Summer Has Landed—Here’s Exactly What to Cook in June

It all tastes better outside.

By Camille Styles
What to Cook in June, grilled dinner, Al Fresco Picnic

“Food tastes better outside,” is my mantra for how I want to cook (and eat!) in June. For my recipe planning, that means lots of items that can be served room temp or cooler, veggie-forward salads and sides, bursting-with-color summer produce, and as much cooked on the grill as possible. I’m also planning a few different menus for upcoming gatherings, from a Mediterranean-inspired bridal shower I’m hosting for a friend, to a picnic that’ll be eaten from a boat on Lake Austin. Summer’s the best, wouldn’t you agree? Read on for everything I’m planning to make in celebration of the year’s most carefree month. Hope it gives you lots of ideas for what to cook in June, and drop a comment letting me know what you’re making this month!

Refreshing Cocktails to Sip in June:

rosé sangria recipe, strawberry rosé sangria, sangria, summer drink, spring drink, refreshing, delicious

Rosé Sangria

This strawberry rosé sangria recipe is exactly what your next warm-weather gathering needs. All it takes is a good bottle of wine, seasonal fruits, fresh herbs, and bubbles. What more could your glass want?

classic aperol spritz recipe-summer cocktails

Classic Aperol Spritz

Now’s the time to get on board with the Italian tradition of aperitivo—enjoying drinks and snacks in the evening hours between work and dinner. And this aperol spritz is the way to do it.

Salads and Sides for Hot Summer Nights

farro salad with tomatoes

Farro Salad with Veggies from Charlie Bird

Says Jessie De Lowe, ““I make a big salad with whatever is fresh from the market. I make sure to always include some toasted nuts for a crunch and some fruit for sweetness. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with the Farro Salad from Charlie Bird and have been making that on repeat.”

Green Goddess Pasta Salad

In my never-ending quest to eat vegetables without eating just a giant bowl of salad, I turned to my bin of pasta in the back of the pantry. And as it turns out, green goddess dressing paired with tender pasta is exactly what to cook in June.

Watermelon-Tomato Caprese Salad

The addition of chopped fresh mozzarella is what makes it creamy and addictive, and basil + a squeeze of lime + olive oil (and lots of flaky sea salt) make up the simplest dressing that is really all this salad needs. It’s dreamy.

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Bruschetta with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes and Ricotta

We all need a solid no-recipe recipe that we can pull out as a jaw-dropping appetizer for a party or a simple lunch for friends. And this bruschetta also happens to be a simple dinner that I love to break out when I don’t feel like cooking, but still want something incredibly satisfying.

valerie rice

Grilled Zucchini with Chili Mint Vinaigrette

This summer veggie recipe is equally delicious with whatever squash you have on hand, and the vinaigrette is downright addictive.

Main Dishes to Eat Al Fresco

5 ingredient sheet pan chicken fajitas, summer dinner recipe, mexican

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Summer is the time to keep it simple, so I love a Mexican recipe that is quick on prep and major on flavor. Wondering what to cook in June? Enter my five-ingredient sheet pan chicken fajitas.

Creamy Lemon Pasta, vegetarian pasta recipes

Creamy Lemon Pasta

Creamy and decadent, but thanks to the profusion of lemon, this pasta feels light enough for summer. Most of all, it’s so simple that you can make the sauce in the time it takes your water to boil.

Orange-Chili Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Carrot Pesto & Grilled Carrots

Orange-Chili Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Carrot Pesto and Grilled Carrots

The carrot pesto sounds unusual, but trust me: with that sweet-spicy charred flavor, you’ll want to eat it with a spoon.

Grilled Mahi Mahi with Black Olive Vinaigrette

Grilled Mahi Mahi with Black Olive Vinaigrette

Helene Henderson of Malibu Farm is the queen of simple summer dishes. This one is all about the sauces, which are super simple, come together in no time, and are beyond a doubt, worth it. Plus, you’ll want to have extra on hand for drizzling over, well, just about everything.

Lime-y Chicken Tacos with Jicama, Mint, Carrots, and Chipotle Aioli

Limey Chicken Tacos with Jicama, Avocado, and Mint

I usually grill double the amount of chicken I’ll need, so the next day for lunch I can just add the veggies, char the corn tortillas over the stove, and savor them all over again. Ditto on the veggies—prep extra, then toss them in containers in the fridge for kids to snack on and use for making more of these tacos on the fly.

One Pot Summertime Pasta

Think: afternoon in Italy, sipping a glass of white, savoring each and every bite of a masterfully crafted handmade pasta. It’s light, refined, and perfect in every way. 

Sweets Endings for Summer Nights

Broma Bakery Sarah Crawford - Double Chocolate Skillet Cookie - My Go To Meal

Double Chocolate Skillet Cookie from Broma Bakery

You know those evenings when you’re staring into the fridge, nothing is calling your name, and all you can think about is eating chocolate for dinner? This chocolate skillet cookie recipe was made for those nights. 

Rhubarb Meringue Cake

Layers of fork-tender cake with crunchy sliced almonds and sweet rhubarb jam—heaven! Says Aran Goyoaga, “In this version, I bake the cake in two layers and add rhubarb compote and cream in the center. The compote can be made two days in advance, but I really recommend baking the cake the same day you plan to serve it.”

how to make a berries and cream layer cake recipe with whipped cream and berries

Easy Berries and Cream Layer Cake

This is one of those no-recipe recipes that, once you master it, you’ll turn to again and again. When you’ve committed the simple equation to memory (cake + whipped cream + berries–repeat!) you can put your own spin on it based on the occasion.