The best part of cocktail hour isn’t spending time with loved ones, and it isn’t checking out what everyone is wearing, and it isn’t even the open bar. Those things can be great, but the best part, of course, are the hors d’oeuvres. Hors d’oeuvres literally means “outside the meal” referring to “apart from the main meal or main parts of the meal.” They should only be one to two bites and shouldn’t require utensils or plates. Hors d’oeuvres are finger foods that are generally served with cocktails, particularly at holiday parties.
Appetizers are sometimes interchangeable with hors d’oeuvres, but more often appetizers are the first part of a several course meal and require plates and silverware. They both serve to whet the appetite for the food that follows later on in the evening. Looking to add a little pizazz to your party? Since the holidays are almost upon us, here are a few tips on serving hors d’oeuvres and 4 recipes.
Tips for serving hors d’oeuvres:
A. When preparing a party with hors d’oeuvres, you want to make them look visually appealing. A mouthwatering, visually stunning hors d’oeuvres is generally a fan favorite.
B. Have a selection of both hot and cold hors d’oeuvres.
C. Hors d’oeuvres are meant to stimulate the appetite, not make your guests full. Therefore, nothing that is too large or heavy.
D. If using toothpicks, have a lemon wedge on the plate for people to stick their used ones.
Here are 4 vegetarian hors d’oeuvres that will stimulate the appetite of even your most carnivorous friend.
1. SMOKY CARROT HUMMUS
Tip for Dip: Dips are a very popular and are requested all of the time when I am cooking for an event. This dip can also be made into a canape. Instead of spooned into an endive leaf, toasted bread can be used as well. My friend Robin introduced me to this recipe and it was love at first bite. Whenever she throws a party, I always request this because it puts a twist on a classic hummus dish.
- 1 pound carrots, rinsed
- 1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced (about 3 tablespoons)
- 1 tbs sesame seeds
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp paprika
- ½ t cumin
- ¼ tsp chipotle chile powder
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Chop carrots into large chunks. Toss in 2 teaspoons olive oil and lightly salt. Roast for about 30-35 minutes, until carrots are fork-tender. Place aside until cool enough to work with.
- Meanwhile, you can get everything else ready. Using either a blender or food processor, add the garbanzo beans, 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, sesame seeds, garlic, all spices and salt.
- Once the carrots have cooled, add them to the blender or food processor. Pulse or blend until combined. Have the olive oil on hand if you need to add more because the consistency is too thick.
- Garnish with paprika or fresh parsley.
2. STUFFED DATES
Make these for your next party, and watch them disappear. If you’re not a fan of blue cheese, you can stuff the dates with soft goat cheese or a vegan cream cheese.
- 24 dried dates
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast or dried breadcrumbs
- 4 oz. blue cheese or goat cheese
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Slit dates down one side, and remove pits. Place nutritional yeast on small saucer.
- Stuff each pitted date with ½ tsp. blue cheese, pressing sides together. Dip slit side of dates in nutritional yeast to coat cheese.
- Place on baking sheet slit side up, and bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until dates are hot and cheese is soft. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
3. OVEN-BAKED ZUCCHINI & SQUASH CRISPS WITH SMOKED PAPRIKA
- 2 medium zucchini and/or squash
- 1 egg, scrambled
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan (3/4-ounce)
- ½ cup plain dry bread crumbs, like panko
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet.
- Slice the zucchini and/or squash into very thin rounds (a little less than ¼ inches). In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the oil. In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs, salt, and a few turns of pepper.
- Lightly beat the egg into a small bowl with a little bit of warm water.
- Dip each round into the egg mixture and then into the bread crumb mixture, coating it evenly on both sides, pressing the coating on to stick, and place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake the zucchini rounds until browned and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove with spatula. Serve immediately.
4. THAI LETTUCE WRAPS
Ground tempeh replaces ground chicken in this dish. Served with lime wedges and Szechuan sauce.
- ¼ cup lime juice
- ⅛ cup sugar
- 4 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tbs. rice vinegar
- ½ tsp. light brown sugar
- 2 8-oz. pkg. Asian flavored tempeh, blended into chunks
- 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
- 2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
- 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 2 Tbs. chopped shallots
- 1 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tbs. rice vinegar
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 6 tsp. Szechuan sauce
- ¼ tsp. light brown sugar
- Toppings and Wraps
- ½ lb. green beans, thinly sliced
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- Fresh mint, cilantro, and basil
- 18 whole lettuce leaves
- ½ cup chopped peanuts
- To make Sauce: Whisk together all ingredients in small bowl.
To make Filling: Pulse tempeh in food processor until coarsely crumbled. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Add tempeh and broth, cover, and cook 5 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to medium-high, and cook 10 minutes, or until liquid has evaporated. Stir in remaining ingredients.
- Mound vegetables, herbs, and tempeh mixture on platter. Let diners fill lettuce leaves with Filling and Toppings. Serve with bowls of Sauce and peanuts.