Vegetarian Appetizers That Are Sure To Be Crowd-Pleasers

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Vegetarian cuisine is on the rise. What once was seen as a niche diet is now growing and entering the mainstream as people gear toward meat-free alternatives (via Food Revolution). A vegetarian is generally defined as someone who doesn't eat meat such as poultry, fish, or beef. They may also abstain from meat byproducts found in popular foods such as gelatin and rennet (via Vegsoc). According to Nestle, though, it isn't just vegetarians who are making meat-free meals more common. Sales of plant-based foods are increasing, even amongst those who still eat meat.

With the restrictions of a vegetarian diet, some might be intimidated by the idea of cooking meat-free dishes. Rest assured though, vegetarian cooking can be just as flavorful and filling as any cuisine. We have compiled a list of some of the best vegetarian appetizers that are sure to be crowd-pleasers. Whether you're hosting an intimate gathering or bringing a dish to a large party, there are plenty of delicious vegetarian foods to choose from.


Spanakopita is one of the great vegetarian dishes. Greek in origin, spanakopita has been around for thousands of years (via Connect 2 Local). It combines all that is delicious: Layers of flaky, buttery phyllo dough, which is both crispy and tender as you bite in, surround a soft and savory creamy feta cheese and spinach filling.

Spanakopita works well as part of the main meal, but it is next-level as an appetizer. The dish is both light enough not to weigh down the rest of the meal and substantial enough to keep away rabid hunger pains before the main course arrives. Additionally, frozen spanakopita is available for purchase from stores such as Costco and Trader Joe's. These come in individual phyllo-wrapped pieces that are easy to pick up and eat with your hands.

Preparing spanakopita at home can be a little challenging, but it can be made more accessible by using pre-made phyllo dough. And as chef Kate Shungu told Mashed, after some practice, it becomes easier. So whatever option you choose, put spanakopita on the menu.

Spinach and artichoke dip

Arguably the best way to have a vegetable is cooked and smothered in cheese. Make it a dip, and you have got yourself a top vegetarian appetizer right there. According to the Los Angeles Times, thick and creamy dips came to prominence in the United States in the 1950s. While their popularity has ebbed and flowed over time, a well-placed dip for sharing is sure to please a crowd.

Spinach and artichoke dip is a fantastic choice because while it relies on a heavy cream base, it is balanced out by a high volume of spinach and artichoke hearts. Brands such as Target's Good and Gather make frozen spinach and artichoke dip, perfect for when time is short. It should be noted that rennet is included as an ingredient, so it may not be suitable for all vegetarians. If you want more control over ingredients, spinach and artichoke dip is easy to make and can come together in a slow cooker or Instant Pot. For a healthier option, this recipe from Tasting Table uses Greek yogurt in place of sour cream, which keeps the dip a bit lighter while maintaining that melty, creamy texture.

Multi-layer dip

When you don't want to choose just one condiment or topping, there is the multi-layer dip. Multi-layer dip can also be called Taco Dip. The dip typically consists of layers of refried beans, sour cream, guacamole, and cheese and often also includes toppings such as olives, tomatoes or salsa, and some kind of green. The whole thing is then scooped with crispy tortilla chips, which give a blast of flavor and texture that is sure to please anyone.

How many layers does a dip need? It is really up to you. Some recipes call for five, while others add more. This easy recipe calls for seven layers and includes guacamole as well as a creamy refried bean mixture. It is easy to make this recipe fit your and your company's tastes. Just be sure to use vegetarian refried beans such as those from Old El Paso. If you are making the dip yourself, you may also want to make it in a clear dish, such as a glass baking pan, so that guests can admire every layer as they dig in.

Fruit and cheese tray

Charcuterie boards seem to be going through a bit of a renaissance right now. As Insider notes, there is a good reason for it. Charcuterie has been around for centuries, but given the rise of social media and food photography, they have become trendy. History professor Ken Albala told Insider that he believes this is due to the photographic nature of the boards. You can make pretty designs out of high-quality food, which he describes as "Instagrammable." 

These boards are quick and can be inexpensive to make. While charcuterie traditionally is a meat board, don't let that stop you. You can make a delicious vegetarian tray utilizing cheese, fruits, and nuts. Find cheeses that you enjoy; they do not have to be expensive and pair them with berries, grapes, or dried fruits. Work with whatever is available to you at the time. You can offer small crackers or thin slices of baguette to pair with them. A fruit and cheese tray will give the appearance of elegance without going to the trouble of cooking. Plus, it is a chance to let your creative juices flow and see what sort of designs you can create.

Bruschetta or crostini

Who doesn't love little pieces of bread topped with stuff? Not only are they a great way to use up some old bread, but there are so many variations, including bruschetta. The dish originated in the Tuscan region of Italy and is comprised of toasted bread paired with a tomato-based topping (via La Cucina Italiana). As La Cucina Italiana points out, the liquid on the topping can cause the bread to get soggy but will also hide any trace of stale bread. Bruschetta is an excellent summertime appetizer when tomatoes are fresh and flavorful.

Crostinis are another popular toasted bread appetizer, and the name translates to "little crust" in Italian (via MasterClass). Crostinis are incredibly versatile. All you need is some thinly sliced bread, toasted and then topped with anything your heart desires. As Masterclass notes, they can be sweet by using things like jam and cheese; salty, covered with an olive tapenade; or savory, packed with roasted veggies. There are so many ways to make them you are sure to find one that suits your needs.

Caprese skewers

Caprese is another one of those great appetizers that require little effort and no turning on the stove. An excellent summertime snack, caprese is a salad made with fresh sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil, often with some balsamic vinegar. It is fresh and savory with a mild herbiness. It is a lovely appetizer, but if you are making it for a group, it can be even better by making it even smaller and putting it on a stick.

Caprese skewers are easy to make and require even less effort than their full-sized counterparts. A Today Meal recipe for Caprese skewers advises the cook to use cherry tomatoes (grape tomatoes will also work) and mini-marinated mozzarella balls. By using these two ingredients instead of their larger counterpart, the cook doesn't even cut anything. Simply stack basil, tomato, and cheese on a stick, and drizzle with pesto or a balsamic glaze. This colorful appetizer will give the illusion of extra prep work and will be easy for guests to pick up and eat.

Deviled eggs

Deviled eggs have always been a popular appetizer; they are hard-boiled eggs that have been sliced in half, the yolks removed, and then refilled with some additional ingredients. They remain frequent fare at house parties and events in the United States. According to the North Carolina Egg Association, stuffed eggs have been around since the ancient Romans. Through the years, they have maintained popularity as they spread across the globe with a plethora of flavors, including dried fruit and powdered sugar, being incorporated at different times.

Today's deviled eggs are typically creamy and a little spicy, such as with this recipe from Today Meal. The "deviled" part comes from 18th-century Britain where "devil" was used to describe spicy foods (North Carolina Egg Association). Don't let the name scare you off, though. Spice mixes can be easily adjusted up or down to taste, which makes this a sure-to-please vegetarian appetizer.

Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dips

Oliver from the hit series "Only Murders in the Building" isn't the only one who loves dips. According to Yahoo Finance, the market for hummus has continued to grow over the years and, as of 2022, is expected to grow by $1.75 billion. With numbers like those, it is hard to deny that hummus has a hold on us all. It makes a great appetizer served with pita bread or chips. Plus, brands such as Tribe make the dip in a variety of flavors. And if you do want to make your own, a classic hummus is not too hard.

Why stop with hummus, though? There are so many amazing vegetarian dips. From the grilled eggplant-based baba ghanoush to the sweet and spicy roasted red pepper and walnut-based muhammara, there is a world of dips out there. At your next gathering, why not make or purchase a variety of them and set out a dip selection? We promise your guests will love them so much they will want to bring them home.

Guacamole and salsa

For an appetizer that is easy to dress up or down, guacamole and salsa are the way to go. Over the past few years, the sale of guacamole has continued to grow (via Deli Business). It is no wonder. According to UPMC, guacamole is loaded with healthy fats, vitamins, and fiber, making it a healthy and delicious snack food. Salsa, too, tends to be a healthier appetizer option than other dips; Healthline reports that salsa is high in vitamin C, low in calories, and all-around tasty.

Both dips use fruits and veggies as their main ingredient, which makes them healthier, and also lighter than others, which helps make them perfect as an appetizer. As an added bonus, both are not just vegetarian but vegan, containing no animal products at all. Guacamole is easy to make and can be purchased at most grocery stores. Classic pico de gallo is also easy to make and is sure to wow a crowd. If you are looking to mix it up, there are tons of different types of salsa, including pineapple salsa, fire-roasted salsa, and salsa verde.

Stuffed mushrooms

If you are trying to stick with healthier appetizers that are not going to end up spoiling the meal, stuffed mushrooms are a great savory option. Stuffed mushrooms utilize the natural bowl-shaped base of the mushroom cap to hold delicious fillings. While there is a little bit of prep work involved with stuffed mushrooms, it is not so much as to throw off a cooking schedule. 

The beauty of the stuffed mushroom is that the mushroom itself acts as a vessel for the yummy fillings. For example, this stuffed portobello mushroom recipe fills mushroom caps with cheese. This one from Tasting Table fills them with a version of spinach and artichoke dip, already a favorite of ours. There is a world of opportunity out there for fillings, and by using mushrooms instead of bread, guests won't get too loaded on carbs before the meal. Stuffed mushrooms are excellent for cold weather when you want something warm and comforting.


Speaking of perfect cold-weather appetizers, latkes are the way to go. Latkes are pancakes made from potatoes and a little onion and held together with eggs and flour. They are then fried in a thick layer of oil until they are crispy golden brown on the outside and beautifully soft on the inside. We bet your mouth is watering now.

Latkes are traditionally made for Hanukkah as an homage to the miracle of the oil, which lasted eight days (via CBS News), but can and should be made year-round as an appetizer. Fried potatoes are almost universally beloved, and potatoes are both inexpensive and nutritious (via Nature World News). You can add traditional toppings such as sour cream or apple sauce, or you can mix it up a bit. Top them with guacamole or cheese. Lean into the breakfast vibe and top with maple syrup. Whether you're making latkes for a holiday party or a friendly gathering, they are sure to be a hit.


There is no need to over-exert yourself by making appetizers. The beauty of vegetarian food is that often, the ingredients do not require much to transform them into something yummy. Sometimes simplicity is best, and that is the case with edamame. Edamame is a type of soy bean (via MasterClass). Traditionally a Japanese snack, edamame has gained popularity across the ocean and can be found in many Japanese restaurants. Edamame contains many nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and fiber (via Healthline).

Basic edamame is made by boiling the whole beans in salted water or steaming them in their shell and serving. Guests then open the shells themselves to consume the beans within. They offer a mild and pleasant flavor that is easy to pair. In addition to this plain way, edamame can be cooked with other flavors such as spicy garlic and five-spice salt with sesame. The beans can be purchased fresh or frozen, or out of the shell, allowing the cook to decide how they want to serve them.

Baked brie

Do you want a vegetarian appetizer that looks really fancy but takes minimal effort? The answer is baked brie.

Baked brie is, at its core, just what the name suggests: cheese that has been put in the oven and baked. This works as well as it does because brie has a tough rind that holds the whole thing together until the first cracker or knife is dipped into it to reveal an oozing cheese delight.

Of course, baked brie is usually dressed up a little. It can be wrapped in pre-made puff pastry, for example, to add a buttery, flaky layer. It can be topped with an apple and cranberry relish or a fruit and nut chutney. For a little extra effort, the rind can be removed and placed in a bread bowl. There are so many options, and aside from the passive time the brie spends in the oven, you will not have to put in much effort at all.


Sometimes there are great foods that are so easy to make vegetarian, it is amazing that they are not done more often. A prime example of this is arancini. Arancini is an Italian dish made of rice balls that have been deep-fried (via Merriam-Webster). The name itself means "little orange." Arancini makes a delicious appetizer that is easy to eat.

Recipes such as this one from Mashed show that the rice is cooked with broth, as well as cheese and cream. The inside more closely resembles a risotto in texture, becoming creamy and gooey. More cheese is added to the center of the rice balls. In the end, you have an easy appetizer that perfectly balances salty, savory, crunchy, and creamy. Other versions use ingredients such as eggplant to add another layer of flavor. The one simple change of swapping chicken stock for vegetable stock makes the recipe vegetarian-friendly.

Puffs of every kind

When in doubt, break out a frozen sheet of puff pastry. Puff pastry is the vegetarian appetizer's secret weapon. You can make multiple kinds of appetizers with a simple sheet of grocery store puff pastry and a little creativity.

If you have some puff pastry and either some muffin tins or mini muffin tins, you can cut your pastry to size, fill them with whatever you have on hand and bake them into bite-sized instant appetizers such as this spinach and artichoke bite from Mashed. You can fill them with bits of brie and jam for mini baked brie with cranberry, or make a mini quiche. Cut into strips, they can be wrapped around veggie dogs or carrots to make a veggie version of pigs in a blanket. You can cut them into squares and top them with your favorite vegetarian toppings and make mini tarts. Puff pastry is incredibly versatile, and simply utilizing this freezer ingredient can wow any guest with your vegetarian creations.