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Quick & Easy Appetizers for Last-Minute Get-Togethers

by Beth Lipton
May 6, 2021
Photo Credit: Pinch of Yum

May is traditionally a month of getting together. The weather is finally nice, there’s Mother’s Day and graduation, and then, of course, there’s Memorial Day. While this May is far from traditional, we’ve come a long way in the past year! And you may be starting to think, ever-so-gingerly, about entertaining friends and family. But what exactly does that look like? (And what’s an appetizer again?) 

Collectively, the Clean Plates team has found the meet-up process to be more spontaneous, more dependent on factors like the weather, our emotional health, and how well Zoom was working (or not) on any given day. And that’s okay! We love an impromptu hangout — it may be the best kind? — but it can cause a bit of a panic when it comes to provisions.

That’s why we’ve rounded up these easy appetizers and finger foods you can throw together on the fly. They call for just a few ingredients and take about 10 minutes to throw together. (Alternatively, make sure you always have one of these dips on hand and you’ll always be meet-up-ready.)

1. 10-Minute White Bean Artichoke Basil Toasts from Pinch of Yum

A quick blast in a food processor helps this 100% plant-based dish come together in minutes. With white beans, artichoke hearts, lemon and olive oil, it’s the Mediterranean diet on a plate. Serve it on mini toasts, wrap it in tortillas, offer it with chips. However you like it, your guests will gobble it up.

Caprese skewers

Photo Credit: Dinner at the Zoo

2. Caprese Skewers from Dinner at the Zoo

Tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella is always a perfect combo, especially when it’s served on a skewer and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and balsamic. It’s quick, no-cook and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. 

Goat Cheese and Walnut Stuffed Celery

Photo Credit: The Little Kitchen

3. Goat Cheese and Walnut Stuffed Celery from The Little Kitchen

You probably have all 4 of the ingredients for this super-tasty, super-easy appetizer in your kitchen already. It’s crunchy, creamy, a touch sweet, and a little salty. Swap another nut for walnuts, if you prefer. Pistachios, pecans or even almonds would go nicely.

deviled eggs

Photo Credit: Julia Gartland for Food52

4. Laziest Deviled Eggs from Food52

Deviled eggs are awesome for a party any time of day. And this recipe is our very favorite way to make ’em when we’re in a hurry. Just hard-boil your eggs anyway you like (or take a shortcut and use pre-cooked and peeled hard-boiled eggs), smear with a bit of mayo and hot sauce, or a sprinkle of fresh herbs if you have it, and serve.

Related: 3 Mayo-Free Ways to Make Deviled Eggs

stuffed dates

Photo Credit: Healthy Little Foodies

5. Peanut Butter Stuff Dates from Healthy Little Foodies

It’s hard to get easier than a 2-ingredient dish. With this winning combo of sweet and savory, this dish will disappear quickly. Don’t have peanut butter? Almond butter will work just as well. 

shrimp and cucumber

Photo Credit: Faith Durand

6. Cool Shrimp and Cucumber Crackers from Kitchn

You know how we’re always telling you to keep shrimp in your freezer? This easy appetizer is yet another reason why it’s a good idea. Use gluten-free crackers if you like, or skip the crackers all together (and make the cucumber slices a bit thicker).


Photo Credit: Inspired Taste

7. Easy Hummus (Better Than Store-Bought) from Inspired Taste

Who doesn’t love a dip and veggie situation? Impress your guests with this easy and delicious hummus that calls for just 5 ingredients and takes 10 minutes to whip up. Serve with a healthy pour of extra-virgin olive oil on top and a sprinkle of sea salt and paprika to make it feel fancy.


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