Christmas is right around the corner and you’re probably going to be entertaining lots of family and friends. Or maybe you’re the guest, and you’ll need to bring something to offer your host. Even though the main course is a big deal, the soups, salads, and especially, the appetizers are also important.
Appetizers are not only fun, but they give your guests something to munch on while you put the finishing touches on the meal and set up the dinner table. Or maybe you’re not making a big dinner and just want a bunch of small plate noms. Check out these Simple and Flavorful Vegan Appetizer Ideas To Take to Your Next Celebration and Be the Life of the Party This Summer With These 30 Vegan Appetizers. Dips and spreads are always popular. Learn How to Make Clean Eating Dips and Spreads That Eliminate Oil and Dairy and then try these 15 Double-Dip Worthy Vegan Dips.
A small bowl of soup is a wonderful way to start the meal and warm everyone up. Take a look at The Best Quick Soups to Keep You Warm Through the Winter. You can also use a crock pot or slow-cooker and let the soup cook itself while you prepare the rest of the meal. Here are 10 Nutritious Soups and Stews to Make in Your Slow Cooker. We also have recipes for 15 Fresh and Cool Raw Soups in case the last thing you want is a hot bowl of soup.
Finally, there are the salads. With all the heavy dishes, it’s a welcome sight to see a light and healthy salad on the table. Of course, salads can also be hearty and satisfying like these 15 Salads That Are Hearty Enough to Be the Main Course. Salads are also a great way to get creative. Check out Think Salads are Just Lettuce? Here are 10 Summer Salads That Will Make You Think Again.
Besides being part of a large dinner, soups, salads and starters are also great for small meals and snacks throughout the holiday season. Here are 30 ideas for soups, salads, and starters that will make your Christmas merry and mouthwatering.
1. Butternut Squash Crostini with Cranberries and Tahini Dressing
Savor all the flavors of the season with this Butternut Squash Crostini with Cranberries and Tahini Dressing. Your guests will all rush toward the crispy pieces of French bread topped with sweet roasted butternut squash dressed with the flavors of maple and sesame. Dried cranberries make it look festive and fun.
2. Spelt Berry Salad with Cinnamon Balsamic Vinaigrette
When the weather is cold, a warm salad can be very comforting. This Spelt Berry Salad with Cinnamon Balsamic Vinaigrette combines cooked spelt berries with sauteed kale, apple, and walnuts. Tossed with a cinnamon-spiced balsamic vinaigrette, this salad is the perfect addition to your dinner table!
3. 5-Ingredient Almond Rosemary Crackers with Fig and Olive Tapenade
Impress your guests with these Almond Rosemary Crackers with Fig and Olive Tapenade that is a much easier appetizer than it looks. The combination of sweet figs with salty, savory olives is luxurious. Spread the deliciousness on the homemade rosemary crackers.
4. Kale and Enoki Mushroom Salad
This Kale and Enoki Mushroom Salad is a flavorful and filling dish. Sauteed enoki mushrooms and apples sit atop a bed of massaged kale. Pomegranate seeds add a colorful touch that is perfect for the holidays.
5. Fried Olives Stuffed with Garlic
Set out this tapas-style dish of Fried Olives Stuffed with Garlic and watch them disappear. The salty olives are stuffed with roasted garlic and then breaded and fried until crispy. Serve them with the homemade vegan ranch sauce and you’ll be on everyone’s invite list.
6. Cauliflower Soup with Leek and Potatoes
For a soup that’s light and won’t have you too full for dinner, this Cauliflower Soup with Leek and Potatoes is just the thing. Garnished with peppers and roasted chickpeas for crunch, this is an easy, healthy and delicious winter soup.
7. Warm Lentil Walnut Apple Salad
If you want a salad that’s filling and comforting, this Warm Lentil Walnut Apple Salad is the one for you. Crunchy vegetables, whole grains, sweet apples, and earthy walnuts will keep everyone happy and satisfied.
8. Pumpkin Sage Rice Balls
No one will be able to resist these Pumpkin Sage Rice Balls. They’re savory, cheesy, and pumpkin-y and a great use for leftover rice. These rice balls are everything you never knew you wanted but once you know, there’s no going back.
9. Creamy Mushroom Bisque
Bisque is so luxurious with its velvety texture and that hint of sherry that adds a touch of elegance. This Creamy Mushroom Bisque looks and tastes like it came off the menu of a five-star restaurant, but it’s actually easy to make.
10. Sweet Potato Hummus with Roasted Chickpeas
Put together two favorite appetizers and you get this Sweet Potato Hummus with Roasted Chickpeas. The hummus has sweet potato, chickpeas, and kale for a smooth and creamy dip. The roasted chickpeas add flavor and crunch to a doubly-delicious party starter.
11. Roasted Turmeric Cauliflower and Kale Salad
This Roasted Turmeric Cauliflower and Kale Salad is a perfect way to combine two powerhouse cruciferous vegetables – kale and cauliflower. With a slight heat from the cauliflower to complement the zest of the massaged kale, this salad is definitely a winner!
12. Pumpkin Minestrone
This lovely Pumpkin Minestrone is a seasonal play on a classic recipe. It is a tasty combination of pumpkin, hearty white beans, kale, and tomatoes! Try it as an appetizer, or as a meal served with crusty bread for dipping.
13. Tuscan Bean and Pasta Salad
Perfect for a light salad, side dish or quick and easy lunch, this Tuscan Bean and Pasta Salad is a great choice. It’s inspired by the vibrant flavors and produce of Tuscany. This is the perfect kind of meal because it’s easily portable and keeps well, so you can bring it as your offering when you make your holiday visits.
14. Cheesy Baked Kale Artichoke Dip
This Cheesy Baked Kale Artichoke Dip is a veganized version of the classic spinach and artichoke dip that everyone loves! It’s still just as creamy, cheesy, and totally dip-able, but the nutrition is punched up a bit with the addition of kale. Serve it with bread, chips, or your favorite sliced veggies.
15. Orange Maple, Butternut Squash, and Tofu Salad
This Orange Maple Butternut Squash and Tofu Salad is a lovely salad for fall and winter when there aren’t many veggies about, but your body is craving something fresh and nourishing. It’s simple to make but special enough where you could bring it to a holiday party – it would definitely be a hit!
16. Caponata Siciliana (Eggplant Antipasto)
Caponata is a classic Italian appetizer. This Caponata Siciliana is a sweet and sour vegetable antipasti that combines eggplant, tomatoes, celery seasoned with sweetened vinegar, salted capers, onions, and green olives. Mangia! Eat up!
17. Caribbean Callaloo Soup
Callaloo is a veggie that tastes like spicy spinach. This Caribbean Callaloo Soup is a vegan version of the classic that takes out the meat and adds more vegetables. It’s a perfect balance of creamy with coconut milk and spicy from the scotch bonnet peppers.
18. Pomegranate and Hazelnut Moroccan Grain Salad
This Pomegranate and Hazelnut Moroccan Grain Salad is a beautiful winter salad that is inspired by the flavors of Morocco. Eggplant, quinoa, pomegranate, and crunchy nuts add different textures while the cinnamon, lemon, and mint flavors make this a dish you won’t be likely to forget!
19. Apple Pumpkin Soup with Caramelized Onions
This Apple Pumpkin Soup with Caramelized Onions is a beautiful choice for a holiday dinner. The tart apples complement the sweet pumpkin while the smooth and creamy soup gets crunchy texture from crispy caramelized onions.
20. Green Lentil Walnut Protein Power Paté
This Green Lentil Walnut Pâté is a great source of plant-based protein, iron, and dietary fiber. It will warm you up and make you feel full and satisfied for longer. Enjoy it as a savory snack with carrot and celery sticks, add it to your favorite vegan wraps, or serve it as an appetizer on gluten-free crackers.
21. Caesar Salad Nouveau
The traditional recipe for Caesar salad has a ton of Parmesan cheese, egg yolks, and fishy Worcestershire sauce. This Caesar Salad Nouveau, however, packs all of the same tangy, cheesy flavor without any of the eggs or fishy stuff. Sometimes it’s best to break tradition especially when it has such delicious results.
22. Pigeon Pea Salad (Gungo Peas)
Add some Caribbean flair to your holiday table with this flavorful and healthy Pigeon Pea Salad. It has so many colors, flavors, and textures from the assorted veggies, beans, and avocado. The garlic and ginger dressing is the perfect way to top it off.
23. Creamy and Cheesy Nut-Free Chickpea Fondue
This Creamy and Cheesy Nut-Free Chickpea Fondue is a dairy-free fondue that will satisfy all of your cheesy cravings. Plus, it’s way easier to make than traditional fondue – just whiz everything together in a blender and you’re on your way to dipping heaven! It’s totally nut-free so all your guests can enjoy it. Step aside, cashew cheese because chickpea cheese is here to stay!
24. French Onion, Fennel, and Green Lentil Soup
French onion soup is great, but it can be heavy. This French Onion, Fennel, and Green Lentil Soup is a lighter version of the classic. With the addition of French green lentils and crunchy fennel fronds, this soup has a depth of flavor that will sooth your soul.
25. Mushroom Walnut Paté
This Mushroom and Walnut Pâté is rich, creamy, earthy, and surprisingly easy to make! Enjoy it on sandwiches, toast, or as a dip for vegetable crudités – but however you choose to spread it around, this pâté will instantly make your meal more memorable.
26. Arugula, Kiwi and Fennel Salad
This Arugula, Kiwi and Fennel Salad is a lovely, refreshing, and crisp salad. The combination of arugula, kiwi, fennel, beets, and other fresh veggies is sure to brighten up any meal. It’s light enough to be part of a big holiday dinner or a simple lunch while you’re recovering the next day.
27. Sliceable Zucchini Cheese and Spreadable Tomato Nacho Cheese
This Sliceable Zucchini Cheese and Spreadable Tomato Nacho Cheese is a two-in-one recipe! First up we have a delicious sliceable zucchini cheese. It’s a beautiful pale green, and it tastes absolutely delicious on crackers. Then, we have a creamy, dreamy orange nacho cheese that you can dip chips and veggies in, or use as a sauce for mac and cheese! The possibilities are endless!
28. Creamy Kohlrabi Soup
If you’ve never had kohlrabi, this Creamy Kohlrabi Soup is a great way to get introduced. Kohlrabi is basically a cabbage masquerading as a root veggie. It has a very mild and slightly sweet flavor, so it’s great sliced up and eaten raw or blended up into a yummy soup such as this one!
29. ‘Samosanadas’ Seasonal Pumpkin Samosa Empanadas
When you cross a Mexican empanada with an Indian samosa, you get these delicious Samosanadas! Okay, that’s a made-up word, but these incredible fusion pies with roasted pumpkin are so amazing, you won’t be able to speak anyway – your mouth will be too full!
30. Crispy Crockpot Chickpeas
These crunchy little Crispy Crockpot Chickpeas are so addictive! They’re similar in texture to corn nuts but with all natural ingredients. This flavoring is spicy lemon cumin, but they’d be great with finely ground dried Harissa, Creole seasoning, or even cinnamon and sugar.
All of these soups, salads, and starters sound so delicious; they just might upstage the main course. Have a merry and delicious Christmas.
Lead image source: Apple Pumpkin Soup with Caramelized Onions