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42 Summer Lunch Ideas That’ll Brighten Your Day

The best summer lunch ideas are colorful, flavorful and nutritious! You'll enjoy these cheery dishes all season long.

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Pesto Corn Salad with Shrimp

This recipe showcases the beautiful bounty of summer with its fresh corn, tomatoes and delicious basil. Prevent browning by placing plastic wrap directly on the salad or spritzing with lemon juice. —Deena Bowen, Chico, California

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Slow-Cooked Chicken Caesar WrapsTaste of Home

Slow-Cooked Chicken Caesar Wraps

I first created these slow-cooker chicken Caesar wraps for our daughter who loves Caesar salads, then later for our extended family on vacation. It's such an easy meal—perfect for days when you'd rather be outside than inside cooking all day. —Christine Hadden, Whitman, Massachusetts

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Grilled Brats with Sriracha MayoTaste of Home

Grilled Brats with Sriracha Mayo

I am a Sriracha fanatic, so that’s what inspired this dish. You can boil the brats in your favorite beer to reduce the fat and give them flavor before grilling, or spread garlic butter on lightly toasted buns. —Quincie Ball, Olympia, Washington

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Chicken Parmesan BurgersTaste of Home

Chicken Parmesan Burgers

A restaurant-quality burger that's topped with marinara and loaded with cheese—what's not to love? Fresh basil adds even more flavor. —Brooke Petras, Alpine, California

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Garden-Fresh Grilled Veggie PizzaTaste of Home

Garden-Fresh Grilled Veggie Pizza

I have four gardens and, between them, I grow a pretty good spread of veggies. I created this loaded-up pizza as a fun summer appetizer using some of my best garden goodies. —Dianna Wara, Washington, Illinois

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Shrimp Po'Boys with Pineapple SlawTaste of Home

Shrimp Po'Boys with Pineapple Slaw

This twist on the traditional po'boy sandwich adds flavor and veggies while reducing fat and calories. For a smoked flavor, grill the shrimp. For a lower-carb option, serve the po'boy open-faced on a baguette half. —Melissa Pelkey Hass, Waleska, Georgia

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Chicken Nectarine and Avocado SaladTaste of Home

Chicken, Nectarine and Avocado Salad

This salad is really summery and comes together very quickly. Using granola adds crunch and makes it different. I've tried using a various types of granola, and our favorites have been those that aren't overly sweet but have lots of nuts. —Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grove, Utah

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Coconut Chicken and ShrimpTaste of Home

Coconut Chicken and Shrimp

I was looking for a fun, easy weeknight dinner based on our favorite shrimp dish that was healthier than fast food. This has become a favorite! —Susan Seymour, Valatie, New York

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Tangy Cilantro Lime Confetti SaladTaste of Home

Tangy Cilantro Lime Confetti Salad

I love standout salads that burst with flavor—the kind that make you feel as if you're splurging without having to eat that piece of chocolate cake. This is one of my very favorites, and everyone I serve it to loves it as well. —Jasey McBurnett, Rock Springs, Wyoming

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Wisconsin Butter-Basted BurgersTaste of Home

Wisconsin Butter-Basted Burgers

It’s no secret that Wisconsinites love their dairy—so much that they sometimes top their burgers with a generous pat of butter. My recipe is a lot like the butter burgers you’ll find in popular restaurants all over the state. —Becky Carver, North Royalton, Ohio

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Tequila Lime Shrimp ZoodlesTaste of Home

Tequila Lime Shrimp Zoodles

This tangy shrimp is a smart way to cut carbs without sacrificing flavor. If you don't have a spiralizer, use thinly julienned zucchini to get a similar effect. —Brigette Schroeder, Yorkville, Illinois

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Jim's Secret Family Recipe RibsTaste of Home

Jim's Secret Family Recipe Ribs

For more than 30 years, my brother-in-law Jim kept his famous rib recipe a secret. When he finally shared it, we just had to pass it along because we loved it so much. This one's for you, Jim! —Vicki Young, Brighton, Colorado

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Southern  Fried BLTTaste of Home

Southern Fried BLT

I’m really not big on tomatoes—but I do like them green and fried, so I decided to try them in a sandwich. It was a smash! If you’ve gotta have cheese, add sharp cheddar to this indulgent twist on the traditional BLT. —Stacy King, Rome, Georgia

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Garden-Stuffed Zucchini BoatsTaste of Home

Garden-Stuffed Zucchini Boats

These boats are not only healthy, they're basically a one-dish meal that covers all the bases—just grab your favorite garden goodies and add any spices or mix-ins you like. —Janie Zirbser, Mullica Hill, New Jersey

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Grandma's Baked Ham Salad SandwichesTaste of Home

Grandma's Baked Ham Salad Sandwiches

This ham salad is another tried-and-true recipe I found in my grandma's recipe box. I love seeing her handwriting on faded notecards. —Crystal Jo Bruns, Iliff, Colorado

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Grilled Watermelon GazpachoTaste of Home

Grilled Watermelon Gazpacho

This is the perfect starter for a summer dinner or a lunch meal. It's cool and tangy with a whole lot of great grilled flavor. If you like a little more spice, just add more jalapenos. —George Levinthal, Goleta, California

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Dilly Chickpea Salad SandwichesThe musical "Waitress"

Dilly Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

These chickpea salad sandwiches are super flavorful and contain less fat and cholesterol than chicken salad. They make delightful picnic sandwiches. —Deanna McDonald, Muskegon, Michigan

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Fabulous FajitasTaste of Home

Pressure-Cooker Fabulous Fajitas

When friends call to ask for new recipes to try, suggest these tasty fajitas. Top as you like to add healthy color and extra flavor. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Jalapeno Popper Corn SaladTaste of Home

Jalapeno Popper Corn Salad

I created this recipe for a wedding I was catering, and it's a good thing I made buckets of it, because I couldn't stop eating it! This chilled creamy salad combines all the best flavors of jalapeno poppers with the delicate sweetness of fresh corn. —Amanda Miller, Hutchinson, Kansas

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Hasselback Tomato ClubsTaste of Home

Hasselback Tomato Clubs

This no-fuss, no-bread riff on a classic is perfect during tomato season. Make it for lunch or pair with pasta salad for a light dinner. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Classic Cobb SaladTaste of Home

Classic Cobb Salad

Making this salad is a lot like putting in a garden. I “plant” everything in nice, neat sections, just as I do with seedlings. —Patricia Kile, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania

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Lime Coconut Smoothie BowlTaste of Home

Lime Coconut Smoothie Bowl

This Key lime and coconut smoothie bowl is the most refreshing thing on the planet! —Madeline Butler, Denver, Colorado

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Pressure-Cooker Carolina-Style Vinegar BBQ ChickenTaste of Home

Pressure-Cooker Carolina-Style Vinegar BBQ Chicken

I live in Georgia but I appreciate the tangy, sweet and slightly spicy taste of Carolina vinegar chicken. —Ramona Parris, Acworth, Georgia

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Grilled Eggplant SandwichesTaste of Home

Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches

Grill this eggplant, tomato and goat cheese sandwich to perfection...it makes a delicious meatless meal. —Jennifer Jaras, Corona, California

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Denver Omelet SaladTaste of Home

Denver Omelet Salad

I love this recipe—it's not your typical breakfast, but it has all the right elements: easy, healthy and fast. Turn your favorite omelet ingredients into a morning salad! —Pauline Custer, Duluth, Minnesota

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Kimchi Cauliflower Fried RiceTaste of Home

Kimchi Cauliflower Fried Rice

This healthier take on kimchi fried rice is one of my favorite recipes because it's customizable. If there's a vegetarian in the family, leave out the bacon and add your favorite veggies. —Stefanie Schaldenbrand, Los Angeles, California

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Baked Chicken with Bacon-Tomato RelishTaste of Home

Baked Chicken with Bacon-Tomato Relish

We eat a lot of chicken for dinner, so I'm always trying to do something a little different with it. My children love the crispiness of this chicken, and my husband and I love the flavorful relish—you can't go wrong with bacon! —Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grove, Utah

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Strawberry Feta Tossed SaladTaste of Home

Strawberry Feta Tossed Salad

A neighbor served this wonderful salad at a summer barbecue. I’ve since experimented with many ingredient combinations, but this one draws the most compliments. I took it to a baby shower, and not a seed was left in the bowl. —Lisa Lesinski-Topp, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin

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Broccoli Cheeseburgers with Spicy Sweet PotatoesTaste of Home

Broccoli Cheeseburgers with Spicy Sweet Potatoes

These faux burgers are so packed with flavor that nobody notices they're also packed with protein, fiber and vitamins. —Pamela Vachon, Astoria, New York

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Fresh Corn and Tomato FettucciniTaste of Home

Fresh Corn and Tomato Fettuccini

This recipe combines delicious whole wheat pasta with the best of fresh garden produce. It's tossed with heart-healthy olive oil, and a little feta cheese gives it bite. —Angela Spengler, Tampa, Florida

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Comforting Tuna PattiesTaste of Home

Comforting Tuna Patties

My grandmother and mother made these tuna patties on Fridays during Lent. I'm not the biggest fan of tuna, but it's perfect in this dish. These patties are even good cold the next day, if there are any leftovers. —Ann Marie Eberhart, Gig Harbor, Washington

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Easy Seafood SaladTaste of Home

Easy Seafood Salad

This easy seafood salad was inspired by a dish I had in the Bahamas that featured conch. I substituted crab and shrimp and like it even more! —Cindy Heyd, Edmond, Oklahoma

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Pressure-Cooker Tequila Salsa ChickenTaste of Home

Pressure-Cooker Tequila Salsa Chicken

I had this dish at a local Mexican restaurant when celebrating a friend's birthday. I fell in love with the spicy, smoky flavor from the tequila and decided to try Instant Pot salsa chicken at home. Boy, was it a success! It's also great stuffed into flour tortillas or for making nachos. —Trisha Kruse, Eagle, Idaho

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Cuban Sandwich BurgersTaste of Home

Cuban Sandwich Burgers

My mom would make this Cuban burger recipe when we used to visit her in Florida. They are a take on the real Cuban sandwich. My kids loved them—my boys could eat two of these monsters in one sitting. —Marina Castle Kelley, Canyon Country, California

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Grilled Garden Veggie PizzaTaste of Home

Grilled Garden Veggie Pizza

Pile on the veggies—this crisp, grilled crust can take it! This colorful, healthy pizza looks as fresh as it tastes. —Diane Halferty, Corpus Christi, Texas

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Sesame Beef & Asparagus SaladTaste of Home

Sesame Beef & Asparagus Salad

Cooking is one of my favorite hobbies—especially when it comes to experimenting with fresh ingredients like these. This meaty salad is wonderful at the start of asparagus season. —Tamara Steeb, Issaquah, Washington

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Instant Pot Taco PastaTaste of Home

Instant Pot Taco Pasta

This Instant Pot taco pasta is a welcome change from boring meals. I've taken all the flavors of tacos and created an easy pasta dish. Kids love the taste, and Mom loves how quick and easy it comes together. To lighten things up, use ground turkey. —Christine Hadden, Whitman, Massachusetts

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Sourdough Bread Bowl SandwichTaste of Home

Sourdough Bread Bowl Sandwich

I created this recipe for when my husband and I go to the lake. I don’t like to spend a lot of time hovering over a stove or grill, especially in the hot Oklahoma summer months, and this filling sourdough bread bowl sandwich is ready in minutes. For extra flavor, brush melted garlic and herb butter over the top prior to cooking. —Shawna Welsh-Garrison, Owasso, Oklahoma

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Golden Beet and Peach Soup with TarragonTaste of Home

Golden Beet and Peach Soup with Tarragon

One summer we had a bumper crop of peaches from our two trees, so I had fun experimenting with different recipes. After seeing a beet soup recipe in a cookbook, I changed it a bit to include our homegrown golden beets and sweet peaches. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin

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Peach Mango Caprese SaladTaste of Home

Peach Mango Caprese Salad

Summer in the Midwest offers a bounty of fresh produce. I wanted to come up with something new from the harvest, and this bright, flavorful salad is the refreshing end result. —Richard A Robinson, Park Forest, Illinois

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Pressure-Cooker Smoked Salmon PastaTaste of Home

Pressure-Cooker Smoked Salmon Pasta

I love making one-pot pastas in my pressure cooker. Every noodle soaks up the flavors of the delicious ingredients you throw in. I tried this version with some leftover smoked fish and fresh dill, and boom—this smoked salmon pasta was born. It's become a staple in our house because it's on the table in half an hour and the kids love it! —Shannon Dobos, Calgary, Alberta

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All-American HamburgersTaste of Home

All-American Hamburgers

We do a lot of camping and outdoor cooking. This all-American, homemade hamburger recipe is on our menu more than any other food. —Diane Hixon, Niceville, Florida