Tips for the Perfect Beach Party

Tips for the Perfect Beach Party Recipe

Summer is here and it’s absolutely my favorite time of the year! The sun is shining, the trees are in bloom, and everyone is outside enjoying the weather making it prime time for entertaining family and friends with barbecue and cocktails by the beach, lake or even in the backyard by the pool. I’ve put together some party planning and decorating tips for the perfect summer outdoor beach party, along with some menu ideas featuring lots of fresh seafood, finger foods, and refreshing fruits and veggies.

 Tips for the Perfect Beach Party Recipe

One of my favorite recipes to make for a summer outdoor beach party is a Shrimp and Veggie Pasta Salad with Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette. It has a light, lemony herb dressing with fresh basil and tarragon, lots of veggies including cucumbers, celery, roasted red peppers, grilled corn and scallions for some extra crunch, and fresh sautéed savory shrimp. It goes perfectly with grilled chicken, burgers, skewers and fresh fruit like watermelon, pineapple and mango.

Tips for the Perfect Beach Party Recipe

Preparing for a big outdoor party can seem overwhelming with all the salads, sides and marinades to prepare for a crowd. That’s why I rely on my amazing KitchenAid® 3-Speed Hand Blender. It’s light, compact and super easy to use for chopping lots of vegetables, herbs and spices for all your party dishes. Simply add your ingredients to the chopper attachment with the lid on, plug the blender in, pulse a few times and you’ve got perfectly chopped, crushed or minced ingredients ready in a snap!

Tips for the Perfect Beach Party Recipe

This awesome little machine has a handy snap on whisk attachment and also turns into an immersion blender with a fixed blade for pureeing, whisking and emulsifying salad dressings, mayonnaise, soups, sauces and marinades. It comes with a blending jar with a lid for making easy summer cocktails or smoothies for your beach-worthy feast!

All you need is a group of fun friends or family, a grill, some beach-y music, blankets and pillows, (plus a few cocktails!) and you’ve got yourself the makings of a perfect summer beach bash.

Tips for the Perfect Beach Party Recipe

The Perfect Outdoor Beach Party – Planning and Menu Ideas

Try to choose a variety of foods for all your guests including meats, veggies, fruits and light carbs. It’s always a good idea to cover all bases when feeding a crowd. Feature bright and vibrant flavors using citrus, fresh herbs and spices.

Incorporate texture and color into your menu as well as your table decorations by using colorful plates, bowls, napkins, plastic glasses and silverware.

Bring some candles and make centerpieces with flowers, herbs or sea grass. Ditch the chairs and bring some big blankets, beach towels and colorful fluffy pillows for seating. Tiki torches and a portable grill or fire pit in the sand add a fun touch to the beachy setting as well.

Bring a great playlist of beach music to set the mood – try to play more upbeat fun music during the day and a little more chilled out and relaxed music for the evening. Bring some fun games, volleyball or Frisbees for play – or do some nighttime salsa dancing or hula hooping on the beach by the fire after dinner!

For the menu, bring a variety of grilled items such as chicken or seafood kebabs, pork chops, ribs, or turkey, veggie and beef sliders or lettuce wraps with a variety of different sauces and condiments for serving.

A big seafood steam pot is also fun – just throw in a bunch of shrimp, clams, mussels, corn on the cob, sausage and potatoes and steam it with some spices until done; bring some drawn butter and cocktail sauce for dipping (with lots of napkins of course!)

Fried chicken is always a big hit for a beach party or cookout – and easy to transport and eat with your hands! Just make it the night before, bring some crunchy coleslaw, cornbread and lots of hot sauce on the side.

Bring lots of fresh veggies to throw on the grill as a side dish to the main dishes or incorporate into kebabs such as corn on the cob, mini bell peppers, asparagus, artichokes, mushrooms and onions.

Make some cool gazpacho with veggies or fruit for a refreshing appetizer and serve it in a hollowed out pineapple, watermelon or coconut to get a little festive.

Have a variety of refreshing salads on the table for side dishes, such as potato or pasta salad, corn and bean salad, roasted veggie salad or chicken, lobster or crab salad. Some chips and salsa or cut up veggies and a light yogurt dip are great side dishes too.

Serve lots of refreshing fruit such as pineapple, mango, berries and watermelon for a fruit salad or make some fun fruit kebabs. Mini key lime pies or ice box lemon squares are also nice for a tangy sweet ending to the meal. Or make a few frozen fruit popsicles and keep them in the cooler with lots of ice to keep everyone cool and happy.

Make some refreshing cocktails and serve them in large mason jars or pitchers with colorful straws such as fruity mojitos, frozen fruit granitas, fruit punch, iced tea or lemonade made with lots of fresh fruit, ice, soda, lemon or fresh herbs to cool off the heat and make the party more fun! You can also freeze edible flowers or herbs with water in an ice tray to make colorful, refreshing ice cubes!

Bring a few large coolers, lots of ice, storage bags, foil, saran wrap, plastic containers, plenty of napkins, wind-proof lighters, beach towels and of course all your friends for lots of laughs and plenty of eating and drinking.

 Tips for the Perfect Beach Party Recipe 

Shrimp and Veggie Pasta Salad with Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette Recipe

Tips for the Perfect Beach Party Recipe

Make the pasta: Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions (usually about 9-11 minutes for al dente.) Drain, rinse under cool water and set aside.

Tips for the Perfect Beach Party Recipe

Cook the shrimp: Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Slice scallions and cook until soft about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; add one more tablespoon of oil then add shrimp, red pepper flakes, Old Bay seasoning and sea salt; sauté together stirring constantly until shrimp are opaque, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set pan aside to let shrimp mixture cool.

Tips for the Perfect Beach Party Recipe

Make the Lemon-Herb Dressing: In a large mixing bowl add salt and pepper, vinegar, mustard, garlic, lemon juice and zest. Use the KitchenAid® 3-Speed Hand Blender with the whisk attachment to blend ingredients together and slowly pour in the olive oil in small amounts until the dressing is emulsified and mixed well. Chop the fresh herbs, mix into the Lemon-Herb Dressing and set aside.

Tips for the Perfect Beach Party Recipe

Cook the corn: Prepare the fresh corn by grilling it – add a little olive oil, salt and pepper, then char it over a medium-high grill for about 15 minutes. Shuck the cooked kernels off the cob and set aside in a separate mixing bowl. If using frozen sweet corn, simply boil in 1-2 tablespoons of water in a small pot over medium-high for 3-4 minutes, then drain and place into a bowl, set aside.

Tips for the Perfect Beach Party Recipe

Prep the veggies: Add the cucumbers and celery to the accompanying mixing bowl of the KitchenAid® 3-Speed Hand Blender, and pulse a few times until chopped into a small to medium dice. Chop each vegetable separately to avoid overfilling the blender bowl. Chop the roasted red pepper into medium diced pieces. Throw all the chopped veggies into a bowl and set aside.

Tips for the Perfect Beach Party Recipe

Make the Shrimp pasta salad: Pour the cooked pasta, shrimp and scallion mixture, corn and all the prepped veggies into a large mixing bowl and add the Lemon-Herb dressing. Gently mix all the ingredients together with a large spoon. Garnish pasta salad with additional chopped herbs, fresh lemon juice and additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator or cooler until ready to serve.

Tips for the Perfect Beach Party Recipe

Shrimp and Veggie Pasta Salad with Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette

Makes 6-8 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 pound of pasta (medium-large shells or rotini)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 pound small shrimp, peeled, cleaned and deveined, tails removed
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
Sea salt, to taste (for shrimp and salad dressing)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon dried dill or 1 tablespoon fresh dill
1/4 cup fresh herbs, roughly chopped (tarragon, basil, parsley)
2 fresh sweet corn cobs or 1 cup frozen
1 cup English cucumber, diced
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, diced
2 lemon wedges, squeezed for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions (usually about 9-11 minutes for al dente). Drain, rinse under cool water and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Slice scallions and cook until soft about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; add one more tablespoon of oil then add shrimp, red pepper flakes, Old Bay seasoning and sea salt; sauté together stirring constantly until shrimp are opaque, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set pan aside to let shrimp mixture cool.

In a large mixing bowl add salt and pepper, vinegar, mustard, garlic, lemon juice and zest. Use the KitchenAid® 3-Speed Hand Blender with the whisk attachment to blend ingredients together and slowly pour in the olive oil in small amounts until the dressing is emulsified and mixed well. Chop the fresh herbs, mix into the Lemon-Herb dressing and set aside.

Prepare the fresh corn by grilling it – add a little olive oil, salt and pepper, then char it over a medium-high grill for about 15 minutes. Shuck the cooked kernels off the cob and set aside in a separate mixing bowl. If using frozen sweet corn, simply boil in 1-2 tablespoons of water in a small pot over medium-high for 3-4 minutes, then drain and place into a bowl, set aside.

Add the cucumbers and celery to the accompanying mixing bowl of the KitchenAid® 3-Speed Hand Blender, and pulse a few times until chopped into a small to medium dice. Chop each vegetable separately to avoid overfilling the blender bowl. Chop the roasted red pepper into medium diced pieces. Throw all the chopped veggies into a bowl and set aside.

Pour the cooked pasta, shrimp and scallion mixture, corn and all the prepped veggies into a large mixing bowl and add the Lemon-Herb dressing. Gently mix all the ingredients together with a large spoon. Garnish pasta salad with additional chopped herbs, fresh lemon juice and additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator or cooler until ready to serve.

Shrimp and Veggie Pasta Salad with Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette

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*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*

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