Easy Summer Capsule Meal Plan & Recipes - Real Food Whole Life

Easy Summer Capsule Meal Plan & Recipes

May 29, 2021 (Updated on July 8, 2021)

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

If you’re looking for an Easy Summer Capsule Meal Plan & Recipes, you’re in the right place! We all know what it’s like to need to get dinner on the table on busy weeknights, so here’s an easy meal plan template and collection of fresh summer recipes to help you make it happen.

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 have fewer decisions and more ease in your week.

This is how I feel good effect meal planning and streamline meal prep for our family. 

what is a capsule meal plan?

If you’re new to the idea of a capsule meal plan and what it can do for you, I recorded a whole podcast episode for you about it. Similar to the concept of a capsule wardrobe, this capsule meal plan reduces my daily decision fatigue while still leaving plenty of room for flexibility.

Instead of trying to do it all perfectly, I simply pick a meal type for each day of the week – something I know I enjoy like Taco Tuesday or Grill Night.

And then choose from a short list of simple, delicious recipes. Ones that are quick to throw together with very minimal prep. All made with feel-good, real food ingredients.

This meal template lets me keep the categories the same, but switch up the recipes week to week if I want. Giving me and my family fun variety, without the fuss.

summer meal plan template

To get you inspired, I’ve laid out 4 nights of example meal categories that are perfect for this season. Plus a few favorite, fuss-free recipes under each one. 

  1. grilled
  2. bowls
  3. stir-fry
  4. tacos

these recipes are…

, ,

I hope you’ll try these recipes soon. If you do, be sure to share it on Instagram and tag me at @realfoodwholelife so I can see. Now let’s start cooking up some recipes for our Easy Summer Capsule Meal Plan!

grilled summer recipes

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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Break out the grill and whip up this super simple, super flavorful Smokey Lime Grilled Chicken with 5-Ingredient Strawberry Salsa recipe for dinner tonight!

Another easy grilled chicken recipe is this grilled chicken power salad with homemade raspberry dressing!

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This simple Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Avocado Cherry Tomato Salad takes just minutes to prepare and is bursting with fresh flavors. Grab a few simple ingredients and grill this one up tonight!

Wanna grill bone-in chicken instead? Try this easy grilled bbq chicken with naturally sweetened sauce

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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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summer 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.

No grill? No problem. Try this instant pot peach chicken & basil recipe instead for a quick & easy meal.

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Super fresh and so versatile, Build-Your-Own Veggie Quinoa Power Bowls are simple to prepare and packed with flavor.

Another vegetarian recipe you'll love are these DIY Quinoa Bowls with chickpeas

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This Black Bean Quinoa Bowl recipe combines bell peppers, cabbage, cherry tomatoes, corn, pumpkin seeds and cilantro with an easy, healthy cumin lime dressing. Perfect for a light dinner or make ahead lunch!

Canned black beans are such a versatile pantry staple! You can also use them to make this delicious slow cooker enchilada quinoa.

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All the flavor of an egg-roll, but without the fuss. Tossed together with a tangle of veggie noodles, Egg Roll Veggie Noodle Bowls are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free, Paleo, Whole30 and so delicious!

Another take-out inspired favorite are these 5-ingredient potsticker turkey meatballs. The honey lime dipping sauce is easy enough for busy weeknights!

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summer stir-fry dishes

One pan and a few minutes are all you need to whip up this easy, tasty 20-Minute Turkey and Green Bean Stir-Fry.

Love easy stir fry dishes? You won't wanna miss this one-pan ginger honey cashew chicken and green beans recipe.

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One-Pan Orange Chicken Asparagus Stir-Fry requires only 10 ingredients, one pan, and just a few minutes. Full of golden-brown chicken, crisp asparagus, and a tangy naturally sweet sauce, it’s perfect any night of the week!

Quick, one-pan chicken dinners are the best! Keep this 15-minute chicken and broccoli stir fry recipe in your backpocket on nights when you're short on time.

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Super-fast, healthy, and filling, 20-Minute Pork and Veggie Stir-Fry will help you get dinner on the table in a hurry, without sacrificing flavor!

Another fast pork & veggie dish is this 15-minute sweet & sour lettuce wrap recipe. You can make them with any ground meat.

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This quick and easy honey mustard chicken stir-fry uses fresh spring veggies and a tangy-sweet sauce, putting an unexpected twist on the typical weeknight chicken dinner.

Fan of honey-mustard? Make this honey-mustard green bean potato salad recipe for your next bbq or potluck.

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summer tacos

Easy Fish Tacos with Honey-Lime Cabbage Slaw are simple to make at home and so flavorful. The warm slaw makes a great topping for the tacos and serves double duty as a veggie side as well.

You can also make these on a sheet pan! The veggies cook at the same time in this sheet pan fajita fish tacos recipe.

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So fresh and simple to prepare, 20-Minute Turkey Tacos with Peach Basil Salsa is a flavor-packed, easy weeknight dinner everyone will love.

Ground turkey tacos come together so quickly. If you like this easy recipe, you'll love these 20-minute turkey tacos with apple salsa too!

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A fun twist on taco night, 20-Minute Salmon Fish Tacos with Quick Cabbage Slaw comes together in minutes. Full of fresh flavors and easy to make, they are the perfect way to add more fish into your diet!

Another easy weeknight taco recipe is this maui turkey tacos one, super flavorful and comes together in under 15 min

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These super tasty Weeknight Turkey Tacos with Sweet Corn Salsa are quick to pull together on a busy weeknight and take advantage of the best seasonal summer produce.

Need another easy dinner idea? You've gotta try this 6-ingredient slow cooker chicken taco chili recipe. It's always a hit in our house.

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bowl with bell peppers cabbage tomatoes and black beans on white table with striped blue napkin
5 from 2 votes

Summer Capsule Meal Plan: Black Bean Quinoa Bowls

Yield 4 as a main dish; 6 as a side dish
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins

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 15 more summer recipes & easy capsule meal plan I know you'll love!


  • cup quinoa
  • 2 ¾ cups water or vegetable / chicken 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.


recipe & kid-friendly adaptations
1 | Sunflower seeds would also work in place of the pumpkin seeds
2 | Use maple syrup in place of honey in the dressing to keep this recipe vegan-friendly
3 | Before adding the dressing to the quinoa set some aside. Drizzle with olive oil or add a bit of butter and a pinch of salt. This preparation may appeal to the kids who prefer noodles with butter, and is more nutritious (it’s also messier, but we’ll just ignore that part).
4 | Serve all the veggies separately on the plate, or serve them family-style in small bowls at the table. Let the child serve themselves the veggies, then toss them in the bowl. Again, messier, but surprisingly effective. 
5 | Let them use the seeds as “sprinkles” to top off their bowl masterpiece.
Nutrition disclaimer
did you make this recipe?Mention @realfoodwholelife or tag #realfoodwholelife!

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6 comments to " Easy Summer Capsule Meal Plan & Recipes "

  • Megan Baltz

    Yay! I’ve been waiting, hoping and wishing you would make a summer time capsule meal plan. The fall episode changed my life. Thank you!

    • Robyn Downs

      Megan, YAY!! Thank you for sharing these kind words. Makes us want to start working on a fall edition. Here’s to a happy healthy summer. Cheers!

  • Karen P-Hulten

    5 stars
    Robyn, Thank you for the summer meal capsule plan!! I’ve been hoping you would create a capsule meal plan for the warmer weather. I’m especially excited to try the sauces – they sound delicious! My mouth was watering listening to your podcast 😋.

    • Robyn Downs

      Karen, yay, so happy you’re excited about this one. And yes to all the easy, flavorful sauces. Hope you enjoy!

  • Lisa

    5 stars
    These recipes all look amazing! Thanks for taking the time to pull this together, I can’t wait to start grilling.

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If you love this recipe it would mean SO MUCH if you gave it a star rating and left a comment. Your feedback helps me create more recipes you'll love, and helps others find my recipes online. Thanks so much for your feedback! —Robyn

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