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Non-Cheese-y Holiday Appetizers

Im having a cocktail party soon and just realized that almost all of my go-to appetizer recipes contain cheese. So I would like some ideas for no-cheese fancy apps, not Chex Mix or pretzels, but something on the level of my other offerings, i.e., gougeres, smoked salmon and cream cheese canapes, serrano ham and monchego tapas etc. So far I have come up with cherry tomatoes filled with guacamole ( a pain to make) and roasted vegetable dip with pita chips. Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions.

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  1. Chili Lime Chickpeas, I'm making them next week.


    1. Dates stuffed with almond, rolled in bacon and grilled.
      Crostini with chicken liver and tapenade
      Rosemary and anchovies shortbread
      Aubergine caviar

      1. What about rolling prosciutto around asparagus? Or something sweet to balance all the salty, like hte stuffed dates Jpan99 mentioned or a fruit tray with yogurt-based dip?
        An alternative to your guacamole tomatoes, what about buying mini pastry shells and filling them with guacamole and some shredded chicken (buy a rotisserie one already cooked!)?

        1. Red curry chicken wings made in a slowcooker or baked
          Steamed little potatoes with sour cream and caviar/smoked salmon

          1 Reply
          1. re: tcamp

            While I'm a big-time wing lover, I have to disagree with serving them at a holiday cocktail party. WAY too messy as cocktail-party finger food.

          2. I also used to make curried chicken in filo cups. Buy the pre-made filo cups in the market. Make or buy chicken salad and add curry powder to it. (chicken should be cut small so it fits into the cups) Fill the filo cups with the curried chicken salad and top with some mango chutney.

              1. re: Berheenia

                I love this too.

                Also, this Roasted Garlic and Carrot Hummus is delicious.


                1. Dates stuffed with smoked almonds
                  Blistered shishito peppers
                  Endive leaves with trout salad
                  Beet-pickled deviled eggs
                  Hummus topped with lamb and herb pesto

                  1. Chinese walnuts-good housekeeping illustrated cookbook 1980
                    Tortilla de patatas cut into squares
                    Prosciutto wrapped asparagus
                    Kurdish carrot fritters from food bridge blog

                    1. Endive topped w/ pear pecan chicken salad
                      Curry beef puffs
                      candied cranberries
                      prosciutto wrapped persimmmons

                      1. Black-eyed pea hummus. Never make the traditional any longer this stuff is so good.

                        1. Mini spanakopitas (which can be made ahead and frozen).
                          Small (bite-sized) baked stuffed mushrooms.
                          Country-style pate with toasts and cornichons.
                          Devilled eggs with capers.
                          Swap out the smoked salmon and cream cheese canapes for the salmon mousse in the original Silver Palate amped up with some minced smoked salmon, and served with toasts (mousse needs to be made day before, much less last minute fussing than canapes).

                            1. - polenta squares or rounds topped with caponata, tapenade, pesto or mushroom ragout
                              - satay or mini meatballs with dipping sauces
                              - crab salad in endive
                              - lentil-nut paté with chips, crackers or crudités
                              - Chinese chicken salad in lettuce cups
                              - frittata or Spanish tortilla bites
                              - savory shortbread
                              - baba ghannouj with pita chips or cucumber rounds

                              1 Reply
                                  1. I am also hosting a party soon, and am planning on making this savory tart: http://weekofmenus.blogspot.com/2012/...

                                    I am planning on making this in a mini muffin tray with puff pastry to individualize/appetizer-ize the tart.

                                    Good luck!

                                    1. I realized I had the same issue recently and revisited my recipes. I forgot how much I loved these seared tuna skewers with wasabi mayo. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                      I make these shrimp cakes into minis and they are another one of my favorites. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                      I used to make a crostini with filet of beef and horseradish sauce as well when aiming for heavier apps.

                                      1. Well, sheesh - I would so want to include these!


                                        1. I always like to make Ina Garten's Savory Palmiers for holiday parties. They do have goat cheese in them but I think you could leave them out and just increase the pesto. I definitely don't think of them a cheese-based appetizer. They're very festive looking with the red from the tomatoes and the green from the pesto. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

                                          I also like to eat dates stuffed with almonds and then wrapped in bacon, or herbed/spiced nuts as others have mentioned :)

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                            Thank you all. So many good choices I havent decided yet what to have. Pretty sure I will be adding stuffed dates and meatballs in a spicy sauce.

                                            I am keeping this list for the future!

                                          2. Tapenade is always easy and tasty.

                                              1. One year I did broiled mussels with parsley, garlic, pernod & etc. Briefly cook the mussels, release from shells, save one shell for bottom, put one mussel in each shell, top with a spoonful of the herbed butter and broil. I prepared them ahead of time and just had to put them under the broiler before serving. There were none left and everyone loved them.

                                                1. I like these Roasted Radishes:
                                                  2 bunches with greens of Icicle, French or Easter Egg-colored - about one pound
                                                  2 Tablespoons of melted unsalted butter
                                                  2 Tablespoons olive oil
                                                  sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
                                                  leaves of fresh thyme - about one Tablespoon
                                                  sprigs of thyme for garnish
                                                  Preheat oven to 400°F
                                                  Trim radishes with 1/2-inch of stem attached; rinse
                                                  Place on rimmed baking sheet; toss with butter, olive oil, salt & pepper, thyme leaves:
                                                  Toss to coat; roast for 10 to 15 minutes until tender but slightly crunchy. Serve warm or at room temperature.

                                                  Stuffed Mushrooms are also a fave.