Summer Appetizers- Ina Garten Make Ahead Appetizers

We have updated some of our photos since our initial post in 2013.  The whipped feta crostini proved to be a crowd favorite and I was able to assemble them last minute since I did the prep earlier in the day.

I had a small cocktail party for my husband’s new co-workers and since it was from 6 to 8 pm I had to come up with some hardy summer appetizers, especially since they were mostly men.

Easy summer appetizers make aheadappetizers were a must so I could socialize instead of being stuck in the kitchen. These two Ina Garten Make Ahead Appetizers are great make-ahead choices definitely emphasize flavors of summer too.

Be sure to follow along all summer as we share several tomato recipes this summer since we have a prolific grape tomato plant growing in our garden.

Our other larger tomato plants are being attacked by squirrels and I am finding more on the ground half eaten than on my plates….Love any suggestions.


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Ina Garten Easy Summer Make Ahead Appetizers

Our first make-ahead appetizer is Tomato Crostini with Whipped Feta by Barefoot Contessa. You can make the whipped feta a few days in advance.  If you are in a rush, buy pre-made toasted bread at places like Fresh Market to save time.

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How To make these make ahead appetizers

  • Toast the slices of bread under the broiler until crisp.  They will last all day uncovered.
  • Prepare the Whipped feta mixture and store in the fridge

make ahead summer appetizer whipped feta spread 1


We did not use the pine nuts this time… You can toast the pine nuts and make the tomato mixture an hour before serving.

We had leftovers and it was just as good the next day.

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HOW TO PREPARE THESE Barefoot Contessa Appetizers IN ADVANCE

Having to run a carpool an hour before the summer party, I mad the tomato mixture and allowed it to sit on my countertop to blend the flavors.

Just before the guests arrived I assembled these flavorful appetizers. 

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Making these in an assembly line is probably the easiest way.

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We just love the colors of this summer appetizer.  I think it just screams summer.


make ahead summer appetizer whipped feta spread 1

make ahead summer appetizer whipped feta spread 1

Another Ina Garten Make Ahead Summer Appetizer.

Roasted Figs with Prosciutto

The next make ahead appetizer recipe shares the flavor of summer figs and salty prosciutto. If your figs are sweet and fresh, just wrap them in the prosciutto and serve. I tasted on before serving this and they needed to be roasted.

make ahead summer appetizers



You can wrap the halved figs hours before your guests arrive and store them in the fridge in a sealed container. The recipe suggests serving them warm, but with a buffet-style party, that was not possible.

roasted fig appetizer

SOME OF OUR Other favorite summer appetizers?

During the summer season, light and refreshing appetizers are perfect for entertaining guests or enjoying a casual gathering. Here are some top summer appetizer ideas that are sure to impress:

  1. Bruschetta: Toasted baguette slices topped with a combination of fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil. You can also add variations like mozzarella, balsamic glaze, or avocado for added flavor.
  2. Watermelon Feta Skewers: Skewer cubes of juicy watermelon with chunks of feta cheese and fresh mint leaves. Drizzle with a balsamic reduction or sprinkle with lime juice for a burst of tanginess.
  3. Caprese Salad Skewers: Skewer cherry tomatoes, mini mozzarella balls (or diced fresh mozzarella), and fresh basil leaves. Drizzle with balsamic glaze or a simple vinaigrette for a classic summer appetizer.
  4. Cucumber Bites: Slice English cucumbers into rounds and top with a dollop of cream cheese or goat cheese. Add a small piece of smoked salmon, a cherry tomato, or fresh herbs for extra flavor and presentation.
  5. Shrimp Cocktail: Serve chilled, cooked shrimp with a zesty cocktail sauce made from ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Garnish with lemon wedges and fresh parsley.
  6. Gazpacho Shots: Serve small shot glasses filled with chilled gazpacho, a refreshing tomato-based cold soup. Gazpacho typically contains blended tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar. You can add a small garnish of diced vegetables or herbs on top.
  7. Guacamole with Tortilla Chips: Prepare a fresh guacamole dip by mashing ripe avocados with lime juice, diced tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, cilantro, and salt

make ahead summer appetizer, ina garten

Other Summer Appetizers you may like: 

Blueberry Salsa

Spicy Avocado Bean Dip Recipe

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Tomato crostini with Whipped Feta

Yield: 20 Appetizer pieces
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

AN easy appetizer to enjoy all year round. Tomato crostini with Whipped Feta


  • 6 ounces good feta, crumbled
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup good olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots, 2 shallots
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 2 cloves
  • 2 tablespoons good red wine vinegar
  • 2 pounds ripe heirloom or cherry tomatoes, 1/2-inch-diced
  • 3 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves, plus extra for serving
  • 20 to 25 1/2-inch-thick diagonal baguette slices, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (optional)


  1. For the whipped feta, place the feta and cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse until the cheeses are mixed. Add 1/3 cup of the olive oil, the lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and process until smooth. Cover and keep in fridge
  2. For the tomatoes, up to an hour before you're serving, combine the shallots, garlic, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes. Whisk in the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the tomatoes, stir gently, and set aside for 10 minutes. Stir in the basil and taste for seasonings.
  3. To assemble the crostini, spread each slice of toasted bread with a generous amount of whipped feta. With a slotted spoon, place the tomatoes on top. Put the crostini on plates and scatter with the pine nuts if using. Sprinkle with extra basil and serve.


You can make the whipped feta a day or two in advance

Adapted from Ina Garten Barefoot contessa

Nutrition Information
Yield 20 Serving Size 1 crostini
Amount Per Serving Calories 165Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 14mgSodium 176mgCarbohydrates 7gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 3g

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  1. I am absolutely in LOVE with fresh bruschetta in the summertime. I often have a dinner that is simply bruschetta piled high on gluten-free toast with a side of olives and a hard-boiled egg. Kind of my own take on a Mediterranean plate (veggie, because I’m vegetarian). Delicious, refreshing, and amazing flavour! Love this, thank you!

  2. Your tomato crostini with whipped feta looks so delicious! Great choices for some hearty appetizers everyone could get into.

  3. Roasted Figs in Prosciutto-I just can’t get enough of that appetizer! I also love Deviled Eggs.

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