Even on scorching hot days where it’s unbearable to just think about turning on the oven, you can still serve some tasty bites to family and friends. These no-cook appetizers are elegant enough to serve as cooling starters for summer dining al fresco.
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus in Cucumber Cups
Welcome guests to your picnic blanket with a platter of super-fresh and summery apps. Crispy cucumbers are at their best when filled with ultra-smooth hummus made with white beans, roasted red peppers and cumin.
Ceviche and Chips
Fresh halibut and prawns are tossed with serrano chiles, tomatoes and cooling lime juice for a perfectly scoopable ceviche and chips. Using key limes, if they’re available, adds a whole new layer of flavour.
Fresh Vegetable Rolls
This fresh salad roll bumps the fruit and vegetable quotient with the addition of creamy avocado, red peppers and mango. Toasted chopped cashews add crunch, and, for those who find working with rice paper daunting, this recipe doubles up on the wrapper for easier handling.
Chilled Peach Soup
Peaches and yogurt will cool everyone down with this palate refresher. Red firecracker chiles, nigella seeds and basil add spicy and herbal notes for this summer crowd pleaser.
Cucumber Rolls and Cups
Pretty and petite, these cucumber rolls come together quickly with the use of a vegetable peeler, some prepared crème fraîche and a scant amount of tiny salmon roe and dill sprigs for garnish.
Clementine and Olive Mascarpone
On paper, this unique combination doesn’t sound like it should work, but mellow green olives, crunchy red pepper and sweet clementine oranges come together for a rich treat. As this is a heavier appetizer, serve it in small jars or bowls to avoid filling people up before the main event.
Cubes of rich ahi tuna and fatty avocado are dressed with truffle oil, rayu (spicy sesame seed oil) and crunchy furikake for a complex appetizer that will have guests raving. Pile on the luxury with caviar and shiso leaves, if you dare.
Tzatziki Mezze Plate
A Mediterranean-style mezze plate is lightened up with a cottage cheese version of tzatziki. Pair it with pita chips, grape tomatoes, stuffed grape leaves (dolmades), and Kalamata olives.
Caesar Cocktail Dip
Caesars aren’t just for drinking. Try making it into a dip with baby clams, Roma tomatoes and all the traditional bar fixings such as hot sauce and celery salt. Include it as part of a dip bar and you’ll have guests clustered around it all night long.