Summer Appetizers: No Cooking Required

With MDW (that's memorial day weekend) just three weeks away, I started thinking about the loads of summer parties and picnics we would be attending in the next few months. I love experimenting with new appetizers, but sometimes in the heat of the summer, the last thing you want to do is turn on your oven and make bacon wrapped water chestnuts or even boil water for an easy pasta salad. Here are six appetizers that require zero cooking and are super easy to make.

Do you have any other delicious, no-heat appetizers that you make during the summer? Tell me about them in the comments!

Caprese salad
Serves 4 as an appetizer or side

4 vine ripe tomatoes, sliced thick
12 oz good mozzarella (the kind in liquid), sliced thick
15-20 large basil leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

Arrange tomato, mozzarella, and basil leaves on a platter. Drizzle olive oil over the top of the salad, getting a little bit on each slice. 

End with a sprinkling of kosher salt and black pepper.

You may have also seen this mini-version of the caprese salad before, which is also perfect for a crowd, but a little more time consuming.

Chicken Salad
Serves 8-10 as an appetizer

1 rotisserie chicken
3-4 stalks of celery finely chopped
1/2 large red onion finely chopped
1 1/2 cups of green grapes finely chopped
1 tablespoon of mayonnaise 
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs 
salt & pepper to taste

1. Remove meat from rotisserie chicken and shred with your hands or chop into very fine pieces. 
2. Combine chicken in a large mixing bowl with chopped celery, onion, grapes, mayonnaise, and herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

You don't need much mayo because the chicken is so moist and the grapes add a little liquid as well. You could always eliminate the mayonnaise altogether and use a little olive oil or plain Greek yogurt to bind everything together instead. 

I usually serve the chicken salad on Garden Herb flavored Triscuits (it's basically the best combination known to man.) But if you want a gluten-free option you could get fancy and serve on slices of cucumber or with butter lettuce as a wrap.

Greek Salad Bites
Serves 8-10 as an appetizer 

8 oz feta cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 jars (9.5 oz each) of pitted kalamata olives 
2 cans (14 oz each) of quartered artichoke hearts
2 jars (12 oz each) of roasted red peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 lemon, for juice

Assemble bites by putting one piece of roasted red pepper, one piece of artichoke, one olive and one cube of feta on each toothpick. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and then squeeze the lemon over top.

Olive Tapenade
Serves 4-6 as an appetizer

1/2 lb pitted mixed olives
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons capers
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
fresh ground pepper to taste

Thoroughly rinse the olives in cool water. Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process to combine, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until the mixture becomes a coarse paste, approximately 1 to 2 minutes total. Season with fresh pepper and transfer to a bowl and serve. 

Can be served with endive leaves or crackers. 

Shrimp Ceviche
Serves 4 as an appetizer

1/2 lb frozen cooked shrimp, thawed and coarsely chopped
2 limes, juiced
2 oranges, juiced
1/2 cup red onion, thinly slice and then chopped into smaller slices
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 avocado, cut into small cubes
1 tsp kosher salt

Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and gently fold to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes and then serve. 

Served with just with a fork, or with tortilla/plantain chips.

Radishes with Chive Butter
Serves 6-8 as an appetizer

4 tablespoons unsalted butter*, softened
1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped
1/2 lb radishes washed, trimmed and cut in half 
coarse sea salt 

Mix butter and chives in bowl. Spread chive butter onto radish halves. Sprinkle liberally with salt. 

*Note: I highly recommend investing in a high-quality butter for this appetizer, you'll taste the difference!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...