What’s better than the summertime? The sun beating down, maybe a little time off work, and plenty of opportunities to eat, drink, and be merry. But deciding on exactly what to eat can be a challenge sometimes, with the heat ruling out many of the winter warmers that help to get us through the colder months of the year. Even being in the kitchen and slaving over a hot stove for too long can feel like a real chore during the summer, meaning takeout options could become a little too regular.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of summer meal ideas for you to enjoy in your garden and on your outdoor decking during this year's sunny season. There’s not much better than a suitably refreshing meal against the backdrop of a gorgeous sunset, or even a sky full of stars, adding to the ambiance.


Now, admittedly summer doesn’t exactly scream soup. The idea of sucking back a steaming bowl of stock and veggies in the blistering heat might sound more like a recipe for disaster than a delicious evening of nutrition. Enter gazpacho. Gazpacho is a cold soup made from raw vegetables, originating from Spain and Portugal as a cooling meal option for those hot summer nights where a warm meal is too much to handle.

Gazpacho is generally made from tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, bell peppers, and garlic (all raw), then thickened with some stale bread, and flavored and thinned with wine vinegar, water, and seasoning, all pulverized into a tasty and sippable concoction. That doesn’t mean you can’t experiment though! Some add watermelon for added freshness and sweetness, or you can add some cold seafood for protein. Topped with some fresh croutons is also a perfect way to enjoy a bowl.

Click this link to check out a great classic gazpacho recipe.

2.Summer Salad

This is a great option in the pantheon of healthy summer meals, being that there are so many different ways you can go with it! Much like gazpacho, a good summer salad can be done with literally no cooking, but rather the preparation of raw or pre-cooked ingredients. Full of vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients, a summer salad is perfect for a midday lunch on your deck if you’re taking the day off or working from home.

A salad niçoise is a great option, allowing you to use up some tinned tuna and leftover potatoes, along with packing in plenty of green veggies to keep you feeling strong and healthy. The classic chicken caesar is of course another safe bet, especially if you can muster up the energy to grill your chicken fresh. Or go fully green! Covering a plate with lettuce, avocado, thinly sliced raw courgette, a nice dressing, and any other additions you can think of is a gorgeously refreshing way to eat on a hot sunny day.

For a great list of summer salad recipes, check out this link.


This wouldn’t be a summer-friendly list without mentioning the daddy of all outdoor eats – the homemade barbecue. While this doesn’t fit the criteria of ‘heat-free’ meals like some of the other options on this list, there’s not much in this life that’s more fun than grilling meat in the sun with some good friends, family, and a nice cold beer (or a refreshing soda if you don’t drink!). If you’ve already taken our advice on how to decorate your deck and outdoor space, a barbecue is a perfect opportunity to show off some of your hard work, and can often have the added benefit of eventually turning into more of a summer evening party or gathering.

You can go the easy route, getting together pre-formed patties, functional frankfurters, and store-bought skewers, and no one will bat an eyelid – there’s a reason these are the classics. But, if you want to go custom with it, this could make all the difference. Craft some homemade koftas, marinate your meat in advance, or season up some seafood to truly show guests a good day of food. The best part is the guests can get involved, bringing everything from steaks to potato salad to help the day go off as an undeniable success.

Check out this list for some killer barbecue recipes and ideas (bonus if you have a smoker!).

4.Fish/Seafood Tacos

This one takes some work, but it’s worth it, and it’s so much lighter than the classic beef option. Fish and seafood tacos are a winning choice for entertaining guests or family at an outdoor dinner party (did somebody say Taco Tuesday?), offering something of an activity with the added dimension of fix-ins and the build-your-own format. Cooking the fish itself doesn’t have to be a particularly sweaty experience, as most white fish will cook in a matter of minutes in a frying pan or in the oven. When channeling those traditional Mexican flavors, the zest will come through to keep the dish feeling light and refreshing.

Try it with a white fish like cod or pollock, marinated with lime juice, chili, and garlic, coat some salmon in your favorite taco seasoning, or even just let the tastes of the sea speak for themselves with some stunning fresh prawns. Any way you choose to go, you’re sure to tantalize taste buds and have a good time with this option. Only one rule from us - hard shell tacos are a cardinal sin! But, that’s just our opinion.

Here’s a great recipe for fish tacos that you can enjoy this summer.

5.Summer Rolls

Hailing from Vietnam, it should really be obvious by the name why these are such a good choice. The cooling cousin of the classic spring roll, summer rolls are a great way to pack a lot of fresh veggies and flavor into a meal while keeping things light and refreshing. They make for a great small lunch, while also acting as the perfect starter for a larger meal, be it a stir fry or a fresh bahn mi sandwich. They also give off an impression of effort, when they’re not actually that hard to make, making them great for impressing your other half for a romantic outdoor dinner.

You can pack them with shredded cabbage, carrot, and cucumber as a start, and then start adding protein as you wish. Cold king prawns or shrimp make for a great protein option, while marinated tofu is a great way to add some plant-based power to your summer rolls. The only real requirement is the rice paper package, so feel free to get creative with these ones. Serve with your dipping sauces of choice and enjoy!

Click here for a great shrimp roll recipe, with peanut sauce on the side.


An Italian classic, good bruschetta just screams out summer. There’s something pretty beautiful about fresh, in-season tomatoes, finely diced on top of a grilled bread of your choice. Of course, there are many ways one can spruce up a bruschetta, but at its core, good tomatoes and nice bread are all you need. This is another great option for lunch, a starter, or a side, perhaps served alongside a Caprese salad or a nice oily pasta dish. Full of sweetness, acidity, and flavor, this is one that everyone can get behind.

Beef it up with a little burrata, blow some minds with some balsamic, or up the ante with some diced onion. It’s up to you how to tackle this Mediterranean institution, but just remember to season it well, dice your ingredients nicely, and remember the basil – or don’t, just don’t expect nonna to be impressed!

For a classic base bruschetta recipe, click here.

Setting is Everything

It’s up to you whether you choose to make any of these meals, but if you do, you’ll want a stunning outdoor spot to enjoy them in. Out on the deck is a lovely way to spend an evening of food and drink, but if your setting isn’t top-notch, it can sour the sweetness of the meal. With a good set of deck post caps from our range, you can help to keep your deck in top condition, keeping the posts safe from suffering too much water damage. When it comes to meals once the sun’s gone down, solar post caps can be the perfect choice to add some ambiance to your meal, offering some naturally-sourced light to keep your table illuminated.

To check out our full range of post caps click here, and happy cooking!