If you’re looking for an effortless summer meal plan, you’re in the right place! With over 40+ fast & fresh easy summer recipes, this ultimate list of summer meals includes summer dinner ideas, healthy summer lunch ideas, and refreshing breakfast ideas for fewer decisions and less stress this season.

Collage of four dishes including tacos, grilled veggie bowl, orange stir fry and black bean quinoa bowl with pink background and navy text.

This easy Summer Capsule Meal Plan is designed to help you eliminate decision fatigue when it comes to light summer meals, give you tons of summer meal ideas, including plenty of easy summer dinner ideas! These easy recipes are organized into a seasonal capsule meal plan including 25+ easy summer dinners (by meal type), summer lunch ideas, and quick summer breakfasts.

Download the Free 5-Week Summer Meal Plan

Summer Capsule Meal Plan image.

What’s a Capsule Meal Plan?

 I came up with the concept of a capsule meal plan because it is a way to get delicious meals on the table without the stress of meal planning from just a blank slate. Similar to the concept of a capsule wardrobe, capsule meal planning reduces daily decision fatigue while still leaving plenty of room for flexibility for fresh and easy summer meals.

So just as a capsule wardrobe allows you to decide ahead of time which pieces of clothing go together to make an outfit, a capsule meal plan does the same for your meal planning by allowing you to decide ahead of time on your meal categories.

This easy meal plan includes five easy summer dinner recipe meal categories: grilling, summer meal prep, simple tacos, healthy summer meals in a bowl, and quick summer meals in a skillet. For each category, I’ve included five summer dishes. To follow the meal plan, simply assign a recipe category to each night of the week, then rotate through the recipes within each category each week. Then, just like that you’ll have a 5-week meal plan with no repeats and no decision fatigue! I’ve also included easy lunch ideas perfect for summer, as well as fast and fresh breakfast ideas in this meal plan as well.

These Recipes Are…

Easy Summer Meal Plan: Summer Dinner Ideas

Grilling Ideas for Dinner

Overhead shot of a plate of sliced grilled chicken topped with parsley and lemon wedges on an oval plate.
5 stars (14 ratings)

Simple Lemon Chicken Marinade (for Grilling & More!)

This easy and vibrant lemon chicken marinade gives chicken a ton of fresh flavor thanks to just a few easy-to-find ingredients like lemon, garlic, and herbs. The ultimate in simple sauces, just 5-minutes of prep yields the most juicy, flavorful chicken you've ever tasted and elevates a basic high-protein meal from ordinary to extraordinary.
Ingredients: olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, parsley, sugar, dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, garlic, chicken.
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Grilled chicken breasts prepared in a Greek Yogurt Chicken Marinade laid out on a wood cutting board with fresh herbs and lemon slices.
5 stars (4 ratings)

Greek Yogurt Chicken Marinade (5-Ingredients)

This quick Greek yogurt chicken marinade is easy to prepare with just 5 simple ingredients like Greek yogurt, lemon, and garlic, and yields super tender and flavorful grilled or baked chicken every time. If you’ve never tried yogurt-marinated chicken before, then you’ve got to try this fantastic high-protein recipe!
Ingredients: Greek yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, chicken breasts (or thighs) and salt.
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Image of Grilled Salmon Salad with Sweet Basil Vinaigrette
5 stars (1 rating)

Grilled Salmon Salad with Sweet Basil Vinaigrette

Protein-packed and full of flavor, Grilled Salmon Salad with Sweet Basil Vinaigrette is a simple weeknight dinner that’s special enough for entertaining.
Looking for more easy salmon recipes? You'll love these sheet pan ginger-orange salmon bowls
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Image of Grilled Corn Loaded Guacamole Pasta
5 stars (2 ratings)

Grilled Corn Loaded Guacamole Pasta

Grilled Corn Loaded Guacamole Pasta is lusciously creamy and packed with veggie goodness. A simple, delicious vegetarian main dish everyone will love!
Add this easy pasta recipe to your list too! This garden pasta salad with homemade italian dressing has lots of fresh ingredients & can be made ahead.
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bowl of honey orange dijon chicken skewers with slaw
5 stars (4 ratings)

Honey Orange Dijon Chicken Skewers

These Honey Orange Dijon Chicken Skewers are delicious in bowls, fresh salads or served as wraps – perfect for meal prep or easy dinners on busy weeks. The easy marinade combines citrus, sage, honey and dijon mustard & doubles as a sauce to drizzle on the chicken when it's hot off the grill!
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Summer Dinner for a Crowd

Slow cooker BBQ chicken in a black crockpot on a white background.
5 stars (14 ratings)

Crockpot BBQ Chicken (2-Ingredients!)

This wildly easy 2-ingredient crockpot bbq chicken can be prepped in no time using store-bought or homemade sauce, yielding deliciously tender and versatile pulled chicken. Perfect for meal prep on busy weeks!
Ingredients: chicken breasts (or chicken thighs) and chipotle BBQ sauce (or store bought barbecue sauce).
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Top down view of crockpot cilantro lime chicken dinner in a black pot on a white background.
5 stars (13 ratings)

Easy Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken

Easy to make and oh-so satisfying, this crockpot cilantro lime chicken is perfect for stuffing into warm tortillas! It’s elevated by the most flavorful homemade cilantro lime sauce and can be made with either chicken breasts or chicken thighs.
Ingredients: chicken breasts (or chicken thighs), fresh cilantro, lime juice, garlic cloves, cumin, avocado oil, honey (optional) and salt.
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close up of crockpot sausage and peppers with a fork going into a black slow cooker
4.96 stars (24 ratings)

Crock Pot Sausage and Peppers

Wildly easy to prepare with crowd-pleasing results, Crock Pot Sausage and Peppers requires no browning and makes a simple weeknight dinner. It’s a party go-to, that’s guaranteed to please!
Ingredients: sweet Italian sausage, bell peppers, onions, and jarred marinara sauce.
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shredded meat on corn tortillas and wooden cutting board with toppings on the side
5 stars (10 ratings)

Mexican-Inspired Shredded Beef

Perfectly spiced and incredibly easy to prepare, Mexican-Inspired Shredded Beef is super versatile and makes the best shredded beef tacos!
Ingredients: boneless beef chuck-eye roast, onion, tomato paste, cumin, mild chili powder, smoked paprika, lime juice and salt.
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An overhead shot of shredded chicken topped with cilantro and green chilis in a black slow cooker.
5 stars (13 ratings)

Slow Cooker Green Chili Chicken (5-Ingredients!)

With a short list of simple, real food ingredients this slow cooker green chili chicken is an easy and flavorful meal prep protein. Plus, there are so many ways you can use this chicken, you won’t get bored!
Ingredients: chicken, tomatillo salsa, salt, cream cheese, diced green chilis
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Summer Meal Plan: Tacos for Dinner

Overhead shot of fish tacos with slaw, jalepenos, avocado, and cilantro.
5 stars (8 ratings)

Easy Fish Tacos with Honey-Lime Cabbage Slaw

Easy dinner ideas are my specialty—and this homemade honey-lime cabbage slaw for fish tacos delivers. Simple purple cabbage slaw elevates these fish tacos with slaw from an everyday dinner to a super-fast, flavor-packed dinner that’s ready in just 25 minutes! The slaw is a great topping idea for fish tacos and serves double duty as a veggie side dish too, if that’s what you prefer. 
Ingredients: white fish (like rockfish, cod or tilapia), purple cabbage, lime juice, avocado, green onions, mayonnaise (or plain yogurt), honey, olive oil, cumin, mild chili powder, garlic powder, ground black pepper and salt.
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Overhead shot of tacos on parchement paper squares.
5 stars (7 ratings)

Ground Turkey Tacos with Sweet Corn Salsa

These super tasty ground turkey tacos are quick to pull together on a busy weeknight and is full of simple, yet super flavorful fresh ingredients.
Ingredients: olive oil, ground turkey, cumin, mild chili powder, garlic powder, salt, tomatillo salsa, corn tortillas, corn, red onion, lime juice, cilantro.
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Overhead shot of salmon tacos with cabbage slaw and radishes. There are lime wedges, cilantro leaves, and a small wooden bowl with cilantro around it.
5 stars (1 rating)

20-Minute Salmon Fish Tacos with Quick Cabbage Slaw

Follow these steps at home to make these easy salmon fish tacos with a simple cabbage slaw topping! In these 20-minute tacos, fresh or frozen salmon can be used.
Ingredients: salmon, cabbage, tortillas (or grain-free wraps or lettuce wraps), mayonnaise (or plain Greek yogurt), lime juice, and salt. 
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Close up photo of a shredded chicken taco on a small flour tortilla topped with avocado chunks, shredded lettuce, and salsa.
5 stars (9 ratings)

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

Friends, these are the best slow cooker chicken tacos ever! I know there are a lot of slow cooker chicken taco recipes out there, but my recipe is simple, uses only 6 ingredients, and tastes incredibly fresh. The ultimate time-saving recipe, it's a dump-and-go recipe you'll turn to week in and week out.
Ingredients: garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, chicken, salsa.
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Image of 20-Minute Turkey Tacos with Peach Basil Salsa
5 stars (1 rating)

20-Minute Turkey Tacos with Peach Basil Salsa

So fresh and simple to prepare, 20-Minute Turkey Tacos with Peach Basil Salsa is a flavor-packed, easy weeknight dinner everyone will love.
Ingredients: ground turkey (dark or light meat), onion, garlic powder, cumin, corn tortillas, avocado, peaches, lime juice, basil, olive oil, jalapenos (optional) and salt.
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Healthy Summer Dinner Bowls

Top down view of a BBQ chicken bowl with a fork, napkin and corn chips on the side.
5 stars (1 rating)

Easy BBQ Chicken Bowl

Packed with color and flavor, these easy BBQ chicken bowls are perfect for a quick dinner or meal prep, and can be simply assembled with homemade or store bought ingredients. They’re so tasty, you’ll wanna make these again and again!
Ingredients: cooked chicken, rice, black beans, corn, green onions, cabbage slaw and bbq sauce.
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Greek Inspired Chicken Bowl in a white dish topped with yogurt tahini sauce with a blue napkin on a white background.
5 stars (2 ratings)

Easy Greek Bowls

Packed with vibrant, fresh ingredients, these easy Greek bowls make a quick weeknight dinner or the perfect meal prep meal to go. And you won’t believe how quick & delicious the yogurt tahini dressing is!
Ingredients: cooked chicken, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese, cauliflower rice, and yogurt tahini dressing.
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Overhead shot of black bean quinoa bowl on white table with striped blue napkin and a side of dressing in small jar.
5 stars (3 ratings)

Black Bean Quinoa Bowls

These healthy Southwest Black Bean Quinoa Bowls are quick and easy to make, and are topped with the most delicious homemade cumin lime dressing. Perfect for a light vegetarian dinner, colorful side dish or make-ahead lunch!
Ingredients: quinoa, water or stock, canned black beans, red cabbage, cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, corn, pumpkin seeds, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, mild chili powder, maple syrup (or honey), olive oil and salt.
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5 stars (5 ratings)

Peach Chicken Basil Glow Bowls

Bursting with vibrant flavors and nourishing ingredients, Peach Chicken Basil Glow Bowls will have your feeling amazing from the inside out. A gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, whole30 recipe.
Ingredients: chicken breasts (or thighs), zucchini, onion, cooked quinoa (or cauliflower rice), peaches, garlic, white balsamic (or white wine vinegar), olive oil, fresh basil and salt.
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Image of Veggie Noodle Bowls with 5-Ingredient Peanut Sauce
5 stars (3 ratings)

Veggie Noodle Bowls with 5-Ingredient Peanut Sauce

Slurpable noodles and heaps of tender veggies combine with an ultra-simple sauce in Veggie Noodle Bowls with 5-Ingredient Peanut Sauce. No complicated ingredient list here, these bowls are easy to make and taste amazing.
Ingredients: pasta (gluten-free or whole wheat), broccoli, cabbage, carrot, green onions, peanuts, peanut butter, garlic, maple syrup, tamari, rice wine vinegar (or lime juice) and water.
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Light Summer Meals in One-Pan

close up of chicken skillet with fresh herbs on top
5 stars (25 ratings)

Easy Italian Chicken Zucchini Skillet

This Easy Italian Chicken Zucchini Skillet combines chicken, zucchini, tomatoes and classic Italian flavors for an easy, one-pot dinner you can make any night of the week. I love that it's naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, whole30 friendly and ready in under 30 minutes!
Ingredients: chicken breasts (or chicken thighs), zucchini, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken stock, butter (optional: traditional or dairy-free), fresh basil, red pepper flakes, garlic, Italian seasoning, olive oil and salt.
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top down view of a turkey taco skillet in a blue pan on a blue background
5 stars (5 ratings)

20-Minute Turkey Taco Skillet (Protein-Packed!)

Solve weeknight dinner tonight with this quick & easy, healthy turkey taco skillet! Made with simple pantry ingredients like ground turkey and beans, it’s a flavorful and filling high-protein meal (36 grams of protein per serving!) that comes together in just 20 minutes. Trust me, this is one of those easy recipes you'll wanna make again & again!
Ingredients: ground turkey, onion, garlic powder, cumin, canned black beans, canned fire-roasted tomatoes, frozen corn, olive oil and salt.
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5 stars (10 ratings)

Chicken Asparagus Skillet

A handful of simple ingredients combine in this easy, creamy chicken asparagus skillet, made up of golden chicken, tender asparagus, and a luscious garlic lemon cream sauce that includes a dairy-free modification. This recipe makes the ultimate low-effort, one-pan meal you can enjoy any night of the week!
Ingredients: chicken breasts (or chicken thighs), asparagus, chicken broth, cream (or unsweetened non-dairy creamer), olive oil, butter (traditional or plant-based), lemon juice and salt.
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Top down view of a ground turkey sweet potato skillet in a blue and black pan with fresh herbs on a white background.
5 stars (4 ratings)

Easy Ground Turkey Sweet Potato Skillet

This healthy ground turkey sweet potato skillet is a fast, easy last minute dinner idea that’s so tasty you’ll want to put into your regular weeknight rotation. It’s ready in under 30 minutes, so keep this one in your backpocket for busy weeks!
Ingredients: ground turkey, sweet potatoes, olive oil, garlic powder, shredded cheese (traditional or dairy-free), baby spinach, chipotle honey vinaigrette and salt.
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Tortilla strips, chicken, black beans and vegetables topped with cheese, avocado, and sour cream in a skillet.
5 stars (6 ratings)

Chicken Enchilada Skillet

This quick chicken enchilada skillet comes together simply with just a handful of ingredients and is sure to be a new family favorite!
Ingredients: shredded chicken, olive oil, onion, bell pepper, red enchilada sauce, black beans, tortillas, cheese, chicken broth.
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Easy Summer Lunches

close up of two shrimp stuffed avocado halves on a white plate
5 stars (8 ratings)

Easy Shrimp Salad Stuffed Avocados

These Easy Shrimp Salad Stuffed Avocados combine bell peppers, celery & shallots with a simple dressing of lemon juice, dill and mayonnaise. Use precooked shrimp for the perfect no-cook quick lunch or weeknight dinner!
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close up of a black bean salad with corn in white bowl
5 stars (5 ratings)

Black Bean Salad with Corn

This Black Bean Salad with Corn recipe combines cherry tomatoes, chopped bell peppers, red onion and cilantro with an easy, healthy cumin lime dressing. Perfect for a light vegetarian dinner, colorful side dish or make-ahead lunch!
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Overhead shot of turmeric chicken salad with vegetables on a white background.
5 stars (13 ratings)

Turmeric Tahini Loaded Chicken Salad

Packed with nourishing ingredients, Turmeric Tahini Loaded Chicken Salad is perfect for lunch at home or to make ahead and take on-the-go!
Ingredients: cooked shredded chicken, shredded carrots, slaw mix (or shredded cabbage), green onion, sulfite-free raisins, turmeric, tahini, garlic, honey (optional), apple cider vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and salt.
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Overhead shot of blue and white bowl on a white background filled with quinoa, chopped veggies, chickpeas, and basil.
5 stars (9 ratings)

Crunchy Curry Quinoa Salad

This Crunchy Curry Quinoa Salad makes a perfect lunch, dinner side, or vibrant addition to any brunch table.
Ingredients: quinoa, chickpeas, cucumber, green apple, red bell peppers, basil, sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seeds), garlic, extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice, mild curry powder and salt.
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Overhead shot of a pot with a wooden spoon and pasta tossed in red pesto topped with shredded parmesan, and basil leaves.
5 stars (1 rating)

Red Pesto Pasta

Using basic pantry ingredients, this red pesto pasta comes together in just 20 minutes, and is the perfect weeknight vegetarian meal everyone will love.
Ingredients: pasta, sun dried tomatoes, almonds, garlic, salt, olive oil, parmesan cheese.
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Simple Summer Breakfast

three jars of protein chia pudding topped with fresh berries on a blue and white background
4.93 stars (13 ratings)

Protein Chia Pudding

If you’ve been searching for a sweet (but still protein-packed breakfast option), then have I got the recipe for you! Packed with protein and super-fast to prepare ahead, this protein chia pudding makes an easy, breezy protein snack or breakfast perfect for wherever your day might take you. The best part is that everything comes together in just a mason jar (pretty much the simplest meal prep situation ever, with no cooking required).
Ingredients: chia seeds, almond milk (or milk of choice), protein powder, and honey/ maple syrup (optional).
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berry protein smoothie in a clear glass with a straw on white background
5 stars (13 ratings)

Berry Protein Smoothie

This easy berry protein smoothie uses mixed frozen berries and multiple sources of protein for a filling, nourishing meal to carry you through the day. Includes simple ingredient swaps to make this nut-free!
Ingredients: frozen mixed berries, almond milk (or milk of choice), almond butter (or seed butter for nut-free), chia seeds, vanilla protein powder, and fresh lemon juice
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two jars with overnight oats and fruit on top with white background
5 stars (5 ratings)

Protein Overnight Oats

You won’t believe how easy this no-cook, high protein overnight oats recipe is. Everything comes together in one jar, then simply shake and let it get thick, creamy & delicious overnight in the fridge.
Ingredients: rolled oats, Greek yogurt (traditional or plant-based), chia seeds, maple syrup, vanilla extract, almond milk, and vanilla protein powder.
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Stack of gluten free zucchini muffins sitting on top of a cooling rack, with one muffin torn in half.
5 stars (4 ratings)

Easy Almond Flour Zucchini Muffins (One-Bowl!)

Super moist, tender, and filled with flavor, this almond flour zucchini muffin recipe comes together easily in just one bowl and makes the perfect sweet snack anytime of day. The hint of maple syrup and vanilla & cinnamon scent makes them irresistible!
Ingredients: grated zucchini, almond flour, eggs, oat flour, avocado oil, maple syrup, cane sugar (or coconut sugar for refined sugar free), baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt.
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Side shot of a green smoothie in a clear glass with clear straw.
5 stars (1 rating)

Green Protein Smoothie

Packed with protein, this easy green protein smoothie is packed with veggies and protein for a nourishing, filling way to start your day.
Ingredients: banana, spinach, vanilla protein powder, chia seeds, peanut butter, milk of choice.
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Black bean quinoa bowl with bell peppers cabbage tomatoes and black beans on white table with striped blue napkin.
5 stars (6 ratings)

Easy Summer Meal Plan: Black Bean Quinoa Bowls

This Black Bean Quinoa Bowl recipe combines bell peppers, cabbage, cherry tomatoes, corn, pumpkin seeds and cilantro with an easy, healthy cumin lime dressing. Plus 40+ more summer recipes & meal plan you'll love!


  • cup quinoa
  • 2 ¾ cups water, or vegetable stock
  • 1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange), chopped
  • 2 ears corn, kernels cut off (or sub 1 cup frozen corn kernels, defrosted)
  • cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

For the Dressing

  • ¼ cup lime juice, from about 2-3 limes
  • 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon mild chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne, optional
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
  • ½ cup olive oil


  • Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse well. Place the rinsed quinoa in a pot with a tight-fitting lid along with the water (or vegetable / chicken stock). Cover, bring to a boil, reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and let stand for an additional 5 minutes.
  • While the quinoa cooks make the dressing by whisking the lime juice, salt, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, and honey or maple syrup until well combined. Drizzle in the olive oil and whisk again until well combined.
  • In a large bowl add the warm quinoa and black beans and dressing. Allow to sit 5 minutes for the quinoa and black beans to absorb the dressing. Add cabbage, tomatoes, bell pepper, and corn, stirring to combine. Top with pumpkin seeds and cilantro, then serve warm or at room temperature.


Sunflower seeds or any nut/seed will work in place of the pumpkin seeds.

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 1 (of 4), Calories: 506kcal, Carbohydrates: 65g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 31g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Monounsaturated Fat: 22g, Sodium: 540mg, Potassium: 1019mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 2471IU, Vitamin C: 103mg, Calcium: 87mg, Iron: 6mg
Nutrition disclaimer
Did you make this recipe?If you do, be sure to share it on Instagram and tag me at @realfoodwholelife so I can see!

A Fall Capsule Meal Plan

If you loved this Summer Capsule Meal, check out these easy Fall Recipes & Cozy Fall Capsule Meal Plan when you’re ready for cooler weather cooking.

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