Appetizers are one of the most appetizing (pun not intended) parts about a BBQ or party.
Gone are the days of meaty burger sliders and buffalo wings – did you know you can easily turn these beloved appetizers into vegetarian-friendly dishes?
Contrary to popular belief, vegetarian appetizers aren’t just an excuse to eat vegetables cooked in a variety of ways.
Instead, making vegetarian appetizers is a great way to experiment with foods and flavors, and they can be enjoyed by everyone!
Here are 23 easy and delicious vegetarian appetizers.
1. Mediterranean Hummus
You didn’t think you’d get through this guide without seeing at least one hummus recipe, did you?
Hummus is the ultimate crowd pleaser because it’s easy to make, tastes phenomenal, and goes with a variety of foods. Time to use up the chickpeas in your kitchen cabinet!
If you’ve never made hummus before, this is the recipe for you. This Mediterranean hummus recipe creates a delicious dip for pita or vegetables, and works brilliantly to tickle your taste buds before the main meal.
Plus, this is a sharing appetizer, meaning you don’t have to commit to eating the whole thing and risk getting full!
2. Italian Tomato Salad
The key with an appetizer is to make something that isn’t going to fill your guests up before the main meal.
You want something refreshing and tasty enough to warm up their taste buds, which is where the humble Italian tomato salad comes in.
Also known as Insalata di Pomodori, this Italian tomato salad recipe is surprisingly flavorful despite the handful of ingredients.
This salad consists of tomatoes, shallots, garlic, olive oil, basil, and herbs that work together to create a refreshing and delicious starter or side dish.
3. Vegetarian Mexican Potato Skins
If you’re looking for a slightly more filling appetizer, you should make some vegetarian-friendly potato skins.
Most potato skins recipes include bacon, but this recipe proves that you don’t need meat to make a flavorful appetizer.
This vegetarian Mexican potato skins recipe brings in all the wonderful flavors and textures of beloved Mexican foods, from the taco-spiced black beans to the moreish melted cheese.
Just make sure to pat dry and oil up the potato skins to encourage them to crisp up in the oven.
4. Authentic Bruschetta
Bruschetta is one of those appetizers that always seems harder to make than it actually is.
This appetizer is stylish to look at and delicious to eat, so you might be surprised that it only takes about 20 minutes to make several of these tasty bites.
The key to making a great bruschetta appetizer is to marinade the chopped tomato in olive oil for 10 minutes before serving.
Not only does this enhance the flavors of the tomatoes and the oil, but it also makes the tomatoes soft and easy to eat on the crispy grilled bread.
5. Homemade Baked Potato Chips
One of the easiest ways to keep your guests entertained before you bring out the main meal is by buying a few bags of potato chips from the store.
However, did you know that you can easily make your own at home?
This homemade baked potato chips recipe consists of just three ingredients – potatoes, salt, and olive oil – and takes only 20 minutes to make.
You’re then left with rustic potato chips that cannot be replicated in a bag of chips from the store!
6. Homemade Garlic Bread
Nothing beats a plate filled with steaming homemade garlic bread. Sure, you can buy a frozen garlic baguette at the store, but it’s far tastier to make it at home.
Not only is homemade garlic bread delicious and easy to make, but it can also be frozen for another day!
This garlic bread recipe is incredibly simple to follow and allows you to make the bread as garlicky or as buttery as you like.
If you’re feeling brave, you can even make the bread yourself – though this recipe only calls for store bought bread.
7. Homemade Guacamole
In the same way that hummus is a popular vegetarian appetizer, so is guacamole! Guacamole is a refreshing dish consisting of mashed avocado, onion, lime, and several other ingredients.
While it often accompanies the filling of a burrito or taco, guacamole is enjoyed as a dip for an appetizer, too.
Serve your guacamole with tortilla chips for a Mexican-inspired appetizer.
8. Crudités Platter
While meat eaters will turn to a charcuterie board for an appetizer, vegetarians and vegans alike have their own version – the crudités platter!
“Crudités” refers to chopped vegetables, which can include celery sticks, bell pepper sticks, carrot sticks, baby corn, cucumber sticks, tomatoes, broccoli, and more.
The key to making a crudités board is to display the vegetables in an appealing and colorful way, and fill the board with various dips.
9. Black Bean Salad
Suitable for a barbecue party or a Mexican meal, black bean salads are a great appetizer for everyone to enjoy.
This salad features a variety of vegetables and beans, including corn, bell peppers, jalapeños, tomatoes, red onion, and (of course) black beans, making for a highly nutritious and flavorful appetizer.
The best thing about this salad is that you can alter the spiciness depending on your preference. Serve with a sprinkle of feta or avocado and a bowl filled with tortilla chips.
10. Roasted Veggie Flatbread
Pizza is too heavy to be eaten as an appetizer, so what’s the next best thing? Flatbread, of course!
Flatbread is basically a smaller, more lightweight version of pizza that isn’t nearly as filling, and instead works up an appetite for the meal ahead.
Plus, flatbread is ridiculously easy to make and can be altered with whatever toppings you like.
This roasted veggie flatbread recipe can be enjoyed either hot or cold, and encourages you to use up roasted seasonal vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, red onion, tomatoes, and more.
11. Vegan Deviled Eggs
Not everyone attending your dinner party will be a meat or dairy eater! If you want to impress your guests with a vegan appetizer, check out this vegan deviled eggs recipe.
Instead of using hard-boiled eggs topped with an egg mixture, this recipe uses mini roast potatoes with a tofu and vegan mayonnaise filling.
These little bites are incredibly moreish, and you don’t even have to tell someone that they’re vegan.
Plus, the protein-based filling is just as healthy as eating real deviled eggs, so they make for a great lunchtime snack.
12. Vegetarian Stuffed Mushrooms
Another canapé-style appetizer idea is vegetarian stuffed mushrooms, consisting of white mushrooms and a veggie-based filling.
Not only are these stuffed mushrooms tasty and look great when served on a platter, but they’re also surprisingly healthy and a great way to start the meal!
While stuffed mushrooms often contain meat such as bacon, this recipe makes vegetables the star with the filling consisting of bell peppers, onions, herbs, breadcrumbs, and a generous amount of Parmesan cheese.
Make sure to make at least two stuffed mushrooms per guest, because they are incredibly moreish.
13. Crispy Vegetable Fritters
If you’ve spontaneously volunteered yourself to make the appetizers for a dinner party, the best thing you can make are crispy vegetable fritters.
These fritters essentially use whatever food you’ve got in your refrigerator or cupboard, fried into a delicious bite-sized treat that your guests are bound to love.
This recipe uses shredded zucchini, carrots, onion, garlic, and more to create effortlessly crispy fritters that are finished within 20 minutes. Serve alongside a sour cream or yogurt dip, or even a colorful salsa.
14. Green Pea Dip With Mint And Lemon
Vegans and vegetarians sure know how to make anything into a delicious dip.
Peas are a highly underrated vegetable that taste delicious when paired with mint and lemon, so why not turn these simple ingredients into a refreshing and flavorful dip?
This recipe is super quick and easy to follow, taking only 15 minutes to prep and make.
This pea dip can be served with a range of sliced vegetables, pita bread, or even spread on grilled sourdough like a pea-based bruschetta. For some added texture, sprinkle over some pine nuts or chopped pistachios.
15. Fried Green Beans
You know those oddly addictive fried green beans from TGI Fridays?
Yeah, you can make them easily at home for a fraction of the price.
This recipe might seem overwhelming at first, but with a little extra effort and attention to detail, and you’ve got yourself a bowl of moreish fried green beans that your guests will obsess over.
These fried green beans go best with a refreshing and spicy dip combo, such as cucumber and wasabi or sriracha mayo. Just make sure you make enough for everyone, because they will be gone in seconds!
16. Bang Bang Paneer
If you’re having an Indian dinner party, why not go all out and make a traditional Indian appetizer?
Paneer is also known as Indian cottage cheese, and is a popular starter in Indian households and restaurants across the world.
It’s also one of the quickest starters to make, with only 10 minutes of preparation and 20 minutes cooking time.
This bang bang paneer recipe is ideal for those who enjoy a spicy kick. The bang bang sauce is easy to make and adjust according to your tolerance with spice.
17. Sweet Potato And Avocado Bites
Serving little canapés as an appetizer is an easy way to make a dinner party or BBQ seem instantly more luxurious. Plus, canapés allow people the option to eat as much or as little as they like.
While most traditional canapés consist of meat or fish, these sweet potato and avocado canapés are completely vegan!
These canapés are really easy and quick to make, which is ideal for a last-minute dinner party. Serve with a dollop of smashed avocado and a slice of tomato, and you’ve got a perfect bite-sized appetizer.
18. Vegan Olive Tapenade
If you’re looking for a super savory appetizer, look no further than the humble olive tapenade.
This is a fantastic appetizer for vegans, vegetarians, and meat eaters alike, and is certain to encourage guests to come back for more.
This recipe consists of green and black olives, capers, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and seasoning, and takes only 10 minutes to make.
Serve with a range of crackers, flatbread, sourdough toast, and even vegetables.
While this recipe calls for a food processor, you can make it without one if you finely chop the ingredients to a tapenade-like consistency.
19. Loaded Veggie Nachos
Some of the best appetizers are the ones where everyone digs in and shares a dish before the main meal.
These loaded veggie nachos are perfect for sharing with your dinner guests, especially during a Mexican-inspired dinner party. They are also super quick and easy to make, which is ideal for last-minute appetizers!
The best part about this recipe is that you can adjust the ingredients to your liking. So, if you prefer spicy nachos, you can go hard on the jalapeños and make a spicy salsa.
20. Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
Buffalo chicken wings are a popular appetizer for meat eaters, but even some of the most passionate meat eaters would agree that buffalo cauliflower wings are better than their meaty counterparts.
These are crispy, flavorful, and sometimes even spicy baked wings that are a hit with every dinner guest.
Not only are they delicious, but buffalo cauliflower wings are surprisingly easy to make! It does take about 45 minutes to bake, so make sure you’ve started cooking them before guests begin to arrive.
Serve with a bowl of ranch dressing and be prepared for guests to ask for more!
21. Vegan Sliders
Sliders are another popular appetizer amongst meat eaters, but you can easily make them vegetarian or vegan-friendly.
Instead of using meat, these sliders consist of fluffy brioche buns and homemade chickpea patties, making for a high-protein and delicious appetizer that is perfect for serving at a dinner or birthday party (see also ‘39 Birthday Dinner Meals To Wow Your Guests‘)!
This recipe even includes instructions to make the burger buns from scratch, but if you’re tight for time, then you can make do with store bought brioche buns.
22. Spicy Garlic Edamame
If you’re looking for a light appetizer that won’t fill any of your guests up before the main meal, check out this spicy garlic edamame recipe.
Edamame beans are highly addictive and moreish, but the inclusion of garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and chili flakes makes for a highly flavorful appetizer.
These edamame beans are best served alone and don’t require a sauce. Instead, put them all in a big bowl and encourage everyone to dig in! Just make sure you’ve got a spare bowl available for the empty beans.
23. Vegan Cranberry Cheese Bites
Pastries are a popular appetizer thanks to their adorably small size, not to mention when they’re packed with flavor. If you want to really impress your dinner guests, try this vegan cranberry cheese bites recipe.
The mixture of vegan cheese and cranberry sauce blends savory and sweet flavors together beautifully.
These bites can be served whenever, but they are particularly delicious at a Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner party.
So, there you have it! Hopefully, this guide has given you some inspiration to make some yummy vegetarian appetizers for your next dinner party.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Party Food Can Vegetarians Eat?
Vegetarians can eat a variety of party foods, just as long as the food doesn’t contain meat or fish. You’ll be surprised at just how many party foods are vegetarian-friendly, including:
- Meatless pizza
- Veggie kebabs
- Vegetarian burgers
- Cauliflower wings
- Black bean burritos or tacos
- Vegetarian chili
- And more!
What Do You Call The Simplest Appetizer?
Appetizers are typically known as hors d’oeuvres, which refers to the small meal served before a main meal. These appetizers can be served hot or cold, and range in complexity from dips and crackers to complex canapés.
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