With warmer weather finally here, everyone’s more than ready to celebrate the season: Bring on the sun, the fun, and of course, the outdoor barbecues.
But a summertime cookout can be a bit of a landmine for anyone going gluten-free. Between the hamburger buns and the pasta salads, your standard picnic fare is pretty heavy on the wheat. Does that mean you’re going hungry while everyone else gets to gorge? Hell no. Whether you’re hosting the party or attending it, there are plenty of dishes you can make that’ll not just satisfy your food restrictions, but impress a crowd too.
From dips and salsas (pro tip: Bring a few bags of gluten-free chips for scooping!) to stuffed veggies, these party-ready gluten-free appetizers won’t let an intolerance stand in the way of good eating or a great time.
Dips and Salsas
1. Skinny Jalapeño Pimento Cheese
This cheesy concoction doesn’t skimp on the cheddar and Monterey Jack but does swap out mayo for Greek yogurt to lighten things up. With chopped jalapeños alongside the pimento peppers, it actually feels like more of a jazzed-up than a slimmed-down version of the traditional recipe. Get recipe here.
2. Healthy 7-Layer Bean Dip
Don’t worry, you’re not making all seven layers entirely from scratch. It’s more of a simple chopping and assembly job. Between the fresh chopped veggies and the help of canned refried black beans (just confirm they’re gluten-free) plus taco seasoning, this dip strikes the perfect semi-homemade balance. Get recipe here.
3. Spinach, Artichoke, and Herb Hummus
This take on a typically dairy-heavy dip isn’t just gluten-free, but it goes the vegan route too, swapping out the Parmesan, sour cream, cream cheese, and mayo for a simpler and cleaner blend of chickpeas, cashews, and tahini. Incorporating the best of the hummus and spinach artichoke worlds, this is one time when double dipping is totally acceptable. Get recipe here.
4. Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip
Even without added sugar, processed ingredients, dairy, or gluten, this dip manages to be packed with flavor thanks to naturally sweet bell peppers, smoky paprika, and tangy lemon juice. Bonus tip: If you’ve got leftovers (unlikely, but just in case), this stuff works pretty spectacularly as a sandwich spread too. Get recipe here.
5. Chimichurri White Bean Dip
Milder than their black or refried peers, white beans are the perfect base for this recipe, since they let the fresh herbs take the spotlight in terms of taste. With a bright, tangy flavor, this dip is a prime example of how whole foods and spices are all it takes to create something seriously delicious. Get recipe here.
6. Mediterranean Lentil Dip
7. Summer Corn, Pineapple, and Black Bean Salsa
Get any summer fiesta started with this party-in-a-bowl. With raw sweet corn, fresh pineapple, and juicy cherry tomatoes, it’s not only colorful, but it’s a party that celebrates seasonal ingredients. Get recipe here.
8. Zesty Mango Tomato Salsa
A popular pair for tacos, seafood, and grilled meats, mangos are no strangers to being used in savory recipes. But if the concept is new to you, this simple salsa is a great place to start. The fruit’s slight sourness fits right in with the acidic tomatoes and tastes just sweet enough to provide a contrast from the more savory ingredients. Get recipe here.
9. Cucumber Salsa
Whether it’s tossed into a salad as an afterthought or rolled casually into sushi alongside the always-more-popular avocado, cucumber never really gets to have its own moment. That changes with this salsa; dressed up with additions like garlic, jalapeño, and cumin, the cool, refreshing veggie will finally be the center of attention at your table. Get recipe here.
10. Pico De Gallos Stuffed Avocado
While you may not want to be serving these up to a big crowd (avocados are pricey, friends), these stuffed “boats” are a no-brainer for smaller gatherings. Not only are they ridiculously adorable to look at, but they take just six ingredients and no cooking at all to put together. Get recipe here.
11. Gluten-Free Classic Deviled Eggs
There are too many twists on deviled eggs to count, but sometimes, only the classic will do. While this one offers one healthier tweak of swapping Greek yogurt for the sour cream, it’s still got the horseradish, the Dijon mustard… basically, everything you love about this retro appetizer. Get recipe here.
12. Everything Bagel Cucumber Bites With Smoked Salmon
Bagels are about as far from gluten-free as you can get, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the whole lox/cream cheese combo. Layer the salmon and the schmear onto cucumber slices instead of bread to turn the popular breakfast into an appetizer-worthy course. Thanks to a few dried seasonings, you can even get that everything bagel flavor. Get recipe here.
13. Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms
Departing from the usual bread crumb-stuffed mushrooms, these savory bites swap out the gluten for a chorizo and veggie filling, getting a protein and fiber boost to boot. Extra credit if you can find a no-sugar-added sausage. Get recipe here.
14. Bacon-Wrapped Brussels Sprouts
Good news: The gluten-free life may banish bagels, but at least you’ll always have bacon! Use it in this ridiculously easy three-ingredient appetizer, where the strips get wrapped around Brussels sprouts (it’s all about balance, right?), and everything’s roasted to crispy perfection. Get recipe here.
15. Grilled Polenta Bruschetta
An underrated gluten-free starch, polenta works great as the base for this bread-free bruschetta. Grilled and topped with the classic tomato and basil mixture, it provides a similar crunchiness to crostini but has a mildly sweet flavor all on its own. Get recipe here.
16. Quinoa Buffalo Bites
You hear buffalo, you probably think wings, but there’s no bird in these bites. Instead, the vegetarian and gluten-free morsels are made of quinoa, veggies, and cheese. They taste nothing like chicken, but to be honest, they may be even better. Get recipe here.
17. Salmon Asparagus Bundles
When you know there are heavier main courses coming up, start out light with these salmon and veggie bunches. They make sure you get in some protein and produce, but are so much more fun to eat than a salad. Get recipe here.
18. Sweet Potato Bites With Avocado and Bacon
When your guests range from being Paleo to gluten-free to dairy-free, finding a recipe that works for everyone can be a bit of a head-scratcher. But instead of resorting to raw carrot sticks, try these guac-topped bites. They’re fun to look at and involve bacon, but they can easily be made vegan. Guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Get recipe here.
19. Roasted Garlic Edamame
Go a step beyond the regular boiled-and-salted edamame and make these soy-powered pods fit for a party by tossing them in a finger-lickin’-good garlic butter. Just be sure to set out an extra bowl for the used shells. Get recipe here.
Which one are you going to try? Comment below.