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
Mexico City Spiced Edamame

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. Get the recipe for Caprese Salad »

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. Get the recipe for Herbed Crème Fraîche Dip »

Frida Kahlo’s Zucchini Salad (Ensalada de Calabacín)

This simple Mexican salad consists of grilled zucchini, avocado, and salty, crumbled añejo cheese.

Guacamole

This simple recipe showcases the pure flavor of ripe avocados.

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 »

Grilled Corn with Pesto

Grilled Corn with Pesto

Grilled Vegetable Salad (Sallad på Rostade Grönsaker)

Grilled Vegetable Salad

Seasonal Squash Tart

Naturally sweet squash is brightened by goat cheese and lemon zest in this light and tasty appetizer.

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. Get the recipe for Summer Panzanella »

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. Get the recipe for Pan-Fried Eggplant with Balsamic, Basil, and Capers »

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. Get the recipe for Parsley and Onion Salad »

Sweet Potato Honey Fries with Curry-Honey Sauce

An aromatic combination of spices elevate the humble sweet potato oven fry to something truly special. Get the recipe for Sweet Potato Honey Fries with Curry-Honey Sauce »

Eggplant and Yogurt Dip (Borani-e Bademjan)

Garnished with saffron, walnuts, and garlic chips, this creamy dip makes for a flavorful appetizer.

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.

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. Get the recipe for Gazpacho Andaluz »

Chilled Macadamia Gazpacho with Cured Asparagus

Chilled Macadamia Gazpacho with Cured Asparagus

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. Get the recipe for Salmorejo »

Spicy Okra Pickles

Based on a recipe from Eastern Shore musician William “Pooh” Johnston, these spicy pickles are a delicious accompaniment to summertime meals.

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.

Cipollini Onion Hummus

Gently browned cipollini onions add an unexpected hint of caramel sweetness to this hummus, deepening its earthy flavors.

Eggplant and Parsley Dip (Melintzanosalata)

Chiles lend heat to this smoky dip from Kea, Greece. Get the recipe for Eggplant and Parsley Dip (Melintzanosalata) »

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) »

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. Get the recipe for Fried Artichoke Hearts with Taratur Sauce »

Broccoli Rabe, Cannellini Bean, and Ricotta Crostini

Broccoli Rabe, Cannellini Bean, and Ricotta Crostini
Squash’s mild sweetness is balanced by sharp parmesan cheese and a pinch of spicy cayenne in this crowd-pleasing Cretan meze dish.