In putting together this list of *best ever* summer appetizer recipes, two main handrails guided my picks. Dishes made to the cut must 1) reflect the beautiful vibrant colors of the season and 2) brimming with summer flavors. I’m talking about the carp dip, the crunchy, crunchy and colorful salad, and the light yet filling snack. Of course, I also talk about easy and pre-prepared recipes. Basically, the following 10 options are not without perfection… and they are definitely perfect.
From salads to spring rolls to veggie-packed nachos (yes, really), the following summer appetizer recipes are just the thing to whet your appetite before the main course is served. Of course, I won’t blame you if you fill up on these delicious and fun treats. They are so good.
Featured image of Alison Wu.
White beans & Raddichio
Why we love it: It’s a hot debate, but I suppose yes, a salad is considered an appetizer. Unless you’re French or eat like a French, salads are usually served before meals, and the definition of “appetizer” is, after all, a small dish meant to whet the appetite.
Okay, it’s time to get off my technical horse – in short, this salad is nothing short of amazing. Let it start the meal or enjoy this salad with grilled meat or fish. However, it has been served, gentle summer awaits you.
Hero Ingredients: A staple in Italian cuisine, radicchio is the star of the show. It has a bitter, spicy taste and the perfect contrast with crisp Parmigiano Reggiano and creamy cannellini beans.
Get the recipe for White Beans & Raddichio Lettuce.
Last loaded Nachos from Love & Lemon
Why we love it: It took me a while to learn about the concept of nachos. You can get a soggy, filling chip from the middle, or choose from the side and you’re left with a pile of quesos. But this recipe offers the pro tip of distributing and layering fixes evenly throughout your chip pile — forever changing the nacho game.
Hero composition: Mushroom Taco Meat? Vegetarians, vegans and carnivores are swooning everywhere.
Get the recipe for Ultimate Loaded Nachos.
Artichoke & Spring Pea Crostini
Why we love it: These crostini don’t ask you for more than 15 minutes of time. Chop up slices of bread and blend your pesto ingredients in a food processor. Rally. Interesting. The good news is that once you’ve served your crostini to a crowd, any leftover peas will pair perfectly with a summer crunch or a delicious spread on a sandwich. vegetarian lovers. TL; DR: The possibilities for pesto beans are endless.
Hero composition: A garnish of artichoke leaves? Genius.
Get the recipe for Artichokes & Spring Pea Crostini.
Vegan Jalapeño Poppers from Minimalist Baker
Why we love it: Possibly polarizing, but I’ll say it anyway: It took me a long time to fall in love with a jalapeño popper. I can get hypothermic with a lot of heat and not be able to enjoy a full, cheese-filled ice cream. But when an order of poppers arrived at the table, the presentation and pairing overwhelmed me. BUT, take a vegan approach, cashews and nutritional yeast will create a dish that will pay off your cooking efforts tenfold.
Hero composition: Is it me, or is cumin one of the most underrated spices in the game? This recipe will leave you hooked.
Get the recipe for Vegan Jalapeño Poppers.
Lemony White Bean Dip from Rainbow Plant Life.
Why we love it: Tired of going out for hummus but still craving an ice cream dip? Here is your answer. While there are plenty of recipes that incorporate flavors of lemon, white beans, and garlic, this recipe takes things to the next level. Also of note: 10 ingredients and prep.
Hero composition: The pine nuts themselves are good. But baking? Good golden brown.
Get the recipe for Lemony White Bean Dip.
Charlie Bird Farro Salad
Why we love it: Grain salads come and go, but farro is forever. Indeed, its nutty flavor lends health and body to another green salad. Recipe creator Jessie De Lowe loves to incorporate any fresh produce from the farmers market, and this version makes the most of crunchy beets and ripe tomatoes.
Hero Ingredients: Light but packed with a crunchy punch (and savory if you will), pistachios are my #1 salad ingredient.
Get the recipe for Charlie Bird Farro Salad.
Mashed Cucumber Salad with Feta + Pistachios from Alison Wu
Why we love it: Don’t believe what you’ve heard, people — it’s real To be easy is green. Typically a dream about a salad. Taking a tip from recipe creator Alison Wu: “Smashing a cucumber will crack the skin, release water and seeds, and separate the flesh into bite-sized pieces.” So the next time you’re going to be slicing your cubs, try this method.
Hero composition: I’ve never come across a block of salty Feta that I didn’t cut under the knife.
Get the recipe for Grated Cucumber Salad with Feta + Pistachio.
Edible flower spring rolls from Live Eat Learn
Why we love it: A moment of appreciation for this inspirational piece of art. The garden vibe and rainbow aesthetic make these spring rolls a must-eat in my books — and a must-have for every party between now and Labor Day.
Hero composition: A variety of edible flowers make for an impressive presentation.
Get the recipe for edible flower spring rolls.
Bruschetta With Slow Baked Tomatoes and Ricotta
Why we love it: When Camille first came up with this recipe, I knew that my craving for a no-formula was finally satisfied. Sweet, slow-roasted tomatoes and creamy ricotta are topped with slices of toasted sourdough (a personal favorite). In other words, layers of summer goodness.
Hero Ingredients: A rich flaking salt helps balance all the flavors beautifully.
Get the recipe for Bruschetta With Slow Baked Tomatoes and Ricotta.
Blistering Shishito Chili from Cookie + Kate
Why we love it: Every time I eat a plate of pan-fried shishito peppers, my long-held risk-taking relationship is reactivated. What do I mean? Nine out of ten shishitos have a mild, almost sweet taste, while the remaining 10% will burn your mouth. Don’t worry, though, you can always make up for it with some aioli.
Hero Ingredients: Essentially a dish with only one ingredient, shishitos are the answer.
Get the recipe for Blistering Shishito Chili.