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15 Beach Dinner Recipes for Your Vacay Buddies


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Summer vacation is filled with all kinds of fun activities we look forward to all year long, but topping the list is the beach house rental... and, of course, the beach dinner.

After spending your days splashing around in the waves, relaxing in the sand, or casting a line into the water, let your nights brim with delicious grilled food-from veggies to BBQ-potato and pasta salads, even ice cream you can whip up in that AirBnB food processor! (Believe it.)

It can be some of the best food you've had all year long, so don't forget to bring along summer-worthy recipes. Here are 15 easy ones tailored for the beach house. Forget about work-- it's summertime. Let the living be easy.

1. Cold Brew

beach recipes coffee cold brew

Lyndsay Cordell

It's 9am. You drank perhaps one too many of those canned margaritas last night. Are you kidding me that there's no coffee made?!

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Calm down, champ: There's cold brew, because your friends love you, after all. And although this recipe suggests you make the stuff 24 in advance of needing it, we have totally pulled off 20 hours advance notice- and still survived. Phew.

Get the recipe here.

2. Summer Corn Chowder

clam chowder in bowl

Lyndsay Burginger

Nights at the seaside rental can get a bit chilly, in the best way. What better way to warm up than with a fortifying bowl of sweet corn chowder?

Utilizing in-season, best-right-this-minute corn, this chowder hits the spot thanks to fresh corn, potatoes for thickness, a poblano pepper for vivacity, and half and half-for a luxe note. Serve it as an appetizer or a light supper, with crusty bread- but for goodness' sake, buy that at the bakery and don't turn that oven on.

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Get the recipe here.

3. Grilled Cabbage Wedges With Blue Cheese Dressing

grilled cabbage wedges

Wide Open Eats

The best part about a vacation rental is that you have time to experiment with all those recipes you've been waiting to try, like these gorgeous grilled cabbage wedges with blue cheese dressing. Blue cheese cut with sour cream and mayonnaise makes a dreamy, creamy foil for slightly bitter cabbage wedges. It's the slightly smoky salad you didn't know you needed in your vacay life.

Get the recipe here.

4. Chicken Fajita Skewers

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Whether it's just your crew or you're hosting extra friends or family, these summery skewers go a long way- and they're a snap. With just 15 minutes of prep time and 10 on the grill, chicken fajita skewers rely upon easily accessible chicken breasts. You cube it, marinate it in fresh lime juice with cumin, garlic powder, cayenne and salt, and pair it with a rainbow of bell peppers and onions on a wooden skewer. Serve with all the fajita classics-guac, sour cream, salsa and tortillas-and watch how far they stretch. (Pro tip: Make a few all-veggie skewers for the vegetarians among you!)

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Chef's Note: If using wooden skewers, don't forget to soak before using.

Get the recipe here.

5. Broccoli and Basil Pesto with Fusilli

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Speaking of vegetarians, you'll want some entrées up your sleeve that don't require much sweaty stovetop time-and don't feature meat. We love this nutrient-dense pasta dish, which has a hit of protein, too, thanks to walnuts and Parm. Basil should be ubiquitous near you right now, and that's a good thing, because this recipe calls for a full two and a half cups of the stuff!

Even carnivores can appreciate a good handful of veggies after a whole day soaking in the sun, but if some are squawking about the lack of meat, buy them a rotisserie chicken to chop up and add to their pasta bowls. Win-win.

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Get the recipe here.

6.  Pork Chops With South Carolina Style Mustard BBQ Sauce

beach recipes pork chops

Wide Open Eats

Grillheads will delight in pork chops mopped with a South Carolina-style mustard-based BBQ sauce. Nothin' fancy in this ingredient list-nor in the preparation. Just pantry staples like garlic and onion powders, paprika, yellow mustard, brown sugar, honey, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. We love that some sauce gets lacquered onto the thick chops during the cooking process, and a separate portion is served alongside.

Get the recipe here.

7. Mexican Street Corn

beach recipes corn grilled

Wide Open Eats

Is there anything better during the dog days than corn served Mexican-style? We're gonna go with "Nope." Elotes are fantastic grilled, then slathered with a mix of sour cream, mayo, fresh lime juice, chili powder and cayenne. (Trust us: It works.) Cotija-a fresh Mexican cheese-gets sprinkled on top along with a flurry of fresh cilantro and more cayenne and chili powder, to taste.

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Get the recipe here.

8. Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

pulled pork sandwich

Sarah Abrams

If even turning on the grill turns your stomach but you don't want to miss out on summer classics, consider your electric pressure cooker. Instant Pot "BBQ" isn't something you may have considered, but your roomies will appreciate it when their house stays nice and cool. We love these pulled pork sandwiches, which scratch that summertime itch, as they come together in a flash, and are super-customizable.

Get the recipe here.

9. 5 Minute Cold Crab Dip

cold crab dip in peppers

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Five! Minute! Cold! Crab! Dip! The name says it all.

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OK, we can't resist adding that you can kind of put good lump crab on a Ritz cracker and it's gonna taste good. So if you're adding cream cheese, lemon juice, Old Bay, sour cream and chives? Of course it's fantastic.

Get the recipe here.

10. Sweet Tea Grilled Chicken

sweet tea grilled chicken

Wide Open Eats

We had you at "sweet tea," right?

The signature drink of the South mingles with rosemary, thyme, black pepper, salt, onion, garlic and meaty chicken legs in an overnight brine. The next day, the legs get crisped up over the grill. And goodness gracious, are they delicious, with the signature flavor you know and love permeating through the whole chicken leg.

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Get the recipe here.

11. Texas Potato Salad

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There must be potato salad! Most of us have our ride-or-die recipe, but we'll admit we're partial to a mustard-spiked rendition that tips its (10-gallon) hat to the state of Texas. A bit of jalapeño gives it a kick, celery lends freshness, and mayo keeps the whole thing creamy.

Get the recipe here.

12. Zesty Black Bean Pasta Salad

zesty salad

Wide Open Eats

If you're going to do pasta salad- and you should- why not do one with plenty of protein so that vegetarians and vegans can feel like they've had a whole meal? This excellent recipe bristles with heat and freshness thanks to lime juice, hot sauce, red onion, and a cup and a half of corn kernels. Bonus: There's no mayonnaise in it, so it can tolerate a hot day a little longer. (Would that we could!)

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Get the recipe here.

13. Grilled Peaches With Mint

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Wide Open Eats

Blink, and it's October, and no one has fed you grilled peaches. Don't let that happen to you! There's arguably nothing better-unless it's a fresh peach, eaten over the sink, whole, with its juice soaking everything in sight. You can slick peaches with olive oil and call it a day after they take a spin over the coals, sure, but we adore this recipe, in which minted sugar adds extra caramelization and gorgeous flavor.

Get the recipe here.

14. Food Processor Mint Chip Ice Cream

mint chocolate chip ice cream

Lyndsay Burginger

Have you heard the buzz about food processor ice cream? It's the best, and it doesn't entail an ice cream maker! Mint chip is always a heavy hitter, so this is a great way to please a crowd. Yum, yum.

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Get the recipe here.

15. Traditional Red Sangria

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Put down the shaker. Don't over-promise on your own vacation, and don't make drinks to order. Do make them big-batch style, in a pitcher, so you can sit down, too. (The one who promises vacay bourbon sours with fresh-squeezed lemon juice and egg white is the one who doesn't get a vacation at all.) Remember sangria. Sangria forever. Here's the traditional red version-plumped up with strawberries, apples, oranges and limes-we love.

Get the recipe here.

READ: 10 Grilled Veggie Recipes That Are Smoky and Savory

This article was originally published June 30, 2021.

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