Ah, summer: The weather is warm, the days are long and we have a never-ending supply of chilled rosé at the ready. As much as we want to eat burgers and hot dogs for dinner every night, we also feel compelled to take advantage of the season’s bounty, including fresh seafood and warm-weather produce. Read on for 31 easy July dinner ideas to make every night this month, so you can spend more time doing the important stuff (unicorn-shaped pool float, we’re looking at you).
31 July Dinner Ideas that Deserve to Be Eaten Alfresco
July 1: Caesar Pasta Salad
If you've never cooked pasta on a sheet pan, now's your chance. The gnocchi gets crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, plus it gets coated with all the juices from the veggies and sausage. Best of all, you'll only have to clean one dish. Win-win.
Set the patio table and your timer for 25 minutes: Dinner will be ready before you know it. It requires minimal ingredients *and* is fancy enough to serve at your next alfresco gathering. Are you sure you’re not a restaurant chef or something?
’Tis the season for all of our produce favorites. Why not combine them in one over-the-top summer salad, which is just as filling as it is elegant? It's satisfying as is, but feel free to top it with delicate strips of prosciutto or dressed arugula to make it even more so.
Dinner salads can be hit or miss, so we made sure this one was hearty enough to hold its own as a main. It contains everything from charred halloumi cheese and juicy peaches to crispy green beans and crunchy pine nuts. Save the leftovers for lunch (just don't dress them until you're about to eat, so the greens don't get soggy) and thank us later.
July 12: Sungold Spaghetti Carbonara
Sungolds, a golden-orange type of cherry tomatoes, offer bright acidity and seasonal sweetness to this rich pasta dish. If you can't find traditional guanciale (that's cured pig jowl) near you, pancetta or smoked bacon will work in its place. Whatever you use, be generous with the black pepper and pecorino.
July 13: Cheater’s Skillet Paella
The blistered cherry tomatoes and fresh rosemary and thyme may make this galette look difficult to attain. But the savory pie has a secret shortcut: store-bought puff pastry. Serve it with a big green salad for an effortless, gorgeous meal.
July 15: Hot Honey Chicken Thighs
Nope, our hot honey phase is *not* over. The chicken drippings are the secret to the sweet-and-spicy dressing. Get the thighs as crispy as possible by starting them as you would bacon—in a cold skillet over low heat—to render the fat without burning the skin.
Sure, this 15-minute masterpiece looks like an appetizer. But serve it with warm flatbread, pita or crusty baguette for scooping, and it's hearty enough to serve as a low-lift main. Pair it with dressed greens or cold soup to make it even more filling.
July 17: Vegetarian Sloppy Joes
Any salad starring bread and cheese is one we can get behind. Scoop up the prettiest vine-ripened cherry tomatoes you can find at the farmers market, plop them on a sheet pan with hunks of ciabatta, drizzle on a quick dressing and finish the spread with fresh mozz and basil—it's that simple.
Think of these spicy-sweet drumsticks as the summer version of chicken wings. If you prefer eating chicken with a fork and knife, feel free to substitute thighs or breasts. Either way, you’re going to want extra napkins and lots of lime wedges for this one.
Nothing against burgers and dogs, but they have no idea what’s coming for them. (Three words: Cajun. Spiced. Butter.) Bonus? These skewers will leave you with hardly any cleanup if you make them on the grill, and even less so if you serve them on a newspaper-topped picnic table.
July 22: Cheater’s Prosciutto Hawaiian Pizza
July 24: Donna Hay’s Best Veggie Burgers
Most veggie burgers are dry and bland, but these are the opposite. Tender canned beans, grated carrot and grated beet ensure that the patties turn out soft and moist. Make a double batch and store the leftovers in the freezer if you want to go the extra mile.
Make this 25-minute meal once, cook asparagus evenly forever. Separating the sturdy stalks from the softer tips is the trick: The tough ends are briefly cooked with the noodles to tenderize, while the tips are tossed in right at the end. Ta-da.
A seven-ingredient main that cooks to perfection in a single skillet: Be still our fruit-loving heart. The strawberry juices help deglaze the caramelized crunchy bits left behind by the lamb chops, incorporating their intense, drool-worthy flavor into the sauce.
July 28: Pork Milanese with Cucumber Yogurt
July 30: Spicy Corn Carbonara
Our goal this month is to eat corn as many ways as we possibly can, and this pasta is among our favorite applications. Take your pick of bucatini, spaghetti or linguine—they'll all hold the creamy Parmesan sauce like a charm. In the off season, substitute fresh corn for canned kernels (because you will want to make it again).
July 31: Yellow Tomato Gazpacho
Do all your slicing, dicing and crouton toasting the night before, then blend the produce (which include two summer peaches for extra sweetness, BTW) and assemble your soup bowls in under ten minutes flat right before serving. You won't even break a sweat, promise.
Taryn Pire is PureWow’s associate food editor. A former bartender and barista, she’s been writing about all things delicious since 2016, developing recipes, reviewing restaurants and investigating food trends at Food52, New Jersey Family Magazine and Taste Talks. When she isn’t testing TikTok’s latest viral recipe, she’s having popcorn for dinner and posting about it on Instagram @cookingwithpire.
Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City restaurants. She used to sling sugary desserts in a pastry kitchen, but now she’s an avid home cook and fanatic baker.
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