Finger Food for a Summer Party
Summer is finally here – after whatever hiccough that happened last year – and you’re done with your courses and exams. Phew! Time to relax a little and indulge in some quality time with your friends. One small thing, though – it’s sometimes hard to eat when it’s so hot outside. The world is going through a massive heatwave, and although this is a reason for all of us to buckle down and live more sustainably, it’s not a reason not to eat. So, what do you eat in such heat? That’s right, Summer finger food!
Now that your invitations are sent out, you have to figure out how to welcome your guests. If you’re anything like me, you may already be planning lavish six-course meals, but the very prospect of preparing them for hours may just be a bit … dissatisfying. Instead of spending hours in the kitchen boiling faster than that pot next to you, Summer finger food is quick and easy to prepare, and you can find something suitable for every belly. From mini sandwiches to vegetable skewers, check out some of these ideas for your next Summer party!
Summer Finger Food Appetisers
To open your Summer buffet, you will want to start with a few appetisers – you know, to get things going, tickle people’s fancy, and ensure your efforts don’t go to waste. Wouldn’t it be great if they were healthy, too? If so, check out some of these:
Bruschetta With Tomatoes and Mozzarella
It doesn’t get much easier than this. All you need is a baguette cut into small slices and baked with some butter and garlic on top. Bake for 10 minutes at 180°, and in the meantime, slice tomatoes and mozzarella. Line your garlicky bread with both, and voila, ready to serve. You can add a few leaves of basil on top.
Ham and Melon Bites
This is a marvellous combination particularly enjoyed in Spain and Italy. Cube your melon (cantaloupe, golden melon, whichever you prefer) and place some ham on top. Secure with a toothpick. Usually, Serrano ham works wonders, but any type can do, depending on your budget.
For those of you who steer away from meat and dairy, these veggie-licious bite-sized munchies are wonderful. Coat tofu with some starch and spices of your choosing and fry them until ready. Line up cubed vegetables and tofu bites on a skewer, and you’re ready to go. You can pick any vegetable, but cherry tomatoes, olives, and even watermelon are always a good choice.
Cut your zucchini into slices and add a spoonful of cottage cheese to each. Cut radishes into eighths and stick several pieces into the cottage cheese. You can add some oregano or Chinese spice for flavour if you wish.
Bread Knots with Garlic
A bit more effort will go into these beauties, but they’re great for parties. Mix a generous amount of flour with lukewarm water and knead until you get soft (but not too sticky) dough (add water or flour as required). Cut the dough into smaller pieces before rolling each piece into snakes (you can simply roll them with your hands). Twist the dough snakes into knots and put them on the baking tray. Bake for about 15–20 minutes at 180°.
Summer Finger Food Ideas for the Main Course
Once your guests are happily nomming their appetisers, they’ll start to wonder what the main dish might be. Let’s face it, Summer parties work best with some barbecue, but while the grill is sizzling, you can offer some of these side dishes:
Veggie Summer Rolls
If you’ve never visited your local Asian shop, you’ve been missing out. Head out and get some rice paper for summer rolls. Cut carrots, cucumbers, and radishes into strips and put some rice to boil. When your rice is done and chilled, fill a deeper plate with water and dunk the first rice paper sheet in it. The paper should become soft and easy to mould. Line it with a spoonful of rice in the middle, followed by carrots, radishes, and cucumbers, before rolling the paper (like packing a present) around it. Set to chill before serving.
Baked Potatoes in Tartar Sauce
Cut potatoes into wedges, strips, or cubes – really, whatever shape you like. Rinse with cold water and strain. Toss some potato starch, paprika, thyme, salt, and pepper and mix well before placing the potatoes on the baking tray. Make sure each potato has a bit of space for itself for extra crispiness, and let them bake on 200° until browned nicely. In the meantime, mix Greek yoghurt, a spoonful of mayo, garlic spice, and basil in a bowl (for a healthy version of Tartar sauce). You can add some lemon juice if you have any on hand. Place the potatoes in a big bowl and serve with the sauce.
One can never have enough zucchini! Cut zucchini into slices along their length (remove stems). Coat them with cottage cheese and minced meat (spiced to your preference) and let your boats bake for 20 minutes before serving.
You’ll need some tortillas or Hawaiian flatbread for these beauties. Line each flatbread with ham, cheese, and some cream cheese before rolling them up. Cut into small twisters and bake for 15 minutes – these will really ramp up your sandwich game, and they’re not that common, so you’re bound to get positive feedback!
Cheese, Pesto, and Spinach Twisties
Spread out puff pastry and coat it with green pesto. Toss grated cheese over it (be generous about it). In the meantime, cook some spinach (frozen is fine, too), and once it’s cooled, line it on top of the cheese. Roll out another sheet of puff pastry and place it on top of your cheesy-green base. Slice the pastry and twist each slice several times before baking for 15–20 minutes.
Summer Finger Food Desserts to Try
Sweet tooth, anybody? Gotta have at least a small dessert during your Summer buffet! The great thing about single-serve foods is that you don’t have to worry too much about cleaning up afterwards. Let’s go with some basics:
Everybody loves muffins – full stop. Melt a bar of chocolate with a stick of butter. In the meantime, beat 3–4 eggs in a bowl and add as much sugar as you like (or sugar replacement), followed by half a cup of milk. Whisk it all together, add the melted chocolate, and fold it until combined. Add flour until the mass thickens but is still willing to drip off a spoon, albeit slowly. Pour the batter into the muffin mould and bake for 12–15 minutes for fudgy and soft cupcakes.
Mix room-temperature butter with flour and some sugar to prepare the base for your lemon bars. Transfer into the baking dish and press until the base is even. Mix 3–4 eggs, a cup of lemon juice, sugar, and flour until you have a liquid(ish) batter. Pour over the shortbread base and bake for 20 minutes. You can coat it with some icing sugar. Also, you can use nearly any fruit instead of lemon – just toss it into a blender. You can even make a rainbow selection of fruit bars that are not only delectable but lovely to look at.
Ice Cream Sandwiches
Get several packs of your favourite biscuits and a box of your favourite ice cream. You can even have several combinations. Spoon a generous amount of ice cream between two biscuits and put them into the freezer until ready to serve. If you’ve got some spare time, you can melt some chocolate with a spoonful of butter and sprinkle it over your ice cream sandwiches.
Banana Twix Kebabs
Time to make some good use of your leftover skewers. Cut bananas into halves (along the length) and cover with peanut butter, peanuts, and melted chocolate. Leave in the fridge until ready to serve.
Take the stem of your strawberries and make a hole in the middle of each (don’t throw away the discarded strawberry bits, toss them in a blender with a banana and some milk for a delicious smoothie). Mix cream cheese, sugar, and liquid vanilla aroma in a bowl. Fill each strawberry with the cream cheese mix and leave it in the fridge to cool.
Potluck Party – Summer Finger Food Recipes
Sometimes, you don’t have to be the sole provider of food. Potluck Summer parties are more fun, as you never know what will happen. On the other hand, everyone gets to lend a hand (and show off) when the potluck is announced. Here are a few ideas about what you can make and bring:
- Chilli – it can’t get easier than this. Cut MANY onions and EVEN MORE garlic and cook them until translucent. Pour some water into the mixture and add cubed sweet potatoes, beans, and corn (canned are fine). When the potatoes are soft, add canned tomatoes and tomato sauce, one spoonful of sugar (draws out the acid from the tomatoes), and season to your liking (salt, pepper, chilli powder, paprika powder, and some paprika flakes – after all, it’s meant to be spicy!). Serve with bread or tortillas.
- Pasta salad – a crowd favourite here! Cook some pasta (any shape is good), and in the meantime, halve cherry tomatoes, cube cucumbers, and add some corn, beans, and green peas into a big bowl. Once the pasta is cooked, mix it all and add some crème Fraiche, peanuts, and oregano. Mix well and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
- Fruit tart. You can buy the base in any supermarket and fill it with fruit and light cream. Let it cool until people’s sweet tooth kicks in.
Ain’t No Summer Party Without Summer Finger Food Snacks
Whether you’re hosting a party or visiting someone, finger foods are always a good way to spice up any Summer gathering. They’re easy to serve, practical, and don’t require too much time to prepare. PS All foods listed here can be hacked to fit vegetarian and vegan needs – simply replace dairy and meat with vegan options!
If you’re not sure what to bring, some of the best choices include chilli, chocolate muffins, and summer rolls. Of course, some barbecue is always a good idea too! Bon Appetit!