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Jan 21, 2011 12:32 PM

Make Ahead Vegetarian Appetizer

All of my classmates in one of my graduate classes found out that cooking is my passion, so naturally, I was nominated to bring snacks to class. Normally, my specialties are main dishes, so I'm a little stumped on a snack to bring. It has to be cold/room temp because I work before I go to class, so I'll have to make it the night before and can only refrigerate it while at work.

Also, I am a vegetarian, so I don't want to cook any meat (cheese is fine though), and I am a grad student cooking for 20 other people, so it has to be somewhat inexpensive (yes, I would love to make goat cheese and walnut stuffed figs and marinated bocconcini with tomatoes skewers, but I can't afford all that right now).

So, does anyone have any make ahead, vegetarian, inexpensive crowd pleasing appetizers?

(As I put it all together, it sounds like a tall order from my fellow Chow Hounders, but I have faith in you).

Thank you for the help!!

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  1. I've had good luck with these - I make cubes or rectangles, and skewer them on a nice little bamboo cocktail pick with a grape tomato (and maybe a basil leaf) to garnish and make it cute.

    1. Roasted veggies including red and yellow peppers-with a balsamic reduction-some marinated mushrooms and artichokes-simple and with a good balsamic-very tasty! I do this all the time and also include some braised cippolini or pearl onions that are carmelized a bit before serving. A spoon drizzle of the balsamic reduction always wows em!

      You could do an israeli cous cous salad. Stuffed grape leaves. Pureed bean dip.

      1. Hummus
        Cannelini bean spread
        Roasted red peppers

        2 Replies
        1. re: monavano

          Mini-quiches, deviled eggs, frittata or torta (the Spanish potato onion omelette, often served at room temperature), mini-knishes (potato or kasha or sauerkraut filling), piroshki (mushroom/or fried chooped tempheh with fried onions and hard-boiled egg makes a nice simulacrum of the traditional meat filling), kuleibiaka (IRussian pie--can be filled with sauteed onions and cabbage), vegetarian stuffed cabbage rolls, stuffed mushrooms, spinach and feta turnovers (use filo dough), veggies a la greque

          all of the above can be managed with hands or toothpicks and napkins

          if you want to go the plate route, a realm of salads opens up to you

          1. re: femmevox

            Those are some great ideas! And yes, I was hoping to do some kind of finger food to avoid utensils. I've never even thought of tempheh for piroshki filling but that sounds delicious!

        2. leek & gruyere tart or tartlettes
          shallot cherry confit with cheese and baguette

          1. Does everyone take turns bringing in snacks, or is this a one-time thing? If it's not something that happens regularly, I don't think there's any harm in asking your classmates to make a donation toward ingredients. Even $2 apiece would give you a great budget. I also don't think it's unreasonable to ask a classmate (or maybe the professor) to bring in a pack of plates or bowls if you'd like to make something that would require them. If you're being generous with your time, you shouldn't be forced to foot the bill, too, especially since you were volunteered.

            Since I'm guessing it's probably one of those marathon three-hour evening classes, something with protein would be a good choice. I sometimes like to top mini pitas with some hummus and chopped veggies. You could even do a sort of build-your-own bar--a bowl of hummus and some cucumber slices, shredded carrots, sliced peppers would all be travel-friendly, too.

            2 Replies
            1. re: writergeek313

              +1 on having other people pony up a couple of bucks. Why should the work and cost all be on you?

              1. re: escondido123

                One more thought I had was mini smobrod--open-faced Scandinavian style sandwiches. Here's a link to an article with some pictures:


                You need a close-grained dark bread that slices thinly. Now, while most of these are traditionally made with meat and fish toppings, I think they'd readily adapt to veggie ones--a smear of goat cheese, hard-boiled egg or omelette slice, a bit of veggie pate or humus. The neat thing is that you then decorate them as you like.

                If you enjoy that kind of activity at the juncture of cooking/decorating, you wind up with a platter that wasn't hard, didn't cost much to make, and looks fabulous.