20 Vegetarian Appetizers (and serving tips)
At holidays, cocktail and dinner parties, vegetarian appetizers are a must these days if you want to make your vegetarian guests feel welcome and not just an afterthought.
We are sharing quick and easy vegetarian appetizers, healthy appetizers, classic finger foods, a few unique ones and many others. Plus, lots of tips for serving, last minute ideas and hosting.
So impress your guests with a few of our deliciously popular appetizers that can all be prepped ahead.
Gone are the days where you can stick out a veggie tray and call it a day. Well you can, but I can guarantee you, vegetarians won’t be happy with that. My partner-daughter-kook Jenna reminds me regularly. I have learned.
I’m not suggesting you eliminate non vegetarian appetizers. Just let them share the glory 🙂
I typically try to make one or two somewhat unique appetizers (is there such a thing anymore?) and a couple of super easy ones like fresh orange juice shots, mango or melon chunks, mixed nuts, etc.
If you’re looking for that perfect party appetizer, you’ve come to the right place. We have plenty of options (even non vegetarian apps if you scroll to the bottom). Serve them for christmas, new year’s eve, game day, valentine’s day or any occasion. Hope you find a new favorite recipe for your next party.
Puff pastry appetizers
I absolutely LOVE puff pastry. It’s crispy, flaky, buttery and so easy to work with these days when you buy frozen pre-rolled sheets. Just unfold and use. It makes anything taste great. And the recipes below are all easy finger foods.
Tomato Tart with Puff Pastry
Easy Puff Pastry Cheese Twists
Knish Recipe with Root Vegetable Mash
Super Easy Potato Knishes Recipe
Beet and Goat Cheese Appetizer Recipe
Easy and quick appetizers
Quick and easy speaks to me big time. As long as the appetizers are delicious and pretty on the plate. All these vegetarian appetizers take between 10-20 minutes to make, some with great shortcuts. So no excuses.
Stuffed Mini Peppers With Goat Cheese
Caprese Appetizers (on mini skewers)
Dukkah (a Unique Appetizer in 10 Minutes)
Endive Appetizers With Ricotta and Gems
Spiced Herb Popcorn Recipe
Crostini and Flavorful Dips
Crostini are simple little toasts (in Italian). They make great finger foods and the toppings are endless. We have two crostini recipes here, but if you scrounge around in your fridge, you can probably create your own.
Dips are equally as popular and can be made well ahead of serving time. If you have a favorite store-bought dip, go for it. Just find something fun to dip with.
Avocado Appetizers on Crostini With Pizzazz
Oven Roasted Garlic Appetizer
Pesto Ricotta Crostini Appetizers
Eggplant Dip (Asian-Inspired)
Melted Olive Cheese Appetizers Recipe
Apps in wraps
I’m using the term ‘wrap’ loosely here. Fun options and all dairy free. With a little practice, the pretty and popular vegetable rice paper rolls are much easier to make than you might think. Serve the peanut tofu appetizer with toothpicks are on endive. The dumpling wraps use frozen dumplings.
Rice Paper Rolls (With A Twist)
Tofu With Peanut Sauce
Easy Lettuce Wraps Recipe with Dumplings
Mini soup tasters
I often serve soups as hot appetizers when people are gathering instead of at the table. Mini espresso cups or shot glasses are perfect vessels. I put them out on a tray with a coffee thermos filled with soup (nothing chunky, any kind that can be sipped). You can, of course, serve the mini cups with a spoon and some homemade croutons.
Thai-Inspired Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
Easy Gazpacho Recipe (smooth or chunky)
Easy Tomato Soup with Canned Tomatoes
Number of appetizers needed per person
Catering experts suggest:
- For a dinner party: 6 per person
- For a cocktail party (no dinner): 8-12 per person
A rule of thumb for how many different types of appetizers needed:
- 3 types for 8-10 guests
- 4-5 types for 14-16 guests
Creative ways to serve appetizers
This is the fun part. Here are a few ideas.
The table spread: Choose appetizers with contrasting colors and shapes. If you serve them buffet style on a table, vary the heights of the dishes using cake stands, glasses or mason jars. For the holidays, I buy some sparkly stars or shapes at the dollar store to sprinkle over the tablecloth. Festive!
Interesting serving dishes: Look around the house and think outside the box. Cake stands, goblets, jars, framed mirrors, artwork covered with glass, short vases and vintage plates are all good choices. I love to serve soups or freshly squeezed juice in mini espresso cups or shot glasses.
Fun food vessels (beyond crackers): Get creative by using food as the vehicle for a topping. Some great examples are cucumber rounds, mini phyllo cups (I buy these), thin square cheese slices, apple or pear slices and cooked sweet potato rounds. Or how about putting a dip in a hollowed-out pineapple or melon half?
Last minute appetizer ideas
So you’ve spent a ton of time concentrating on the dinner menu and have little time or energy left for appetizers. Not even for one of the easy ones above. Fear not. You can still look like a star with a few simple ideas.
- Freshly squeezed juice (orange or apple cider for example) served in shot glasses (you can get plastic ones from the dollar store). Buy the juice at the market. Easy appetizer and very popular!
- Spiced nuts. You can make these or buy them at your local bulk food store.
- Individualized veggie cups with hummus (buy the mini cups from from the dollar store). Place store-bought hummus in a ziploc bag. Cut one corner off the bag and pipe the hummus into the mini cups. Stand veggie sticks (peppers, carrots, cucumber) in the hummus cups.
- Grapes, melon, mango slices.
- Dumplings with your favorite dipping sauces (e.g. peanut sauce or soy dipping sauce): Boil frozen dumplings. Drain, add 2 drops of oil to prevent sticking. Sprinkle chopped green onions and serve with toothpicks and dipping sauce. This is a foolproof go-to for me. Everyone loves dumplings.
- Cheese board with grapes or olives.
- Guacamole with pita chips
- Dips (store-bought) with celery for dipping. Or crackers.
- Brie with fig or raspberry jam or honey: Cut the top off the brie. Spread on preserves or honey. Place it in the microwave for 60-90 seconds on high. Serve with crackers. Another hugely popular appetizer.
If you’re hosting for the holidays, we have a few tips to help you reduce the stress of preparing so you can enjoy your guests.
Non vegetarian appetizers (if you want to mix and match)
Here’s a few meat and seafood based appetizer ideas in case you want to vary your spread.