Summer family meal ideas

Discover some of our favourite recipes to lighten up your weeknight meals – perfect for getting the whole family enjoying new flavours and ingredients.

It’s easy to feel stuck in a rut when it comes to feeding the family, so try our fresh summer ideas that will make you feel excited about mealtimes again. Several of the recipes use similar herbs and extra ingredients but taste completely different, so you won’t be left with a surplus of leftover ingredients afterwards.

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Looking for more seasonal inspiration? Check out our summer family recipes and summer family desserts.

1. Roast puttanesca aubergines with tomato rice & feta

This flavourful veggie rice dish is packed full of delicious summer veg and ideal for a casual summer supper or al fresco lunch. You can barbecue the aubergines if you like – cut them into long slices, brush with the oregano and oil as directed, then barbecue or griddle until charred and tender before piling on top of the baked rice and scattering with the feta and tomato mixture.

Roast puttanesca aubergines with tomato rice & feta

Check out more vegetarian summer recipes.

2. 15-minute chicken & halloumi burgers

Need a speedy summer supper that the family will love? Look no further than these satisfying fried chicken and halloumi burgers which take just 10 mins to cook. With a mild chilli sauce, creamy hummus, roasted red peppers and crunchy cabbage slaw, these perfect patties deliver layer upon layer of flavour.

15-minute chicken & halloumi burgers

We’ve got plenty more juicy burger recipes to enjoy outside.

3. Baked ratatouille & goat’s cheese

Take ratatouille to the next level with a crumbly goat’s cheese topping. As well as being a great way to use up your allotment veg, this meat-free main delivers three of your 5-a-day – perfect for persuading kids to up their veg intake.

Baked ratatouille & goat’s cheese

Try more of our ratatouille recipes.

4. Pulled pork tacos with pineapple salsa

Save time and effort on hot summer days by cooking the pork for these tacos in the slow cooker. The resulting tender, spiced meat is delicious served with a fresh homemade pineapple salsa, cabbage and avocado. Portions are generous, so they are perfect for feeding a hungry family and any leftovers can be enjoyed in a jacket potato the next day.

Pulled pork tacos with pineapple salsa

Discover more tasty taco recipes and sizzling fajita recipes

5. Grilled vegetables with cannellini beans & vegan pesto

Bursting with beautiful colours and flavours, this simple grilled vegetable dish makes a healthy vegan meal. Grilled aubergines, courgettes and cherry tomatoes are combined with cannellini beans and coated in a homemade vegan pesto. This zesty basil and parsley dressing uses nutritional yeast in place of the normal cheese – a great one to have on stand-by for plant-based pasta dishes, too.

Grilled vegetables with cannellini beans & vegan pesto

Browser more vibrant vegan summer recipes, from teriyaki tofu to vegan Eton mess.

6. Runner bean & prawn paella

Tuck into this flavour-packed paella and make a standard weeknight feel special – it takes just 10 minutes to prepare, so it won’t keep you in the kitchen for long. It’s packed full of tender chicken, green beans and peppers, and the king prawns are optional if you fancy an extra treat. You’ll just be left with 650ml of white wine, which makes the perfect companion to your meal.

Runner bean & prawn paella

We’ve got lots more perfect paella recipes.

7. Halloumi with lemony lentils, chickpeas & beets

This warm and satisfying salad is packed full of beautiful sweet and salty flavours, and you’ll probably find most of the ingredients in your store cupboard. If you’re in a hurry, try swapping the uncooked lentils for a tin that’s ready to go.

Halloumi with lemony lentils, chickpeas & beets

Use up simple staples with more of our summer store cupboard recipes.

8. Tuna & caper orzo with parsley


This fresh and zesty recipe makes a great summery change to standard tuna pasta bakes and uses cherry tomatoes, lemon and parsley. It’s on the table in less than half an hour, and it’ll also use up your leftover parsley and capers if you had the halloumi salad the night before.

Tuna & caper orzo with parsley

Rustle up more comforting orzo recipes.

9. Traffic light chicken shish kebabs

Chicken and vegetable skewers on a blue plate

Enjoying a family barbecue in the garden? These colourful chicken and pepper skewers are perfect for sizzling on the coals and the spice levels are low, making them kid-friendly. Serve them with a smoky paprika yogurt sauce and flatbreads. Rain threatening to spoil your plans? Fear not, these kebabs can also be cooked indoors under a hot grill for 15-20 mins.

Get more inspiration for family barbecue recipes and family barbecue desserts.

10. Potato, pesto & sausage traybake

Not just a winter warmer, we’ve given the sausage traybake a summery lift with the addition of artichokes, new potatoes, butter beans, tomatoes and fresh pesto. Serve with crusty bread to mop up the juices or form your own gourmet sausage sandwich.

Potato, pesto & sausage traybake

Find more light summer traybake recipes.

11. Courgette & broad bean risotto with basil pesto

Make the most of a seasonal courgette glut in this light and zesty risotto. As well as using the main part of this vegetable, we’ve also incorporated the flowers in the mixture for extra texture. A finishing swirl of herby homemade pesto livens up the whole dish. If cooking for kids, you can substitute the white wine for more stock.

Courgette & broad bean risotto with basil pesto

Stir up more summer one-pot recipes.

12. Pick & mix pesto pasta salad bar

If you’ve got a few fussy eaters in the family, this pick ‘n’ mix pasta bar is ideal for a light supper or lunch. Serve a spread of kid-friendly ingredients and let them dig in and help themselves.

Pick & mix pesto pasta salad bar

Check out more summer pasta recipes.

13. The best salmon fish cakes

This is summer comfort food at its best, and it’s a great way of getting oily fish like salmon into your child’s diet. Fry until golden brown and serve with a small handful of oven chips for extra brownie points from the kids. If you’re left with a half pack of parsley and some dill, you can use these up in the next recipe.

The best salmon fish cakes

Find more tasty fish cake recipes and summer salmon ideas.

14. Super-green mac’n’ cheese

Tub of Mac n cheese with broccoli and other greens

Pasta bake lovers rejoice! We’ve given classic mac ‘n’ cheese a summer revamp by packing in plenty of greens. With a creamy cheddar sauce and crunchy topping, it has all the luxury of the original, within the benefit of hidden veg. You could also add extra protein in the form of chicken or salmon, if you wish.

Find more cheesy dishes and satisfying puds in our collection of summer comfort food.

15. Salade niçoise

Salade niçoise

Looking for a fuss-free salad that’s hearty and nutritious? This easy niçoise ticks all the boxes for a light and speedy family meal. With crunchy lettuce, ripe tomatoes, potatoes, tuna and soft-boiled eggs, it’s substantial enough to have for dinner, but you could also serve some baguettes alongside. This recipe makes enough for two, but can easily be multiplied.

Salade niçoise

Celebrate seasonal produce with more summer salad recipes.

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Enjoyed this? Read other family guides…

Top 20 family barbecue recipes
Family summer traybake ideas
The best family barbecue desserts
Family summer one-pot ideas
Family summer slow cooker recipes
Best family picnic recipes
Summer party ideas for teenagers