Food

Summer Recipes: 9 Reader Favorites

Some recipes are like good friends: comforting and there when you need them the most. Here are nine of our favorite go-to meals (and desserts!) on hot humid days…

Reader's All-Time Favorite Summer Recipes

A go-to dessert for guests? Monochromatic fruit salad.

Reader's All-Time Favorite Summer Recipes

Summer tomatoes are magic, and these three-ingredient tomato sandwiches let them shine.

Reader's All-Time Favorite Summer Recipes

A spinach salad with strawberries and bacon make for the ultimate sweet and salty combination.

Reader's All-Time Favorite Summer Recipes

This frozen peaches and cream cake has a delicious gingersnap cookie crust.

Reader's All-Time Favorite Summer Recipes

This corn-and-quinoa salad was inspired by grilled Mexican street corn.

Reader's All-Time Favorite Summer Recipes

Summery fettuccine with asparagus and lemon.

Reader's All-Time Favorite Summer Recipes

This caprese salad has a sweet twist.

Reader's All-Time Favorite Summer Recipes

A refreshing mascarpone cheese and strawberry tart.

5-ingredient shrimp tacos, a foolproof Trader Joe’s hack.

What’s your favorite recipe? Is there any ingredient that you’d like to see featured?

P.S. 9 quick family dinners, and 11 great reader comments on food.

  1. My sister-in-law has been living in Malaysia for the last 6 years, and recently visited us in France and cooked us the most delicious chicken curry for dinner one night. She made it look so easy, and now I’m so keen to add a few curry recipes to my repertoire!

  2. Kirsten says...

    I love pretty much everything about Sarah Waldmans cookbook, but that peach tart was really lackluster! Maybe I didn’t have the best peaches or something but the only part I liked was the ginger snap crust…

  3. Lila says...

    I made that strawberry tart for my daughter’s third birthday (shaped into a heart, of course). It was perfect for a small child, not too sweet, lots of strawberries. She was delighted! Seeing it featured here again reminded me, thank you for sharing that recipe!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’m so glad you liked it!

  4. Katie Larissa says...

    Current favorite summer salad: greens of some kind + grilled corn, fresh tomatoes, feta or Gorgonzola cheese, and finely sliced red onions, doused with an easy homemade creamy balsamic dressing.

    Also loving the combo of cubed tomatoes, sliced red onions, cucumbers, cilantro, and avocado, tossed together with olive oil, lime juice, and salt/pepper. I serve it on crusty ciabatta bread or with tortilla chips. So perfect.

    • Carrie says...

      My mouth is watering! How do you make your creamy balsamic dressing!

    • Katie Larissa says...

      Carrie, it’s very simple, and tbh I don’t measure. About a quarter cup balsamic vinegar, tsp of sugar, salt and pepper to taste, squeeze half a lemon, a tablespoon or so of plain Greek yogurt, then a quarter cup of olive oil – I combine it in a small jar with a lid and shake shake shake!

  5. Jenny says...

    My current summer favorites are 1. grated tomato sauce (grate a bunch of tomatoes on large holes of box grater, sauté with a few crushed cloves of garlic until it thickens a bit- that’s it! So good and fresh.) and 2. summer veg hash- cook some bacon or pancetta, remove and add cubed potatoes, garlic, onion, a LOT of cumin & paprika, throw the lid on and cook til potatoes are almost done. Add some cubed zucchini and corn cut off the cob. When it’s all done mix the bacon back in along with some fresh chopped tomatoes…and a ball of buratta if you’re feeling fancy, or any other cheese. So easy and sooo good!

  6. Lauren says...

    My go to summer recipe for a hot eveninv when I don’t want to turn on the oven is smoked salmon tartines! I use pumpernickel bread, smear on some creme fraiche, layer on some thinly sliced cucumbers, lay down the smoked salmon and top with quick pickled red onions, fresh dill, capers, and lemon juice – delicious! I usually pair it with my go to arugula salad with avocado, parm, and lemon vinegarette. It’s such a quick, easy, and yummy meal!

    • Katie Larissa says...

      Stealing this!!

    • Lisa says...

      Amazing! We’ve been having a heatwave in London, so cooking is just a complete pain but having cold salad for dinner every day is boring. This is such a nice idea!

      Slightly masochistic given the heat, but I’ve been making a lot of salads of roasted vegetables with feta, pine nuts and a herb. For the roasted vegetables, it can be anything I have in the fridge or something more deliberate like butternut, red onion and courgette. I’ve also loved a pesto pasta that the NYTimes featured, where you add mint into the pesto fir freshness, and serve it with mozzarella

  7. Josephine says...

    Lately I’ve been making a mango salsa that also has black beans, avocado, and corn among a few other ingredients. It’s delicious, gets my family eating our fruits n veg, and is easy to make as long as I can time getting the avocados ripe!

    • Eloise says...

      I feel your timing the ripe avocado pain! (And the salsa sounds yummy!!)

  8. K says...

    I live in CO and did not know about this sweet corn and will now be on the hunt for it. Cheers!

    • Sasha L says...

      We LOVE Mex street corn. My husband makes it by grilling ears of corn, then slathering a mix of cojita or feta, mayo, lime juice and chili powder on every bite. Such a treat! I think this salad looks amazing too, definitely trying this weekend (probably a lot less messy!!)

  9. Hannie says...

    My favorite recipe this summer has been Smitten Kitchen’s zucchini and ricotta galette. One of my co-workers entered it in our Great Office Bake Off and I had to make it for myself the following weekend! It was a hit the cookout I attended but the my favorite part was when I was scrounging around for lunch on Monday, layering ricotta on toast with fresh tomatoes from the garden sprinkled with salt and pepper. Sooooo wow.

    • Amanda G says...

      Hannie, that is such a good one! I made that galette early on in my learning-to-cook days and it is still a favorite :)

  10. Tatiana says...

    Fruit salad tip: make a dressing! I mix in a little bit of orange juice, squeeze half a lemon, throw in some honey, and a sprinkle of poppy seeds. Mix it and dress your fruit salad. It makes everything a little sweeter with a touch of tangy lemon, which accentuates the flavor of the fruit, and adds some ‘wetness’ to the salad, which I find is really important. NOW it’s a dessert!

  11. Tara Sharp says...

    Here in Northern California we can get insanely delicious peaches for about a month each summer. This is my favorite and very easy way to serve peaches;
    -Bed of greens (arugula, little gems, whatever) tossed in a salad dressing of great quality pesto, lemon juice, salt & pepper.
    -sliced and grilled (or sautéed in olive oil!) peaches
    -cheese: crumbled feta or whatever else you have on hand
    -sliced, toasted almonds
    -sometimes I add some raw thinly sliced red onion or shallots.
    -baguette or crusty bread on the side.

    Heavenly.

    • Sasha L says...

      Yum.

  12. Ali says...

    I got SO MANY compliments on the monochromatic fruit salad I made for a brunch. Thanks for the tip!

  13. Amanda G says...

    Anna – Hello! I just love Ridgway :) I’m forever dreaming about breakfast at Kate’s Place!

    Cara M – Oh yes, can’t forget those peaches! Last summer I started making an easy summer salad with Palisade peaches, rare grilled steak, mixed greens, goat cheese, sunflower seeds, and a basic vinaigrette. It’s my new go-to late summer meal! Now I’m totally going to try some of our peaches in a caprese salad with burrata, like the one above. YUM.

  14. Amanda says...

    Looove those TJ’s fish tacos and make them (and your other Trader Joe’s recipes) regularly! I’d love another TJ’s recipe feature!

  15. Seja Brumley says...

    Love these! Fave summer recipe (because of the ease and fresh basil available)…simmer your favorite pasta sauce in a large sauce pan that has a lid. Once it has started to boil, crack in a bunch of eggs and cover with a lid. Let it sit for 5 minutes. That’s it – poached eggs in tomato sauce. I cut up a bunch of basil and throw it on top with a baguette and a salad if I feel motivated:)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that sounds so simple and delicious.

  16. Laura C. says...

    The tomato sandwich makes me feel better just by looking at the picture.

  17. CC says...

    The “9” in the post headline is so wacky looking! I can’t figure out why they designed it that way. Ugly, but beautiful, too.

  18. Ro says...

    Love it! I appreciate the recipes here for being amazing every time I’ve tried them AND not super complicated.

    I hope you guys do another round of Trader Joe’s recipes like you did earlier this year! Those were the best.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we would love to, thank you!!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yuuuuuuuummmmmmmmm!

    • Nina Nattiv says...

      Thanks for the suggestion. I’m leaving work early and I think I’ll make this with my kids today. YAY!

  19. Chiara says...

    Oooh these look really good. Bit tonight I’m going for a pizza+Pretty Woman. I’m actually excited after all the summer cooking that I did, to just eat a salty, fatty ginormous PIZZA even though the weather doesn’t agree.
    These recipes will come in handy tomorrow when I need to recover, haha.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      YES! that sounds like a really fun night, chiara.

  20. Amanda G says...

    Heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market are a true joy of summer. We here in Colorado also have some very delicious sweet corn grown in the small town of Olathe on our western slope. It’s like candy! Every year they have a sweet corn festival that’s basically music and all-you-can eat corn, either plain or buttered. It’s heaven.

    My favorite way to enjoy both these summer treats is in Smitten Kitchen’s corn and tomato pie. It is a tried-and-true summer hallmark that I make every year. My husband wishes I’d make it more often, but I think it’s perfect as a yearly treat. And don’t be intimidated by the crust – it’s basically a biscuit!
    https://smittenkitchen.com/2009/08/tomato-and-corn-pie/

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that looks delicious! her recipes are so good, every time.

    • anna says...

      Agreed Amanda!! Ps hi from Ridgway, CO :)

    • Cara M says...

      I was so excited to see a comment by a fellow Coloradoan here! In the same vein, I can’t get enough Colorado Palisade Peaches. I’m definitely excited to try the frozen Peaches and Cream cake – that looks divine. I love Amanda G’s recipe link and will be trying it after I purchase more heirloom tomatoes.