Thanksgiving dinner is probably the most anticipated meal of the year and it is certainly the one most planned for. Whether you will be sitting down to dinner with lots of friends and family or a more intimate meal for two, you want everything you serve to be special and delicious.
Everyone will most likely spend a great deal of time figuring out the main course, the stuffing, and the side dishes. There will probably be several desserts to indulge in. But, don’t forget to plan some amazing appetizers as well. These are the dishes that whet the appetite and give your guests a hint of the deliciousness that’s yet to come.
We have lots of recipes for appetizers that are so good, people just may forget the main course. Check out these 25 Meatless and Dairy-Free Soups, Salads, and Starters for Your Thanksgiving, 10 Last-Minute Appetizers You Can Quickly Make, and Simple and Flavorful Vegan Appetizer Ideas To Take to Your Next Celebration. Then, we have 20 more appetizers that are the perfect way to start your Thanksgiving feast!
1. Crispy Cornmeal Crusted Eggplant With Smoky Harissa
Eggplants, tomatoes, and a smoky red sauce — this Crispy Cornmeal Crusted Eggplant With Smoky Harissa is like nachos without the chips, if you will. The crispy eggplant tastes deep-fried, yet they’re baked. They are incredibly soft on the inside with little salty crunches of cornmeal on the outside. The flavors of this harissa tomato sauce works wonders with this yummy snack.
2. Potato and Carrot Cheese
The sky is the limit when it comes to the ingredients you can make dairy-free cheese with. This creamy Potato and Carrot Cheese is made from a base of potatoes and carrots with nutritional yeast, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder for flavor. It’s completely nut-free and easy to make, so if you’re allergic to nuts, this is the cheese of your dreams! Use it as a spread for sandwiches and wraps or serve it with crackers,
3. Savory Sweet Potato Fall Crescent Rolls
Hot and flaky, buttery and salty with a hint of sweet – that is what these Savory Sweet Potato Fall Crescent Rolls are all about. There is something to be said about freshly baked pastry dough with its melt-in-your-mouth crust. Top that with a sweet potato filling and it creates the perfect creaminess while the mushrooms and onions bring all the flavors together.
4. Crispy Baked Cauliflower Bites
Vegetables like cauliflower are most nutritious eaten on their own or in a healthy dish, but every once in a while it’s nice to use them in an indulgent and comforting snack, like these Crispy Baked Cauliflower Bites. Cauliflower florets are dropped in batter, coated in breadcrumbs and corn flake crumbs, and then baked in the oven until delightfully crispy. Serve these bites with your favorite dip!
5. Pithiviers: French Hand Pies With Cranberry Mango Chutney
Pithiviers are round French pies consisting of a sweet or savory filling enclosed in a flaky puff pastry. These Mini Savory Pithiviers are bursting with curried seasonal vegetables contrasted with a sweet, but tart cranberry mango chutney. They make a delicious appetizer or buffet food. Enjoy them hot or warm with chutney on the side.
6. White Bean Spread
This White Bean Spread is a great choice when you want something fancy-looking to serve as an appetizer. Creamy and garlicky, white bean spread is simple and inexpensive, but can be easily dressed up. Serve on crisp crostini with a fried sage leaf on top or try it as a dip.
7. Mushrooms on Butternut Polenta Rounds
For a simple to make, but elegant appetizer, try out these Mushrooms on Butternut Squash Polenta Rounds. They are coated in seasonings and vegan Parmesan, baked, and then topped with garlicky mushrooms, a drizzle of olive oil, and plenty of fresh parsley. These unique rounds make a delicious starter for four or a main course for two.
8. Baked Mac and Cheese Bites
The only thing better than a delicious bowl of creamy mac and cheese is an appetizer that allows you to share this comforting pasta with friends! These Baked Mac and Cheese Bites are made by stuffing a tiny muffin pan with decadent mac and cheese, sprinkling a little (or a lot) of cayenne pepper on top, and then popping the tray in the oven so that the pasta can bind together. In just 20 minutes, you’ll have a cute, whimsical appetizer that friends and family will love!
9. Mushroom Pesto Bruschetta
Need an awesome appetizer or great finger food? These Mushroom Pesto Bruschetta may not be served the Italian way with tomato and cheese, but they taste fantastic. They’re comprised of toasted bruschetta slices, herby pesto hummus, and meaty sautéed mushrooms. These are easy enough to make as a movie night snack, so don’t wait for a special occasion to try them!
10. Black Sesame Rice Balls
These Black Sesame Rice Balls aren’t your typical rice balls. First, they’re made with black rice, which has a nuttiness to it that does not compare to white rice. Then, it’s mixed with black tahini for a depth of flavor that’s indescribably delicious. Tekka, a miso-based Japanese condiment, is added to the mix to provide a deep, umami, and slightly smoky flavor. The finishing touch is a coating of sesame seeds. These rice balls make the perfect appetizer or light lunch with a side of greens and avocado.
11. Avocado and Pea Smash
If you’re a fan of avocado toast (who isn’t, really?) you will likely adore this Avocado and Pea Smash! In it, avocado, peas, spring onion, parsley, and garlic are combined and drenched in lemon. The tangy and refreshing spread is perfect for topping toasted bread or crackers, either as a simple afternoon snack or a bright appetizer.
12. Cheesy Broccoli Tots With Ranch Dipping Sauce
Think you need potatoes to make perfect tots? These Cheesy Broccoli Tots With Ranch Dipping Sauce are made by combining black-eyed peas and broccoli, plus nutritional yeast to give it that cheesy flavor. They’re baked, not fried, but they turn out with that perfect texture — crisp on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside. Served with cashew ranch dip, these tots are perfect for any occasion.
13. Mini Eggplant Pizzas
These Mini Eggplant Pizzas use eggplant as the crust instead of bread. They’re sliced and roasted into lightly crispy on the outside, but creamy in the inside, then topped with tomato sauce, mushrooms, and savory Italian herbs. While these are great for anyone, they’re especially good at ensuring that your kids get plenty of their daily veggies.
14. Heirloom Tomato Tartines
These simple, savory Heirloom Tomato Tartines bring out the best of their fresh ingredients. Garlicky, cheesy basil pine nut pesto sits atop a thick slice of ciabatta bread, followed by salted slices of heirloom tomato. It’s so good, you might just want to eat it as a sandwich.
15. Fried Okra With Remoulade
If you love comfort foods, you have to make this Fried Okra With Remoulade. Crispy, crunchy bites of goodness that are perfect for dipping into a creamy, slightly spicy, tangy sauce. This is perfect for celebrations or just anytime in general — yum!
16. Polenta Bruschetta
This Polenta Bruschetta combines two Italian favorites: traditional bruschetta topping and crispy, grilled polenta. Polenta is shaped into rounds and baked crispy. The bruschetta is fresh and garlicky. The combination is completely addictive, and makes for an amazing appetizer!
17. Rosemary Oven-Roasted Mushrooms
These Rosemary Oven-Roasted Mushrooms are an excellent go-to side dish for parties. Cremini mushrooms are tossed in a garlicky olive oil-white wine sauce and then sprinkled with rosemary and baked in the oven. The result? Tender, savory mushrooms that would compliment almost any meal!
18. Garlic Knots With Beer Cheese
Warm, doughy garlic knows speckled with smoky Shiitake bacon and served with a side of creamy beer cheese … what could be better? These Garlic Knots With Beer Cheese are cooked in a cast-iron skillet so they look like pull-apart bread, which makes for an awesome presentation. This appetizer is guaranteed to be a sure-shot hit at any party.
19. Savory Mushroom Tartlets
Get ready to enter mushroom heaven with these Savory Mushroom Tartlets! A warm, flaky vessel transports a savory filling of mushrooms, onions, and sour cream. And guess what? These freeze and reheat wonderfully so go ahead, make a big batch!
20. Roasted Garlic Tahini Crostini
If you need to suddenly come up with another appetizer, this Roasted Garlic Tahini Crostini is the perfect thing to make. The tahini garlic sauce and the caramelized pine nuts come together in a cinch, the mushrooms just need a quick sautéing, and then you pile it all onto a crunchy piece of bread. Easy and delicious!
With appetizers this amazing, you’ll probably end up with lots of leftovers from the main course and sides. Happy Thanksgiving!
Lead image source: Savory Mushroom Tartlets