I am by no means a vegetarian, but I try (and often fail) to avoid meat on a daily basis. So when I turned 25 last week and had some friends over to celebrate, I decided to keep the snacks meat-free. Judging from the complete and utter absence of leftovers (!), I think I can safely say that they were a success. Or that could just mean that I didn’t make enough food. Moving on!
I didn’t make anything complicated or fancy, but with simple ingredients and some nice dishware the whole evening felt special. I thought I’d share what I made so you have some ideas of vegetarian appetisers for your next party!
This one is an obvious classic that just never gets old. I like mine spicy, so I mashed two ripe avocadoes with 2 big pinches of chili seeds, a heaped teaspoon of cumin, 1 chopped spring onion, 7 chopped piquillo peppers from a jar, a squeeze of lemon juice and some good salt and pepper. I was just using up what I had in the fridge so you can stick to the more traditional recipe if you’d like!
Goat’s cheese dip
This was my personal favourite vegetarian appetiser on the table. I mixed 200g of fresh goat’s cheese, 1 chopped spring onion and 7 chopped piquillo peppers with lots of freshly ground black pepper. It was so simple but I really loved the result!
I put out a huge bowl of corn chips to go with the two dips.
Oven-baked camembert with honey and herbs
Also very simple but a real crowd-pleaser! Heat the oven to 180 degrees and put your camembert cheese in the bottom half of its wooden packaging, minus the lid and the plastic wrapping. Place the cheese in a small oven-proof dish to prevent spills in the oven. Then, cut a grid into the cheese (see the photo above) without cutting through it completely, so it melts evenly when baked. Once that’s done, you can drizzle the camembert with a good tablespoon of honey and a generous pinch of herbes de Provence before baking for 20minutes or until melted. Make sure you warn your guests that the dish is hot, and serve with lots of crusty bread for dipping.
Cheese and onion sticks
This is a typically British appetiser but I’ve never had them in France so I thought it was time I did! I bought proper cheddar cheese at Marks and Spencers and cut about 150g of it into cubes before putting each piece on a toothpick along with a tiny pickled onion.
I started making cucumber canapés years ago but I now make them all the time as they are a light, healthy and refreshing alternative to crackers. All you have to do is wash and peel a cucumber, cut it into thickish slices and top each slice with a dollop of some sort of tasty dip. Pâté works really well, but as I was trying to avoid meat in this case I used store-bought green olive tapenade and some tomato confit I’d stumbled across at the supermarket. I just added salt and pepper this time, but I also add a few sprouted seeds on top if I have them.
The olive and tomato bites both tasted great, and a single cucumber produced 2 plates of canapés. This is a real winner because it looks impressive but it is extremely quick and easy to put together! You can also try adding tzatziki, muhammara or the sardine pâté I spoke of in this article.
On top of these snacks, we also had a bowl of green olives, a slab of nice cheese with a jar of spicy mango chutney, a few mustard-flavoured crisps (yum) and lots and lots of chocolate.
It was a really fun evening and I didn’t spend hours preparing for it! Do you have any go-to quick recipes for vegetarian appetisers?