Summer is fast approaching, and that means that it’s almost time for BBQs, lemonade, sundresses, picnics, and fireworks! Summer has always been one of my favorite seasons, because you get to spend so much time out doors with friends and family, enjoying the beautiful weather. In honor of the fast approaching summer months, I have compiled my favorite recipes, perfect for putting together a summer gathering! Just add friends!
Apps & Sides
I’m one of those people who likes to have more sides than my guests know what to do with. If I’ve got a lot of variety then there’s bound to be something for everyone, even the pickiest of eaters. The other advantage to loading up on sides, is that I’m less likely to find my guests asking if I’ve got more of the main course, because they’ve had plenty of food to dig into. If you usually find yourself running out of your main dish and having folks asking for more, try adding more sides and appetizers to your spread!
These are always a crowd pleaser. Jalapenos are a popular side with my friends and family, and it also fairly easy to make a bunch or a little of these so that you can adjust for the size of your crowd.
It’s just not summer without pineapple. I’m a sucker for perfectly grilled pineapple, and will take any opportunity to enjoy some that I can. Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think of it!
Asparagus is such an iconic summer side dish. Add a little bit of lemon and garlic, and I am in heaven! This particular recipe doesn’t call for lemon juice, but lemon zest, which makes for a nice subtle lemon flavor, and a good way to use the whole lemon when you’re making lemonade!
I am a big cauliflower fan. Not only is it fun to grow, it makes such a good, versatile veggie that can be done up so many different ways. If you haven’t had grilled cauliflower before, now is the time to start. You will never want to go back to boring steamed cauliflower again!
Whether it’s a mountain sized pile of mixed greens, or a bowl of your aunts secret potato salad recipe, summer BBQs aren’t complete without a good salad. Everyone is going to have their own go-to’s, but check out these summer salad recipes for some inspiration.
Bacon and avocado in an egg salad? Sign me up! But no, really, this is a delicious recipe, which can be served on croissants for simple picnic sandwiches, or served as a side dish for your full blown BBQ event.
Grilled peaches make everything better. No, seriously. This is an easy salad you can make ahead and set out to serve without much fuss, and it has peaches. Did I mention I like peaches?
I’m kind of picky about pea salads, but this one is amazing!
Potato salad can be one of the most controversial BBQ dishes to make. Everyone has a preference, and it’s easy to make a version that your guests won’t even go near because “You used mayo? My mom only makes potato salad with miracle whip.” There’s as many ways to make potato salad as there are families making it! But with cheddar and bacon, this version is about as close as you’re getting to a safe bet.
Any time I host a BBQ I try to do at least two main dishes. You’re always going to get someone who wants chicken instead of steak, or who switched to a vegetarian diet last week and needs something different. That’s why when I’m planning my summer party spread I try to pick two main dishes that are different enough to cover everyone’s tastes. I’ll check up with my guest list a few days before to make sure no one has dietary restrictions, and if they do, then I aim to pick at least one dish that meets those needs.
Lamb is a little heavy for me, but my husband absolutely loves it, so I had to include this recipe on the list. After all, it’s only fair that I include some of my husbands favorites too.
I love grilled chicken! Add lemon to the mix and I’m sold. This is such a simple dish, and chicken is always a good option in my humble opinion.
If you have not had pizzas made on the grill, you are missing out on one of life’s biggest pleasures. Plus, a nice summer themed pizza always goes over well, after all, who doesn’t like pizza?
BBQs practically beg for a good selection of desserts. From grandma’s county-famous pie, to popsicles and s’mores, summer is the season of desserts. These may not measure up to that award winning pie you’re still waiting to get the recipe for, but hopefully my favorite summer desserts can help tide you over.
Again, grilled peaches, need I say more? Add cherries, vanilla ice cream, and a cinnamon honey syrup to the mix, and this is an amazing dessert for any summer party!
Lemonade really is such an iconic summer drink, I can’t imagine a summer without it. I grew up on fresh lemonade and sun-tea, so when I started seeing recipes for lemonade popsicles, you know I just had to find one I liked!
Fun, simple, and best of all 100% customizable, campfire cones are perfect for parties with kids, and for bonfires! It can even end up being a fun group activity to make your cones together before wrapping them in foil and throwing them on the grill. Try setting up a small dessert bar for your next summer get-together and create a campfire cone station.
Finally, the finishing touch, drinks. A good drink selection can make any party that much better. And no, I’m not just talking about boozy beverages. Try these fun liquid concoctions at your next event.
Okay, I know I said I was talking about non-alcoholic drinks, but I couldn’t help myself with this one. This tequila kiwi smash is a classy summer drink perfect for afternoon BBQs!
If you’re like me, you’re always trying to remember to drink enough water. Why not try this summery infused water for a flavorful and thirst-quenching combo!
My grandma used to set a pitcher of water on the windowsill with peach slices and tea bags in it, waiting for it to brew in the summer sun. This peach southern tea is memories in a glass for me.
And finally, what summer would be complete without lemonade? Sure, you can use a packet mix, but there’s something so satisfying about fresh squeezed lemonade!
Do you have any summer staples that I forgot? Let me know about your go-to summer BBQ dishes in the comment!