Our Fave Summer Recipes

We all have a meal that has a special place in our memories that we love to share with others. There’s the one that’s a guaranteed hit at parties, the new one that you simply can’t keep to yourself, the hero meal that your kids will eat with no hesitation, and the one that takes you over at first bite and makes you do the delicious food dance involuntarily. But along with the scores of recipes you already have in your dossier of delicacies, there’s always room for new ideas and novel ingredients that will spur serene summer memories to share and enjoy with loved ones.

In addition to throwing some protein on the barbie, our HandsDown community of culinary adventurers offers some of their favorite dishes to add new zest to your kitchen repertoire and leave your foodie friends raving.

For a wholesome, comforting start to your day


Recommended by Cassandra, who says: My acupuncturist recently turned me onto Congee, a wet rice porridge usually eaten for breakfast and made with endless topping combinations… I like to top mine with sliced ginger, avocado, cilantro or basil, green onions, toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of tamari and sesame oil. It’s so comforting and satiating. And in case you’re not yet sold, it also makes a great hangover cure 😉

For a Middle Eastern classic perfect for when you’ve got a small (or large) crowd to please

NYT Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma

Recommended by Ryan, who says: The recipe itself is great. But what I really love is that it’s a family tradition. Every time my boys are home, or there is a special occasion, they request this meal. I revel in their stuffing themselves, the great conversations, the fun. Pure joy.

For a light and easy, no cook, colorful, veggie-packed lunch (that’s also kid-pleasing)

Loaded Hummus Pita

Recommended by Kate, who says: Current favorite summer dinner. My 3 and 5 yr olds LOVED it too! Easy, no-cook, and super yummy.

For when you almost forgot to work some greens into your day

Eggless Caesar Salad Dressing

Recommended by Angela, who says: Addictive. I make this like 3 times a week.

For a more healthful approach to making a Mexican favorite

Avocado Black Bean Enchiladas {skinny}

Recommended by Amy, who says: My go-to recipe. Turns out well every time and a favorite of everyone who I’ve made it for. You can add meat inside, like ground beef, but I prefer it without any meat. I use 2 Trader Joe’s green salsas as the sauce: salsa verde and hatch valley salsa. Together they create a perfect medium spice.

For when you want to make a crowd pleaser from scratch and get all the “I made that” glory

Roberta’s Pizza Dough Recipe

Recommended by Jason, who says: We got started on a major homemade pizza making kick and this recipe is 100% the best. So easy, so delicious. Make it now, and tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that…

For when you need a top-notch sauce for the aforementioned crowd pleaser

Best Slow Cooked Tomato Sauce

Recommended by Mike, who says: Simple ingredients, simple process, and tastes AMAZING! Very versatile, I use it over pasta, as a pizza sauce, or a dipping sauce. You’ll love the way your home smells as it cooks.

For that special place inside that always has room for a decadent dessert

Recommended by Paige, who says: Trader Joe’s mochi cake mix is so freaking delicious. I have used it to make chocolate cake, mochi donuts and tayaki. The regular flavor without chocolate is just as good.

Or for when you prefer a dessert that refreshes and brings the zing

Recommended by Andrew, who says: These are so delicious. I love them more tart than sweet so I hold back a bit on the sugar and increase the lemon. They turn out perfect every time. A crowd fave.

And lastly, for something to wash it all down (and keep the party—or solo party—going)

Recommended by Jamie, who says: The only way to make/drink a margarita. Add a few jalapenos or cucumbers to take it up a notch.

Et voila! Whether it’s something spicy, savory, sweet or salty that you’re craving this season—get your oven mitts out and get ready to prepare your next great meal. With food being such a strong connecting force between us all, we’d love to hear about your favorite summer dishes. Share a recipe in your own list or comment below!