Father’s Day Meals This Dad Actually Wants to Eat

Eric Ginsburg

I'm still pretty new to this dad thing. But that doesn't mean I lack opinions about Father's Day meals.

You kinda have to be opinionated about food to run a site like this one.

That doesn't mean I expect my wife, or anyone else in my life, to cook for me on Father's Day (my kid is still too young for that to be anything more than an adorable mess). But if you're asking me to design a dream menu based on readily available recipes?

Yeah, I can do that.

I have a pretty eclectic palate — again, goes with the territory — so you might feel like there's no cohesion to this list. After all, I made these beef suya skewers and matzo brei for lunch today, two dishes that aren't exactly common counterparts.

This is a highly subjective list, and that's part of the point. Customize whatever you're making to the actual father you're celebrating this holiday. It's probably going to look nothing like this list. (Unless I'm the one you're celebrating — you're welcome for assembling this cheat sheet!)

I'm the kind of person who wants some things to snack on throughout the day. And a drink in my hand, nonalcoholic or otherwise. Breakfast is usually light over here, if it happens at all.

So here's a wild romp through my food brain. There's more here than even I would eat in a day, but options is kinda the point, isn't it? Which of these 25 recipes is the closest match for the dad you're toasting?

1. Vegan Banana Split Smoothie Bowl Recipe

Why not start the day off with a smoothie bowl — banana split style? This feels like a treat without being too heavy, and I love anything banana flavored.

2. Nectarine Granola Yogurt Parfait Recipe

Alternately, this sounds pretty excellent and light. I guess fruit bowls with some sort of base and crunch is a theme, eh?

3. Grilled Open-Faced Avocado Caprese Sammies Recipe

Alright, here's another idea that sort of straddles the line between breakfast and lunch, so if you're going for more of a brunch vibe, this is a sure winner. Again, light and fresh. I'm not vegetarian anymore, but I'm still a fan of meatless mornings.

4. Toaster Oven Chex Mix Recipe

Time to start thinking about snacks! And one of my all-time favorites to have on hand is homemade Chex mix. I have to admit to using my mom's recipe around here, but this one will do perfectly.

5. Chocolate Cookie Butter Babka Recipe

I'm known for my sweet tooth, and babka is just the kind of thing that's great to have around throughout the day. Or it can bolster your breakfast — though it might be too much with that banana split smoothie bowl? Ah, why not, it's Father's Day! Let's do it up.

6. Baked Spicy Tindora Fries Recipe

Whether you think of these as an appetizer or a snack, I'm not sure it matters. The point is to have something crispy and hot as well. I will mindlessly put a whole tray of these in my mouth while watching sports or a show, and be quite happy about that fact!

7. Garlic Bread in Air Fryer: Super Easy How-To Guide

Garlic Bread in Air Fryer: Super Easy How-To Guide
Same goes for garlic bread. What a fantastic thing to behold and enjoy, especially when it's fresh out of the oven! (or air fryer)

8. Grilled Halloumi Strawberry Salad Recipe

Okay, let's get some vegetables in the mix. I'm all about a salad with fruit. And cheese? Definitely. You can't get a much more perfect pairing than this in my book.

9. Thai Mango Avocado Salad with Grilled Sweet Potatoes Recipe

Hold on, maybe I spoke too soon. This could be a meal on its own or an appetizer or side, depending how ambitious you're feeling. Regardless, I'd crush this.

10. Korean Spicy Chicken Rice Bowls Recipe

Pretty sure this is what I need to have for lunch! Give me some spice, some good seasoning, and some protein and rice and I'll be set. I briefly worked at a Korean restaurant and while they didn't serve this dish, I'm still going to think fondly about it while I enjoy this.

11. Slow Cooker Chipotle Pulled Chicken Recipe

I'm sensing a theme here with chicken. Maybe it's because it feels lighter than red meat for lunch and I've created a sprawling list of food ideas, so I'm feeling the need for balance. Either way, I'd gladly toss some of this into a flour tortilla (or five) and down it.

12. Grilled Summer Squash Recipe with Garlic Chili Crisp

Let's transition to thinking about dinner. Father's Day is in June, and it's peak grilling season. So there should probably be both fresh produce AND some grillables in the mix, right? Enter this garlicky, spicy squash dish that will help balance out your main course.

13. Grilled Plums with Spiced Mascarpone Recipe

Oh look, more grilled food! Yeah, definitely. These grilled plums will go perfectly with the summer squash, maybe because they hail from the same cookbook. Perfectly seasonal, absolutely delicious.

14. Rumdriver Recipe

Before we get into the main course, let's talk drinks. I'd happily accept a mocktail, but if it's Father's Day, I'm not driving! Rum is a great summery choice, and this recipe screams stress-free Sunday.

15. Gin and Ginger Fizz Recipe

I'm partial to anything with ginger, and I love gin, too. This light and easy cocktail is a great Father's Day companion for an afternoon relaxing in the backyard or a more lively family gathering.

16. Black Barrel Tequila Smash Recipe

Your dad (or a father in your life) more of a tequila guy? All good — this fruit-forward tequila drink will make him feel celebrated.

17. Grapefruit Whiskey Sour Recipe

For all the stereotypical bros out there, offer them a whiskey sour but make it just a little more interesting — and more seasonally appropriate — with this grapefruit spin. I'd happily accept one (or two).

18. Mussels White Wine Recipe

I grew up spending much of my summers on the water in Massachusetts. As far as I'm concerned, mussels in white wine dish is a quintessential New England summer meals, and one that I associate with my home state. I live in the South now, though, so it's a rare treat. All the more reason to pull this recipe out for Father's Day! Also, I don't know about you, but I'm serving these mussels over pasta.

19. Beef Lombardi Recipe

If the mussels don't make it onto the table or are served as a side, we're gonna need another pasta dish in the mix. And even though I just ate, looking at these noodles is making me hungry.

20. One Pot Creamy Smoked Sundried Tomato Pasta with Chicken Recipe

Pasta? Check. Summery produce? Check. Hearty sauce? Check. This entree is perfect for Father's Day in every regard!

21. Red Curry Noodle Soup (Khaub Poob or Khao Poon)

If we're keeping it real, though, a curry noodle soup is even more on brand for me. By now the sun has started going down and a hot bowl like this feels more appropriate. I'd be elated for this to appear in front of me, to be honest!

22. Cookie Dough Banana Ice Cream Bars Recipe

Holy.... As I said at the top, I love anything banana. But pair that with cookie dough and a dessert?? Taylor Kiser (who created this recipe) and I have never met, but I feel like she knows my soul. If I got NONE of the other food and drinks on this list and just got this, I'd be blissfully happy.

23. Mint Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pies Recipe

Mint is such an underrated flavor. Like, how dare toothpaste give it such a bad reputation? These little handheld desserts scream summer and good vibes to me. And I love that there would be leftovers for the next day.

24. Lemon Cookies Recipe

Sometimes you need a citrus kick. Especially when it's hot out. These cookies deliver sweetness without being too decadent, and in June, light is often where it's at.

25. Brookie Recipe

Alright, I couldn't help myself and added another dessert recipe. Most of the time, I feel like recipes that mash two disparate things together are trying too hard and doing too much, but these two cuties belong together. Perfect end to Father's Day right here!

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