The very best vacation meals have a few things in common: they call for easy-to-find ingredients, minimal dirty dishes, and have a decent amount of overlap which means less waste at the end of the week. Of course, they should also be family-friendly and adaptable to a variety of dietary needs.
If you think these types of meals are few and far between, think again. We’ve rounded up 10 of our favorites that meet all these criteria and then some, meaning you can cross “meal planning” off your to-do list and head to the beach.
Grilled Chicken Caprese
Anything caprese is the epitome of summer, and this 20-minute chicken dish is certainly no exception. Round out the meal with a leafy green salad or toss some bread on the grill and set out oil and vinegar for dipping. Serve the leftover tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil as a fresh and easy appetizer later in the week.
Get the recipe: Grilled Chicken Caprese
Best-Ever Chicken Salad
Whip up a batch of chicken salad at the start of the trip and you’ll be rewarded with easy meals all week long. This creamy, crunchy salad is not only great for beach sandwiches or wraps, but it can also be paired with crackers and carrots or piled onto lettuce leaves.
Get the recipe: Best-Ever Chicken Salad
Grilled Greek Pork Burgers
This spin on the Greek gyro will become an instant favorite with kids and adults alike. This 5-ingredient meal using store bought frozen spinach to keep the burger moist and feta for that classic punch of flavor. Top with your favorite gyro topping and voilà -you have a satisfying meal that the whole family can enjoy.
Get the recipe: Grilled Greek Pork Burgers
Pinto Bean Quesadilla
Quesadillas are a must for family vacations: they’re fast, customizable, and always hit the spot. Use this pinto bean variation as a starting point, then let everyone add in any odds and ends from the fridge—think onions, peppers, grilled chicken, or beans. Don’t forget to set out salsa and guac for dipping!
Get the recipe: Pinto Bean Quesadilla
Greek Omelet Bake
Prepping a crowd-pleasing egg bake at the start of the vacation ensures there’s a ready-to-go option for any time of day. We’re particularly fond of this Greek-inspired recipe, which is packed with tangy feta cheese, nutrient-dense spinach, and plenty of fresh dill.
Get the recipe: Greek Omelet Bake
Sheet Pan Roasted Shrimp and Gnocchi with Avocado-Lime Sauce
There are endless ways to dress up a sheet pan of roasted gnocchi, but this avocado-lime drizzle tops our list every time. The combination of crispy dumplings, tender shrimp, and creamy sauce is so good, you might end up making it more than once on your trip. Line the pan with parchment paper to minimize cleanup.
Get the recipe: Sheet Pan Roasted Shrimp and Gnocchi with Avocado-Lime Sauce
Give one a try, and you’ll quickly be convinced: a pimiento cheeseburger is the best kind of cheeseburger. Cook them on the grill, in a cast iron skillet, or on a grill pan, then set out whatever fixings you’ve got for a build-your-own burger night. Plus, leftover cheese makes a crave-worthy appetizer.
Get the recipe: Pimiento Cheeseburger
Zucchini Pizza Boats
Few things are more fun than an edible vessel, whether it’s a bread bowl, a lettuce wrap, or in this case, a zucchini boat. Plus, pizza ingredients are always nice to have on hand. Use leftovers for homemade pizza night or shortcut pita flatbreads.
Get the recipe: Zucchini Pizza Boats
Guacamole Chicken Melt
Save this recipe for the end of the week when you need to use up the last of the guacamole. If you don’t have access to an oven with a broiler, simply cover the skillet with a lid to help the cheese melt. Serve with roasted veggies or a bag of tortilla chips.
Get the recipe: Guacamole Chicken Melt
Corn Stuffed Peppers
Wow the rest of your family with these protein-packed peppers, which are just as fun to make as they are to eat. Poblano peppers are mild, so no need to worry about the heat. If you do happen to like things spicy, opt for an additional dash of hot sauce.
Get the recipe: Corn Stuffed Peppers