For me, this is the season to try out some of the best new summer cookbooks for my family, so we can get some new grilling tips, cold recipes and make good use of all those fresh fruits and veggies.
There is so much to love about summer cooking, and if you need some fresh inspiration for the kitchen, definitely take a look at some of the best new summer cookbooks for families in 2018.
We’ve got a lot of variety — from camping recipes to vegan cookbooks, and everything in between. And the pages of our copies are all dog-eared and stained, because we’ve been wearing them out!
To be clear, these aren’t kid-specific cookbooks. These are just summer cookbooks filled with fresh, tasty recipes that we think the whole family will enjoy, even if they do challenge your kids’ palates a little. And best of all, they offer dishes simple enough to whip up after a day at the pool with the kids.
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Related: 12 mind-blowing ice cream hacks for a deliciously cool summer.
We’re huge fans of Gaby Dalkin’s California-fresh recipes, and her newest cookbook, What’s Gaby Cooking?: Everyday California Food, captures those flavors beautifully. (Seriously, the pictures alone are swoon-worthy).
I can’t wait to try her Green Rice Burrito Bowl with my kids, because any time they get to choose their own toppings we’v got a meal to look forward to. Gabby’s Summer Corn Soup with Salsa Verde recipe makes a great lunch, and you cannot skip her Fish Tacos with Pineapple Mango Salsa.
I’d recommend making her guac recipe too. But the showstopper in the What’s Gaby Cooking? cookbook is that Cherry Tomato Tart seen on the front cover. Wow.
If you’re planning a camping trip, be sure to grab a copy of The Camp & Cabin Cookbook: 100 Recipes to Prepare Wherever You Go by Laura Bashar.
As a serious camping family ourselves, I love her suggestions for things like how many coals you need on your dutch oven to reach desired baking temps; and even her tips on which cooking utensils to pack for your trip. But mouthwatering recipes themselves are the highlight, even if you aren’t all that gung-ho about camping out, as you might have guessed from the subtitle.
Dutch Oven Vegetable Frittata is a wonderful breakfast to wake up to. I’ll be making her Grilled Mediterranean Buddha Bowls at home too. And friends, her Jalapeño Creamed Spinach and Greens takes creamed spinach to a new level. Finish it off with her Mai Tai Grilled Pineapple with Rum Butter Glaze, a perfect dessert for your next cookout. Whoa.
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HGTV darling Joanna Gaines isn’t just all show (although, I’m pretty hooked on most of her interior design). Her new cookbook, Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering blends the flavors of her own background — Korean, Lebanese, Texan — with the reality of being a working mom of five who gets it. Sometimes dinner just has to come out of a crockpot, you know?
I can’t wait to try Joanna’s Syrian Donuts or Southern Biscuits and Gravy for our next big family breakfast. Those Gaines Brother Burgers with Bacon-Tomato Drip Jam look just, wow. And her Mom’s Bulgogi (thin, marinated meat) and Lebanese Fatayar (meat pies) recipes will make scrumptious mains when you’re still eating light for summer.
My family is in a dosa groove lately, and Dosa Kitchen: Recipes for India’s Favorite Street Food by Nash Patel seems like a perfect new cookbook for families who want to bring the street food experience back home.
Patel’s cookbook includes traditional dosa recipes like Masala Dosa alongside more creative variations like Ginger Chili Beef “Fry” Dosa. In all, there are 50 recipes for creative fillings, chutneys, and cocktails, so yeah — you could eat a different dosa every night for more than a month. We won’t judge. In fact, I might just try it myself.
For me, summer is about keeping things simple, so I’m loving the quick, easy but flavorful recipes in The Minimalist Kitchen: 100 Wholesome Recipes, Essential Tools, and Efficient Techniques by Melissa Coleman. In this new cookbook for 2018, think Lentil Lettuce Wraps and Baked Falafel Pitas with Tahini Sauce.
Another DIY meal (clearly that’s my thing), allowing kids to pick their own toppings, is her Thai Spiced Rice Bowls. And I’m dying to bake up a batch of her Citrus-Poppy Seed Cookies, because ZOMG they look so good!
Related: Why you want to own The School Year Survival Cookbook. Besides the obvious.
My family has been eating vegan at home for the last 6 months, and I have to admit, we’re definitely in a rut on the meals we cook. So it’s great to know we can get back some of that good Southern soul food flavor we’ve been missing with Sweet Potato Soul: 100 Easy Vegan Recipes for the Southern Flavors of Smoke, Sugar, Spice, and Soul by Jenné Claiborne.
Expect to find delicious classics like Jalapeño Hush Puppies and Low Country Grits. There are breakfast ideas like Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls. And, as a Nashville native, I am particularly excited that I’ve dog-eared the page for Jenné’s Southern Vegan Hot Chicken Biscuits and Smoky Collard Greens.
The final touch: Sweet Potato Pie. Yes yes yes!
I’m usually not a huge fan of cookbooks that are organized by season, and even though I’m not a New Englander either, I’m finding My Kitchen Chalkboard: Seasonal Menus for Modern New England Families by Leigh Belanger incredibly helpful.
This book is organized by month with in-season recipes that make sense. As in, you won’t find chili recipes in August.
During the winter you can try your hand at homemade Udon in Beef Broth. Spring might bring you Chopped Salad with Grilled Corn and Halloumi. Fall dishes up comfort food like Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa, Corn & Monterey Jack. But right now for summer, I imagine a lot of families asking, “what can I do with the rhubarb in the Farmer’s Market right now?” will be all over that Skillet Pork Chop with Rhubarb Compote and Roasted Radishes.
That said, you’re welcome to cook any of these recipes out of order. Those stuffed peppers look perfect for an easy family meal any time of year.