with Prosecco. Not this summer! We’re giving the classic bellini a run for its money with its charred, smokier sister: the grilled bellini.
This is where those overly ripe peaches come into play. The added sweetness will complement any choice of bubbly brut. White or yellow peaches will both work, though there’s something about the golden hue of yellow peaches that we gravitate towards. Glass of sunshine anyone?
Put this cocktail at the top of your drink summer recipe ideas, you won’t regret it.
- 1 tsp neutral oil
- 3-4 ripe peaches
- Champagne of choosing (we like Chandon)
- Make sure the grill is nice and hot to start, about 350-375°.
- After lightly rubbing the grill with an oil dipped cloth, lay peaches cut side down on the grill. Once the grill grate has made nice dark lines, flip over to the skin side for a few more minutes until it softens.
- Mash peaches with a mortar and pestle or pureé in a food processor. Watch the consistency as you may need to add a splash of water to get things moving.
- Add a tablespoon of pureé to each champagne glass and top with champagne of your choosing. Bottoms up!
Summer Salad with Lavender Tahini Dressing
Strawberries: the epitome of summer treats. The sweet, satisfying tart bite of seeded glory that makes its way to our plates this time of year brings about memories of childhood. Shoving berries in left and right, seeing how many can be devoured before anyone notices they’re gone- the key being to hide those pink covered fingertips! Summer recipe ideas were never necessary as the berries provided a meal of their own. Well, we’re here to give your taste buds a flashback to the not-so-guilty pleasure of a mouthful of scrumptious strawberries.
When picking out the best batch of berries, don’t worry so much about size or shape. While some smaller berries are sweeter, most strawberry varietals vary in size and can be challenging to predict. You won’t know until you taste them!
Look for the Marilyn Monroe-red-lipstick-bright berries as strawberries do not continue to ripen off the vine, making the brightest ones the ripest ones. Green, unwilted leaves show that the berries are freshly picked and ready to devour immediately. The older, not so pretty berries will be saved for desserts, jams, pies, etc.
Corn: Buckets on buckets of fresh corn require peeling back layers of field green leaves to unveil the sunshine inside. At the market, peak inside to check that the corn is vibrant with no brown spots. Grab an arm full of ears and a friend for a shucking party! Corn lasts a reasonable amount of time in the fridge and can be added to many summer recipe ideas for an added pop of flavor and nutrition.
Learning how to use it all in your summer recipe ideas is a major learning tool in the kitchen that we ourselves are always improving upon. Knowing how to gauge when to use older vs. newer fruits and vegetables will make you the master of decadent flavor and save food from being unnecessarily tossed in the landfill!
Strawberries, peaches, and corn- the summer trio! Now that you know how to pick out the most appropriate summer produce, let’s put them all together so you get a taste of all the glory in every single bite. Talk about the ultimate summer recipe idea!
Tahini, a blend of sesame seeds and oil, is a main ingredient in hummus making. On its own, it’s great for thickening soups or sauces, using in lu of nut butter for baking recipes, and in our case making flavorful salad dressings. Go for the tahini made with toasted seeds- toasting the seeds brings out the true nuttiness that sesame seeds have to offer. Pair with the floral tones of lavender, which grows on every corner in the summer months, and you have the perfect accoutrement to summer fruits.
Let’s dress this seasonal salad with a lavender tahini dressing for this summer recipe idea.
Recipe: (serves 2-4)
- 3 cups arugula
- 3 cups spring salad mix
- 2 cups strawberries
- 2 ripe peaches
- 2 ears of yellow corn
- ½ tbsp butter
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp black pepper
- Chop the strawberries and peaches to bite sized pieces.
- Rub the butter on the corn and toss it on the grill until it gets some color on all sides. Once cooled, cut the corn off the cob and reserve.
- Toss greens with salt and pepper. Add the berries, peaches, and corn and drizzle the tahini dressing overtop. Enjoy this seasonal summer recipe idea for a refreshing addition to the grilling repertoire.
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 lavender sprigs
- 1 cup tahini
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- Combine water and sugar in a pot over medium heat. Warm and stir until sugar dissolves. Add the lavender sprigs for 5-7 minutes, then remove. Letting the sprigs soak too long will turn the syrup bitter. Save the leftover simple syrup and add a splash to your summer recipe ideas for cocktails to be sipped on warm summer afternoons.
- Whisk 1 tsp of the simple syrup with the tahini, lemon juice, salt, and pepper until combined. Adjust salt/acid levels as necessary. This will keep in the fridge for weeks.
Blueberry Glazed Whole Grilled Chicken
Blueberries: Your summer recipe ideas would not be complete without incorporating fresh blueberries somewhere in the mix. Try venturing to a farm to pick them yourself! Handling berries straight from the bush is a great way to spend time with loved ones, catch some rays, and roll home with bountiful buckets. If a farmers market or grocery store is as close as you’ll get to the source, c’est la vie. Here’s how to choose your best batch:
Blueberries at their most flavorful should be a rich, deep shade of space blue/purple that is almost black. Size doesn’t matter so much here, just like strawberries, as the plump, round shape will determine peak ripeness. Look out for juice stained cartons and stems/leaves on the berries. For fresh eating, avoid the shriveled berries as those have an earlier harvest timestamp on them. Though for our purposes, the shriveled ones will cook down great.
Blueberry chicken- uh, what? Brace yourself- this savory incorporation of blueberries will shock your tastebuds and drive you to add blueberries to all your summer recipe ideas. The vinegar gets jiggy with the sweet berries and sugar to make a lovely basting jus that will keep for months in the fridge. Spatchcocking the chicken ensures even cooking throughout the bird, faster cook time, and a juicier finished product.
The understated whole grilled chicken will make you rethink the oven more often- it’s truly a beautiful thing. The chicken will fall apart at the touch making it the most tender, flavorful bird that will ever leave your grill. We promise. You’ll be wishing there was more sauce to slather. Prepare to fight over the saturated skin!
Recipe: (Serves 2-4)
- 3 cups blueberries
- 1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp chili flakes
- Pulse the blueberries in a food processor, just until the skins break and you see that blueberries aren’t blue on the inside!
- Add the pulsed berries and all other ingredients into a saucepot. Lightly simmer for one hour over low-medium heat. Keep an eye on it though, it can burn easily at the wrong temp or if it isn’t stirred every 5-7 minutes.
- Pour back into the food processor and blend until smooth. Careful, as the liquid will be very hot.
- Drain through a strainer back into the pot. This will collect any last skins.
- Place the pot back on the stovetop over medium heat and reduce the sauce by ⅓ until thickened to the consistency of maple syrup (not too thick, not too thin). This should be made a day in advance, giving the flavors time to chill out in the fridge.
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 cup blueberry sauce
- Reserved bacon fat from BLT Dip
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Pull chicken from the fridge about 30 minutes before you plan to start seasoning, roughly the same time you would start the grill.
- Spatchcocking a whole chicken is easier than it sounds! Flip the bird breasts down and locate the backbone. Using sharp kitchen shears, cut along one side of the spine being sure to cut through the rib bones and all. Repeat on the other side until the backbone is no longer attached. Open the bird up, pulling the legs away from each other thus cracking the bottom of the sternum, allowing the bird to lay flat. Use your scissors to ensure the sternum is cracked. (If man handling the bird seems like too much for you, ask your butcher to spatchcock the chicken for you.)
- Rub the chicken down with the leftover bacon grease, even under the skin. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- When the grill is about 300-325°, place the chicken skin side up and close the lid. Let it cook for 30 minutes. From there, baste the bird with blueberry sauce every 5-7 minutes for another 30 minutes keeping the lid closed in between.
- The meat should be firm to the touch. Stick a meat thermometer into a thigh to check that it’s reached an internal temperature of 165°. Pull off the grill at that time and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Slice the legs, thighs, then the breasts off the bones. Time to fight over those thighs!
Roasted Strawberries and Rhubarb, Pistachio Crumble and Vanilla Ice Cream
This is where those wilted, older looking berries are sought after and luckily won’t go to waste! Don’t forget, there’s a time and place for everything, including all ages and stages of produce.
The tantalizing tango between strawberries and rhubarb will live on in infamy. Add a touch of lavender and pistachio love, and you’ve cracked the code on a deconstructed summer pie without all the extra work. The pistachio crumble can be made a day ahead of time and will hold for a week in the fridge. Add it to another sweet dessert from your collection of summer recipe ideas!
Tossing these sweet, tart gifts from summer soil atop the grill embers will one, continue to keep the heat out of your kitchen, and two, make you the master of savory AND sweet on the grill. This new brand of confidence will keep you soaring through summer recipe ideas all the way through September.
Recipe: (serves 2-4)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup butter
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup toasted pistachios, chopped
- Turn oven to 350°. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toast pistachios until golden, about 5 minutes. Let cool then roughly chop.
- Combine brown sugar, flour, granulated sugar, butter, and salt in a bowl until well combined. Feel free to use a pastry cutter if you have one. Stir in pistachios.
- Spread onto covered baking sheet and bake for 4-6 minutes, until golden brown.
- Remove, let cool, then toss.
- 3 cups strawberries, halved
- 2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 tbsp sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tsp lavender simple syrup
- 1 qt vanilla bean ice cream
- 1 cup pistachio crumble
- 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
- Toss the strawberries and rhubarb in the sugar and salt.
- Add to a grill basket or metal strainer and cook over the grill for approximately 10 minutes at 350°. The rhubarb should easily ooze when squeezed but still keep shape Same goes for the strawberries.
- Once cooked through, toss in a bowl and drizzle the lavender simple syrup on top. Set out individual bowls with a hefty scoop of vanilla ice cream. Spoon in the berries and rhubarb, followed by a sprinkle the pistachio crumble and black sesame seeds.
This smashing compilation of our summer recipe ideas matched with peak summer produce will earn you the title of ultimate grill master this season! By doing the necessary prep ahead of time, you’ll successfully keep the heat outside by the grill and leave the kitchen space for mixing summer cocktails (where we’d all like to be, right?!) Now, get your farmers market list together, fire up that grill, and get to cooking. Enjoy!
Love Stretchy Pants?
If you’re digging what we’re dishing up, you might like any number of our culinary experiences. For more SF food tips and tricks check out the Stretchy Pants Food Walks. We also offer cooking classes and custom events for your next office or holiday party.
~Created and written by Chandler Henry
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