When the 4th of July rolls around, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll be invited somewhere — potentially at the last minute as plans come together. Or maybe you’ll be the one inviting people over the night before the barbecue!
Either way, you might not have a ton of time to prepare something to bring with you—but that’s where these recipes help.
Most of them are pretty quick—or at least easy and hands off, like the Banana Sheet Cake. Some of them you can make ahead if you have at least a little bit of forewarning, such as the Pasta and Bean Picnic Salad, the Gazpacho, and the Swiss Chard Tzatziki.
My advice? Whatever you do, make some fresh lemonade! People often forget about what people at their party will be drinking, and if it’s especially hot, folks will be especially grateful.
Ever try grilling radicchio? You need so little to make this taste so good—just some olive oil, salt and pepper, and a bit of grated Pecorino.
For those who love spicy heat, these jalapenos are a must. The recipe has two options for fillings—a simple cream cheese filling, or bacon and Monterey jack cheese! (And if you have a little extra time, try these BBQ Bacon Jalapeno Poppers. They take a little more time to assemble, but are so very good.)
Sheet cakes are so great for large gatherings—it’s all in one pan so it’s easy to transport. A cream cheese frosting seals the deal. Make the cake the night before or the morning of your cookout if you have time so the cake has a chance to cool before you frost it.
Ceviche is the perfect no-cook dish—the fish is “cooked” in lime juice and then gets tossed with grilled corn, avocado, and cilantro, and served with tortilla chips.
Chilled tomato soup just screams of summertime. Use any early season tomatoes you’ve got.
Ah, magic bars. Cutting them into small squares means one batch goes a long way! And really, these are so concentrated in flavor and sweetness that a bite or two is all you need.
There’s no mayo in this pasta salad! Canned beans speed up the process—prep the veggies and whisk up the vinaigrette while the pasta cooks.
People often bring food to a party and forget about this easy and memorable idea: a cool, refreshing pitcher of lemonade!
Thin-skinned cukes get sliced thinly and tossed with radishes, mint and feta, along with a white wine vinaigrette. This is a crisp, refreshing side dish to serve on a hot day.
It is hard to go wrong with anything cucumber related in the summer time. You can serve this with pita chips or a veggie platter of sliced carrots, celery, or radishes. Or slather it on your burger!
The colors in this salad look patriotic, and tossing the fruits with honey and lemon juice make it feel like more than just a simple fruit salad. The lemon juice also helps prevent the bananas from browning.