30+ Vegan Summer Dinners

We’ve gathered some of our best and time-tested recipes for you to wow your family and friends this summer. These vegan summer dinners are all light and fresh but also filling without weighing you down, and of course, always delicious. They’re perfect for all your summer gatherings, or just for simple weeknight family dinners.

A grid of four photos of various overhead photos of summer meals with text reading 30 vegan summer dinners

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Summer is the time for pool parties, pot lucks, backyard BBQs, and generally getting out and getting together. It’s also the time to showcase some of your best light and fresh recipes that bring everyone together at the table. 

Whether you’re looking for ways to use up your garden vegetables or just looking for some great tasting, lighter meals, we’ve put together more than a few of our best recipes for the perfect plant based summer fare.

From pasta and pizza to a slew of summertime “seafood” dishes, and of course, vegan hamburgers and hot dogs. There’s even a wide variety of no-cook summer meals for when it’s just too hot to even think about turning on your oven.

Why You’ll Love These Summertime Recipes

We know you’re going to love these delicious vegan summer recipes as much as we do, and here’s why:

  • There’s a wide variety of vegan recipes here for every palate.
  • Light and refreshing without leaving you feeling hungry.
  • Perfect for potlucks, cookouts, family gatherings, a summer picnic, and so much more! 
  • Each recipe post has a listing of substitutions or alterations to accommodate a variety of tastes and preferences. Check the specific recipe for suggestions and variations.

Tips & Tricks

These are a few tips to consider, especially when serving food outside.

  • Smaller portioning for serving refrigerated or cool foods outside. Especially creamy mayo-based dips and hummus.
  • Swap out serving utensils for clean utensils often to avoid bacteria forming on the serving spoons and such. I recommend every 30 minutes.
  • Wrap food when outside to avoid exposure to bacteria from insects and air.
  • Keep cold foods cold whether on ice or in a cooling tray.

Our Favorite Vegan Products for Summer

Sometimes you just want to grab, go, and get grilling. We understand. These are some of our favorite vegan summer foods that you can easily purchase in almost any grocery store, with the exception of Juicy Marbles.

  • Lightlife Hot Dogs
  • Field Roast Stadium-Style Hot Dogs and Smoked Frankfurters are both equally delicious
  • Upton’s “Updog” – a Chicago favorite!
  • Beyond Meat – This popular vegan brand is well-known for its Burgers, Bratwursts, and Italian Sausages
  • Impossible – Another popular plant-based brand known for Burgers, Brats, “Beef” Hot Dogs, and Italian Sausages
  • Tofurky Italian Sausages
  • Juicy Marbles – This newer vegan company offers higher end cuts of “meat”. Including bone-in ribs, thick-cut filet, and whole-cut loin.

Vegan Summer Dinner Ideas

​Here’s our personal list of over 30 plant-based recipes that are just perfect for summer dinners!

Overhead shot of a small bamboo salad bowl filled with a green southwest salad topped with dairy free cheddar, vegan chorizo, and tortilla chips. There is a larger salad bowl in the background along with small clear jars of shredded cheddar, walnut chorizo, and avocado dressing.

Fresh Summer Salads

Sometimes on those hot days of summer, you crave big fresh salads. But that doesn’t mean things have to be boring. This collection of sublime summertime salads are light and filling, and of course absolutely delicious.

Chilled Peanut Noodle Salad – These light and creamy peanut sauce noodles are the perfect simple but stunning meal for al fresco dining – especially at the end of summer when it’s so hot you just want something light, refreshing, and easy. This plant-based chilled noodle dish even has oil-free and gluten-free options. Add our air-fried tofu for the perfect plant-based protein accompaniment.

Easy Vegan Caesar Salad – Because sometimes you just want a big, fresh salad for a light dinner. Try this vegan caesar with some of our Lemon Pepper Tofu Cutlets for a plant based chicken caesar everyone will enjoy.

Southwest Salad – This vegan southwest salad is a no-cook summertime delight. Filled with simple ingredients like lettuce, black beans, sweet corn, bell pepper, and walnut chorizo, it’s sure to satisfy all your senses whether served as a starter or as a full meal. It comes together so quickly and easily, and there’s no oven required (unless you want to add some tequila tofu)! Light, filling, and oh so tasty, it’s perfect for those hot summer days!

Olive Garden Copycat House Salad – Our veganized copycat recipe of Olive Garden’s House Salad contains iceberg and romaine lettuces mixed with red onion, black olives and more. We finish it with piquant pepperoncini peppers and that classic creamy Italian dressing. Throw some tofu cutlets on top for a burst of protein!

This vegan tuna salad is a simple recipe, using white beans and a few other common ingredients you probably have around the house + one *magic* ingredient to create the flavor + texture of a classic tuna sandwich! #vegan #tuna #vegantuna #lunch #veganlunch #beans #plantbased #navybeans #whitebeans

Easy Vegan Sandwiches

Summertime is sandwich time! They’re perfect for the hot weather and take little effort to put together. These sandwiches are some of our favorite vegan takes on the classics.

Vegan Spinach and Feta Grilled Cheese – There’s something about this sandwich combining our creamy tofu feta with fresh spinach between two buttery crisp slices of sourdough that sends the summer vibes racing through our veins! Serve it with a cucumber tomato salad or fresh tomato soup.

Cashew Cheese and Strawberry Sandwiches – Creamy herb-infused cashew cheese meets its great love when combined with fresh sliced summer strawberries on a fluffy baguette! These are the perfect picnic sandwiches for a sunset summer date night.

No-cook vegan sandwiches

These sandwich recipes require zero heat for those hot days of summer!

Toona Salad Sandwiches – This vegan tuna salad is a simple recipe, using white beans and a few other common ingredients you probably have around the house + one *magic* ingredient to bring it all together.  It uses easy methods to create the simplicity and comfort of a classic tuna sandwich in an entirely plant-based way!

Vegan Goat Cheese and Blueberry Basil Sandwiches – Inspired by our tangy tofu goat cheese recipe, this sandwich is the most beautiful combination of summer flavors. We’ve served versions of this to so many people, and everyone (even the teenagers) rave about it!

Avocado Chickpea Sandwiches – This Avocado Chickpea Mash sandwich is our favorite healthy vegan lunch or dinner recipe! With just 10 ingredients and 20 minutes of kitchen time, it’s simple, picky-eater friendly, and packed with flavor. There are both gluten-free AND oil-free options too!

Veggie Bagel Sandwich – You’re going to love this veggie sandwich! It’s simple to make, absolutely delicious, and packed with garden fresh vegetables like ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onion. The sandwich has a little tangy zip thanks to a healthy dose of stone ground mustard and peppery arugula. It’s the perfect summer sandwich that will leave you feeling full and satisfied!

Plant-Based Wrap Recipes

Wraps are the fresh and fun cousins to the sandwich. Perfect for grab-and-go dinners when you’re out living your best summer life!

Healthy Mediterranean Hummus Wrap – This recipe is sure to please your palate on those summer days when you do not want to turn on the stove. We stuffed it with fresh vegetables like red onions, red peppers, kalamatas, chopped pickles and crisp, refreshing lettuce all pulled together in a creamy hummus dressing and wrapped up in a big flour tortilla. As filling as it is flavorful, this homemade hummus wrap is like holding summer in your hands.

Buffalo Walnut Lettuce Wraps – These healthy vegan lettuce wraps with spicy buffalo walnut meat are the perfect low carb recipe for summer! This easy and delicious recipe is a surprisingly hearty meal that’s also light and fresh and loaded with veggies. And it’s entirely no-cook, so you don’t need to turn on a stove or oven to make it! Serve it for dinner on the patio with potato wedges.

Chickpea Bacon Ranch Wrap – This easy no-cook vegan wrap recipe is so fresh and flavorful! Packed with ingredients like fresh basil, sun-dried tomatoes, and vegan bacon bits, it’s perfect for a plant-based summer lunch or dinner, and it only takes about 15 minutes from start to finish. It’s also a great way to use up fresh basil and greens from your garden too. It’s such a shame we can’t grow our own vegan bacon bits.

Overhead photo of a round white plate of creamy spinach pasta with two vegan crab cakes on top

Plant-Based Seafood Recipes

Summer is well-known for the seafood dishes it inspires. And this collection of vegan seafood dishes are so good, you might think something’s a little fishy.

Vegan Salmon Burger – These Vegan Salmon Burgers use white beans, beet powder, and kelp granules to get the feel, look, and flavor of salmon burgers. We season them generously, form into perfect patties, and pan-fry. Serve these fish-friendly burgers topped with some of our tangy vegan tahini slaw or on a homemade burger bun with sliced avocado and spicy vegan mayo!

Vegan Crab Cakes – These vegan crab cakes will have you doing double-takes! They’re perfect on a bed of pasta, or served as a sandwich (or sliders!) with our crispy potato wedges. It’s also a fantastic topper for a simple, or not-so-simple, salad. Try them with vegan tartar sauce, spicy cocktail sauce, or our sesame pineapple salsa!

Vegan Linguine and Clams – This easy linguine and vegan clam sauce is sure to be making a weekly visit to your dinner table this summer! Just toss linguine pasta in a buttery white wine and lemon sauce with plump pieces of soy curl “clams” and capers. 

Overhead photo of a round white plate of creamy spinach fettuccine pasta

Vegan Summer Pasta Dishes 

Pasta doesn’t have to be heavy, and these tasty summer pasta recipes are delicious proof of that. Delicious and filling, but light enough that you won’t get that weighed down feeling like heavier pasta dishes. Plus, pasta is a great way to use up any extra veggies your summer garden produces!

Plant-Based Sausage and Pepper Pasta – These vegan sausage and peppers are a crowd-pleaser through and through. We served this plant-based dish to many crowds of non-vegans of all ages, and it is always a massive hit! It’s also easy to make and versatile: serve over pasta, on a sandwich, with rice, potatoes, or on its own!

Pasta Aglio e Olio – This olive oil and garlic pasta dish is easy to make and full of fresh veggies like broccoli rabe, roasted red peppers, and sun-dried tomatoes. It comes together in under 30 minutes and is the perfect recipe for date night or a dinner party. Serve on its own or with our Balsamic Tomato Tofu!

Vegan Zucchini Lasagna – This is the recipe that changed my mind about zucchini noodles forever; I even love it cold! Stuffed with our creamy tofu ricotta and flavorful TVP ground beef, this veggie lasagna is our favorite to use up fresh garden zucchini!

creamy vegan pasta dishes

If you like creamy pastas, you’ll love these!

Creamy Vegan Spinach Pasta – You are certain to love this easy and light creamy spinach pasta. It’s a great recipe for summer or any time of year. It’s flavorful and creamy, but with a lightness you wouldn’t expect. It pairs perfectly with our vegan Crab Cakes, but honestly, it’s also a great meal all on its own, with some garlic bread of course!

Vegan Baked Feta Pasta – This Vegan Baked Feta Pasta is a Mediterranean-inspired, veganized version of the pasta recipe that went viral on TikTok a little while back. In our version, we take it to the next level with fresh summer flavors like cherry tomatoes, tahini, kalamata olives, and roasted red peppers. Made with a luxurious homemade vegan feta cheese sauce, this recipe is not only a cheaper version than using store-bought vegan feta cheese!

Avocado Tequila Lime Pasta  – This Tequila Lime Pasta recipe is going to be your favorite summer dinner! It’s easy to make, healthy, and FULL of zesty summer flavor. Serve it cold as a side at all your outdoor BBQs or hot as a main dish with some grilled summer veg and tequila lime tofu cutlets.

Overhead photo of a plate of pineapple tofu with rice, pineapple salsa, and spicy teriyaki mayo. There's a jar of teriyaki mayo behind the plate

Tofu and Summer Bowls

You’ll love these tofu recipes and bowls for delicious dinners you’ll come back to again and again. Each is unique, pairs well with a variety of recipes, and is ridiculously delicious!

BBQ Tofu Bowl – This vegan BBQ tofu bowl meal with spicy green beans and sweet potato mac and cheese is the perfect comfort food with homegrown flavor. It’s three simple recipes in one meal to create a perfectly balanced bowl!

Pineapple Teriyaki Tofu Bowls – This crispy tofu with a pineapple glaze is one of our favorite hands-off meal prep recipes. Serve it over rice with chopped red onion, sesame pineapple salsa, and a spicy teriyaki mayo sauce. This plant-based baked tofu recipe is sure to become a repeat summer recipe in your house just like it has ours!

Tequila Lime Tofu Cutlets – These Tequila Lime Tofu Cutlets are perfect for tofu tacos, quesadillas, or Mexican-inspired dinner bowls and salads! They also go great with the Avocado Lime Pasta mentioned above and a fresh margarita.   

Pesto Crusted Tofu – These baked pesto tofu cutlets are a tasty vegan substitute for pesto chicken! We freeze and thaw extra firm tofu, marinate it in basil pesto, vegan chicken seasoning, and garlic, and slowly oven-bake until meaty on the inside and crispy on the outside. Add them to any and all pasta situations!

breaded tofu recipes

Vegan Chicken Cutlets – These vegan breaded chicken cutlets are as delicious as they are versatile. Using our “Tofu Freezer Trick” to create the perfect meaty texture, extra firm tofu is marinated in this vegan cutlets recipe in classic Italian chicken flavors, breaded, and baked to perfection. Serve these tender tofu cutlets with any pasta dish and/or a big green salad like our Olive Garden copycat house salad, and everyone will be asking for seconds!

Vegan Chicken Parm – This is the BEST vegan chicken parmesan recipe! Make your own vegan chicken cutlets with frozen and thawed tofu, marinate them in a garlic and chickeny flavor bath, then bread and bake them with a peppery crust. Melt some dairy free mozzarella on top and serve it over pasta or as a vegan chicken parm sandwich with plenty of marinara! 

Head on shot of a mushroom quinoa broccoli burger on a bun with sriracha aioli dripping down the side. A bottle and glass of French rose is in the background.

Vegan Grilling (Burgers and Hot Dogs)

No cookout or BBQ is complete without some burgers and dogs. These are our favorite homemade plant-based hamburger and hot dog recipes your whole family will rave about! You can also check out our complete plant-based burger guide.

Homemade Vegan Burgers (Copycat Beyond Burgers) – There are veggie burgers and then there’s vegan meat. And this homemade vegan meat burger recipe, a perfect blend of TVP and seitan seasoned to perfection, is most certainly the latter. They have an irresistibly meaty texture with a delicious flavor and a light pink center, thanks to a bit of vegan magic using beets. Perfect for the plant-based lifestyle on the go, they’re an easy recipe to make, freezer-friendly, and ohhh so satisfying!

Vegan Teriyaki Burgers – These Hawaiian-inspired vegan teriyaki burgers are flavored with the perfect blend of garlic, ginger, red onion, and teriyaki sauce. Then they’re topped with a grilled pineapple slice and spicy teriyaki mayo. It’s a great vegetarian option for cookouts and guaranteed to be your new favorite summer veggie burger.

TVP Sloppy Joes – I love sloppy joes, especially in the summertime! If you’re wondering why they’re listed under “burgers”, you’ve never seen the classic Olsen twin movie It Takes Two. We love these Vegan Sloppy Joes served with potato wedges or spicy BBQ chips. And the spicy / sweet sloppy joe sauce will have everyone clamoring for seconds.

homemade veggie burgers

California Veggie Burger – Packed with veggies and grains and that perfectly balanced blend of spices. Now you can make your own copycat California garden burger at home! It’s a simple recipe with basic ingredients, perfect topped with our avocado ranch. This high protein veggie bean burger is easy to make and will be your new summer go-to meatless option!

Mushroom Quinoa Burgers – These meal prep-friendly, vegan quinoa mushroom burgers are the perfect combination of healthy and tasty and always a total crowd-pleaser. They’re loaded with veggies like broccoli, onions, mushrooms, and garlic and high-protein ingredients like quinoa and beans. These veggie burgers are also packed with flavor, and if you really want your taste buds to thank you, don’t skimp on adding the dairy free Sriracha aioli!

The Best Carrot Dog Recipes

Basic Carrot Dogs – Don’t be fooled by the name, there is nothing basic about these amazing carrot dogs! It’s our favorite vegan hot dog recipe, a long-time reader favorite, remarkably simple to make, and the marinade uses common pantry staples. They’re perfect for a summer cookout and make a fun lunch for both kids and adults alike! Both the flavor and texture of these plant-based hot dogs are so good; you’ll be shocked you’re eating a carrot!

Vegan Coney Dogs – The Coney Dog is an American classic! It’s a hot dog topped with an all-meat mustard chili and diced onions. This vegan coney dog recipe is just as perfect for a weekend BBQ with friends as it is a weeknight dinner with the kids. Easy and quick to make, you’ll love this vegetarian chili topping more and more with every delicious bite. This is not just a simple chili dog; this is a Coney Dog!

Vegan Pizzas for Summer

If you have one of those tremendously popular outdoor pizza ovens (or the Pizzadesso!, an amazing indoor electric pizza oven available from Salton!), then you are sure to love our fantastic plant based pizzas that can be made with store bought or homemade pizza dough. Pizza is also a great way to use up summer produce!

Vegan Chicken Parm Pizza – If you’re looking for a fun new recipe that’s kid-approved, freezer-friendly, and easy to make, look no further than this vegan chicken parm pizza! A delicious twist on two classic comfort foods, you can make this vegan pizza from-scratch OR use the store-bought shortcuts we suggest.

Dairy-Free White Pizza with Marinated Veggies – This easy vegan white pizza recipe is impossible to resist! Marinated sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, olives, artichokes, and mushrooms are nestled between two layers of thick and creamy dairy-free white sauce. This vegan pizza recipe uses a vegan white sauce that’s made without any vegan cheese, milk, or cashews! It’s a fun and easy option for plant-based pizza party that will seriously impress.

Vegan Baked Ziti Pizza – This Vegan Baked Ziti Pizza is like a delicious dream. Basically, this meat-free comfort food dish is everything you love about a classic baked ziti, but veganized and on a PIZZA! This fun vegetarian dinner recipe is shockingly easy and will be your favorite plant-based pizza to make with your partner, friends, or kids!

Whole Wheat Pesto Pizza with Walnut Sausage – This quick no-proof vegan sausage and pesto pizza is packed with dairy-free basil pesto sauce and wall-to-wall sausage-style walnut meat on a rustic whole wheat pizza dough. This healthy vegetarian pizza recipe can be made in under 40 minutes – less than the time it would take a yeasted dough to rise in its first proof!

Overhead photo of a plate of jackfruit carnitas garnished with two lime slices and fresh herbs.

Vegan Taco Recipes

Tacos are so perfect for summer served with fresh margaritas! Here are two of our favorite options, but check out our vegan taco recipe round-up for more.

Jackfruit Carnitas – These jackfruit carnitas are a delicious vegan and vegetarian dinner idea that’s easy to make! Packed with a spicy flavor and citrusy zip, it’ll show you why canned jackfruit is the perfect pulled meat substitute for a variety of recipes. Serve with tortillas and all your favorite taco toppings for a great family-style dinner. We love adding some crunchy veggies like red cabbage and avocado lime sauce! 

Soy Curl Tequila Taco Chicken – This 8-ingredient tequila-infused vegan taco meat is easy to make and unbelievably delicious! We use it in tacos, burritos, and crunchwraps, atop a pile of nachos or a taco salad. It’s tender, juicy, and full of zesty Mexican-inspired flavor. No one will know it’s vegan!

Overhead photo of a pile of vegan jalapeno corn cakes on a long white rectangular plate surrounded by peppers, green onions, and a black and white linen cloth

More of our Best Vegan Summer Recipes

Let’s finish this list of light summer dinners with a few miscellaneous selections!

Creamy Avocado Pesto Risotto – This Avocado Pesto Barley Risotto is an easy, quick, and slightly different take on classic risotto that is perfect for summer! Tender cooked barley is drenched in a creamy sauce bursting with fresh herbs like basil and a healthy squeeze of lemon juice. Serve this easy vegan risotto with our lemon pepper tofu cutlets for a perfect main course for the whole family.

Corn Fritters with Poblano Peppers – These vegan corn fritters are a testament to how simple ingredients can create something extraordinarily delicious. Spicy, zesty, and imbued with a fresh and summery vibe, they’re astonishingly easy to whip up and versatile enough to complement anything from creamy pastas to crisp salads.

Creamy Dijon Zucchini Casserole – You may think casseroles aren’t made for summer, but you’ve never tried this garden veggie loaded vegan dijon chicken casserole! It’s comforting but light, creamy but still refreshing. We love this one for summer meal prep!

​Do you have a favorite summer recipe we should veganize? Let us know in the comments!

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