21 Vegetarian Appetizers (and Serving Tips) 2024

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.

collage of vegetarian appetizers.

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.

Vegetarian Appetizers

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

This casual, rustic tomato tart with puff pastry is a simple, tasty appetizer for a casual dinner party or a light lunch served with a salad and a glass of wine. The flavor combination of tomatoes, garlic, herbs, cheese and capers is delish.
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Easy Puff Pastry Cheese Twists

Puff pastry cheese twists are a perfect appetizer for your next get-together. Flaky, cheesy, buttery, crispy and make ahead. Very popular!
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Knish Recipe with Root Vegetable Mash

root vegetable mash knishes piled on plate.
This knish recipe is a delicious root vegetable mash, wrapped and baked in a golden flaky puff pastry (store-bought). Melt-in-your-mouth and really easy. A great make ahead side dish or appetizer.
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Super Easy Potato Knishes Recipe

pile of potato knishes on cutting board f
My grandmother's delicious potato knishes recipe is flaky and melt-in-your-mouth despite the shortcuts that cut the prep time in half. A great appetizer or side dish. Don't count on leftovers!
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Beet Appetizer With Goat Cheese On Puff Pastry

beet and goat cheese puff pastry tart appetizer cut into squares.
If you like a simple appetizer of roasted beets and goat cheese, beet and goat cheese appetizer is for you. It's a simple, pretty and make-ahead puff pastry tart.
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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

Try these one-bite stuffed mini red peppers with goat cheese and pesto for your next holiday or dinner party. Delicious, easy and only 20 minutes to make (with a few good shortcuts). I love to serve these little bites with a dramatic drizzle of balsamic reduction.
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Caprese Appetizers (on mini skewers)

mini caprese appetizers on toothpicks on wood board
We boost the flavour of these little caprese appetizers (made with fresh mozzarella, basil and cherry tomatoes) by a marinade and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.
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Dukkah (a Unique Appetizer in 10 Minutes)

Ground nuts, seeds and spices make an incredible appetizer "dip" served with fresh bread and olive oil. Your guests will rave about this delicious Dukkah recipe. 
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Endive Appetizers With Ricotta and Gems

These Endive Appetizers with ricotta and "gems" are super light and easy to make. Beautiful contrasting colors, textures and flavors. And the variations are endless. A perfect appetizer for potlucks.
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Baked Brie and Preserves (Easy Appetizer Recipe)

baked brie cheese topped with preserves and pistachios on black plate.
Level up your next gathering with a delicious crowd-pleasing baked brie and preserves appetizer. Guests will love the rich and indulgent cheese – oozy and creamy when baked – paired with a sweet jam and crunchy pistachios.
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Herb Popcorn (3-Min Savory Snack or Appetizer)

butter herb popcorn in a bowl on table.
Need a super quick and easy appetizer or snack for movie night? Give this deliciously spiced herb popcorn made with a herby, lemony, garlicky, smoky, spicy seasoning blend a try. Crave-worthy!
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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

Here's a tasty, popular creamy avocado appetizer on crostini to add to your repertoire. We top it with tomatoes and a balsamic drizzle to boost flavor and pizzazz. Just 12 minutes to make a healthy appetizer – not bad!
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Classic Knorr Spinach Dip (In a Bread Bowl)

Knorr spinach dip in bread bowl beside cut up bread and veggie sticks.
Watch guests dive in as you place this classic Knorr spinach dip in a bread bowl on the table. It's a super popular, old-favorite appetizer with variations to suit your preferences. Creamy and flavorful with texture!
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Roasted Garlic Appetizer (For Garlic Lovers)

bite sized focaccia on plate with roasted garlic cloves and olive oil.
Here is a recipe for an oven roasted garlic appetizer featuring soft, spreadable, mellow, golden garlic cloves on warm Focaccia bread. Simple and popular. 
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Pesto Crostini With Peaches and Ricotta

pesto crostini with peaches on cutting board
Guests rave about these pesto crostini appetizers with peaches and ricotta. The flavor combination is fantastic and they take just 15 minutes with a few simple ingredients.
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Eggplant Dip (Asian-Inspired)

eggplant dip in white bowl with corn chips.
This not-your-classic version of eggplant dip (Baba Ghanoush) has an Asian twist with sauteed onions, garlic, ginger, soy and rice wine. It's super flavorful, luxurious, slightly smoky and very tasty. Serve with tortilla chips, pita, naan or any cracker.
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Cheese and Olive Appetizers (Baked, 10 Minutes)

baked olive cheese appetizers on white plate with parsley.
Cheese and olive appetizers are a fabulous, quick and easy "can I have the recipe?" recipe. The briny, cheesy bites are perfect for any occasion. Just 6 ingredients – a mixture of cheese, olives, green onions, curry powder and mayo – baked onto English muffins in about 20 minutes.
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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)

cut rice paper rolls forming a circle around dipping sauce bowl.
Bursting with freshness, color and textures, these rice paper rolls are a perfect light appetizer before any meal. Check out the pink wrappers! Serve with your choice of dipping sauces. 
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Tofu With Peanut Sauce

If you're a peanut lover, you will love Tofu With Peanut Sauce. Even if you don't like tofu. The spicy peanut-y little pillows are packed with flavor and delicious in veggie bowls and appetizers.
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Easy Lettuce Wraps Recipe with Dumplings

4 lettuce wraps with dumplings and peanut sauce and garnish.
Plump dumplings are the main filling in this easy lettuce wraps recipe which is a snap to make in just 20 minutes. Garnish them with peanut sauce, crushed nuts and cilantro for a yummy, versatile appetizer or light main dish. 
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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.

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup (Thai-Inspired)

spiced butternut squash soup with crouton and cilantro garnish in bowl.
Create this velvety, flavorful Thai-inspired spiced butternut squash soup with a kick of heat. Just 30 minutes with a few simple ingredients. 
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Easy Gazpacho Recipe (smooth or chunky)

3 fancy glasses gazpacho and pitcher beside it
This healthy, easy gazpacho recipe screams summer freshness. with fresh veggies. And it satisfies those who prefer their gazpacho smooth or chunky. Spoon it or sip it.
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Easy Squash Apple Soup (Instant Pot or Stove Top)

squash apple soup in white bowl with croutons
This full-bodied and healthy butternut squash apple soup is creamy, velvety smooth, full of flavor and super simple. Make it on the stove top or instant pot. Make it on the stove top or instant pot.
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Easy Tomato Soup with Canned Tomatoes

two bowls of tomato soup with crouton sticks
Remember Campbell's tomato soup with saltine crackers? Well, we promise this creamy tomato soup with canned tomatoes is a way better version. Classic comfort food in 20 minutes.
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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.

Hosting Tips

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.

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