Having people over this weekend for some fun and food? Whether you’re planning a party, a sit-down meal, or something in between with plenty of snacks, we believe that appetizers set the tone for an enjoyable night in with friends and family.
Think about it, almost everyone loves diving into delicious-looking snacks, creamy dips, and crunchy bites. Heck, we’ve hosted plenty of parties over the years, just serving an array of appetizers alone — and when we need some inspiration, we always look to one of our favourite chefs, Ina Garten.
The Barefoot Contessa knows a thing or two about hosting, that’s for sure. Looking for some inspiration heading into your next gathering? Read on for some of the best appetizers to serve your guests this weekend.
Watch Ina Garten welcome friends old and new into her home for good food, great conversation and lots of fun, on Be My Guest With Ina Garten. Watch the season three premiere, Sunday, March 12 at 12 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network Canada. Also Available on STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, fuboTV, Rogers Ignite TV and Ignite SmartStream.
Outrageous Garlic Bread
We often think of concocting our own dips and spreads for party appetizers, but then we reach for boxed crackers or store-bought bread. That’s fine, but if you really want to get the party started, reach for this garlic bread recipe that transforms regular French baguettes into the must-have snack of the night. Pair it with cheese or a dip, or just put it out for people to snack on. We promise it will get eaten.
Tomato and Burrata
Have a few extra tomatoes to use up? This burrata-based recipe guarantees they’ll be gone in minutes when you whip it up. Think about it: what’s more delicious than a plate of fresh cheese, tomatoes, and burrata? This recipe is an effortless appetizer that takes 10 minutes to prep, but your guests will be talking about it all night long.
Related: Ina’s Tomato Carpaccio
Sausage and mushrooms are one of those classic flavour combos almost everyone loves, and stuffed mushrooms are always a fancy appetizer because guests recognize that you took the time to make them. That makes these bites a big old win in our books, with their creamy mascarpone cheese, panko, and sweet sausage stuffing.
Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts
Puff pastry is the base of these pretty party tarts, which are the perfect bites before a sit-down dinner or during a party with lots of different snacks. Tomato and goat cheese is a winning combination for sure, but you could also play around with the ingredients to easily customize these to your taste.
Smoked Salmon Spread
A little smoked salmon goes the extra mile in this rich dip, which is just as delightful as a brunch appetizer as it is at a party or girls’ night. It’s a great way to indulge in that incredible smoked salmon flavour without breaking the bank, and it can be paired with all kinds of different veggies and crackers for fun flavour combos.
If you’re serving a dip or spread and want something beyond bread and crackers to accompany it, why not consider Ina Garten’s potato latkes? This recipe is super simple to master, and you could make the latkes ahead of time and then reheat them right before your shindig for a couple of minutes in the air fryer. We think these would pair most excellently with the aforementioned smoked salmon spread as well!
Ina Garten’s Hummus
We like making our own hummus rather than grabbing a jar at the store because you can control your flavours and customize it for your guests. This basic recipe uses canned chickpeas and tahini and throws in a few dashes of hot sauce for an extra kick. It’s a great base if you want to experiment, too: throw in some roasted red peppers or garlic, or maybe add some dill pickle brine or sprinkle it with everything bagel seasoning for a unique twist.
Smoky Eggplant Dip with Yogurt and Mint
Sure, you could buy a container of baba ganoush and throw it on the table. But if you’ve got a few extra minutes, we promise this smoky eggplant dip is so, so much better. That’s because Ina chars her eggplant before assembling the dip in a genius move that adds a ton of extra flavour. Add a hint of garlic, mint, and lots of fresh lemon, and you may need to grab a few extra crackers or fresh bread for dipping.
Cacio e Pepe Cheese Puffs
Pasta, but make it in the form of a puff and you’ve got this incredible appetizer. Ina combines all the classic flavours of the “cheese and pepper” pasta you know and love, then whirls them into this cheese puff form. You’ll need a pastry bag or a heavy-duty plastic bag to pipe these puppies out, but the dreamy, cheesy puffs are worth the effort and make for the perfect appetizer bite at any party.
Related: Cacio e Pepe Scones
Grilled Oysters with Lemon Dill Butter
Oysters always make your guests feel special, but not everyone is always on board with shucking fresh oysters at a party. Plus, if it’s hot, you run into the problem of keeping them cool. Enter these grilled oysters, which cook up quickly on the grill but are still delicious and special, thanks to Ina’s accompanying lemon-dill butter.
Related: Miso Oysters