The members of Plated’s Culinary team love convening each month to choose a theme for uniting four weeks worth of dreamy dishes. What goes on during the decision-making process? Plenty of chatter about seasonal ingredient obsessions and mouthwatering food goals—and naturally a plate of roasted “snack” salmon. With the arrival of summer’s warm temps, you may be seeking ways to change up your dinner routine. Look no further! Here, recipe editor Jennifer En lets you in on why June is the ideal month to prepare simple meals, shed some extra layers of clothing, and Lighten Up in every respect.
As if beautiful sunny days weren’t enough reason to cook up your favorite summer dishes, Father’s Day and Summer Solstice (hello, official start of summer) give you even more reasons for spending time in the kitchen. With lovely seasonal produce at your fingertips, June is a good month to highlight fresh veggies by incorporating them into warm weather meals you won’t be able to get enough of. From lean barbecue chicken breasts and juicy hickory burgers to grilled vegetables and chicken salad, there’s no shortage of ways to whip up refreshing updates of classic summer foods—minus the grease, of course.
Ring in summer with a big bang when you bring out your grill to play, serving up some inventive crowd-pleasers: Grilled Baby Carrots with Yogurt Sauce, Grilled Pizza with Vodka Sauce and Vegetables, and Thai Grilled Shrimp with Herb Salad. To celebrate Father’s Day, try making lightened-up versions of dishes he’s sure to love—like Barbecue Salmon Burgers (pictured), Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad with Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing, and Stuffed Bell Peppers. For all those other long, lazy summer nights, go the easy-but-no-less-delicious route with out-of-this-world sleeper hits like Crispy Thai Duck Salad, Mexican Quinoa Bowls, and Caesar Steak Lettuce Cups. And for a guilt-free dessert that’ll put a smile on your face? Sweet Ricotta Crostini, please.