10 Easy Summer Dinners That Are Healthy And Affordable

While summer doesn't officially start until June 21st, the weather is finally getting warmer in New Jersey. Spring was very wet and chilly so the warm weather is a nice change. When the weather gets warmer, I start to crave lighter meals especially for dinner.

I eat plant based meals four days a week. That means I stay away from animal based products on those days. The other three days I eat meat, chicken, pork or fish but it tends to be a small portion of an overall meal. I made the decision to eat plant based five years ago and I love it!

10 summer recipes that are easy, healthy and affordable

I didn't realize the health benefits I would experience from eliminating meat from my routine, even just a few days a week. Before reducing the amount of meat, chicken, pork and fish I eat, I used to suffer from the following:

👉Constipation and intestinal discomfort

👉Colds and viruses a couple of times a year


👉Congestion and coughing

👉Brain fog, difficulty recalling words, short term memory issues


👉Flushing on my face and dry, itchy skin


👉Sensitivity to fragrances and chemicals

Does any of that sound like you? If so, eating a mostly plant based diet can help you as well. But that is only one step of few to rebalance your body. When I was suffering from the above, what I didn't know is that I had an unhealthy gut.

It wasn't until I studied to become a Holistic Nutritionist that I discovered simple ways to restore it. I was able to create a new routine for myself that fit my busy lifestyle and gave me optimal health in return. If you are wondering how you can stop the embarrassing symptoms of an unhealthy gut, I am here to help!

It is so confusing to just simply ask Dr. Google about your symptoms in order to solve them. There are millions of results that come up for one single topic. It's hard to know what will work. Plus, our bodies are different! What works for one person does not always work exactly the same for another.

That is why my expertise in restoring gut health can help!

I offer a FREE 30 minute call where we will talk about your specific symptoms and how to heal your gut using the Simply Great Health program.

woman on the phone talking with a holistic nutritionist

How would eliminating your symptoms improve your life? You could:

✅Be more present with your children

Thrive in your career

Improve your communication and your relationships

Have more fun!

Move your body and improve your fitness

Lose weight and feel better about yourself

Be able to cook healthy meals for you and your family

Take an active vacation

Reclaim your life!

Simply Great Health is a customized 5 Step plan that heals your gut and fits your busy lifestyle.

Book your call directly here.

It’s very simple. No jumping through hoops and NO PRESSURE.

If we determine it’s not a fit, we’ll go our separate ways for now.

If it is a fit, we can take the next step and get you started on the path to healing.

The recipes below are a mix of plant based as well as some with meat, chicken, pork or fish. I know it is not easy to simply eliminate meat. It takes small steps to make meaningful change in our lives. After all, the routine you have right now is ingrained in your life! It didn't happen overnight.

Below are 10 summer dinner ideas for hot days. They are healthy and delicious. Very few use any ingredients that include gluten. Gluten is the glue that holds flour together and is found in bread and pasta's not made from legumes. Gluten is very harmful to our gut even if we do not have Celiac disease.

Did you know that 40% of people tested for gluten sensitivity test negative but are still sensitive to gluten? There is a gluten epidemic happening and the term Silent Celiac is becoming more well known. When gluten gets into our body, we can't process it effectively which can lead to diarrhea or constipation. Reducing gluten in your daily routine will help the gut to heal and reduce embarrassing digestive symptoms.

Enjoy the recipes!


Chicken Fajita Salad from Spend With Pennies. This salad requires prep time since the chicken marinates in a chili lime marinade for about two hours. You can also reserve a portion of the marinade for dressing. Just don't use the marinade that was used on the chicken! It could transfer salmonella. This is an affordable salad since it calls for chicken thighs, which are typically less expensive than chicken breasts. Although, if chicken tenders are on sale they can be used as well. Click here for the recipe.

chicken fajita salad recipe in a bowl with avocado

Blueberry Broccoli Spinach Salad from Peas and Crayons. This is a perfect vegetarian dinner salad that can be served with a piece of Naan. Packed full of green vegetables that provide fiber, calcium and antioxidants to fight free radicals combined with brain healthy blueberries. This recipe includes a poppy seed ranch dressing recipe which contains dairy. If you are dairy free, use a balsamic vinaigrette to add a little tartness to the salad. Click here for the recipe.

blueberry broccoli salad recipe in a bowl

Southwest Chickpea Salad from The Recipe Critic. This salad is fast to the table because it relies on canned ingredients. Just make sure to look for organic options to maximize nutrient intake. The dressing is simple and refreshing made with lime juice. Perfect for hot summer nights. Click here for the recipe.

southwest chickpea salad recipe in a bowl

Buffalo Chickpea Salad by Naturally Ella. This is a phenomenal idea! All of the flavors of a buffalo salad which traditionally uses chicken. If you must, you can add chicken or shrimp for the meat-eater in the house! Just simply saute the chicken or shrimp in olive oil, then toss in a hot sauce of your choice. Click here for the recipe.

buffalo chickpea salad recipe in a bowl

Dump and Bake Summer Pasta by The Seasoned Mom. This recipe can easily be made on the weekend and heated up for a fast dinner during busy weeknights.The recipe calls for chicken but I substitute turkey tenderloins depending on the price of chicken. Another economical option would be to use ground chicken or turkey. Click here for the recipe.

dump and bake summer pasta recipe in a pan

Summer Vegetables with Sausage and Potatoes by Skinny Taste. This recipe is really versatile and can use just about any summer vegetables you may have on hand. It calls for zucchini and peppers but mushrooms and corn would work just as well. The recipe calls for chicken sausage which is lower in fat and usually inexpensive. Click here for the recipe.

summer vegetables with sausage and potatoes recipe in a pan

Teriyaki Shrimp Stir Fry by Dinner at the Zoo. Frozen shrimp is a staple at my house. When a bag goes on sale at the grocery store, I pick it up and keep it in the freezer. It takes very little time to defrost and works great in stir fry's. If you don't have time to make the sauce, you can buy a stir fry sauce to make this even faster. Click here for the recipe.

shrimp stir fry in a pan with vegetables

Easy Skillet Gnocchi in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce by The Kitchen Prep Blog. Gnocchi is one of the most perfect foods! It is fast and works with different sauces. Plus, with all of the different kinds available today such as cauliflower gnocchi, you don't have to worry about having a carb heavy meal. Plus it this is ready in 10 minutes! Click here for the recipe.

cauliflower gnocchi from Trader Joe's in a skillet

One Pan Za'atar Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potato and Cauliflower from My Kitchen Love. If you have not tried Za'atar it is a must! Za'atar is a mixture that can be tangy, herbal, nutty, or toasty. Za'atar is both a family of herbs and an herb, Thymbra spicata, with a slight minty tendency, in the marjoram/oregano family. It adds great flavor to any meat or vegetable you are cooking. Click here for the recipe.

one pan pork tenderloin with sweet potatoes and cauliflower

Greek Chicken Kabob's by Damn Delicious. Summer dinners would not be complete without putting something on the grill. The marinade for the chicken is what really makes this recipe delicious. Marinade the chicken from two hours or even overnight to infuse it with the lemon and herbs. Serve with chilled vegetables as shown in the picture or corn on the cob and potato salad! Click here for the recipe.

greek chicken kabob's surrounded by sliced tomatoes and cucumbers

I hope this post inspired you to make healthy and delicious dinners when the weather gets hot!

Do you think you will try any of the above? If so, let me know by leaving me a comment below.