Delicious Summer Recipes to Impress

French Bull Dinner Plate

The summer is a great time to host friends and family around. But aren’t you (and your guests) a little sick of the classic summer barbecue? (Not that a barbecue can’t be amazing, of course.) Or perhaps you’re just looking for a meal that won’t just make you hotter on a hot day. Well, we put together some of our favourite summer recipes to help make your summer as delicious as can be.

Header image features French Bull tableware, available from Zanui.

Sushi

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We may not think of sushi as one of the great summer recipes, but let’s take a quick look at it. Quick and easy to make? Check. A meal that isn’t hot but is still filling? Check. Easy to serve — perfect for sharing or devouring alone? Check. What else could you want?

What you’ll need:

  • Seaweed wraps
  • Sushi rice
  • Whatever filling you like, but for today we’ll use fried chicken
  • Avocado
  • Cucumber
  • Mayonnaise
  • Soy sauce

What to do:

First we need to cook the rice. The best way to do this is with a rice cooker, but if you don’t have one don’t worry, if you don’t have a rice cooker just put the rice and some water (enough to cover the rice) into a pot and leave it on the stove to boil. After about 10-15 minutes (depending on the amount of rice) you should be good to go.

Next we need to fry the chicken. You’ll want to work with breasts — they’re the easiest to cut and cook. Slice them up into thin strips. About the size of a finger. Then put your frying pan on the stove, add enough oil to cover the pan once it’s heated up and then pop the chicken on. Just don’t let the oil spit at you! Once you’ve fried your chicken put it onto some paper towels to soak up the excess oil.

Slice your avocado and cucumber into similar slices to your chicken. Now you’re ready to roll!

Lay out your seaweed wraps, cover them with a light layer of rice (not too much or you won’t be able to roll it). And start adding your fillings. Finish up with a light drizzling of mayonnaise and roll them up. It’s best to wet your hands with water when rolling to prevent the wraps from sticking to you.

Slice up your wraps into appropriate sizes sections and serve with soy sauce. You can adapt this formula for your own summer recipes, switching out the chicken for salmon, including wasabi, whatever works for you.

Aussie Summer Stir-Fry

Prawn Stir Fry

I’f you’ve never made a stir-fry you’re about to learn that you’re missing out. A stir-fry is one of the easiest things you can make, and they’re delicious! (One of the easiest summer recipes, or year ’round recipes.) There are plenty of variations on this amazing staple, but this time we’re making things a bit more Australian than your average stir-fry.

What you’ll need

  • 300g prawns, shelled
  • 2 cups of frozen greens (broccoli, peas, beans)
  • A chili
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic or garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
  • 2/3 cups of vegetable or seafood stock
  • pepper
  • oil
  • Around 350g of udon noodles — enough for four people

What to do:

Firstly, fill a pot with water and leave it on a high heat. We’ll be boiling some noodles in a little bit.

Then chop up your chili. You won’t need it just yet but chopping chili can be annoying and it’s best to get it over with most of the time. Cut it in half, length-ways. Scrape out the insides and all the seeds into a bin. Then slice it up to your preferred size — normally around half a centimetre will be fine.

Heat up a large pan (or wok if you have one) on a high heat. Once your pan is hot (do not touch it to test, hover your hand above the surface to feel the heat rising) add your oil, prawns, and garlic. Start stirring and add your greens. Add your stock, stirring all the while. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes to cook all the veggies and prawns and also to reduce and thicken up. While this is happening pop your noodles in the now boiling water. Once the stir-fry is thick enough and your noodles are cooked, season the stir-fry to your tastes and serve.

Avocado, Orange, and Watercress Salad

We know, we know: you don’t make friends with salad. Well, you don’t with a boring salad at least! Summer recipes are all about those fresh greens, so we couldn’t leave them out.

What you’ll need:

  • Two avocados, sliced
  • Four cups of watercress springs
  • A quarter of a cup of toasted almost
  • Two navel oranges, peeled and segmented
  • About 450g of prawns, peeled or chicken, diced
  • A cup of orange juice
  • A quarter of a cup of lemon juice
  • One tablespoon of honey
  • A quarter of a cup of white wine
  • Salt and pepper

What to do:

First, you’re going to cook your prawns or chicken, whichever you prefer. The easiest way to do this is to fry them. Then you’re going to make your vinaigrette. To do this, put the orange juice in a small saucepan and let it reduce to about two-thirds of its original amount. Then leave it to cool.

Put all your lemon juice, honey, and wine into a blender, along with a bit of salt and pepper. Blend them for a bit, add the cooled orange juice, and blend again. Then add about half a cup of the oil of your choosing (vegetable oil is generally recommended) and give it another quick blitz.

In a bowl, combine three tablespoons of your vinaigrette with the watercress then toss and divide it across four plates. Sprinkle your almonds across the top and arrange your avocado, oranges, and meat of your choosing on top however you like. Serve it with the remainder of your vinaigrette and enjoy!

Paella

Paella

You might think that paella is a hearty meal, suited to colder winter months. Well you’d be right, of course but it’s also great in the warmer months. Summer recipes are all about coming together enjoying good food, and paella is definitely that. You can even take it outside and enjoy it as a warm breeze blows by.

What you’ll need:

  • One lemon
  • 300g of rice, basmati works well
  • One onion, finely sliced
  • One chicken breast, sliced (long thin strips like fingers fry best but you can slice the chicken into any size you like)
  • 100g of frozen peas
  • One red capsicum, sliced
  • One carrot, sliced (either disks or long slices, it’s up to you)
  • A tablespoon of tomato purée
  • 70g of chorizo, if desired, sliced
  • One small chili, sliced
  • Olive oil
  • A tablespoon of chicken stock powder

What you’ll do:

Firstly, if you’ve never cut up a pepper it might seem a bit intimidating. Fortunately the processes for the chili and the capsicum are almost identical. For the chili, just like for the stir-fry, you;ll want to slice it in half length-ways, scrape out the seeds, and then slice it up further to your desired size. Then do the same with the capsicum, cutting in half, scraping out all the insides, and chopping it to more appropriate sized pieces.

Now that everything is sliced, grab a large, deep frying pan. If you don’t have one a wok will work well too. Fry the onion until it softens, then add the chicken, chorizo, carrot, chili, and capsicum. Fry it all up, stirring regularly, until it’s cooked—the chicken will turn golden brown to tell you when it’s done. Should take about five minutes, but don’t worry if it takes a little longer.

Add the tomato purée and stir it through so that it’s evenly spread, then do the same with the chicken stock. Now it’s time to add the rice and again stir it all up so that it’s evenly spread. Add in about 750ml of boiling water (and just a little bit of salt and pepper). If your pan has a lid, pop it on now. If your pan doesn’t have a lid, a heat proof chopping board will do the trick a lot of the time, or even a large tea towel. Bring your mix to the boil, then leave it to reduce and simmer for another 15 or so minutes. Just remember to keep stirring it regularly to make sure it all cooks evenly. Add the peas and keep cooking for another five minutes.

Once your paella is cooked serve with lemon slices. You can spruce it up further with chopped parsley leaves as well if you desire for an extra dash of greenery.

Summer Pizza

Pizza

You might be wondering, ‘What makes this pizza so summery? Why is it one of Zanui’s summer recipes?’ The answer is: pizza is perfect any time of the year.

What you’ll need:

For the dough, you can buy pre-made frozen pizza bases from almost any supermarket, but if you’d like to make your own, you’ll need:

  • 260g of flour
  • 10g of yeast
  • One teaspoon of caster sugar
  • Half a teaspoon of salt
  • Two tablespoons of olive oil
  • 180ml of water

After that it’s time to choose your toppings. For the most part this is up to you, but to make it a little more summery we have some suggestions:

  • Tomato paste (a must)
  • Cheese, mozzarella works best (a must)
  • Basil
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Button mushrooms, sliced
  • Chorizo
  • Onion

You might have your own favourites that perfect a pizza for you (looking at you, pineapple on pizza lovers) and of course you can include these too.

What you’ll do:

To make your dough combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and give them a good mix so there’s not just a chunk of yeast in the middle. Then add your oil and water and mix it up into a soft dough. It’s worth noting that if you wear rings you will want to take them off for this part as pizza dough is likely to try to hang on to them.

Flour a flat, clean surface and start kneading your dough on it. This could take a little while but once it’s soft and not stiff you’ll be done. Pop it back into the bowl and cover it with cling film, leaving it in a warm spot—not in direct sunlight—for around 30 minutes. It’s also worth noting that you’ll want your mixing bowl to be larger than your dough because in those 30 minutes it’s going to rise to around double it’s original size.

Once the 30 minutes are up set your oven to 180°C to preheat it. Then grab your dough now that it’s risen take it out of the bowl. Gently knead it for a quick minute, then start adding your toppings!

First lay down a layer of tomato paste, cover it in your desired toppings, then cover them in cheese. Pop your pizza into the oven and let it cook for around 10 minutes or until it looks delicious.

Frozen Choc Bananas

So this isn’t exactly a meal per se, but it’s a great semi-healthy treat on a hot day.

What you’ll need:

  • 100g of milk chocolate, chopped
  • Five tablespoons of condensed milk
  • Three quarters of a cup of almonds, chopped (for a nut allergy friendly take, you can always substitute in coconut or leave out the nuts entirely)
  • Three bananas, sliced

What to do:

Place your chocolate and condensed milk in a heat proof bowl – we’re going to melt them together. Fill a small pot about three to four centimeters deep with water and set it on the stove to boil. Once it’s boiling, place your bowl with the chocolate and milk over it, stirring constantly. (If you don’t have a heat proof bowl to do this over the stove you can always melt the chocolate in the microwave.)

Once your chocolate mix is smooth and even, set it aside to cool for a little bit. Once it’s cool enough to touch grab your banana slices. (It’s easiest to hold them by the edges as the cut sides can be a bit slippery.) Dip the banana slices into your chocolate and then dip them into your topping, if you have one. Then place them on some baking paper and pop them in the freezer until they’re frozen. Four hours should do the trick.

When they’re ready, grab the banana slices from the freezer and enjoy! Perfect for kids or those of us with a sweet tooth!

Bonus: Watermelon

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Ok so it’s not a recipe but watermelon is the ultimate classic summer food. We all know it and if it wasn’t included in our summer recipes list it’d be a mistake. It’s healthy and delicious and it can even be portable; great for picnics or school lunchboxes (find more yummy and healthy school lunchbox summer recipes here).

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So get out there and enjoy your summer with a full and happy belly! And if you have your own amazing summer recipes, let us know!

Paige Riddiford is a writer and editor from Sydney, NSW with a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Wollongong. When not writing, Paige is often found reading, baking, playing video games, playing board games with friends, or binge watching whatever's new on Netflix.