Quick appetizer suggestion needed for tonight (guests have various dietary restrictions)
I'm having a group of 5 over tonight. One is a vegetarian, one is dairy-free, and one is doing paleo (low-carb), the other two will eat anything.
I'm starting with a green salad, and moving on to brown rice pasta (the paleo is ok with it) - one sauce with veggies, another sauce with meat.
What I'd like to have is some sort of appetizer as they arrive. Usually, I'll do hummus and crudites, but I feel like that's what I always serve this group. I just thought about cheese/crackers/salami (that way, the each of the restricted food groups could do their own thing)... actually, that's not a bad idea!!!!
I've never pulled off bruschetta well, and I figured bread being vehicle would be limiting to the non-grains person.
Any other ideas that might complement the red-sauce pasta main?
Tapenade is vegetarian, dairy-free, and paleo (it's usually serve it with crackers or bread crisps, I'm sure you could find some paleo snack-crisp option to add to the plate.) It's also easy and ready in advance! I usually do a straight-up olive one, but recently tried this and it was delicious:
Spiced nuts are also veggie- and paleo-friendly.
Or, what about a big antipasto platter? You can include lots of fresh and marinated veggies, nuts, and olives that everyone can eat, and then also some little mozarella balls or other cheese and salami slices that people can choose individually what they like. Then it's more about shopping than cooking...
Since you are serving a salad, you don't really need the crudites. How about expanding the cheese/crackers/salami into a more complete antipasti with some marinated mushrooms and/or artichokes, olives, grilled/roasted vegetables, roasted garlic, etc. A few different kinds of cheese and meat. Fresh bread or crostini, crackers, pita, etc. (If you have a Whole Foods or TJ's nearby, its pretty easy to find things already prepared.)
People rave about these Prosciutto Chips: http://nomnompaleo.com/post/25437941473/porkitos-a-k-a-crispy-prosciutto-chips
And some Kale Chips from the same blog:
dinner is starch so instead of using another starch for your app, think of either sturdy leaves, like endive or radicchio, or cuke rounds as the base. you can roast carrots or red peppers, then whiz in the food pro with some ginger, olive oil, and just enough nut butter to make it sturdy. finish with some cilantro or basil.
stuffed mushrooms, with herbs would be another easy bite to start.
does your vegetarian friend eat eggs? deviled eggs are always a big hit for me.
spiced nuts or home-made potato chips are always popular too, just as nibbles.