Last week, I invited a couple of mates over for dinner within the yard—on a Tuesday. All of our weekends have been jam-packed with journey or household commitments currently, so we figured, why not seize a free night in the midst of the week? (What occurred to these lengthy, lazy days of summer season, btw?!)
It jogged my memory why I really like a weeknight get-together. There’s zero stress to drag out all of the stops, and everybody tends to name it an early evening. But as a result of it’s a bit sudden, there’s a “go ahead, treat yourself” vibe that places everybody in a enjoyable temper. The solely problem? I had a workday stuffed with conferences and youngsters’ camp pickup simply 2 hours earlier than my friends arrived, so I knew that it was not going to be an evening for prepping a full dinner menu from scratch.
Enter: Snacks for Dinner. Also often known as the straightforward dinner resolution that comes collectively very quickly flat and that nobody is ever unhappy about. I pull this out of my again pocket all all through summer season, whether or not it’s for an impromptu pool get together or a Friday evening with the fam once I don’t really feel like cooking. It’s festive, it’s summery, it’s a celebration with practically zero effort. The thought of Snacks for Dinner is that it’s made up of scrumptious, store-bought substances that may be shortly assembled—and that mates or household can leap in and make it easier to throw collectively. Think of it as a gaggle exercise that may require a bit of chopping or mixing beforehand, however little or no precise cooking.
Here’s my system for the right “Snacks for Dinner” unfold: a toast + a board + a salad + a nibble + a candy.
Simple! It’s infinitely customizable, so select one merchandise from every part under, set it out family-style in the midst of your desk, and get snacking.
Snacks for Dinner Item #1: A Toast
This pretty toast is bursting with flavor, fresh herbs, and crunchy veggies. Make the kale pesto in advance, then set out all the toppings and invite friends to build their own.
This recipe proves, once again, that the simplest things taste the best—and it’s a great way to throw something unexpected into your snacks menu. Use really good crusty sourdough as your base, and char it on the grill or stove to impart more flavor. Use your absolute favorite garlicky hummus (bonus points if you use homemade!)
Tuna and avocado toast is one of my favorite things to make in the summer. Loosely inspired by a niçoise salad, it tops crusty bread with kale pesto, rough-mashed avocado, crisp cucumber slices, rich and garlicky oven-roasted tomatoes, chunks of oil-packed tuna, and loads of fresh basil. Mouth is watering.
Snacks for Dinner Item #2: A Board
4 ingredients (figs, burrata, pesto, and mint) that are such a perfect match, you’ll want to make this combo all summer long. You can make this as a salad, or spread out the ingredients on a big wood cutting board and let people scoop up bits, cheese plate-style.
This Green Goddess Dressing is the perfect accompaniment for fresh spring veggies–and it’s a great no-fuss appetizer to welcome outdoor dinner party season. Not to mention, the dressing is a dip or salad dressing you’ll want to have in your fridge at all times for impromptu snacks for dinner.
Okay, technically this is a salad recipe, but my reco for a simple summer gathering is to chop up all your ingredients and spread them out on a long wood plank for grazing, just like chef Helene Henderson did at the al fresco dinner she hosted.
Snacks for Dinner Item #3: A Salad
Juicy citrus, savory Marcona almonds, tangy onions, and fresh herbs, this citrus salad is refreshing, simple, and might be the new star of your summer table. Plus, I have a theory that just about every fruit is better with a drizzle of EVOO and sprinkle of flaky salt.
The combination of bitter greens, creamy white beans, and salty parm is downright addictive. Make this for an Italian-inspired aperitivo gathering, just like Olivia Muniak did.
At the magic hour gathering she recently hosted at her home in Santa Barbara, Jessie De Lowe served this salad because the centerpiece for a meal meant for sharing. She says, “I make sure to always include some toasted nuts for a crunch and some fruit for sweetness. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with the Farro Salad from Charlie Bird and have been making that on repeat.”
Snacks for Dinner Item #4: A Few Store-Bought Nibbles
Think of this as a chance to “fill in” your snacks for dinner unfold with some objects that require zero cooking. Olives, nuts, a block of parmesan, some charcuterie, or pickled veggies from the Whole Foods salad bar are all honest sport. Put them in little bowls and group collectively on a reducing board for a straightforward and stylish presentation.
My favorites are cerignola or castelvetrano olives—each are wealthy, meaty inexperienced olives that transport me to the Italian riviera. Don’t neglect a small bowl for discarding the pits.
I at all times preserve a jar of toasted nuts within the freezer. For events, almonds are my favorites, however pistachios, walnuts, or cashews work nice too. If they’re not already salted, make sure to add a pinch of flaky salt earlier than setting them out for snacking.
Especially when my menu veers extra plant-based, setting out a serving board with a few store-bought charcuterie choices is a good way so as to add some heft with little or no effort. My go to choices are thinly-sliced prosciutto and sliced salami.
Snacks for Dinner Item #5: Something Sweet (and Very Cold)
So refreshing, starring everyone’s favorite summer fruit. If you can find them, ripe and juicy Alphonso mangos work best here. Otherwise, whatever mango variety you can get at the store will work. You can absolutely use frozen mangos, just thaw them and drain any extra liquid for this specific recipe.
While I’m a self-proclaimed lover of delicious cakes and cookies, there is something inherently magical about desserts that require no active baking time. When simple ingredients are mixed together and become something entirely different, the effect is nothing short of magic. No wonder these bars are one of our most popular recipes of 2022.
The fact that this raspberry tiramisu can be made up to a day in advance and just hang out in the fridge, ready to go, makes it pretty near perfect for any summer party you’ve got on the books. Raspberries are used in two ways: fresh berries between the layers, plus raspberry liqueur in the soaking liquid. I love the dark fruity quality that it adds, especially combined with the chocolate, cream, and espresso flavors.