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

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.

“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.”

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 Director of Operations and founding member of Autostraddle, and you're the reason she's here.

Laneia has written 930 articles for us.


  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    • 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!!

      • 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!

        • 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.

        • 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.

    • 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 :)

  4. 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.

  5. <– 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

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