Vegetarian Summer Appetizer Recipes

Summer is a wonderful time for meat-free cooking

With all the fresh produce available during the season, summer is a wonderful time for meat-free cooking. Tomatoes, squash, corn and more—we can't help but feel inspired to make vegetarian dishes. This summer, start your meal with one of these delicious vegetarian appetizers.

At their peak, summer tomatoes are perfection. We crave their sweet, juicy, refreshing taste. Two classic tomato salads are caprese and panzanella. Our caprese uses both beefsteak and cherry or grape tomatoes, complementing them with burrata, basil, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Our panzanella uses any tomatoes you can find mixed with toasted bread.

During the heat of the summer, chilled soup is a great way to keep cool. When it comes to cold soup, you can't beat the Spanish raw vegetable and bread soup known as gazpacho. The classic Andalusian version is made with tomatoes and cucumbers, but we also love making a white version with macadamia nuts and serving it with asparagus. Also try salmorejo, a heartier cousin of gazpacho topped with hard-boiled eggs and Iberico ham.

Squash is a great vegetable because it's available all year in different forms. During the summer, yellow squash and zucchini are plentiful. Both can be used to top a puff pastry tart with a creamy goat cheese spread. Zucchini and avocado come together with queso añejo and cilantro to make a salad served by artist Frida Kahlo.

Take advantage of summer produce with these vegetarian summer appetizer recipes.

Tomato Salad with Green Beans and Basil
Tomato Salad with Green Beans and Basil
Tearing the basil leaves for this simple salad releases their aroma while preventing the bruising that results from chopping.Marcus Nilsson
Mexico City Spiced Edamame
Mexico City Spiced Edamame
We first had this spicy dish, dusted with plenty of cayenne pepper and brightened with lime, as a starter at Brooklyn's Xixa, a Mexico City-inspired restaurant from the owners of Traif. It makes a great simple snack with an ice-cold beer.Farideh Sadeghin
Caprese Salad
Caprese Salad
A dish as simple as caprese salad demands the best ingredients: Use firm, in-season tomatoes, the freshest burrata, and dress with pristine olive oil and top-quality balsamic vinegar.Landon Nordeman
Herbed Crème Fraîche Dip
Herbed Crème Fraîche Dip
Herbes de Provence, the quintessential Provençal seasoning combo of thyme, rosemary, marjoram, and oregano, enhances this lemony crème fraîche dip. Serve it with crudités as part of a picnic spread.Matt Taylor-Gross
Frida Kahlo's Zucchini Salad (Ensalada de Calabacín)
Frida Kahlo's Zucchini Salad (Ensalada de Calabacín)
This simple Mexican salad consists of grilled zucchini, avocado, and salty, crumbled añejo cheese.Farideh Sadeghin
Guacamole
Guacamole
This simple recipe showcases the pure flavor of ripe avocados.André Baranowski
Grilled Corn with Herbed Goat Cheese Butter
Grilled Corn with Herbed Goat Cheese Butter
Sweet corn grilled in its husk is enhanced by an herbal goat cheese compound butter. Get the recipe for Grilled Corn with Herbed Goat Cheese Butter »Todd Coleman
Grilled Corn with Pesto
Grilled Corn with Pesto
Grilled ears of corn take on a smokiness that pairs well with a garlicky pesto.Todd Coleman
Grilled Vegetable Salad
Grilled Vegetable Salad (Sallad på Rostade Grönsaker)
Beets, asparagus, eggplant, cauliflower, and fennel are slathered in olive oil and grilled, then tossed with lemon juice and zest to make this warm, smoky grilled salad.Felix Odell
Seasonal Squash Tart
Seasonal Squash Tart
Naturally sweet squash is brightened by goat cheese and lemon zest in this light and tasty appetizer.Anna Stockwell
Summer Panzanella
Summer Panzanella
Sweet, ripe, summer tomatoes dressed in olive oil, vinegar, and basil are tossed with garlicky, toasted bread cubes to soak up the delicious juices in this classic Italian salad.Helen Rosner
Pan-Fried Eggplant with Balsamic, Basil, and Capers
Pan-Fried Eggplant with Balsamic, Basil, and Capers
Creamy, mild eggplant pairs with briny capers, floral basil, and a drizzle of balsamic reduction for a knockout appetizer or side dish.Landon Nordeman
Parsley and Onion Salad
Parsley and Onion Salad
Fresh red onions add cool spice to this simple parsley salad from Jeremiah Cooks (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2002), by Jeremiah Tower. Served on grilled bread with a touch of mint and a sprinkle of capers, the salad looks as appealing as it tastes.Todd Coleman
Sweet Potato Honey Fries with Curry-Honey Sauce
Sweet Potato Honey Fries with Curry-Honey Sauce
An aromatic combination of spices elevate the humble sweet potato oven fry to something truly special.Maxime Iattoni
Eggplant and Yogurt Dip (Borani-e Bademjan)
Eggplant and Yogurt Dip (Borani-e Bademjan)
Garnished with saffron, walnuts, and garlic chips, this creamy dip makes for a flavorful appetizer.Ali Farboud
Homemade Jalapeño Poppers
Homemade Jalapeño Poppers
Packed with a spicy, cheesy filling, these roasted and fried jalapeños gain depth from charring under the broiler and a crispy crust from the bread crumb coating.Todd Coleman
Gazpacho Andaluz
Gazpacho Andaluz
Though there are many versions of gazpacho, the traditional, tomato-based Andalusian variety is the one you want on a hot afternoon or warm evening.Farideh Sadeghin
Chilled Macadamia Gazpacho with Cured Asparagus
Chilled Macadamia Gazpacho with Cured Asparagus
Sweet macadamia nuts, toasted to deepen their flavor, give a creamy base to this creative chilled gazpacho with asparagus. Get the recipe for Chilled Macadamia Gazpacho with Cured Asparagus »Romulo Yanes
Salmorejo
Salmorejo
Salmorejo, gazpacho's richer, deeper cousin, is a cool, creamy soup typically topped with chopped hard-boiled eggs and salty prosciutto or Iberian ham; omit the pork to make it vegetarian.Todd Coleman
Spicy Okra Pickles
Spicy Okra Pickles
Based on a recipe from Eastern Shore musician William "Pooh" Johnston, these spicy pickles are a delicious accompaniment to summertime meals.Helen Rosner
Zucchini Stuffed with Ricotta
Zucchini Stuffed with Ricotta
Stuffing zucchini with pecorino and ricotta makes a simple side dish that's equally good eaten hot or at room temperature.Landon Nordeman
Cipollini Onion Hummus
Cipollini Onion Hummus
Gently browned cipollini onions add an unexpected hint of caramel sweetness to this hummus, deepening its earthy flavors.Leah Koenig
Eggplant and Parsley Dip (Melintzanosalata)
Eggplant and Parsley Dip (Melintzanosalata)
Chiles lend heat to this smoky dip from Kea, Greece.Penny De Los Santos
Padang-Style Mashed Potato Fritters (Perkedel Kenteng)
Padang-Style Mashed Potato Fritters (Perkedel Kenteng)
To make these crisp-crusted fritters, mashed potatoes blended with pan-fried shallots and freshly grated nutmeg are dipped in beaten egg and fried. Get the recipe for Padang-Style Mashed Potato Fritters (Perkedel Kenteng) »Ingalls Photography
Batter-Fried Scallions
Batter-Fried Scallions
Delicate onions turn crunchy and sweet when dipped in batter and fried.Helen Rosner
Fried Artichoke Hearts with Taratur Sauce
Fried Artichoke Hearts with Taratur Sauce
We found this recipe—a flavorful local favorite, in which tender artichoke bottoms are fried and served with an intense, tahini-based sauce—at al-Az, a casual but well-known restaurant in Damascus.Helen Rosner
Broccoli Rabe, Cannellini Bean, and Ricotta Crostini
Broccoli Rabe, Cannellini Bean, and Ricotta Crostini
Crusty, garlicky toasted bread is topped with creamy ricotta, rosemary-accented beans, and spicy sautéed broccoli rabe in this quick, satisfying Italian appetizer.Andre Baranowski
Zucchini Fritters (Kolokitho Keftedes)
Zucchini Fritters (Kolokitho Keftedes)
Squash's mild sweetness is balanced by sharp parmesan cheese and a pinch of spicy cayenne in this crowd-pleasing Cretan meze dish.Todd Coleman