One-Pot Meals That Are Perfect for Summer Dinners
Summer often means grilled dinners, and while there's nothing wrong with that, it's worth noting that the one-pan meals meal we love—made on one sheet-pan, in one skillet, a saucepan, or in a Dutch oven—are good options for seasonal meals, too. The one-pan dinners we turn to in warm weather are different than the baked casseroles or hearty stews that are our go-tos in fall and winter.
After Memorial Day (or before!) we still love the ease of doing all the cooking in one pan for the evening meal—and who doesn't love fewer pans for cleanup? But we change up what we're making when the days are long and hot: Meals are lighter and brighter, still filling and nutritious but starring plenty of summer produce. And we're not telling you to put away the grill, either. We use the grill (or a griddle pan) as our one "pan" in a few different recipes. In addition to grilled dinners (and yes, burgers!), there will be main-dish salads, plenty of pasta, and maybe even a creamy chowder or two. Look out also for some revolutionary entrées—we're looking at you chicken and lettuce cups (food editor at large Shira Bocar dubbed this dish "lettuce tacos"). They'll also be some broiling because it's quick and has very tasty results, but we're not as focused on the stovetop or oven as we are in cooler weather.
Here's another thing to know about summer one-pot meals, we're not including any no-cook recipes here because they don't use any pans! And another handy fact: These summer one-pan dinners are much faster to make than the one-pan entrées of the cold months. All the recipes here cook in less than an hour, many take much less time than that.
The recipe that started it all. Our famed one-pan pasta is inspired by a version we enjoyed at a tiny restaurant in Puglia, Italy. Dried pasta is cooked in a skillet with water, tomatoes, onion, garlic, herbs, and a glug of extra-virgin olive oil. It's the essence of summer.
Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas
Summer Smoked-Salmon Chowder
Greek Quinoa Salad
All the essentials of a classic Greek salad are here—feta, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives—but they're joined by a new supporting player: quinoa. This protein-rich addition makes the salad more substantial and delicious, and it's cooked in the same pan used to sauté onions and garlic. Top with pepperoncini in addition to the traditional Kalamata olives for a bonus briny punch.
Chicken Cutlets with Summer Squash and Feta
You'll cook the chicken cutlets, then use the same pan for the summer squash and spinach. That's just one of the secrets of this 20-minute dinner. It's a boldy flavored entrée thanks to high-impact ingredients like feta and capers, which also give this main a Mediterranean feel.
Broiled Coconut-and-Lime-Crusted Shrimp With Rice-Noodle Salad
You could argue we're cheating with this recipe because though it calls for just one sheet pan for broiling the shrimp and no pan or skillet, you also need three bowls. But who's counting bowls? The shrimp is the only element of this dinner that requires heat. Rice noodles "cook" in boiling water in one of those bowls. And once you taste this 25-minute dish, there will be no complaints.
Start with store-bought gnocchi for this vibrant vegetarian dinner. The comforting little dumplings are cooked atop a divine tomato-eggplant sauce that's full of summer flavor. Added bonus: Dinner is on the table in 35 minutes.
Asian Pork Buns with Bok-Choy Slaw
Chicken Zoodle Soup
A light, bright, and colorful veg-packed take on noodle soup that's just as comforting as the traditional version but much better suited to summer nights. Simmered chicken breasts, fresh dill, and zucchini noodles are the stars.
Pressure-Cooker Corn Risotto
Poached-Chicken Cups with Ginger-Scallion Oil
This singular meal calls for a handful of ingredients, and each of the flavors really shine. It's a fresh, vibrant pairing of tender, perfectly cooked chicken (the one pan) served in crunchy lettuce cups with quick-pickled carrot ribbons. Bonus: It's a gluten free entrée.
Cajun Shrimp and Rice
Andouille sausage and shrimp come together in this easy riff on the Louisana one-pan favorite, jamblaya.