Ruby Goss

Senior Food Editor at Kitchen Stories

instagram.com/ruby.goss/

Flavor—it’s what takes eating from something we must do, to something we want to do. This article is part of “The Flavor Issue” our month dedicated to dialing up every dish and making every day taste better. To follow along, you can check back here for an overview of all our latest stories and recipes from the issue. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for behind the scenes, extra community content, and more! We hope to see you around Flavortown!

Come warm evenings, I’d much rather be outside than busying myself in a hot kitchen; I want to catch the final rays on the balcony, loll on the sofa, or just mosey around the neighborhood—this year more than ever! So whatever cooking is happening, it will be limited, easy, refreshing, but most of all, tasty.

Cue: The fancy snack plate dinner. I’m adding the word dinner because, in my opinion, with so much flavor going on, they’re satisfying enough to be a full meal—especially on hot summer nights where all things fresh, crunchy, and juicy are in order. Ever had people over for dinner and realized no one truly had room enough for the mains after the starter spread? There, proof.

To get you acquainted, here are 4 summer-y snack plates at different levels of dedication: Some are lowest-of-energy plating only and the most I’ll suggest in the effort department is a very optional quick-fry. It’s truly a choose your own adventure situation that can be served for a solo dinner or jazzed up into a larger grazing affair.

Here are 4 snack plates that are a perfectly acceptable dinner, for one, two, or a crowd—don't forget to save our recipe cards!

#1 Plating only: The salty but sweet assemblage

You'll need:
— Salty potato chips
Cantaloupe
Pecorino
Parma ham
— Green olives

Pour yourself a Pastis on ice before we begin. Here are most of the things I love about summer holidays on a plate: A fun combination of crunchy, salted chips (go for thick-cut, oil slicked, Spanish-style chips) plus the unbeatable combination of cantaloupe and Parma ham.

#2 Stir only: The summer swirl

You'll need:
— Mango-ed Greek yogurt*
Fennel wedges
Celery sticks
— Cocktail onions
Cornichons
Mint
Pita bread

*Stir together greek yogurt, salt, pepper, and a big squeeze of lemon juice. Top with mango chutney, and swirl!

All things briny, fresh, and sweet meet on this plate, which could be expanded upon with fruit, like slices of fresh mango, too. The chilled yogurt dip is a great icebreaker to beat the heat! Try this recipe with our homemade mango chutney.

#3 The “where I’d rather be” plate

You'll need:
— 1/2 pineapple*
— 1 red onion*
corn chips
avocado slices

*Chop and top with coconut flakes, chili flakes, and cilantro (or Tajín)
*Slice and let to sit for 30 min. in juice of 2 limes

This Mexican-inspired plate has a little bit of heat, sweetness, and a lot of tanginess, plus it doesn’t hurt that you can’t take your eyes off it, too. Excellent served with a refreshing michelada on the side.

#4 Peanut your average snack plate

You'll need:
Peanut dip*
Carrot slices
— Celery or cucumber sticks
— Green apple
— Baby gem wedges
— Fried tofu*

*Stir together 5 tbsp peanut butter, 2 tbsp water, juice of 2 limes, and 2 tsp maple syrup
*Buy pre-fried and sliced, or make your own by tossing in starch, salt, and sesame seeds before pan-frying in vegetable oil

This plate is inspired by Indonesian gado-gado—but even quicker (the original dish itself is quick, so this is a kind of miracle). Simply stir together a sweet-and-sour peanut butter-based dip, cut up your crudités and pre-bought tofu (or fry your own), and you’re ready to snack! Remember that more lime is never a crime, so squeeze some over your veggies (and definitely the apple) for a little pep and preservation!

Do you have a favorite dinner, grazing, or snacking plate? Share it with us in the comments below!

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