What to CookHello, Summer

The 10 Dishes on Our Summer Bucket List

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Summer starts on June 21st! In honor of all the BBQing, sprinkler-hopping, and ice cream truck-chasing to come, we give you Hello, Summer, a picnic basket full of easy-breezy recipes and tips to help you make the most of every minute this season.


As we inch closer to the longest day of the year, I’m more likely to call a pile of raw vegetables dinner than tackle a real cooking project. Because: It’s hot. The sun is out. And my toes are, ideally, in sand.

But here’s the rub: Summertime is when we have the best building blocks for a meal. It’s the season tomatoes are juiciest, corn is sweetest, and peaches taste like sunshine. And it’s almost criminal to let that produce go to waste without trying a few new recipes. Below, I’ve gathered 10 dishes I’m throwing onto my summer bucket list:

Grilled Sambal Shrimp with Peach Salsa
Grilled Sambal Shrimp with Peach Salsa

Sambal, an Indonesian chile paste, makes grilled shrimp sing, especially when paired with peach salsa. (You just have to listen really closely.)

Okra Seed Couscous Salad
Okra Seed Couscous Salad

Waste not, want not! This “couscous” is the perfect way to use up all of your okra bounty.

Jane's Crab Cakes
Jane's Crab Cakes

Crab cakes as they should be: exploding with fresh lump crab and sprinkled with Old Bay Seasoning. These are best enjoyed by your favorite body of water.

Warm Eggplant & Mint Salad
Warm Eggplant & Mint Salad

Forget the bitter eggplants of your childhood—this salad uses just three ingredients to create a bright, balanced dish. Make sure you don’t sleep on the lemon, says recipe author Eric Kim: “The lemon juice is insurance against that styrofoam texture you sometimes can get with undercooked eggplant."

Thai Summer Squash Curry
Thai Summer Squash Curry

A vegan curry that’s ready to match the summer heat. Plus, it comes together in a flash—just 30 minutes of cooking!

Tomato, Nectarine & Mozzarella Salad
Tomato, Nectarine & Mozzarella Salad

Okay, okay. So my bucket list includes some easier, no-cook projects, too. (It is summer, after all.) The addition of sweet, juicy nectarines carries this twist on a caprese to another level.

Suzanne Goin's Grilled Pork Burgers
Suzanne Goin's Grilled Pork Burgers

This summer, I’m committed to stepping up my burger game. And this bacon-y, chorizo-stuffed patty promises to do that (and much, much more).

Watermelon Gazpacho with Feta and Mint
Watermelon Gazpacho with Feta and Mint

“With watermelon for sweetness, chile for heat, and feta for salt, this soup is anything but monotonous,” our editors said when first trying this gazpacho in 2014. “Eat it on your deck tonight, and let that memory sustain you through a cold winter.”

Sriracha-Lime Corn Salad
Sriracha-Lime Corn Salad

This spicy, cheesy, herby salad has me dreaming of summer corn. Plus, it won't leave me running out to get floss!

Peach Tart
Peach Tart

Amanda Hesser’s peach tart is the kind of dessert you can whip up just about anywhere. All you need is is a knife, a bowl, some kind of pan, and a healthy appetite.

Let's throw in an extra drink, too

Watermelonade
Watermelonade

As temperatures rise, I’ll be eating—and drinking—lots of watermelon. Stay hydrated out there!

And in case you want a smaller bucket item

What's on your summer bucket list? Share recipes (and more!) in the comments section.

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!