Vegetarian Summer Recipes to Showcase the Flavors of the Season

Chipotle, Jackfruit, and Arugula Tacos
Photo: Kelsey Hansen

When the weather is super hot and humid, the last thing you want is a heavy dish weighing you down. That's why you should plan on making these fresh vegetarian summer dinner ideas to stay cool while also utilizing seasonal produce. No matter if you're solely a plant-based eater or just trying to cut back on the meat intake, this list of vegetarian summer recipes is sure to please any palate.

01 of 14

Eggplant "Meat" Balls with Chimichurri

Eggplant "Meat" Balls with Chimichurri
Brie Passano

Thanks to their "meaty" textures, eggplant and mushrooms become the perfect plant-based substitute for meatballs. Once they're cooked, the vegetarian summer recipe is hit with bright flavors of the season in the sauce featuring fresh parsley, oregano, garlic, and shallot. Enjoy as an appetizer or serve over a bed of cooked pasta or grains.

02 of 14

Miso Noodle Bowls with Turnip Greens

Miso Noodle Bowls with Turnip Greens
Kelsey Hansen

Noodle bowls are a takeout classic that you can easily turn into a summer vegetarian dinner recipe (in less than an hour!). The rich miso broth gets a nice peppery bite from turnip greens and ginger. Crispy tofu adds delicious texture and protein to the bowl.

03 of 14

Asparagus Falafel

Asparagus-Egg Breakfast Sandwich
Andy Lyons

If you score a bundle of asparagus at the farmers market, utilize it to make this vegetarian summer dinner. The traditional chickpeas are still a part of the base, but the brightness from asparagus really elevate the flavors.

04 of 14

Chipotle, Jackfruit, and Arugula Tacos

Chipotle, Jackfruit, and Arugula Tacos
Kelsey Hansen

Jackfruit, a "meaty" fruit hailing from Southeast Asia, magically takes on the flavors of whatever seasonings you add to it when it's in it's unripe state. Here chipotle turns jackfruit into a spicy taco filling a vegetarian summer recipe even meat-eaters will have a hard time believing it's not actually pulled pork.

05 of 14

Portobello-Pepper Kale Wraps

Portobello-Pepper Kale Wraps
Jacob Fox

You've heard the saying, "eat the rainbow," and this vegetarian summer recipe definitely showcases an array of colors. Sturdy lacinto kale leaves become the refreshing wrap to hold meaty portobello mushrooms, peppers, and red cabbage. Sambal oelek (Asian chili sauce) and fresh jalapeños give the flavors a kick while dairy-free homemade cashew-cilantro cream mellows out every bite.

06 of 14

Congee with Bok Choy and Soy-Glazed Shiitakes

Congee with Bok Choy and Soy-Glazed Shiitakes
Carson Downing

Bok choy (aka pak choi), is a Chinese cabbage characterized by thick, clusted pale stalks and full, dark green leaves. It's peak season is in the late summer through early fall, so it's the perfect cozy Asian-inspired summer vegetarian dish to celebrate the end of the season.

07 of 14

Broccoli and Tempeh Quinoa Salad

bowl of Broccoli and Tempeh Quinoa Salad with lime wedges and wooden spoon on side
Adam Albright

Tempeh is a fermented soy meat substitute that packs a ton of protein (31 grams per cup!). Combine that with hearty, fiber-rich quinoa and vibrant broccoli to achieve one delicious vegetarian dinner for summer. Watermelon radishes give this dish a fun pop of color, but regular radishes will work if you can't find them.

08 of 14

Sweet Potato Quesadillas with Cucumber Relish

Sweet Potato Quesadillas with Cucumber Relish
Blaine Moats

Skip the drive-thru and make this healthy quesadilla made with seasonal veggies for a comforting, yet not super heavy summer vegetarian dinner. Sweet potatoes and navy beans stick to gooey monterrey jack cheese nestled inside a whole-wheat tortilla. The cucumber relish balances spicy and cool by utilizing fresh chile peppers. Opt to serve with Greek yogurt rather than sour cream for added nutrients.

09 of 14

Black Bean Burgers with Sweet Corn Salsa

black bean burgers with sweet corn salsa
Blaine Moats

For a budget-friendly vegetarian summer dinner, look no further than the magical black bean. Toss the burgers on the grill for a plant-based cookout to share with the family. Fresh corn on the cob turns into a delicious salsa for topping these tasty veggie burgers.

10 of 14

Farro-Stuffed Peppers

Farro-Stuffed Peppers
Andy Lyons

If you grow your own produce, a lot of those veggies can be used in this summer vegetarian dinner. Fresh corn, summer squash and/or zucchini, green onions, and fresh basil are all packed into ripe, crisp bell peppers. Ancient grain farro helps bulk up the recipe by adding protein and fiber.

11 of 14

Make-It-Mine Thai Curry Pot

large enamel pot with Thai curry
Carson Downing

This curry recipe is an easy way to create a summer vegetarian dinner with whatever seasonal ingredients you have on hand—all in a single pot. No matter what combination of vegetables you choose, this clean-out-the-fridge recipe is going to be a winner at the table.

Test Kitchen Tip: A lot of curry pastes contain fish, so check the label before you buy to ensure it's vegetarian.

12 of 14

Pesto Veggie Gyro

Pesto Veggie Gyro
Jason Donnelly

If you haven't jumped onto the halloumi train yet, now's the time. The chewy, high heat-tolerant cheese makes a perfect meatless base to toss on the grill. Enjoy with fresh veggies for a summer vegetarian dinner everyone will love.

13 of 14

Summer Spaghetti Salad

Summer Spaghetti Salad
Andy Lyons

Spaghetti, strands of string cheese, and squash noodles get the freshest tomato topping in this perfect vegetarian summer dish. We use a blend of red and yellow cherry tomatoes for color here, but feel free to whatever blend of garden tomatoes you have on hand. Toasted walnuts add a nice nutty, crunchy flavor to bring the veggie-packed dinner to life.

14 of 14

Smashed Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

Smashed Chickpea Salad Sandwich on toasted ciabatta bread in parchment paper
Brie Passano

When it's too hot to turn on the oven or stove, this protein-packed meatless riff on chicken salad will really hit the spot. Smash canned chickpeas with crunchy carrots and pickles before stirring in a simple mayo-mustard dressing. Spread on toasted ciabatta and tote to the park for the perfect vegetarian summer picnic.

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