One of the best things about summer is, undeniably, spending time outside, whether it's alone on a solo beach day or at a backyard BBQ with a full guest list of your favorite people. But with unpredictable weather (flash thunderstorms! 100-degree heatwaves!), most of the gatherings I make it to in the summer are planned at the last minute, often the morning of. Which to me is one of the best things about summer: that you have those extra moments to do exactly what you want, even when it's not on the calendar. Especially when it's not on the calendar.
But when it comes to food, a shortage of lead time is no excuse for bringing lackluster dishes to any occasion, especially in the summertime when fresh produce is at its peak.
These 13 season-ready recipes make the most of the ripe fruits and vegetables you can find at the farmers market and grocery store this time of year. Most importantly, they're all ready to eat in approximately 10 minutes—plus (perhaps the best part), they're so pretty to look at, no one will ever know that you made them on the fly.
1. Miso Hummus
This five-minute dip combines a few ingredients—mellow white miso, canned chickpeas, lemon, and garlic—to make a most flavorful picnic companion.
2. Pea, Asparagus, & Avocado Salad with Burrata
Creamy avocado and burrata pair up nicely with crisp butter lettuce, fresh spring peas, and shaved asparagus in this feel-good salad that screams: Warm weather has arrived!
3. Soba with Parsley-Pea Pesto & Kale
Whip up this springy parsley-pea pesto in a snap (all they need is a whiz in the food processor) before tossing them in quick-cooking soba noodles. It makes a nice, light accompaniment to heavier dishes like mayo-y potato salad or grilled meats.
4. Burrata & Burnt Oranges With Pistachios, Mint & Pomegranate
A big hunk of burrata takes center stage here amongst flash-grilled oranges, chopped pistachios, fresh mint, and sweet-tart pomegranate. Even though it's super simple (and quick!) to pull off, it'll stand out as a showstopping appetizer or side dish.
5. Nori Sour Cream Dip
You'll be hard-pressed to find a more addictive summery dip than this umami-packed nori sour cream number that comes together in well under five minutes.
6. Monster Avocado Toast Sandwich
If you're making a last-minute trip to the beach, you'll want to tote along a few of these loaded-up avocado toast sandwiches stuffed with avocado (obviously), as well as pesto, cucumber, mozzarella, tomatillo, and a handful of fresh spinach.
7. Broccoli Salad With Pesto, Apples & Walnuts
You can make this salad ahead of a backyard dinner party or mix it up on the fly—either way, the combination of chopped broccoli, tangy dressing, walnuts, and sweet-crisp apples makes a tasty pairing.
8. Chimichurri Chickpeas
This salty-crunchy-herby chickpea salad can be on the table (or in your cooler) in 10 minutes flat. You can certainly enjoy it on its own, but we like it best over a piece of thick, freshly toasted bread.
9. Tomato, Nectarine & Mozzarella Salad
This five-ingredient salad is the perfect example of letting fresh, seasonal ingredients shine at their absolute brightest. Here, plump tomatoes, sweet nectarines, hunks of mozzarella, and torn basil work together to create an absurdly delicious, summer-ready dish.
10. The Chunkiest, Herbiest, Greenest Guacamole
It wouldn't be wrong to keep guacamole off this list, and Senior Editor Eric Kim's chunky, extra-herby, super-green version is one of our favorites. Bonus: It's ready for tortilla chip-scooping (or eating straight from the bowl) in exactly five minutes.
11. Yogurt Whipped Cream
Don't underestimate the power of this fluffy, slightly tangy (thanks to the yogurt) whipped cream, which tastes excellent dolloped over fresh berries with a sprinkle of brown sugar and lemon zest.
12. Hannah Bronfman's No-Cook Chocolate Mousse, With Avocado
This miracle chocolate mousse is no-cook, takes 10 minutes, and can be adjusted to become vegan (just use a non-dairy milk), making it the ultimate last-minute dessert for the season.
13. Strawberry Basil Lemonade
We can't forget the drinks! This pink-hued, sweet-but-not-too-sweet strawberry lemonade gets a refreshing twist with the addition of basil and is sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike.