If you need to bring an appetizer to a holiday party, we’ve got you covered. We have easy no-cook appetizers like cheese and charcuterie boards. Plus, easy dips and the best fancy finger food that’s impressive and delicious.
LEVEL 1 / Fall-on-it Easy
TRY A SUPER SIMPLE FRUIT AND CHEESE PLATTER
The trick here is to make it look as pretty as it tastes.
Ideally, pick three different types of cheese.
Look for a variety of texture and flavor — no need to break the budget by buying something fancy buy what you like, and dress it up.
- Maybe a Brie (soft and mild)
- Blue Cheese (medium texture and stronger in flavor), and a
- Gruyere (a hard cheese with a ‘middle ground’ flavor).
Add in fresh and dried fruit for color and texture.
- Use fruit or herbs to add some color. If you use fruit, make it bite-sized.
- Grapes and fresh or dried stone fruits work great!
- Want to get fancy? Add a small bowl of high-end jam or honey.
Treat it like a well laid out spread. Serve it all at room temperature. And, don’t forget the crackers!
BUILD A CHARCUTERIE BOARD
Charcuterie is just a fancy French word to describe a plate of cured meat.
It describes the process of making the meat, but there is no need to geek out on the technicalities here.
Much like with a cheese plate, put together a variety of meats with a few extras.
Add some tiny pickles.
Nothing says ‘classy’ like tiny pickles, right?
Ha ha ha.] Like liver? Add some store-bought pate. Slice up a baguette, and you’re good to go!
CRUDITES AND DIP
Like ‘charcuterie,’ ‘crudites’ is just a fancy French word for ‘veggies and dip.’
Again, the trick is to make your display look pretty.
Pick veggies in a variety of colors. Like you did with the cheese, also think about flavor.
- Tomatoes are sweet
- radishes a bit spicy
- The usual suspects: carrots, cucumbers, celery, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, bell peppers, snap peas, radishes.
Pick the ones you like, cut them into bite-sized pieces, and arrange them on a plate.
Don’t eat crackers? Put your cheese on dried apricot. Add almond and some honey!
Try a BOWL OF fresh roasted NUTS
Any nuts will do. I prefer to use shelled nuts, but even this is not a hard and fast rule.
If you want to make your own, we’ve got a fantastic Spiced Nuts recipe.
A FANCY BOWL OF OLIVES
Your head spinning? Just pick out some yummy olives at the store. Dump them in a bowl!
If they have pits, you will look like you have your act together if you also put out a bowl for the pits.
LEVEL 2 / Dips
Both of these dips are easy to make. The Red Pepper Feta Dip had just two ingredients.
[It wouldn’t be Foodology Geek if we didn’t find a way to work in tzatziki!] Serve it with some pita bread and sliced cucumbers. It would also be great with your crudites (above).
RED PEPPER WITH FETA
This is an easy-to-prepare dip that is great with veggies (your crudites), or on its own with sliced baguette or crackers.
This one takes a bit of planning, as you have to soak the chickpeas overnight.
But if you can handle that, the rest is dead easy. Not to mention fresh hummus is delicious! Serve it with your crudites, or with your pita and cucumbers. These Moroccan Pickled Carrots are also an fantastic fancy topper for the hummus.
LEVEL 3 / Medium Effort
You can’t go wrong with deviled eggs. In our family, they’re a required element of any holiday meal.
You can make these the day before. They can stand alone or be part of another plate of choices. [NOTE: Resist the urge to use them like crackers.]
Serve them on their own like the cookies, put some on top of the hummus, or use them on your charcuterie board.
LEVEL 4 / Go for the Wow Value
These recipes aren’t harder, just higher on the ‘Wow’ scale.
One of the easiest ways to create something special for guests is to wrap up a yummy combination of flavors into a fun shape and throw it in the oven.
Super easy and will make you look like a celebrity chef. After the pastry dough thaws the assembly of this dish takes about 5 minutes. It looks rustic and tastes fantastic. The colors and textures are gorgeous.
Bottom line, don’t sweat it.
Even sophisticated appetizers can be a no-brainer. The key element is a bit of creativity. My general go-to is to put together a colorful plate of veggies and dip….or a cheese plate…or a bowl of nuts. No need to go crazy if you are also serving a big meal.