Shop your fridge! We bet you already have many of the ingredients for killer appetisers. Combine those staples in fresh, creative ways for fun and festive new tastes. Prep a bunch for a gathering, or throw together a few for a different kind of weeknight dinner.
From top: Sprinkle pumpkin seeds, lime zest, and torn mint on slices of pineapple. Drizzle with avocado oil. Scatter tarragon leaves, lemon zest, and sea salt ﬂakes over cantaloupe, trickle with lemon juice, and drizzle with olive oil. Lay shaved manchego cheese on a red pear wedge, then wrap with prosciutto and sprinkle with coarsely ground black pepper.
GET FANCY WITH FRUIT
Pair slices with savoury ingredients and you’ve got easy appetisers that achieve the delicious balance of sweet, zesty, salty, and spicy.
Clockwise in from top: SOYA SAUCE, RADISHES, CUCUMBER, CARROTS, KOHLRABI, KALE, BELL PEPPERS, SCALLIONS, NORI SQUARES, BLACK RICE, WHITE SUSHI RICE, SHISHITO PEPPERS, COOKED SALMON, AVOCADO, SWEET POTATO, BOILED EGGS, SMOKED SALMON, RADICCHIO, COOKED PRAWNS
SET UP A SUSHI BAR
Everyone gets to create their own twist on a hand roll. Fish, rice, and veggies are a great place to start, but you can also try other seafood, tofu, or even cooked meat.
THE TECHNIQUE Place stacks of nori squares (buy snack packs), rice, and ﬁxings (see photos for ideas) on a platter. Fill the squares and roll them into cones or fold them like tacos.
+ Smoked salmon
+ Orange and yellow peppers
+ Faked cooked salmon
+ Red pepper
+ Boiled eggs
Roasted sweet potato
+ Seared shishito peppers
PUT IT ON A SKEWER
The trick is choosing unexpected ingredients that play nicely when threaded together.
Toasted sourdough cubes tossed with pesto
+ Baby arugula
+ Roast beef
+ Gruyere cheese
+ Horseradish cream
Cooked peeled prawn
+ Very thin jalapeno slices
Try these combos for happiness on a stick or invent your own. There are no rules here – any food is fair game.
TAKE SPREADS & DIPS TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Yes, they’re perfect with crudites and crackers. But you can also use them as a ﬁlling for vegetarian wraps, a sauce for roasted veggies or meat, and even as a salad dressing.
THE TECHNIQUE Puree all ingredients except the oil in a food processor or blender until very smooth. Then drizzle in the oil or juice while the machine is running. Blend in water to thin (optional), and season to taste with salt and pepper.
1/SWEET & SAVOURY YOGURT DIP
No blending required! Just swirl sun-dried tomato pesto into thick plain yogurt, then top with apricot-orange marmalade.
2/MISO SWEET POTATO
Blend 2 cups cooked purple sweet potato, 2 tablespoons white miso paste, 2 teaspoons grated ginger, 2 tablespoons mirin, and 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Garnish: chopped pistachios.
Blend 2 cups steamed kabocha squash, ¼ cup grated parmesan, 1 small garlic clove, 2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar, and ¼ cup olive oil. Garnish: parsley.
Blend 1 pitted and peeled large ripe avocado, ½ cup cilantro, 2 tablespoons basil pesto, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Garnish: chives and lemon zest.
Blend ½ cup roasted and salted marcona almonds, ¼ cup water, 1 small garlic clove, 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, and ¼ cup olive oil. Garnish: sliced mild chillies and sprouts.
START WITH FLATBREAD & PILE IT HIGH!
Yogurt, vegetables, beans, a drizzle of honey – this twist on the toast trend has endless variations. Just mix and match your toppings and see what deliciousness transpires.
THE TECHNIQUE Use store-bought naan. Add something creamy like cheese or a bean puree, then layer on veggies and seasonings. Bake at 200 deg C until the bread is browned.
+ Thin slices of peeled and roasted butternut squash, brushed with gochujang (Korean chilli bean paste)
+ Chopped pistachios and parsley or dill
White beans pureed with harissa
+ Wilted leafy greens
+ Purple cauliﬂower ﬂorets
+ Smashed roasted and peeled beets
+ Za’atar and sea salt
MILD BUT MIGHTY Broccolini is more subtle than broccoli and slightly sweeter.
GET CREATIVE WITH...
A union of regular and Chinese broccoli, this is everything you want in a veggie: a sweet, earthy ﬂavour, a texture that’s both tender and crunchy, and the versatility to shine in many cuisines,, from Asian to Mexican. Plus, it’s packed with satiating ﬁbre, bone-strengthening vitamin K, and anti-inﬂammatory phytochemicals, says US-based dietitian Sharon Palmer. Grill it, roast it, or keep it raw in salads, but deﬁnitely try one of these chef creations.
MAKE A THAI STIR-FRY
Whisk together 1 tablespoon lime juice and 1 teaspoon each ﬁsh sauce and toasted sesame oil; set aside. Saute 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves and 2.5cm ginger, peeled and julienned, with 1 tablespoon canola oil until fragrant. Add 1 bunch trimmed broccolini and cook until tender. Pour in 2 beaten eggs and lightly scramble. Add 1 thinly sliced shallot during last minute of cooking; remove from heat and cool. Combine broccolini mixture with ½ cup each chopped Thai basil, mint, and cilantro. Drizzle with dressing and eat alone or with steamed rice.
CHEF DOUG PSALTIS, CHEF/PARTNER OF RAMEN-SAN IN CHICAGO
PICKLE IT FOR A CRUNCHY TOPPING
Remove outer skin of 450g broccolini. Place in large mason jar. Add 1 teaspoon each dill seeds and mustard seeds, 2 sliced garlic cloves, and 1 bay leaf to jar. Bring 1 cup water, ½ cup each white wine vinegar and sherry vinegar, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt to boil. Fill jar with mixture, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Snack on it or add it to salads and Bloody Marys.
THOMAS BOEMER, CHEF//CO-OWNER OF REVIVAL IN MINNEAPPOLIS
BLEND UP A ZESTY SAUCE
Roast 225g broccolini with olive oil and sea salt until tender and cool. Saute 3 chopped garlic cloves in 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium-low heat. When fragrant, set aside to cool. In food processor, pulse together ½ cup eeach olive oil and parsley, ¼¼ cup white balsamic vinegar, ¼ teaspoon each of sea salt, black pepper, and oregano, ⅓ cup minced shallot, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, garlic, and broccolini until it’s sauce-like. Serve on top of salads, meats, roasted vegetables, or tacos.
LAURA LEA GOLDBERG, AUTHOR OF THE LAURA LEA BALANCED COOKBOOK: 120+ EVERYDAY RECIPES FOR THE HEALTHY HOME COOK
PHOTOGRAPHY TED CAVANAUGH
FOOD STYLING JAMIE KIMM
PHOTOS SANG AN
PROP STYLING EMILY MULLIN/HELLO ARTISTS