27 Vibrant and Easy Spring Appetizers
Once spring rolls around, all we want to do is gather up and make an occasion to eat outside. These delicious appetizers are just as light (on effort) and breezy as the lovely spring weather, so go ahead—use the time you save on prep to fully enjoy every moment.
Sweet Pea Crostini with Ricotta
Impress your company with this easy-to-prepare appetizer. Making your own ricotta is incredibly simple and doesn't require special equipment. Our microwave trick is foolproof. The pea mixture is quick and easy to make, but you can also mix it up ahead, along with toasting the bread, so that you can simply assemble the crostini when you are ready to serve your guests.
Instant Pot Mango Chutney
This chutney is slightly sweet and spicy, with a pleasant lingering heat from the Serrano and del arbol chiles. The sharp pops of flavor from the pickling spices mimic the flavors you’d find in North Indian cuisine. The orange juice and lime juice add some acidity and sour flavors to balance the natural sweetness in the mangoes. It’s the perfect cooling accompaniment for curries or fried samosas, but it would also work well on a cheese board.
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
Chef Jonathan Waxman taught me how to make this fall salad many years ago. Riff with the ingredients to find the flavor balance you prefer.
Air-Fried Jalapeño Poppers
The air-fryer jalapeño poppers allow you to enjoy everything you love about crispy pepper poppers without all of the not-so-lovable mess that comes with deep-frying.
Three-Bean Pasta Salad
We combined two potluck classics—pasta salad and three-bean salad—to make one tasty new side dish. Blanched celery is the unexpected star in this side dish; it has a tender-crisp texture and bright green color. Swap out the canned beans for your favorite cooked field peas.
Pimiento Cheese Deviled Eggs
Two appetizer favorites team up for one incredible bite in these pimiento cheese-loaded deviled eggs. Combining two types of cheese creates a robust, smoky-sharp flavor for the eggs' filling that's richened even further by the addition of egg yolks. Especially for deviled eggs (when keeping the white intact counts most), steaming is the way to go. This cooking technique makes for near foolproof, easy peeling--the egg shells practically slip right off. Just make sure to give the hot eggs a few minutes to rest in ice water, this makes a huge difference when it comes time to peel the shells off.
Chickpea Crackers with Chunky Tapenade
These rustic, gluten-free crackers are addictively salty and crunchy, like a snack should be. The creamy hummus and briny tapenade are the perfect complements to create an impressive appetizer spread.
Veggie Spring Rolls with Cashew-Ginger Dipping Sauce
All the Green Things Salad
This salad is absolutely chock-full of lovely green spring produce, with textures ranging from crunchy to creamy. You can make the zippy lemon dressing and blanch, drain, and chill the peas and asparagus up to 2 days ahead, but combine all the elements shortly before serving to preserve the color of the avocado and the crunch of the greens. Delicate pea tendrils or shoots would be spectacular here, but watercress makes a delicious peppery substitute. Though you may be tempted to use only one herb, we urge you to use both: The parsley adds a burst of freshness, and the mint contributes deep herbal goodness.
Charred Eggplant Dip with Tahini
Perfect for entertaining or a hearty spread to snack off of all week, this nutritious charred eggplant dip is as easy as to make it is delicious. Roasting the eggplant at a super high temperature leads to a creamy flesh that's the perfect backbone for a your dip. Don't worry if the skin is extra charred and looks burnt—this makes for a more flavorful end product. Mixed with Greek yogurt and tahini, this Meditteranean-inspired spread is ultra rich. Serve it with fresh veggies, warm pita, or smear it across a piece of toast. You could even use it as your sauce for a flatbread or pizza; simply top with roasted or fresh veggies and a sprinkle of crumbled feta or goat cheese.
Goat Cheese Poppers with Honey
In addition to being a delicious appetizer that feels special, these Goat Cheese Poppers with Honey make for extra awesome croutons on salads and as "meat" balls for vegetarian pasta dishes. Be sure to bring your oil to the right heat before adding the poppers--if the oil is not hot enough, you will end up with a soggy, greasy mess instead of crisp poppers. Available at most stores that carry kitchen equipment for around $10, a kitchen thermometer is an incredibly worthy investment.
Mini Tomato Sandwiches With Bacon Mayonnaise
One of the season’s simplest and most iconic pleasures, the beloved BLT, can also double as an effortless appetizer. The quality of your tomatoes will make or break this simple sandwich. We like the color contrast of red and yellow heirloom tomatoes, but choose whichever large tomato is ripest. These little sandwiches are perfect for outdoor picnics or brunch with the ladies.
Double-Serrano Watermelon Bites
These bites are a step up from classic prosciutto-wrapped melon and provide sweet, spicy, salty, tart, and meaty tastes. If you can’t find serrano ham, use prosciutto; you also can use balsamic glaze in place of pomegranate molasses.
Blood Orange and Radicchio Salad
This salad is a beautiful addition to any table spread with its vibrant orange and deep magenta hues. Hearty radicchio and fennel have real staying power--even after they've been tossed with dressing--which makes this ideal for times when you need a make-ahead salad for a buffet or to take to a potluck. We love the color of blood oranges, but you can use all navel or Cara Cara oranges.
The Best Chicken Salad Recipe Ever
This 20-minute chicken salad recipe is creamy, flavorful, and packed full of healthy veggies and protein-rich meat. To make our easy chicken salad recipe, we lightened up the typical mayonnaise base by adding in 1/2 cup of low-fat, plain Greek yogurt, but you can use one full cup of mayonnaise if you'd like. Use store-bought Rotisserie chicken to save even more time on busy evenings. Serve with crunchy, buttery crackers or on whole grain bread with lettuce and tomato.
Cheesy Masa Pancakes with Pico de Gallo
Masa harina adds delicate corn flavor to these pancakes. Look for it on the baking aisle.
Beet Yogurt Dip
Harness beets’ striking color and earthy-sweet flavor in this glorious spread inspired by a recipe from Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. For a little extra heat, use up to 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne. You can try 1 1/2 teaspoons za’atar spice blend as a substitute for fresh thyme, but skip ground thyme because it lends a dirt-like taste. Serve with raw carrot slices, pita bread, or rice crackers for scooping.
Beet Yogurt Dip
This recipe originally appeared on Cookinglight.com.
Yogurt Cheese with Roasted Beets and Feta
This ultra-creamy, Middle Eastern–style appetizer dip created by cookbook author Janet Fletcher is also excellent with raw cucumbers. If you make your own yogurt cheese, you'll need to start it 24 hours ahead of making this dish.
Tomato-Herb Mini Frittatas
Transferring the bottom baking sheet to the middle rack during the last few minutes of cooking time allows the top to brown slightly.
Super-Crispy Oven Fries
These unbelievably crispy oven fries cut the grease and calories of a standard French fry and taste way better. While this process isn't as fast as a deep fryer, the extra time is worth it. You can even parboil the potatoes ahead of time and wait until it's closer to serving time to bake them.
Basil Aïoli with Crudités
Tomato Salad with Herbed Ricotta and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Sliced heirloom tomatoes are wow-worthy on their own--a simple vinaigrette and dollops of basil-flecked ricotta take them over the top. Serve with toasted baguette slices to sop up any tomato juices.
Lemon-Ricotta Herbed Flatbread
A light layer of creamy ricotta sprinkled with fresh herbs dresses up store-bought crust in this bread starter. Lemon juice and rind add just the right flavor lift.
Greek Chicken Salad Wedges
This simple salad packs in big flavor in under 25 minutes. For a creamier texture to this Greek Chicken Salad Wedge, stir the crumbled feta into the chicken salad mixture instead of sprinkling it over the finished wedge. This recipe calls for just two cups of white meat from a deli-chicken. Don’t throw out the rest of the bird; shred and reserve the dark meat to use later in the week for a midday sandwich, or mix it with a little mayonnaise, dried fruit, salt, and pepper for a single-serve chicken salad.
BBQ Chicken Bean Dip
Step aside, Buffalo chicken. Move it along, basic bean dip. The game day dip to rule all game day dips has arrived. This bold yet balance BBQ Chicken Bean Dip has so much going for it: It’s easy to make, you likely have most of the necessary ingredients on hand, and most importantly—this cheesy chicken appetizer will be a winner with any crowd. The barbecue sauce used in to make the dip couldn’t be easier to mix up, and it’s one you can come back to again and again for all of your BBQ needs; however, if you want to shave a few minutes off the recipe, you can certainly use your favorite bottled sauce instead. We suggest topping the dip with cheese towards the end of baking in order to prevent the dip from becoming too greasy.
Crispy Cauliflower Bites with Herbed Yogurt Dip
Even your most carnivorous meat-eating guests won’t be able to resist these crispy, spiced cauliflower bites. Offering the perfect balance of hearty crunch and bright, tangy sauciness, our cauli-bites are a grade-A vegetarian appetizer for entertaining, tailgating, and beyond. You can find berbere at supermarkets like Whole Foods or online; and if this Ethiopian spice blend is new to you, be prepared, you’re gonna wanna add it to everything.
Spicy Tomato-Cucumber Salad
This elegantly simple salad is summer in a bowl. Sunshine-yellow and ruby-red wedges of juicy tomato anchor this dish with a hefty dose of lycopene, a heart-helping, cancer-fighting antioxidant. Cucumber and bell pepper bring their crunch to the party, while lemon and chile keep things lively with heat and zing. Remember—summer tomatoes are extra juicy, so plan to serve this salad soon after making it for the most concentrated flavor.