Summer is prime time for the best vegetables of the year, so why not make them the stars of your meal? Plant-based summer vegan menus–no meat, no dairy–let you showcase summer’s bounty with light foods that are as delicious as they are good for you. Here are five fully vegan dinner menus (including dessert options!) that let you celebrate the best that summer has to offer.
1. Grilling Party
Move over, burgers: Summer vegetables on the grill are taking over the barbecue, from kabobs to dessert (hello, Apples by the Fire!). Savory vegetables—think a whole grilled carrot as a hot dog substitute—and classic grilled corn also keep your guests happy and your kitchen cool.
2. Taco Tuesday
Taco Tuesday, Thursday, or really any night you feel like kicking up your heels with your favorite Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes. Avocados, jalapenos, and pinto beans don’t need meat or dairy to deliver spicy flavor. Swap out cheese and sour cream with plant-based substitutes for a cooling touch. Mix up a pitcher of margaritas or sangria to go with the meal, and pass the tortilla chips.
3. Pasta Perfecto
Your fresh or dried pasta goes beautifully with the bright summer tastes of fresh tomato, white beans, and bell peppers. The sophisticated flavors of these dishes are as equally at home on bone china on a linen tablecloth as they are on paper plates in the backyard. Round out the meal with an elegant watermelon and champagne granita (see desserts below).
- Easy Olive Oil, Tomato, and Basil Pasta
- Mean Woman Pasta
- Vegan Avocado Pasta With Blackened Vegetables
- Vegan Tuscan White Beans
4. Vivacious Vegetables
Salads, skewers, or side dishes—we’re all about the vegetables. Vegan eating means breaking away from the rigid structure of animal-based protein and two sides, and focusing on the flavors and aromas you love most. Double up on your favorites; with greens, peppers, and broccoli, you can’t go wrong. But don’t forget the lean protein, which here come from tofu, chickpeas, and beans.
- Baked Tofu Bites on a Bed of Leafy Romaine
- Broccoli Cauliflower Chickpea Bowl
- Jersey Fresh Stewed Tomatoes
- White Beans and Peppers
5. Veggie Burgers Redux
Fresh vegan patties transform boring sandwiches into savory celebrations. Fill sesame seed buns, multi-grain bread, or pitas with these vegan patties and your favorite condiments, and serve with tasty veggie side dishes—perfect for a backyard barbecue buffet.
- Cheryl’s Veggie-Nut Patties
- Smoky Black Bean Burgers
- Grilled Asparagus
- Spicy Pasta
- Couscous with Olives and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Don’t Forget Dessert!
Yes, there is dessert in vegan territory! And were not just talking sorbets (though we have plenty of those, too). We have ice creams based with coconut milk. Or try a vegan chocolate ice cream made with the more exotic but sublimely simple: liquid from a can of chick peas (called aquafaba), which whips up for a light and fluffy texture. Another tasty option is a no-bake strawberry pie that, in addition to being vegan, is free of refined sugar and sweetened with dates. With this list of recipes, your sweet tooth will be satisfied all summer long.
- Lina and Jens’ Delicious Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream
- Basil-Lime Sorbet
- Watermelon Granita with Champagne
- Coconut-Lime Sorbet
- Apples by the Fire
- Raw Vegan Strawberry Pie
More Vegan Recipes
Everyday Vegan Favorites: 1,800 Kitchen-tested, family-approved vegan dishes