Vegetarian Appetizer Recipes
Eggplant Caponata Crostini
The classic Sicilian dish combining eggplant, tomatoes, raisins, pine nuts, and vinegar gets added depth from unsweetened cocoa powder. Serve the caponata on crostini or enjoy it as a pasta sauce or sandwich spread.
Goat-Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
Goat cheese seasoned with garlic, parsley, and hot pepper is stuffed into button mushroom caps, topped with fresh breadcrumbs, and baked until lightly browned. This easy appetizer recipe can be customized to your liking with shallots, chopped olives, or toasted nuts.
Pears and Camembert
Ordinary cheese gets dressed up for a special occasion with brandy-kissed sauteed pears and balsamic glaze. You can use Brie or any other soft-ripened cheese for this recipe.
Two favorite party dips unite in this creamy recipe. Three cups of cilantro leaves give the dip its vivid green color.
A classic French pastry gets the savory treatment with Parmesan, cheddar, and your choice of fresh herbs. Form them by folding up a sheet of puff pastry and then cutting it into thin slices.
Salsa Trio and Homemade Tortilla Chips
Start the fiesta with salsa cruda, salsa verde, and roasted tomato salsa. All three of these delicious dips can be made several days in advance.
Marinated artichoke hearts, Parmesan cheese, and parsley are easy ingredients to keep on hand to make this easy appetizer anytime. Serve the crostini at room temperature or broil them for a few minutes so the cheese melts.
Hot Spinach Dip
Mozzarella and cream cheese make this hot spinach dip extra rich and flavorful. To save time, use frozen spinach in place of fresh. This appetizer can be made up to three days ahead of time and baked shortly before you are ready to serve it.
Olive Tapenade and Goat Cheese Crostini
Walnuts and dried currants add crunch and sweetness to the classic combination of tapenade and goat cheese. You can use homemade or store-bought tapenade for this recipe.
Candied Spiced Chickpeas
Simmer canned chickpeas in a compelling combination of cinnamon, allspice, sugar, and salt. Frying them in vegetable oil makes them addictively crisp.
French green lentils, cremini mushrooms, shallots, and sherry make a rich and savory vegetarian spread. Toasted hazelnuts and chopped hard-cooked egg whites give the pate a varied texture.
Stuff halved, seeded jalapenos with cheddar and cream cheeses and roast until browned and bubbly. These will be a hit at any casual get-together.
These little bites pack a punch! Green olives are stuffed with blue cheese, coated in breadcrumbs, and fried to a golden crisp.
Spinach Phyllo Pie
Spinach, feta cheese, and sweet golden raisins fill a light and flaky phyllo dough crust. Serve this pie in small slices as an appetizer or in larger wedges for a vegetarian main dish.
Egg-rich choux pastry gets a savory punch from cayenne pepper, lemon zest, scallions, and parsley. Once the dough is piped into rounds, it can be frozen for up to one month before baking.
Crostini with Kale and Parmesan
Kale is sauteed with garlic and lemon juice, and heaped on top of toasted baguette slices in this rustic appetizer. Use a vegetable peeler to create the thin curls of Parmesan cheese that top the crostini.
Tomato Hand Pies
Sliced tomatoes, onion, oregano, feta cheese, and oil-cured black olives are tucked into a rich, buttery dough to make these savory little pies. Keep the pies in the muffin tin you bake them in for easy transport to a picnic or potluck.
Martha's Cheddar Cheese Ball
Mango chutney adds a sweet bite to this cream cheese and cheddar cheese ball. Roll it in chopped toasted pecans or any other nuts you like.
Nori and tangy sushi rice are rolled around julienned carrot, red bell pepper, celery, and scallion to make this colorful vegetarian sushi. Whisk together soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, and wasabi paste to make a dipping sauce.
Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip
This delectable dip blends roasted red peppers, walnuts, and balsamic vinegar. Paprika and cumin add smoky back notes.
Creamy Deviled Eggs
Light mayonnaise lends creaminess to these deviled eggs, while Dijon mustard, white-wine vinegar, minced shallot, and a dash of hot sauce add zing. Sprinkle each egg with paprika for a traditional touch.
Whether it's a backyard barbecue, game day, or birthday party, you can't go wrong with this layered taco dip. Refried beans, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, avocado, scallions, canned green chiles, sour cream, and shredded lettuce comprise the enticing layers.
Artichoke Dip with Fontina
In this interpretation of the favorite party dip, white wine and fontina cheese blend with canned artichoke hearts and fresh parsley. Dial up the flavor even more by using marinated artichoke hearts.
Blue Cheese and Walnut Spread
This easy, sophisticated dip is a simple combination of cream cheese, blue cheese, and toasted walnuts. It can be made up to a week in advance.
Brie and Walnut Cake
Blend goat cheese and Gorgonzola to make the filling for this "cake." Just before serving, top the brie with red grapes and drizzle with honey-port syrup.
Bright-green edamame (young soybeans) are pureed with carrot, ginger, sesame oil, scallion, and Sriracha sauce to make the filling for these vegetarian dumplings. Serve the steamed dumplings with a flavorful dipping sauce made of soy sauce, rice-wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil, and julienned ginger.
Carrot Roulades with Radish and Herb Goat Cheese
Goat cheese gets a fresh zing from minced radishes, chives, and chervil. Blanched carrot strips are rolled into bite-size cups and filled with the goat cheese mixture to create a light, elegant appetizer.
Corn Dip with Tomatoes and Basil
Silken tofu makes this fresh corn dip wonderfully creamy. Serve it with corn chips or spread it on tortillas and sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese to make quesadillas.
Sweet Onion Dip
This flavorful dip is made with sweet sauteed Vidalia onions and lightened up with reduced-fat versions of cream cheese and sour cream. Serve this popular party appetizer with an assortment of colorful vegetable chips.
Add sweetness and heat to mixed nuts with a glaze of sugar, cayenne pepper, chili powder, allspice, and cumin. This party snack can be prepared up to a week ahead and stored at room temperature in an airtight container.
Easy Goat Cheese Appetizer
To make this easy appetizer, marinated goat cheese or feta is baked until soft and golden brown. Serve the warm cheese with crackers, sliced baguette, or blanched broccoli and red bell pepper strips for dipping.
Fingerling Potatoes and Goat Cheese Fondue
Goat cheese and nonfat buttermilk make a light, tangy fondue. Fresh chives, thyme, tarragon, and parsley are a refreshing, colorful addition. If you do not own a fondue pot, a small slow cooker is an excellent way to keep this appetizer warm throughout the party.
White-Bean and Caper Crostini
Capers and minced red onion liven up cannellini beans in this easy appetizer. If you like, add garlic or fresh herbs to the mixture as well.
Tortilla Chips with Grilled Corn and Cheddar
Combine smoky grilled jalapenos and corn with cilantro, lime juice, scallions, and cheddar cheese to make the topping for these dressed-up nachos. Spoon the topping onto chili-lime tortilla chips and give them a quick trip under the broiler just before serving.
Winter Squash Dip
Roasted butternut or turban squash combines with smoky chipotle chiles, cream cheese, and Parmesan for a delicious party dip. For a decorative presentation, serve this appetizer in a hollowed-out winter squash.
Fold garlicky sauteed zucchini, corn, cilantro, and grated pepper Jack cheese into flour tortillas and bake until browned and crispy. These quesadillas are also wonderful with the addition of black beans or soy chorizo.
Mushrooms, spinach, caramelized onion, and flecks of goat cheese top store-bought puff pastry to make this savory vegetarian tart. You may use any variety of mushrooms you like, including cremini, shiitake, and portobello, or a mixture of wild mushrooms.
Spring Rolls with Carrot-Ginger Dipping Sauce
Roll up red bell pepper, beets, carrot, daikon, cucumber, and radish sprouts in delicate rice-paper wrappers and serve with a tangy ginger-soy dipping sauce. These can be prepared a few hours in advance, or you can let your guests have fun making their own spring rolls.
Endive Spears with Herbed Goat Cheese
These easy party appetizers offer a mixture of creamy goat cheese, a touch of cream, and fresh dill nestled into crisp leaves of Belgian endive. You can also serve the cheese mixture on celery or with crackers.
Wonton Cups with Cream Cheese and Chutney
Bake wonton wrappers in mini muffin tins to make the crisp, edible cups for this appetizer. Blend cream cheese with mango chutney and Dijon mustard to make the filling.
Stuffed Piquillo Peppers with Goat Cheese
Roasted piquillo peppers, sweeter and spicier than bell peppers, are available in jars. Stuff the peppers with a mixture of goat cheese with chopped mint, scallions, and lemon juice.
Upside-Down Mushroom Tartlets
Frozen puff pastry is the secret to these easy, elegant Gruyere and mushroom tartlets. Bake them in jumbo muffin tins to give them their shape.
Butternut squash is cut into leaf shapes, sauteed in butter, and then served over toasted pumpernickel bread on top of a dollop of goat cheese. A perfect start to a dinner party or the Thanksgiving feast, these appetizers embody the colors and flavors of fall.
Leek and Olive Tart with Two Cheeses
This tart's topping of tender sauteed leeks flecked with thyme, Nicoise olives, and Parmesan and Pave d'Affinois cheeses makes a beautiful presentation. Using store-bought puff pastry is a great time-saver. If you can't find Pave d'Affinois, use another soft-ripened cheese, such as Camembert.
Pile tortilla chips with refried beans, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, pickled and fresh jalapenos, and black olives, and bake on an ovenproof platter. These deluxe nachos will be a hit on game night or movie night.
The flavor of garlic becomes soft and rich when it's roasted. The garlic is pureed with chickpeas, lemon juice, and sparing amounts of tahini and olive oil to create a lightened-up but flavorful version of hummus.
Lemon zest, lemon juice, and thyme add fresh flavor to a creamy combination of light mayonnaise and reduced-fat sour cream. Serve this dip with whole-wheat crackers and vegetables such as endive, carrot sticks, and broccoli and cauliflower florets.
Lemon juice and fresh mint add a refreshing tang to this dip, and heavy cream makes it extra rich. Serve it with a colorful array of crudites, such as radishes, baby carrots, yellow bell pepper, and asparagus.
Eggs, cream, and Comte cheese combine to make a rich, custardy filling for this savory tart. Use any combination of delicate herbs you like, such as tarragon, basil, chives, parsley, or chervil.
Falafel with Tahini Sauce
These crisp falafel balls are lively with cumin, coriander, cilantro, mint, parsley, and garlic. Serve them with tahini sauce and pickled vegetables.
Caramelized Onion Dip
Cream cheese, sour cream, and lots of caramelized onions make this dip deliciously addictive. Roast and hollow out large Spanish onions to make the decorative serving bowls.
Pomegranate-Fontina Rice Balls
Often called arancini, these crumb-coated risotto balls are a popular Italian appetizer. Here, juicy little pomegranate seeds offset the richness of the risotto's Parmesan and fontina cheeses.