‘This is the season to eat as many meals as possible and at the same time enjoy the sun. The perfect way to make that happen? Of course, arm yourself with an arsenal of outdoor recipes. There are few feelings I love more in life than enjoying the warmth of summer while eating something delicious in the presence of friends. That said, there is an art to creating the perfect picnic menu, especially when you’re entertaining a crowd. That’s why having a variety of outdoor recipes is a must-have for the summer.
Many of you know that I started my career in catering, and planning menus for large groups in the sweltering Austin midsummer heat taught me a two things about preparing for the elements. I took those lessons with me, and now when hosting outdoor gatherings at home, I follow a few key principles when planning my menu.
My go-to tip? Food served outdoors should be simple, easy to eat, served family style, and moderate at room temperature. As summer is rapidly approaching and Memorial Day weekend is approaching (insert main party emojis here), I thought it would be the perfect time to round up appetizers. My favorite flavors, potatoes, ribs and dessert always get me through the summer season without breaking a sweat. Let me know if you see any of your essentials listed!
Featured image of Hannah Haston.
Scroll to see some of my favorite outdoor recipes.
The key to starting a summer party right? Lay out a board with something sturdy that can hang for a while without getting rough or browning (this is an avocado.) Dipping, spreads, fresh produce, and toast are a successful combination. .
Perfect Hummus, 3 ways
Why we love it: Take your pick for this delicious hummus recipe: original, red pepper, and cilantro lime. Or go wild and make all three!
Hero composition: It wouldn’t be hummus without tahini — it’s the queen of all three recipes.
Get the recipe for Perfect Hummus, 3 ways.
Burrata With Figs, & Pesto
Why we love it: While dried figs help satisfy our natural sweetness during the cold months, there’s something about snacking on fresh figs that will keep you satisfied during the summer. Find the ripest figs you can for this fascinating app. Figs have a short season but can easily be replaced with stone fruits such as apricots, peaches or plums.
Hero composition: Burrata gives energy to the protagonist.
Get the recipe for Burrata With Figs & Pesto.
Mint Tzatziki with Peas Endive & Sugar Snap
Why we love it: This mint tzatziki goes well with anything, so rest assured that whatever you have on hand for dipping will be absolutely delicious. The one I like? Crispy peas and the crunchiest sugar you can find.
Hero composition: Two tablespoons of fresh mint keep things as flavorful as possible.
Get the recipe for Mint Tzatziki With Endive Peas & Sugar Snap.
Prosciutto and Melon Skewers
Why we love it: You’ll think you’re in Italy with these delicious, easy-to-make skewers. Grab a delicious balsamic for that drizzle and enjoy.
Hero composition: A savory pickle is the perfect accompaniment to a slightly sweet pickle.
Get the recipe for Prosciutto and Melon Skewers.
When it comes to the heart of an outdoor dinner party, I always choose something that doesn’t require a lot of soiling (who wants to go inside to clean?) And that doesn’t make me run in and get a lot, either. Various ingredients from the kitchen. Usually, that looks like a simple protein (steak, chicken or fish) that I can marinate first then toss on the grill or bake in the oven. Garnish with a refreshing summer shower and you’ve got yourself a perfect summer meal for the crowd.
Grilled New York Strip Steak with Chimichurri
Why we love it: You can’t go without a delicious steak on a hot summer day. Bake it up and topped with our favorite chimichurri recipe for your next picnic.
Hero composition: Your favorite prepared, zesty, and herby sauces will infuse your chimichurri with flavors beyond imagination. Also, you should be able to finish it in minutes.
Get the recipe for Grilled New York Strip Steak With Chimichurri.
Craft your own rainbow cereal bowl
Why we love it: Perfect for a potluck, these cereal bowls are hearty, filling, healthy, and sturdy. They’re making, one of my favorites on this list of outdoor recipes.
Hero composition: Filling your bowl with freekah gives your main dish a savory almost smoky flavor. They are very chewy and are a more enjoyable substitute for rice.
Get the recipe to make your own Rainbow Cereal Bowl.
Shawarma marinated chicken thighs with herb salad
Why we love it: This chicken dish is fragrant, flavorful, and guaranteed to please the crowd. Serve it up at your next family dinner or outdoor gathering. It will become a staple outdoor recipe, guaranteed.
Hero composition: Coriander is one of the most polarizing herbs in the game, but I couldn’t get enough of its complex, citrus flavor.
Get the recipe for Shawarma Marinated Chicken Thighs With Herb Salad.
Pita Board and Mediterranean Kebab
Why we love it: You’ve got a full meal on a plate with a delicious, filling and enjoyable pita and kebab board. It was an unexpected dish that was both delicious and lovely.
Hero composition: This is less recipe and more recipe. That way, you can top your board with any and all of your favorite Mediterranean-inspired ingredients. Go to mine? Salty Feta blocks of course.
Get the recipe for Mediterranean Pita and Kebab Board.
The most important rule when it comes to summer outdoor parties? They must be able to stay on the table a bit at room temperature and taste as good as when they were hot (or cold). should be served as soon as it comes out of the oven. Simple roasted vegetables, anything on the grill, and chopped salads are certainly low-maintenance standby dishes that are key components of outdoor recipes.
Grilled Cauliflower Tahini Turmeric
Why we love it: You can’t go wrong with a side of cauliflower, and this cauliflower recipe with turmeric and tahini is healthy, rich, and flavorful.
Hero composition: Turmeric is sun-dried in a spice.
Get the recipe for Tahini Turmeric Grilled Cauliflower.
Season baked sweet potatoes with chimichurri
Why we love it: You know, I love sweet potatoes and this repeat roast is an easy and healthy side dish for your next barbecue.
Hero composition: Is there anything sweet potatoes can’t do?
Get the recipe for Baked Sweet Potato Wedges with Chimichurri.
Gluten Free Cauliflower Tabbouleh
Why we love it: Keep your outdoor recipes light and simple with this gluten-free tabbouleh. It’s an easy spin on your daily tabbouleh that those on restrictive diets can also enjoy.
Hero composition: Dried cranberries impart a mild, pleasant sweetness that plays an important role in the other ingredients of this salad. Plus, that color!
Get the recipe for Gluten-Free Cauliflower Tabbouleh.
Rainbow carrots with yogurt and pistachios
Why we love it: You’ll be surprised by how decadent these rainbow carrots taste. It’s one of those delicious outdoor recipes.
Hero composition: Orange juice and peel are both important ingredients that will make your carrots more flavorful.
Get the recipe for rainbow carrots with yogurt and pistachios.
Fans of outdoor recipes know that having a few simple sweet treats up your sleeve is the best way to keep the party going. I usually end the evening by bringing out a fresh tray of cookies from the oven. (I roll up the dough first and put it in the preheated oven before serving the dinner dishes.) Everyone kneads and picks them up by hand, which means I don’t have to pick up more plates and silverware at the end of the night when people are busy. My dishwasher cried out of pity.
I couldn’t help throwing in a few of my other favorite summer sweets featuring the prettiest product. And I’ve never met a guest who didn’t love a hunter. Have friends?
The best chocolate chip cookies on the planet
Why we love it: Get ready to bring and present to your family a warm batch of cookies at the end of a meal. People will ask you about the recipe. Do you want to share or not?
Hero composition: What makes these chocolate chip cookies the best? Toast the grated coconut before mixing in the batter. You will not regret it.
Get the recipe for the Best Chocolate Cookies on the Planet.
Blueberry almond coffee cake
Why we love it: Pastries are a great option when having an outdoor gathering. You can only take it out when it’s dessert time. And did I mention how delicious this recipe is? I can’t have enough.
Hero composition: Almond extract is an underrated ingredient that you need to start adding to all your desserts. This coffee cake is a delicious way to start.
Get the recipe for Blueberry Almond Coffee Cake.
Panna Cotta Vanilla With Strawberries
Why we love it: This panna cotta just looks fancy, but it’s actually super simple to whip up.
Hero composition: Vanilla extract is good (like, really good), but a fresh vanilla bean? The best.
Get the recipe for Panna Cotta Vanilla With Strawberries.
Why we love it: No range of outdoor recipes is complete without a simple dessert. Because what could be better than a berry picker? Answer: nothing.
Hero composition: Mix together any array of off-season fruit your heart desires. Let what’s fresh and available at the farmers market guide you. You really can’t go wrong.
This post was originally published on May 17, 2019 and has since been updated.