7 no-cook appetizers for steamy summer nights

blueberry relish

When the temperature starts to creep towards unbearable numbers in the last days of summer, the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven! That’s why we’ve gathered seven delicious appetizers that you can whip together in a breeze, no heating elements required. These summer appetizers are best enjoyed al fresco, on a cocktail cruise, or at a sunset picnic. 

blueberry relish

This simple appetizer is ready in minutes and offers a variety of options for serving. We love it paired with goat cheese over crackers (or with toasted bread if you feel like turning on the oven or grill). Serve any leftovers over grilled chicken for an easy summertime meal.

  • 1 pint fresh blueberries, picked over and gently washed (about 2 cups) 
  • 1/4 cup finely diced Vidalia (or red) onion
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, for serving
  • Goat cheese, for serving
  • Crackers, for serving
  1. Place blueberries in a bowl and gently mash slightly with a fork (you want most of them mashed, especially any big ones, so finished relish doesn’t fall of crackers when served). Add onion and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, honey, lime juice, and season with salt and pepper. Add to onions and blueberries and gently toss to combine. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust as necessary.

Makes approximately 2 cups.


Green Goddess Dipping Sauce
Serve this with either cooked shrimp or vegetables for dipping. Serving it in individual dishes makes it more sophisticated and elegant.

Peppadew Cheese Spread
An update on the Southern staple, pimento cheese, this salty, savory spread is dangerously addicting. Delicious on your favorite crackers, it’s the perfect prelude to a midsummer’s dinner. 

Bay Scallop Ceviche  
This light, citrusy ceviche preparation is perfect for sweltering hot nights. Bay scallops are best here due to their small size, silky texture, and sweet taste. This dish works as an appetizer, served with tortilla or plantain chips, or even a light dinner. 

Grape Pico de Gallo 
A fun and unexpected take on the Mexican classic, this salsa is delicious with tortilla chips or as an accompaniment to white fish. Prep the ingredients and toss them in a bowl and you’ll be out of the kitchen in minutes.

Melon Caprese Skewers
Light, colorful, and super fresh is everything you’ll find in this easy to assemble skewers, which are also perfect for little hands to help too.

Oysters with Pink Peppercorn Mignonette
An easy, pretty pink mignonette served alongside fresh oysters makes a very festive and beautiful platter. And, oysters are a no-brainer when you’re hosting a dinner in the dog days of summer.

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