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
Mexico City Spiced Edamame
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 »
This simple Mexican salad consists of grilled zucchini, avocado, and salty, crumbled añejo cheese.
This simple recipe showcases the pure flavor of ripe avocados.
Naturally sweet squash is brightened by goat cheese and lemon zest in this light and tasty appetizer.
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 »
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 »
Garnished with saffron, walnuts, and garlic chips, this creamy dip makes for a flavorful appetizer.
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.
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
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 »
Stuffing zucchini with pecorino and ricotta makes a simple side dish that’s equally good eaten hot or at room temperature.
Gently browned cipollini onions add an unexpected hint of caramel sweetness to this hummus, deepening its earthy flavors.
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.