there’s nothing more fun to me than cooking with friends and family on a long weekend. so, i’ve rounded up a combination of recipes that are perfect for easy-breezy summer weekends. one’s that are spent at the beach, in the backyard, at the park for a picnic - you name it, there’s a recipe for that! we have sides, mains, a cold slurp-able recipe, all things potatoes, summery sweets, and a mini section dedicated to grilling. so i feel like whatever you’re looking for you’ll find something here that hopefully will inspire you to make it or some version of it. wishing everyone stateside a lovely long weekend! here’s to it officially being summer! 💛

to start:

golden sunflower gazpacho - an impressive summer sipper. the great thing about gazpacho is that it’s great to make ahead of time (up to 2 days before you’re ready to serve it), and it’s cold for hot summer days! but i love this gazpacho mostly because at its base there are sunflower seeds that are blended up with the summer vegetables, making it a bit more creamy than a traditional gazpacho. plus, it’s vibrant yellow color screams summer.

bean-less sunflower seed & garlic hummus - summer isn’t summer without hummus as far as i’m concerned. neither is a long lazy weekend. this hummus is a bean-less iteration where we used soaked sunflower seeds in lieu of chickpeas. the rest of the ingredients are typical to traditional hummus: tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt & pepper, and water. i like to jazz it up on occasion if i can using black garlic (if you have it or can find it, i highly recommend it!), or 3-4 drained shallots and 4-5 garlic drained cloves from this garlic, herb & shallot confit with some of the infused oil to top the hummus (as shown above). you really can’t go wrong with this recipe.

as a main:

niçoise sandwiches - these sandwiches are great for a day at the beach, or a picnic in the park. they pack up easy, and each component can be prepared ahead of time making assembling them on the day of that much easier. they’ve got fresh crunchy vegetables, a dreamy shallot-garlic-balsamic vinaigrette, and crunchy bread! what’s not to love?

sprouted quinoa sliders w/ garlicky cucumber slaw - these are a great alternative to your typical summer bbq meal and they’re wonderful for vegetarians or vegans. they’re made with sprouted quinoa, held together by mashed sweet potato and a bit of gluten-free breadcrumbs. the original recipe calls for ramps, but since they’re season has passed, you could easily use green onions, or leeks in their place. plus, these patties can be prepared ahead of time and then cooked the day of.

summer beet tacos w/ beet green salsa verde & spicy pickled onions - another vegetarian and vegan friendly main dish. these tacos are colorful, fun, and taste like a dream. yet another make-ahead-friendly dish, and could even be served as an appetizer on a small tortilla if you like. while beets can often fall flat because of their earthy flavor, these are jazzed up with a punchy green salsa, sharp pickled onions, creamy avocado, and good bit of lime juice.

to bake:

raspberry-currant yogurt crumble cake - to date one of my favorite ways to use summer fruit. this cake is loaded with fresh summer berries and currants. but you could easily use whatever fruit you like - be it cherries, peaches, blueberries, or some combination. it’s light and sweet, and that bit of spiced crumble topping just takes it to another delicious place.

cilantro-watermelon granita w/ mint - by far one of the easiest desserts you can make, and it’s impressive to boot! all you do is blend all the ingredients in a blender or food processor, freeze the mixture for a total of about 6 hours, and there you basically have summer in dessert form! my favorite way to serve these is in a see-through cup and, if you can find some, garnishing the tops with violet mint flowers, or even just small mint stems.

red berry blondies - for anyone who doesn’t like to make pie, but loves berries in dessert - this one’s for you! while blondies are the non-chocolate cousin to brownies, these are just as rich and dare i say a bit gooey. so be prepared for a heavier dessert with this one. the berries lighten them up a bit and definitely work to make these the ultimate summer-friendly dessert.

all things potatoes:

crunchy smashed potato salad w/ garlicky yogurt vinaigrette & pickled onions - i know i shouldn’t play favorites, but if there’s one thing you make on this list, this one’s it! it has everything you want and need in a potato salad: crunchy, salty, tender potato flecks, creamy yogurt-y dressing, and super punchy pink pickled onions! there’s nothing you or your potential guests won’t love about this potato salad!

warm fingerling potatoes w/ garlic-turmeric sauce - another potato salad mash-up with tons of flavor! the garlic-turmeric sauce is a favorite around here and is sure to add that extra something to just about anything it touches. add in some shaved red cabbage and you have yourself the perfect crunch to compliment everything else going on here.

chickpea flatbread w/ new potatoes & fresh basil - this has been one of the most popular recipes on my site for years now, and for good reason! easy homemade flatbread - check! crunchy potatoes - check! fresh summer garlic & herbs - check! there are also mushrooms for a bit of earthiness, that just adds to the flavor here. this flatbread is perfect to serve on the side to any main, or as an appetizer. either way you’re in for a treat!

to toss:

cherry panzanella - this salad is another favorite. it’s got everything you could ever want: cherries, fresh crunchy greens, heirloom tomatoes, fresh summer herbs, a punchy dressing, and crunchy bread bits! enough said! just go ahead and make it ;)

mellow melon salad - here we have a leaf-less salad composed of summer melons, julienned summer squash, grilled corn, tomatoes, and sweet shaved melon wedges. the colors in this salad scream summer, and so does its flavor - sweet and savory all at the same time!

to grill:

hickory smoked salmon skewers - these salmon skewers are one of my favorite recipes to date. the salmon is marinated in a subtle, but flavorful mustard-vinegar-based bbq sauce, then lightly grilled with hickory, giving them that bbq vibe while not completely overpowering them with smoke. minus the marinating and heating of your grill, these are a breeze to make - about 10 minutes of cooking time total! serve them over some lightly dressed greens and your meal is good to go!

grilled summer pizza w/ garden pesto & balsamic caramelized onions - if you have a bit of extra time, and want to challenge yourself beyond the limitations of your oven, then make grilled pizza! the flavor is what really takes it up a notch, especially if you use a charcoal grill. there is a learning curve here if you are using a charcoal grill, but nothing that’s too intimidating. there’s nothing better than pizza on a long weekend ;)

(DRY ROASTED) TAMARI PARTY MIX! 🎉 by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

i made this party muix the other day on a whim. all i really wanted to do was attempt dry-roasting nuts. for whatever reason, i had it stuck in my head that a dry roast required some sort of fancy machinery. when in fact is really just involves an oven, or a hot skillet and a flame.

there are these little bags of dry roasted tamari almonds that i buy at the store that cost way too much for the teeny portion you pay for. so for curiosity’s sake, and to save a few dollars, i decided to dry-roast my own almonds at home. and i actually liked them better. the store-bought variety lacks consistency. the tamari doesn’t seem to cover each and every almond (first world problems, i know). i then thought how delicious this would be in party mix form. it took a couple of iterations to find which nuts to use and whether to roast the preztels or not. and what i discovered was: don’t use walnuts. maybe it’s a personal preference, but walnuts and tamari isn’t my thing. and roasting the pretzels isn’t necessary at all.

but really, the best part about this party mix? each and every nut and pretzel is coated with an even amount of tamari. that wonderful umami flavor shines through with every bite, as well as the lovely flavor that roasting nuts offers. it’s really the perfect little snack to bring along wherever you’re going, full of healthy fats that keep you full and thriving. plus, who doesn’t love a party mix!? ;)

happy end of february, loves! xo

(dry roasted) tamari party mix | gf & v

you could use any nuts you prefer here, but as i noted above, i tried a mix that involved walnuts and really didn’t like how the walnuts and tamari tasted together. i think next time i’ll try a version that add cereal too, i think it would just add to the “party” vibe, and be perhaps be more kid-friendly ;)

| makes roughly 5 cups |

  • 1 cup raw almonds

  • 1 cup raw cashews

  • 1 cup raw pecans

  • 1 cup raw peanuts

  • 1 cup gluten-free pretzels (or pretzels of choice)

  • 5 tablespoons gluten-free tamari

  • fresh rosemary sprigs, for garnish


  1. preheat oven to 300°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. spread the almonds, cashews, peanuts and pecans evenly into 1 of the baking sheets.  toast in the oven for 10 minutes. remove the nuts from the oven and use a spatula to turn them over. place them back in the oven for another 7-8 minutes, until lightly toasted and fragrant (if you’re using a convection oven the cook time will likely be shorter; check the nuts after about 4-5 minutes on the second go round).

  3. remove the nuts from the oven, and turn oven off.

  4. place the nuts in a large bowl.  add the pretzels and pour in the tamari sauce.  use a rubber spatula to mix evenly, until everything is lightly coated, and only a small amount of tamari remains at the bottom of the bowl.

  5. divide the party mix evenly between the two baking sheets and place back in the warm oven to dry for 10 minutes.  remove and flip party mix over; place back in the oven to dry for another 8-10 minutes.

  6. once completely dry, remove from the oven and let cool completely before storing, about 1 hour.

  7. store the party mix in air tight containers at room temperature for up to 1 week.

similar recipes:

honey, ginger & sesame roasted nuts

honey, ginger & sesame roasted nuts

maple almonds w/ flaky sea salt

maple almonds w/ flaky sea salt

nut & seed granola

nut & seed granola

Double Chocolate Caramel Cake & 5 Years by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

frank and i celebrate 5 years of marriage tomorrow.  it was one of the best days of my life, a day filled with such an overwhelming amount cheer and enthusiasm from so many people that it's hard to describe with just mere words.  

since i was a little girl, i thought i would get married where i summered every year on martha's vineyard.  i had the venue picked out and everything!  we would get married on the patio of beach plum inn, while overlooking menemsha bight at sunset.  there would be twinkling lights, and great food, and dancing, and all around awesome time. clearly little me wasn't thinking about grownup things like cost and logistics.  so when frank and i started wedding planning a wedding on martha's vineyard was quickly crossed off. so we switched gears to something a bit more local, and affordable.  a quick google search of "farms by the ocean", turned up with some interesting, but very limited options.  luckily, we found salt air farm, which by the name alone had me super interested.  it happened to be located on long island, where i grew up when i was little, and everything quickly fell into place, and felt so right.

our wedding was very much a family affair, which makes the memory that much sweeter.  my mom, a close family friend/planner/caterer, and i planned every last detail.  our dj was another long-time friend, as was our amazing photographer.  i designed the invitations, seating cards, table numbers, etc.! and salt air farm also happened to be a fruit and flower farm, so all the centerpieces came right from the fields that the entrance of the farm welcomed each guest with.  there was so much heart and soul that went into our wedding, but we also never felt more appreciative of the outpouring of love than on that day.    

but the best part was marrying frank.  never have i known anyone like him.  he is simply the sweetest, kindest, most patient man i will ever know. i am forever grateful to whatever cosmic powers that led to us meeting.  

ok, let's talk cake before i start crying even more than i already am.  our wedding cake was 3-tiers, and aside from being yummy and gluten-and-dairy-free, i didn't really care too much about it.  we went to babycakes in nyc, and tasted a few of their flavors, and i'm pretty sure we just settled on a basic chocolate and vanilla  duo, with a traditional vanilla frosting.  the cake here has two really luscious chocolate-y layers, a chocolate fudge frosting, and it's topped off with an almond butter-based caramel sauce.  i decorated it with the same blush-y shade of flowers that was in my wedding bouquet, as well as in the centerpieces on each table - a subtle, little reminder of that day.  the recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks from this past spring, sweet laurel.  the book is full of thoughtful gluten-and-dairy-free recipes.  from morning treats, to breads, and nut-based cream cheese; to beautiful cakes, and tips on how to decorate them.  it's a lovely book for those who love to bake, or someone who is new to gluten-and-dairy-free baking.

love & cake.  xo!  

**all non-cake photos by: kisha bari

Double Chocolate Caramel Cake | gf & df

chocolate cake and dark chocolate fudge frosting recipe from Sweet Laurel, by Laurel Gallucci & Claire Thomas

| make a two 6-inch layers |

dark chocolate fudge frosting


  • 4 pounces 100% cacao unsweetened baking chocolate, roughly chopped
  •  1/4 cup coconut oil, solid
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup almond milk or full-fall coconut milk, or as needed


  • coconut nut oil, for greasing the pans
  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup 100% unsweetened cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon himalayan pink salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dark chocolate fudge frosting (ingredients below)
  • 1 cup caramel sauce (ingredients below)

caramel sauce (recipe from Pinch of Yum)

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • pinch of sea salt


  1. make the frosting.  in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the chocolate and coconut oil, stirring constantly.  remove the pan from the heat.  slowly add the maple syrup and stir to incorporate.  allow to cool completely.
  2. transfer the chocolate mixture to a medium bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat in the almond butter until a thick frosting forms.  add the almond milk and stir with a spatula until smooth.
  3. refrigerate for at least 8 hours, then bring to room temperature and beat with an electric mixer until spreadable. 
  4. make the cake.  preheat oven to 350°F.  line two 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper rounds, then grease the sides of the pans with coconut oil.
  5. in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour cacao powder, baking soda, and salt.  in a large bowl, whisk the eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla.  a little at a time, add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring until a batter forms.
  6. divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  invert the cakes onto racks, and allow to cool completely (*my note: i let the cake cool in the pan on a rack, then inverted them onto a rack to then cool completely).
  7. place one layer on a cake plate and top with 1/2 cup of the fudge frosting, smoothing it evenly over the entire surface.  drizzle a few tablespoons of the caramel on top.  add the second layer and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of frosting, then drizzle more caramel over the cake, letting it drip down the sides. 
  8. refrigerate until ready to serve.  take out 20-30 minutes prior to serving.  decorate with fresh blooms, sprinkles, herbs, herbs flowers, etc.!

similar recipes: 

chocolate layer cake w/ cacao macadamia mousse & coconut whip

chocolate layer cake w/ cacao macadamia mousse & coconut whip

strawberry-rhubarb olive oil cake w/ chocolate whip

strawberry-rhubarb olive oil cake w/ chocolate whip

hazelnut layer cake w/ fig compote

hazelnut layer cake w/ fig compote