20 Appetizers We’re Eating as Full Meals Because F*ck Dinner

Hello and welcome to this new thing we’re trying out where we help you figure out what you’re gonna put in your mouth this week. Some of these are recipes we’ve tried, some of these are recipes we’re looking forward to trying, all of them are fucking delicious. 

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Actual dinner can be such a production, I’m exhausted just THINKING ABOUT IT. And not only is it a production tonight, but it’ll be a production tomorrow night too. It happens practically every night! It’s redundant and takes forever and really, the dinner plates are just so big. I’d rather spend hours putting together a mess of food that I can eat with my hands, hot or cold, and from a tiny plate, than spend that time putting together a mess of food that has to be eaten immediately, piping hot, from full-size dinner plates using all the flatware.

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“A word about Mrs. Flax and food: the word is “hors d’oeuvres.” Fun Finger Foods is her main source book and it’s all the woman cooks.”
—Mermaids

Appetizers for dinner. That’s where it’s at this week. The number one most brilliant best finger food feast is obviously the cheese board — a spread so simple and lavish, it’s sometimes the only reason I get up in the morning — but here are some other small foods for when you want to branch out a little.


1. Polenta Squares with Sundried Tomato and Walnut Tempenade (Vegan)

Laneia: Vegans love polenta. Y’all are some polenta loving freaks.


2. Mystery Rolls


3. Japanese Vegetable Pancakes


4. Crostini with Pea Shoots and Strawberries


5. Parsnip Latkes


6. Brushetta with Leeks, Goat Cheese and Bacon


7. Salt and Pepper Tofu Triangles (Vegan)

Laneia: At first you’re like, “Oh hm, salt and pepper and tofu. Yawn. This is not interesting.” AND THEN YOU’RE MET WITH THE SURPRISE MAPLE SYRUP and suddenly it’s pandemonium and shit is crazy and you? You are hella impressed.


8. Roasted Tofu Lollipops with Pesto


9. Beet Jello

Laneia: The fuck.


10. Dahi Kebabs


11. Grilled Flatbread with Onion Jam, Burrata and Apples

Laneia: Oh damn, let’s talk about burrata. Burrata is a fresh cheese situation that resembles mozzarella, but only if mozzarella were a million times creamier and made specifically to send you on a blissed out psychic trip into the ether. GOD BURRATA YOU ARE SO DELICIOUS I LOVE YOU. Burrata + onion jam might as well be renamed The Stairway to Fucking Heaven. Make this right now.


12. Party Jalapeno Poppers (Vegan)


13. Avo-dillas (Vegan)

Laneia: Again with the unexpected maple syrup. What if this is the meaning of life, you guys? What if caramelized maple syrup in savory dishes is all you ever needed to know to be successful and loved? What the hell else can we put this on??


14. Corn & Avocado Fritters


15. Cauliflower Breadsticks


16. Garlicky Tofu Stix


17. Rava Toast


18. Teriyaki Meatballs


19. Croques Besito


20. Creamy Artichoke Spinach Dip (Vegan)


Tell us what you want to put in your piehole or suggest your own recipes, and next week we’ll check in and talk about which things we made, which things we loved, and which things have changed us irreversibly as people. What are your favorite appetizer/small plate foods? Are you putting together a cheese board for one tonight? You are living the dream.


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Laneia is the Executive Editor and founding member of Autostraddle, and she thinks you're fucking rad. She's 35, has two kids, two dogs, one Megan, some personal essays and a lot of emails in her inbox. More at LaneiaJones.com.

Laneia has written 600 articles for us.

57 Comments

  1. Thumb up 7

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    In my lack of sleep because of thesis mania, I pressed my face so hard into my laptop screen wanting to eat those fritters.

  2. Thumb up 2

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    Burrata is the greatest of all cheeses of all time. It’s pretty hard to come by in the UK, waitrose seem to always be sold out. My family got hooked up for sweet Italian dairy by our friendly local restaurant whose staff are from the same region of Italy that we used to live in. Yum!

    • Thumb up 4

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      When I first saw the title I thought you were the author. After skipping through the words and getting to the first picture I knew I was wrong bc vegan? hell no.

  3. Thumb up 4

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    Love these! I don’t know if it would be too repetitive but I would be very excited to see a post devoted to dips. All dips.

  4. Thumb up 2

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    Isn’t caramelized maple syrup the meaning of life? Have I been doing it wrong? Then I don’t want to be right.

  5. Thumb up 1

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    I’m so hungry, this is borderline evil. But I’m getting food in a few minutes, so no worries.

    I vote for a post on allthetacofillings!

    • Thumb up 0

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      I feel like there should be a clever pun combining “allthetacofillings” and a sex toy review post…. But I am le tired. Ladies, any help?

  6. Thumb up 2

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    Oh man. I’ve eaten dip for dinner far too many times than I care to admit. Haha.

    This post is A++

  7. Thumb up 3

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    Beet … Jello?

    I just don’t know if I can deal with that. Wait. Yup. I can. But wow. I have such an awkward hunger now.

  8. Thumb up 13

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    How does food become so much more appealing when you put the word “party” in front of it? Why don’t we put the word “party” in front of every food? Party ravioli. Party lentil soup. Party triscuits. I’m so much more excited about life already.

  9. Thumb up 4

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    do you even know how many parsnips i have sitting in my fridge?? ANSWER: A LOT OF FUCKING PARSNIPS. those parsnip latkes are the answer to all of my parsnip prayers. plus horseradish? dill? are you kidding me done deal.

    also i had no idea pea shoots are the most adorable things ever. now i know.

    • Thumb up 0

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      I LOVE PARSNIPS SO MUCH and when i saw that recipe i thought “god i wish i was one of those lucky sons of guns who had a fridge full of parsnips bc this would be the best day of my life.”

      feel free to follow up with pictures!!

      • Thumb up 2

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        well i am stupid and can’t figure out how to post my picture. but i made them for dinner and they was so good! i baked them bc frying gets too messy for me, added two huge green meat radishes in with the parsnips bc i have a shit ton of those as well, and made a honey mustard/horseradish/dill sauce to go with them. and i took a picture! it exists here with me and it feels important and i wanted you to know it was delicious! thanks so much!

        • Thumb up 0

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          !!!! i don’t even know what a green meat radish is! i’m so excited for you and your whole situation right now.

          for instructions on how to post a picture, scroll down to the bottom of any friday open thread!

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          am i doing it? is it doing it? i am really identifying with my mother right now and believe this is teaching me a valuable lesson about empathy and patience. i just hope it is a. showing up and b. not HUGE.

          my food photography leaves something to be desired, but it turned out super yummy! and the radishes are a perfect addition. green meat radishes are just really huge radishes as far as i can tell! seriously the ones i used were almost as big as the parsnips. it occurs to me this recipe would be good to make with just about anything? maybe i will just make everything into fritters this week. unofficial fritter week for me.

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          i have been thinking about this comment thread all week because when i first saw it i thought to myself, “who has a fridge full of parsnips???? who???”

          and then yesterday i came home and MY FRIDGE WAS FULL OF PARSNIPS. my housemate obtained them from a farm she visited, and they’re the rejects that the farmer can’t sell, so they’re all little monster parsnips, and they kind of look like mandrakes.

          and now i shall turn them into parsnip fritters.

    • Thumb up 2

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      my mom makes sweet potato parsnip latkes and i have no idea where she got the recipe because up until like 4 years ago her latkes were crummy but these are AMAZING AND PERFECT (and i don’t even like sweet potatoes??) so google it or something?? idk but whatever you do it will be beautiful and delicious 🙂

    • Thumb up 0

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      My mom recently revealed that she doesn’t like parsnips and I almost had to disown her because wow they are undeniably the best thing.

    • Thumb up 2

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      You should make soup/broth/stock! Parsnips are awesome in soup! I wish I had parsnips to make soup with!

  10. Thumb up 0

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    THANK YOU THANK YOU I have bookmarked nearly all of the vegetarian recipes. One of my life goals is to learn how to prepare tofu in a way that is delicious and I think this post will help a lot.

  11. Thumb up 4

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    <– Given my avatar, I clearly belong in that first photo with you. And given my eating habits, I clearly belong in this thread forever. These recipes may help keep me from starving to death at my computer.

  12. Thumb up 8

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    I hear you all with your ambivalence about the idea of beet jello but I misread it as beef jello and was thus really relieved to realize it said beet so I’m in favor.

      • Thumb up 2

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        That’s true! Isn’t that broth-based though? I was imagining something more… like pot roast jello. Maybe that exists too! I’m not gonna google it.

        • Thumb up 3

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          The truth is out there, and contains chunks of meat suspended in broth-based savory gelatin. I’m with you; pass the beets.

  13. Thumb up 1

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    I so wish I was in the same city with all of you and we could do Pot luck dinners and meet up with each other. Or make dinner for a swap/trade/barter/favour of some nature.
    Because everyone likes to be cooked for and I like to cook for others too…

    anyway, some great recipes here. Thankyou.

  14. Thumb up 1

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    I’ve been really sick the past couple days with bronchitis and have no appetite once so ever. This post and pictures almost makes me want to eat. Almost. But I will definitely be revisiting it in a couple of days!

  15. Thumb up 1

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    I’m so fucking hungry right now, I just took a bite out of my macbook. it’s no burrata I’ll tell you that for nothing.

  16. Thumb up 2

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    As a Canadian, I grew up with surprise maple syrup in 99% of all of my food, and am getting great joy out of Laneia’s maple syrup revelation.

    Spread the boiled tree sap, and spread the word!

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