The key to effortless outdoor entertaining is a simple, but delectable menu that allows you to prepare as much as possible ahead of time, leaving you time to relax and enjoy your day. With these ideas and

some fun food hacks, your next summer soiree will be just as pleasurable for you as it is for your guests.

A Plant Forward Make Ahead Menu

The more you can do ahead of time, the more you can relax with guests. With these ideas, not only will you be able to do just that, but you’ll wow your guests with plant forward dishes that puts produce on center stage:

Salads are easy to prepare ahead of time. Heartier versions, like this Greek Salad with Grilled Halloumi,  includes protein rich ingredients off the grill that will satisfy your plant-based guests

Marinate now…enjoy later! Before guests arrive, prep portabella mushrooms for these Smoky Portabella Melts along with the ingredients for Cauliflower Steaks with Herb Sauce.

Prepare this Farro and Grilled Peach Salad well ahead of your guests and then enjoy it cold or at room temperature.

Summer soirees are the perfect opportunity for a refreshing spritzer that tastes even better when made up to a day in advance.

Make these brilliant Blueberry-Buttermilk Sherbet cookie sandwiches or Coconut Cucumber Pops a day ahead to round out an easy day of summer fun.

Fun Food Hacks

Simple suggestions make outdoor entertaining just a bit easier. Whether it’s helping your guests sneak some veggies or saving you time, these fabulous food hacks will elevate your next outdoor gathering:

Help guests enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, while still playing corn hole or barely missing a wiffle ball play. Try Watermelon Gazpacho, served in small shooters, or these Salad Kebabs, which are enjoyed on-the-go and modifiable to meet the tastes of your guests.

Less hands in the chip bowl! Spoon a bit of Strawberry Avocado Salsa onto “scoop-style” tortilla chips so guests can enjoy a flavorful bite. If preferred, put a handful of chips into parchment paper bags ahead of time.

Freeze fresh cut fruit and berries become ice cubes for flavorful, refreshing water. Alternatively, freeze 100% fruit juice ice cubes to create a better-for-you beverage even your youngest guests will enjoy.

Save yourself time husking corn and grill it with the husk on instead. You won’t regret trying this mouth-watering Mexican Grilled Corn.

Layer sliced tomato, pickles, red onion, and lettuce leaves so guests can grab their burger toppings in one scoop. Elevate those burgers further with homemade mayonnaise spreads like this Sesame Mayo or by mixing mayo with a bit of pesto, siracha or other add-in.

Let your guests prep their own meals! Provide an assortment of proteins, fruits, vegetables, and maybe some herbs or other flavorings, along with pre-cut heavy-duty foil. Let guests build their own foil packet perfect for the grill (just like this Chicken Sausage Hobo Packet!).

Other Stories