Home > Recipes for Summer > Seasonal Summer Starters

Seasonal Summer Starters

By: Anna Hinds BA (hons) - Updated: 12 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Summer Recipes Seasonal Starter Salad

If we get a good summer, preparing a three-course meal might be the last thing on your mind. But the season is perfect for entertaining. It’s just a matter of clever planning: choose a no-cook starter and an easy fruit dessert and then fire up the barbecue for a hassle-free menu. Here are some of our favourite summer starters that make the most of seasonal ingredients.

What’s in Season?

Because summer offers a prolific crop of produce, it’s easier than ever to make a no-cook starter. Wash some fresh radish, celery, spring onions and new carrots, and serve them with a tasty aioli (garlic mayonnaise), or try the feta and red pepper dip in our recipes below. Or create an antipasti plate: arrange things like marinated olives, crudités, ciabatta, parmesan, cured meat, and roasted peppers on a number of little platters for passing around. Crostini and bruschetta also make fabulous summer starters – check out the Broad Bean Bruschetta in our recipes below.

Summer Herb Salad

Serve dinner with a summer herb salad, improvised from your vegetable patch – simply arrange washed herbs (like basil, fennel, mint, coriander, and rocket) on a big plate and drizzle with a classic lemon-olive oil dressing (use 1 part lemon juice to four parts olive oil, and season well). This also makes a great base for a simple little starter such as a courgette tart.

Broad Bean Bruschetta

You can make this broad bean puree in lots of different ways: try blitzing the cooked beans with feta or basil and lemon juice, tasting and seasoning as you go.

  • 500g shelled broad beans
  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 100ml milk
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 loaf ciabatta, sliced

Warm the olive oil in a saucepan and add the broad beans and garlic; stir, then cook over a gentle heat for about 10 minutes. Pour in the milk and keep on a very low heat until the beans have absorbed most of the milk and are tender. (Optional: at this point, you can remove the grey skin from some or all of the beans – removing this gives a brighter colour.)

Tip the mixture into a dish and mash roughly with a fork, adding lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Toast the slices of ciabatta and top each one with a spoonful of broad bean puree and a drizzle of olive oil.

Feta and Red Pepper Dip

Seasonal red peppers shine in this gorgeous Greek dip. This is wonderful with breadsticks or crudites.

  • 2 large red peppers, halved and seeded
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 2-3tbsp olive oil
  • 2tsp paprika
  • Lemon juice, salt and pepper

Put the peppers under a hot grill until they’re well blackened. Put into a plastic bag and seal. After five minutes, open the bag and carefully remove the skins from the peppers (the steam will have loosened the skins). Put the red peppers into a food processor with the feta cheese and paprika, and blitz to a rough puree, pouring olive oil through the funnel to achieve a dipping consistency. Taste for seasoning – it might need lemon juice, salt or pepper. Serve at room temperature.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word: