10 Summer Appetizers You’ll Want To Make For Every Gathering This Season

Deliciously easy.

In putting together this list of the best-ever summer appetizer recipes, two key guardrails guided my selections. The dishes that made the cut had to 1) reflect the season’s gorgeous vibrant hues and 2) be filled with summer flavor. We’re talking about herby dips, crisp, crunchy, and colorful salads, and light but satisfying finger food. Of course, we’re all about easy prep and make-ahead recipes, too. Essentially, the following 10 picks had to be nothing short of perfection, and delicious perfection they definitely are.

From salads to spring rolls to veggie-packed nachos, the following summer appetizer recipes are just the thing to whet your palate before the main course is served. Of course, we wouldn’t blame you if you fill up on these bites and delights — they’re that good.

White Bean and Raddichio Salad.

It’s a hot debate, but yes, salads do count as an appetizer. Unless you’re French or eat as the French do, salads often precede the meal, and the definition of “appetizer,” after all, is a small dish meant to stimulate the appetite. This salad is nothing short of mind-blowing. Let it kick off the meal or enjoy this salad alongside grilled meat or fish. However it’s served, light summer goodness awaits.

Hero Ingredient: A staple in Italian cuisine, radicchio is the star of the show. It’s bitter, spicy, and the perfect contrast to the sharp Parmigiano Reggiano and creamy cannellini beans.

Get the recipe here.

Ultimate Loaded Nachos from Love and Lemons.

It took me a while to come around to the concept of nachos. You either get a soggy, topping-laden chip from the middle or select from the side and you’re left with nothing more than a smidge of queso. But this recipe offers the pro tip of distributing and layering the fixings evenly throughout your pile of chips, forever changing the nacho game.

Hero Ingredient: Shiitake Taco Meat? Vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters alike are swooning everywhere.

Get the recipe here.

Artichoke and Spring Pea Crostini.

These crostini ask for nothing more than 15 minutes of your time. Broil your baguette slices and blend up your pesto components in the food processor. Assemble. Enjoy. The good news too, is that once you’ve served up your crostini for a crowd, any of the pea pesto leftovers pair perfectly with crisp summer crudités or are delicious spread on a veggie-lover’s sandwich — the pea pesto possibilities are endless.

Hero Ingredient: A garnish of artichoke leaves? Genius.

Get the recipe here.

Vegan Jalapeño Poppers.

Perhaps polarizing, but it takes a lot to love a jalapeño popper. You can get down with a lotta heat and can’t get enough of a creamy, cheese-filled bite. But when an order of poppers comes to the table, the presentation and pairing leave me underwhelmed. BUT, take a vegan approach, and the cashews and nutritional yeast yield a filling that pays your culinary efforts back ten-fold.

Hero Ingredient: Is it me, or is cumin one of the most underrated spices in the game? This recipe will make you fall in love.

Get the recipe here.

Lemony White Bean Dip.

Tired of your go-to hummus but still craving a creamy dip? Here’s your answer. While there are plenty of recipes that do the flavor combo of lemons, white beans, and garlic justice, this one takes things to the next level. Also important to note — 10 ingredients and make-ahead.

Hero Ingredient: Pine nuts are good on their own. But toasted? Golden brown goodness.

Get the recipe here.

Charlie Bird Farro Salad.

Grain salads come and go, but farro is forever. Truly, its nutty flavor gives heft and body to an otherwise green salad.

Hero Ingredient: Mild but packing a crunchy punch (and salty if you’d like), pistachios are the #1 salad ingredient.

Get the recipe here.

Smashed Cucumber Salad with Feta + Pistachio.

Don’t believe what you’ve heard — it actually is easy being green. Case in point, this dream of a salad. Smashing the cucumbers cracks the skin, helps release the water and the seeds, and splits the flesh into perfect bite-size pieces. So next time you set out to slice your cukes, try this method instead.

Hero Ingredient: We’ve never met a block of salty feta that we didn’t fall fork-over-knife for.

Get the recipe here.

Edible Flower Spring Rolls.

Moment of appreciation for this awe-inspiring work of art. The garden vibes and eat-the-rainbow aesthetic makes these spring rolls a must-eat in our book, and a must-make for every party from now until Labor Day.

Hero Ingredient: An array of edible flowers makes for a beyond-impressive presentation.

Get the recipe here.

Bruschetta with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes and Ricotta.

Sweet, slow-roasted tomatoes and creamy ricotta sit atop toasted slices of sourdough. In other words, layer upon layer of summery goodness.

Hero Ingredient: A generous dusting of flaky salt balances all the flavors beautifully.

Get the recipe here.

Blistered Shishito Peppers.

Nine out of ten shishitos have a mild, almost sweet flavor, while the remaining 10% will make your mouth burn. Don’t worry though, you can always compensate with a little aioli.

Hero Ingredient: Essentially a one-ingredient dish, shishitos are the answer.

Get the recipe here.

There’s nothing people love more than loading up on lots of flavorful small bites — picnics, backyard barbecues and pool parties, included. No matter what kind of get-together you’re hosting, you’re going to need a few appetizers to hold everyone over until your mouthwatering mains come off the grill. Hope these 10 tasty appetizers will stimulate your taste buds and prepare you for the summer heatwave to come!


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