Served at parties, before meals or at snack times, meatless appetizers fill a party menu when vegetarians are on the guest list or make a simple between-meal snacks for kids. There are plenty of options to choose from that will cater to a wide range of tastes.
Pizza is a favorite for all ages. From elegant pesto pizza pinwheels to simple miniature pizza bagels, the variations are many for an appetizer menu. For simplicity, slice a loaf of French bread into rounds, top with tomato sauce or ranch dressing and cheese. Heat the mini-pizzas to melt the cheese. For elegance, roll out a sheet of crescent-style dough. Spread a layer of pesto, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and roll into a log. Bake and slice into pinwheels. Slice pizza dough into strips, and drizzle with olive oil and parmesan cheese to bake pizza breadsticks. Serve with marinara dipping sauce or creamy dressing. Add optional meatless toppings such as chopped spinach, artichokes or olives to your pizza appetizers.
Serve cheese melted inside a puff pastry or sliced on top of crackers. Bake up a batch of frozen mozzarella sticks to serve with marinara sauce or creamy dressing, and skewer fresh mozzarella balls with grape tomatoes. Cheese also pairs well with fruit. Combine a pear slice with brie, or garnish a square of cheddar with an apple slice.
A vegetable platter is a nutritious option for guests who prefer to eat healthy. Wash and cut the vegetables up to one day ahead of time so you only need to arrange the platter before serving. Use cookie cutters or a crinkle cutter to enhance the visual appeal of the veggies. Almost any vegetables you can eat raw work well, including carrots, broccoli, celery, cauliflower, radishes and jicama. Arrange them in a colorful pattern and serve with ranch dressing or veggie dip. If you want to stick with vegetables, but prefer to serve warm appetizers, go with stuffed mushrooms, stuffed artichokes or grilled vegetable skewers. Make a simple stuffing with croutons, bell pepper and creamy dressing.
Dip is a crowd pleaser that is often the first appetizer to disappear. It's also so easy to make that a second batch poses no problem. Mix a container of sour cream with a package of soup or salad dressing mix, and in minutes you have a tasty dip. Choose from onion or vegetable soup mix or ranch dressing mix, or take advantage of the simplicity and make all three. Serve these dips as-is or mix in chopped vegetables to stretch the amount, add texture, and enhance the flavor. Set them out with crackers, baked potato chips or corn chips, and sliced veggies.
- Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images