Is it summer yet?

I guess we’ve still got about a month to go until it’s officially here, but I’m already starting to crave all the meals I associate with summertime. Fresh peaches. BBQed veggies. Tomato mozzarella salads with fresh basil. I love how clean summer cooking is—you only need a drizzle of oil, fresh herbs, and a squeeze of citrus, and you’re good to go!

That’s probably why I crave a lot of Mediterranean-style meals around this time of year. Chicken grilled simply with lemon juice and olive oil. Fava bean anything. Halloumi cheese crisped quickly in a pan. Yum. Are you hungry now?

If so, I have your dinner plans sorted. I’ve created a simple, summery menu that you can throw together any night of the week. The nice thing with this recipe is the ease of which it all comes together—once you’ve prepped one dish and have it cooking, you can move onto the next part of the menu. You’ll have dinner on the table in around 30 minutes or so. Which is important when you’re trying to spend as much time outdoors as possible!

Easy Summer Dinner

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 2 lbs ground lamb
  • 1 handful fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 handful fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Israeli Couscous

    • 16 oz Israeli couscous (also known as Pearl couscous)
    • 1 carton chicken or vegetable stock (water is fine if you don’t have stock)
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
    • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1/2 English cucumber or 1 Persian cucumber, chopped
    • 1 handful fresh basil, chopped
    • 1 handful fresh mint, chopped
    • 1/2 cup Marcona almonds, chopped
    • 8 oz feta cheese, crumbled
    • 1 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp pepper
    • Tzatziki

      • 2 cups nonfat Greek yogurt (I like Chobani—it tastes extra creamy)
      • 1/2 English cucumber or 1 Persian cucumber, grated
      • 1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
      • 1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
      • 1 tsp salt
      • 1/2 tsp pepper
      • Directions

        Start by making your meatballs. Mix the chopped herbs, salt, and pepper into the lamb meat until evenly dispersed, then roll into balls, and place onto a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. I like to bake the meatballs on top of a cookie drying sheet so the fat drains away while cooking.

        While the meatballs are cooking, bring some stock to a boil and cook the Israeli couscous according to package instructions.

        Israeli Couscous

        You can multitask here and chop your veggies and herbs while the couscous is cooking.

        Chopped Veggies

        Once the couscous has cooked, pour the olive oil over it and toss quickly, then let cool. While it’s cooling, you can quickly mix up your tzatziki. Grate the cucumber using a box grater. Squeeze out any excess water using a paper towel, then add the cucumber, mint, basil, salt, and pepper to the Greek yogurt, and mix so it’s combined.

        Tzatziki

        Then all you have left to do is to mix in the chopped vegetables, herbs, almonds, feta, salt, and pepper to the couscous, and you’ll be ready to go! If you feel like it, you can throw some pita or naan bread into the mix.

        Mediterranean Feast

        Tuck in—this recipe will serve 4, plus you’ll have leftover couscous to bring to work with you for lunch!

        Mediterranean Feast

        Photos courtesy of Niki Lowry.