Satisfying Lunch and Dinner Recipes for Hot Weather

Hot Summers Call for These Cool Foods

grilled chicken salad wraps

The Spruce/Elaine Lemm

The last thing most people want to do in the summer is turn on the oven. So keep your cool, and get out of the kitchen quickly without needing to skimp on nutrition or complete meals with these hot weather recipes.

Some of the ingredients in these summertime favorites such as pasta, chicken, or hard-cooked eggs, might require some cooking or grilling, but you could consider cooking these foods in the evening when it might be a little cooler. Most of these recipes are for variations on refrigerated salads that you eat cold in contrast to a hot, steamy or sunny day.

  • 01 of 18

    Shrimp and Rice Salad With Peas and Celery

    Shrimp Salad With Rice
    Diana Rattray

    Color and flavor abound in this delicious shrimp and rice salad with peas and celery. Shrimp provides the protein, while flavor and color come from steamed peas, red bell pepper, and a mayonnaise dressing.

  • 02 of 18

    Chicken Salad With Apples and Cranberries

    chicken salad with cranberries
    rudisill/Getty Images

    This chicken salad with apples and cranberries is a perfect hot weather salad, and hearty enough to serve for dinner. The salad has lots of flavor and crunch with diced fresh apples, cranberries, and optional walnuts or pecans. Serve on lettuce leaves or in nice soft rolls or wraps for a delicious lunch or dinner. To bypass the heat of roasting the chicken yourself, buy a supermarket rotisserie chicken or follow a quick chicken recipe for basic baked chicken breasts.

  • 03 of 18

    Tuna Pasta Salad With Dill

    Tuna Pasta Salad With Dill
    Diana Rattray

    This tuna pasta salad with dill will keep you cool. If you do not have chopped fresh dill, a few teaspoons of dried dill would work as well. The salad is easy to prepare and it makes a good main dish or side dish for summer meals.

  • 04 of 18

    Macaroni and Black Bean Salad

    macaroni salad with black beans
    Diana Rattray

    This salad is a great vegetarian choice. To make it vegan you can replace the mayonnaise with your favorite vegan dressing. The fresh flavors of lime and cilantro give this macaroni and black bean salad much brightness, which also makes it a great accompaniment to a burger or other grilled meats.

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  • 05 of 18

    Basic Deviled Eggs

    Basic Deviled Eggs
    Diana Rattray

    Basic deviled eggs are always a hit for lunches or snacks. Top these basic deviled eggs with sliced or finely chopped red onion, sliced grape tomatoes, fresh chopped parsley, chives, sliced olives, or cornichons.

  • 06 of 18

    Lobster Rolls

    lobster rolls
    Diana Rattray

    So, there are two common ways of serving lobster rolls. Learn how to make the classic, creamy mayonnaise way that is most common in Massachusetts or learn how to make it the Connecticut way with melted butter.  

  • 07 of 18

    Tuna Salad

    Tuna Salad Recipe
    Diana Rattray

    Add fresh chopped celery or finely chopped onion to customize tuna salad with ingredients that you love. Hard-cooked eggs are delicious in tuna salad, along with a dill relish and dill weed; the beauty of tuna salad is that it is so versatile.

    Serve the tuna salad in sandwiches made with your favorite bread, panini, or ditch the bread altogether and serve on lettuce leaves for a refreshing lunch option or summertime dinner.

  • 08 of 18

    Crab Salad With Summer Vegetables

    Crab Salad
    Annabelle Breakey/Collection: Stockbyte/Getty Images

    Crab salad with summer vegetables makes for a sweet component as part of a salad to serve on a hot summer day, whether for a family meal or a special cookout or potluck. You can get Dungeness crabs from the West Coast and blue crab from the East, thankfully, crab is usually easily sourced in U.S. year-round.

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  • 09 of 18

    Southern-Style Ham Salad

    Ham Salad in Mini Bun
    Diana Rattray

    Southern-style ham salad is an excellent way to use leftover ham and can make a great filling for sandwiches. You can enjoy a ham salad sandwich much the same way as you would a chicken or tuna salad sandwich—serve it with chips and a tossed salad for a full meal.

  • 10 of 18

    Garden Pasta Salad With Rotini

    Garden Pasta Salad
    Diana Rattray

    This tasty garden pasta salad with rotini features fresh vegetables and a creamy, lemony mayonnaise and pesto dressing. Feel free to use your favorite type of pasta, too, rotini, elbows, and farfalle all work well.

  • 11 of 18

    Simple Shrimp Salad

    shrimp salad
    Diana Rattray

    This simple shrimp salad is a snap to throw together for a hot summer evening meal. Serve it on lettuce leaves with a side of fresh tomatoes or in a pita pocket.

  • 12 of 18

    Macaroni Salad With Cheese and Ham

    Macaroni Salad with Cheese and Ham
    Diana Rattray

    Add this delicious macaroni salad with cheese and ham to your cookout menu. It is a glorious symphony of flavor and color. Ham and cheese provide plenty of protein.

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  • 13 of 18

    Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwiches

    grilled chicken salad wraps
    Elaine Lemm

    Use soft store-bought wraps for these grilled chicken Caesar salad sandwiches. This three-part recipe leads you through the steps for preparing the grilled chicken, the homemade Caesar dressing, and the constructing the wrap.

  • 14 of 18

    California Grilled Chicken Salad

    grilled chicken salad
    Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

    This California grilled chicken salad provides a healthy fresh mixture of vegetables along with some pancetta and grilled chicken. It's a satisfying salad that is perfect for lunch or dinner.

  • 15 of 18

    Taco Salad

    Taco salad
    Diana Rattray

    If you have browned ground beef crumbles on hand, you can have a taco salad in minutes. Get a jumpstart on this dish by freezing well-drained ground beef in 1-pound portions that you can pull out at your convenience to make this salad.

  • 16 of 18

    Pineapple Salad With Walnuts

    Pineapple Salad
    Diana Rattray

    A pineapple salad with walnuts goes well with all kinds of grilled foods. Serve it along with grilled tuna, salmon, pork, or chicken.

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  • 17 of 18

    Steak Salad

    steak salad
    Katie Workman /

    Throw a steak on the grill and toss it onto a salad for a cool and hearty summer meal. Everyone will love this delicious steak salad!

  • 18 of 18

    Tuna Salad With Dijon Dressing

    Tuna Salad Nicoise
    Diana Rattray

    This tuna salad with dijon dressing is delicious with fresh grilled tuna, but you could certainly make it with a good quality canned or packaged tuna. It is a hearty and flavorful Nicoise-style salad. Potatoes and green beans can be cooked ahead of time, cut, and chilled until prep time.