10 Refreshing and Light Dinner Ideas for Hot Summer Nights

Let’s dive into refreshing and light dinner ideas that won’t have you feeling like you just swallowed a brick. We’re all about dishes that are easy on the stomach and a delight for your taste buds, from zesty salads to light lemony pasta. We’ve got a lineup about embracing freshness without sacrificing flavor. So, if you’re tired of the same old dinner routine, these ten refreshing and light dinner ideas are here to rescue your taste buds.

1. Pasta Al Limone

Photo Credit: Simon/cravingveg

Pasta al limone is an Italian pasta dish with creamy lemon sauce. The sauce is made with lemon juice and zest, heavy cream or butter, and parmesan cheese; however, we used cashews and nutritional yeast to recreate this tasty bright sauce with a vegan twist. Topped with green peas, red pepper flakes, and additional nutritional yeast, you won’t believe that this dish is vegan! This simple, delicious meal can be ready in 30 minutes, perfect for long hot days!
Get the Recipe: Pasta Al Limone

2. Italian Chopped Salad

Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry/thegraciouspantry

It’s believed that the Italian chopped salad was a dish created to use up leftovers from antipasto platters. Although we’re not using leftovers, this crunchy salad is made with the freshest ingredients that capture the flavor of the traditional dish! Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and many more vegetables combine with chickpeas as the primary source of protein, all coming together with olive oil and vinegar. This dish will leave you feeling so refreshed.
Get the Recipe: Italian Chopped Salad

3. Pesto Orzo Salad

Photo Credit: Meeta Arora/pipingpotcurry

With the orzo pasta’s light texture, the fresh flavors of basil, tomatoes, and a hint of lemon, this pasta salad is perfect for summer! It can be served either warm or cold, making it an ideal meal for a picnic too! The best part of this dish is the flexibility; add vegetables or replace any to make this dinner your own, such as spinach or zucchini.
Get the RecipePesto Orzo Salad

4. Asian Flank Steak Salad

Photo Credit: Meeta Arora/grainfreetable

Are you tired of seeing the same old salad flavors for the summertime? Here’s a salad recipe with many different twists! Instead of the typical iceberg, romaine lettuce, and tomatoes, we shake things up with snow peas, carrots, and bell peppers! And on top, we have a quick-cooked flank steak bursting with flavor from all the seasonings and sauce it’s marinated in. This dinner idea will satisfy you no matter how hungry you are.
Get the Recipe: Asian Flank Steak Salad

5. Cold Watermelon Soup

Photo Credit: My Pure Plants/mypureplants

Prepared in a gazpacho style, we bring you a cold watermelon soup! Perfect for a summertime meal that’s both light and refreshing. Besides the apparent seasonal ingredient, watermelon, this delicious soup is full of vegetables, having bell peppers, cucumber, and even tomatoes! This meal will guarantee to cool you down on even the hottest days.
Get the Recipe: Cold Watermelon Soup

6. Lentil Salad with Tuna

Photo Credit: Karen Kelly/seasonalcravings

For those who need a bit of extra protein in their diet while trying to stay cool this summer, we have this lentil salad with tuna! This salad is a protein powerhouse filled with lentils, chickpeas, and tuna. The protein paired with carrots and kale, will leave you full, satisfied, and refreshed on any summer day.
Get the Recipe: Lentil Salad with Tuna

7. Spain Gazpacho

Photo Credit: Iryna /lavenderandmacarons

On a hot day, there’s nothing more satisfying than a fresh cold soup. Using only fresh ingredients and no cooking involved, we have this amazingly delicious spain gazpacho. Even better, this meal consists of ingredients found at any local grocery store, with tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumbers!
Get the Recipe: Spain Gazpacho

8. Caesar Salad with Homemade Dressing

Photo Credit: Meeta Arora/grainfreetable

A classic is called a classic for a reason. Here we have the grilled chicken Caesar salad! This salad is excellent for any lazy hot summer night, using romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, grilled chicken, and a wonderfully delicious homemade dressing. This meal will always do you right!
Get the Recipe: Caesar Salad with Homemade Dressing

9. Cashew Alfredo Sauce

Photo Credit: My Pure Plants/mypureplants

Craving that heavy and creamy Alfredo sauce in the middle of summer but thinking it’s too heavy? Here’s an effortless raw Alfredo sauce that’s creamy, light, and delicious! This sauce will surprise you with its delicious and creamy texture as cashews replace the typical butter and heavy cream. Pair it with tomatoes and spinach or kale to add freshness to the meal!
Get the Recipe: Cashew Alfredo Sauce

10. Cold Borscht

Photo Credit: Iryna /lavenderandmacarons

Cold borscht is perfect for the summertime! In case you don’t know what borscht is, it’s a soup similar to gazpacho; however, the highlight of this meal is red beet! Although it’s usually served hot, cold borscht is perfect for this summer, especially if you don’t feel like cooking! If you’re feeling even more adventurous, try pickled beet for a lovely tangy taste!
Get the Recipe: Cold Borscht

This article originally appeared on Craving Veg.

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