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! 💛
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.
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!
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!
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 ;)