7 Easy Party Appetizers to Feed a Crowd
Mar 18, 2020
If you love a good dinner party, you’ll know that the party appetizers do more than just set the stage for the main course. That’s when the real socializing happens and you get to catch up with guests.
However, appetizers can be tedious to make. If you choose complicated recipes, you’ll spend more time on the appetizers than on the dinner itself.
To save you time (and hair-pulling) here are some easy party appetizers to make for your next gathering. Make these the day of or ahead of time, they’ll be just as good either way.
1. Keftethes – Greek Meatballs With Tomato Sauce
Meatballs are a staple of many traditional cuisines. Italian meatballs come to mind, as do the iconic Swedish meatballs. But if you’ve never tried a Greek-style meatball (a.k.a keftethes), you’re truly missing out.
Traditionally made out of ground pork, beef, lamb, or some mixture of the three, keftethes are an excellent way to add a little Mediterranean flair to any party.
The key to these easy party snacks is getting the spices right. If you’re not a fan of frying, these can be grilled or baked as well to keep it mess-free. If you do decide to bake them, make sure they’re well-coated in olive oil to prevent them from drying out.
For an even more bite-sized option, try mikro keftethes, their petite cousin.
2. Marinated Feta Skewers
When most people think appetizers, cheese is at the top of the recipe list. Cheeses are a great vehicle for flavors and heartily open your appetite.
Feta cheese is particularly well-suited for appetizers. It has a strong flavor, so you can use bite-size portions, and it takes well to marinades.
This skewer can be as simple as a cherry tomato and a piece of feta. For the marinade, use fresh flavors such as oregano and lemon to help accentuate the feta’s tartness.
You don’t need to marinade the feta for very long since it absorbs flavors quickly. About 20 to 30 minutes is enough, turning it over once during the process.
If you want to make your skewers really pop, many flavors work well with feta. You can add cucumber for a fresh crunch, kalamata olives, or even watermelon chunks to balance the flavors.
3. Tiropita – Cheese Pies
Tiropita is one of several types of small pies that are common to Greek cuisine. They’re great appetizers to take to a party since they’re fairly self-contained and won’t make a mess.
They’re also great as a stand-alone dish. Tiropitas are the type of appetizer you can fill up on so they can play double duty.
They’re essentially a phyllo dough triangle typically filled with a mixture of feta and ricotta cheeses and eggs as a binder.
You can experiment with the filling, but feta is all but mandatory. It provides the pop of flavor that makes these instantly recognizable. And, to be honest, anything wrapped in crispy phyllo dough is bound to taste amazing.
4. Baked Brie
The beauty of this appetizer is its absolute simplicity. The name says it all.
Brie is a delicate cheese and there’s no wrong way to eat it. However, scraping the cheese out and leaving the rind is considered a bit inelegant. People who don’t like the flavor of the rind will be pleasantly surprised by this way of preparing it.
Baking does a great job of fusing the flavors of the rind and the cheese together, making a sumptuous and velvety whole. Even guests who aren’t normally fans of brie will find this an appealing way to eat it.
To complete the appetizer, all you have to do is place a (preferably large) brie on a sheet pan, cover it with parchment paper and bake it for five to seven minutes. Serve with crackers or, for a healthier option, apple slices.
5. Greek Dip
Dips are a source of pride for many party-hosts. In any group of friends, you’re likely to know who makes the best spinach dip and who can only be trusted to bring the paper plates.
A Greek dip is great because it never disappoints. Even when the ingredients aren’t perfectly balanced, it’s the first bowl to get emptied out.
The base for any Greek dip is, of course, a good Greek yogurt. However, the real secret to it is the layers! You can go with as many as seven layers in a Greek dip, including olives, feta, hummus, cucumbers, and many more.
If you want a simpler, layer-free option, just mix a tub of Greek yogurt with about a cup of mayo. Then, season it to your liking with salt, finely chopped garlic, red pepper flakes, etc.
For some added zing, use fresh herbs such as thyme or dill – of if you’re feeling adventurous, a cup of drained, chopped spinach.
Another iconic Greek pie, spanakopita eschews some of the cheese variety used in tiropita in favor of spinach.
Lovers of Greek cuisine will immediately recognize these flaky triangles with a savory filling. They’re a crowd-pleaser in any situation.
Traditionally, this phyllo dough pie is filled with spinach and feta but it can be welcoming to a variety of other fillings as well. And, frozen spanakopitas make excellent last-minute party snacks.
Making dozens of individually wrapped spanakopitas is the best way to serve them as appetizers but it’s a tedious job.
Instead, you can make it in a large casserole dish, divide it when it’s done, and freeze the whole thing. When you need some party food appetizers, bake it for 5-10 minutes to reheat.
Spanakopita purists will tell you that nothing but real Greek feta qualifies for the filling, but ricotta and mozzarella will do in a pinch. And frozen spinach (the signature ingredient) is probably your best bet since you’ll need copious amounts for a good spanakopita.
7. Roasted Olives
Roasting olives isn’t something that most people would naturally think of, but you’ll be surprised at how well it works.
Any type of olive works for this appetizer. Kalamata olives are an excellent choice and they pair well with Greek herbs and spices. Roasting concentrates the flavor of the already luscious olives, so they’re excellent for a bite in between sips of chilled wine.
Roasted olives are pretty flexible. Once you rinse and dry the olives, douse them liberally in olive oil and coat them with your favorite herbs – preferably fresh. Then, pop them in the oven at 430 Fahrenheit for 10 to 15 minutes.
The Secret Is the Right Ingredients
When you’re making appetizers, it’s crucial that you have good ingredients since an appetizer needs to carry across a lot of flavor in a small vehicle. Moreover, there’s little to mask the flavor of bad ingredients in an appetizer.
Especially when you make appetizers for a party ahead of time, you want to pick high-quality ingredients. Otherwise, they will be bland and underwhelming by the time you eat them. And, let’s be honest, making appetizers ahead of time is the best way to go.
If you want peace of mind when it comes to your party foods, always keep some pre-made appetizers in your freezer. From keftethes to spanakopitas, Lemon and Vine has all your favorite Greek apps ready to hear and serve. Ask for Lemon and Vine products at your local grocery store or visit www.LemonAndVine.com.