Taylor Ellingson of Greens & Chocolate Shares Summer-Inspired Recipes

Make quick and healthy meals this summer—no oven required.

I’m not sure about you, but in the heat of summer, the last thing I want to do is spend hours in the kitchen, bent over a hot stove to prepare a meal. For me, exploring new and complex recipes is hobby for winter, not summer. In warm weather, I want quick and easy recipes—bonus points if it doesn’t require turning on the oven at all.

In search of easy summer recipes, I turned to our Taste columnist Taylor Ellingson. She’s the author of two cookbooks, The Easy 30-Minute Cookbook: 100 Fast and Healthy Recipes for Busy People and 30-Minute Cooking for Two: Healthy Dishes Without All the Fuss. Needless to say, she’s somewhat of an expert of quick, easy meals. 

Ellingson works out of her Edina kitchen, which she shares (along with the rest of her home) with her husband and their three children. She says she’s never been one for fussy, involved recipes; rather, she prefers creating easy, healthy and flavor-packed meals. 

But she doesn’t just cook for her family. Through her blog Greens & Chocolate, which she’s been running for over a decade, she shares her recipe creations with her readers as well. When developing recipes, she works hard to create them in such a way that they can easily be reproduced in any kitchen, by any cook.

Today, she’s sharing three of her favorite easy summer meals—including two out-of-the-ordinary grill recipes and absolutely no oven or stovetops in sight! 

Grilled Cheddar Sausage and Pepper Skillet

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15–20 minutes
Serves: 4


  • 1 medium zucchini,
    cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 lb. cheddar sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces

Place veggies in a large bowl. In a small ramekin, whisk together the olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Pour over veggies, and toss well to combine. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Add veggies to a grill pan, and place on the grill. Grill for 15–20 minutes, until preferred doneness, adding the sausage to the grill pan for the last 10 minutes. (I like my veggies a little on the crispy side, so I cooked mine for closer to 20 minutes.) Serve and enjoy.

Grilled Mediterranean Shrimp

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4


  • 2 lbs. large peeled deveined shrimp
    (tail off or on works)
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 summer squash, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 8–10 stalks asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

In a bowl, combine all ingredients but feta, tossing to coat veggies in the olive oil and spices. Place the shrimp and veggies in a grill pan. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Cook the shrimp and veggies for 10–12 minutes, stirring often, until the shrimp are no longer translucent and they are slightly curled up, and the veggies are softened. Serve, sprinkled with feta cheese. 

Tuna Salad Stuffed Cucumber Boats

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4


  • 9 oz. tuna packed in water
  • 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cucumbers

In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, parsley, shallot, salt and pepper. Drain the tuna, then combine with the mayo mixture. Slice your cucumbers lengthwise, then scoop out the seeds so there’s a hollow center. Spoon the tuna salad into cucumber boats, and top with parsley.

Looking for even more quick and easy recipes? Head to Ellingson’s blog, where she regularly posts recipes ranging from healthy dinners and sides to holiday recipes, desserts and drink recipes. You can also find her two cookbooks on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. 

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