What’s for dinner? This is an often muttered question from kids and a recurrent curiosity of grown-ups on their evening commutes home. However, when you’re entertaining, a deeper (and much more fun) wonder comes from what is served before the main course – appetizers! Also known as antipasti, these beloved small plates can sometimes steal the show, stunt doubling as easy weeknight meals and even an entree. While there are lots of great pre-dinner vegan recipes out there, we’re here to introduce our favorite tips for creating the best vegan antipasti.
What is Antipasti?
Before we explore these tips, let’s chat a little bit about the word “antipasti” as there are some misconceptions out there! The word antipasti, plural form of antipasto, derives from the Latin root “anti” meaning “before” and “pastus,” which means “meal.” It’s truly interchangeable with small plates, appetizers or hors d’oeuvres.
In Italian culture, antipasti are served for special gatherings and in higher end restaurants to help draw people together and create a special experience. Often, they’re a blend of meat, cheese and vegetables – what we typically refer to as charcuterie – attractively arranged and ripe for picking. An antipasto plate is valued for its color, creativity and ability to engage the palate before the entree.
So in the spirit of Italian culture, which highly values cheese, and in the Vevan spirit, which is 100% awesome and 0% dairy, we proudly present a fresh spin on antipasti – Vevafied!
The Best Vegan Antipasti Ideas
While antipasto dishes are beautiful, they don’t need to be fussy. Here are our top three ways to prepare and enjoy vegan antipasti:
- Vegan Pasta Salad – bright and colorful using roasted tomatoes (we recommend grape or cherry variety in a mix of red, yellow, orange and purple if you can find it), this recipe comes together easily with a box of bowtie pasta, fresh basil and chives, and Vevan Marinated Mozza-Bites, providing the perfect Italian herb oil blend. Spice up this salad by swapping Mozza-Bites for Vevan Marinated Mozza-Bites Antipasti, giving this dish even greater Italian flair with Peruvian pearl peppers, Kalamata olives and pepperoncini. Serve it warm or cold and delight your family or guests with this mouthwatering dish!
- Vegan Bruschetta – ready in just 15 minutes, our Marinated Antipasti Bruschetta recipe helps you rediscover the flavor you’ve been missing! With just five ingredients – French baguette, lemon zest, a garlic clove, basil leaves and our Marinated Antipasti – you have a five-star antipasto plate that will set up any second course for success; that is, if you don’t fill up on this one! Keep things authentic when you remember to pronounce it properly in Italian – brew-sketta (not a soft “sh” sound).
- Vegan Cheese – like the familiar children’s song lyric, “the cheese stands alone” when it’s that buono! Even simpler than a charcuterie board, just grab a few tubs of our ever-versatile Vevan Marinated Mozza-Bites or Marinated Antipasti. These deliciously creamy bites of herbed Mozza marinated in an Italian herb oil blend are seriously perfect for devouring right out of the container. But, let’s keep things classy – divide into small cups or bowls and serve with cocktail forks for one of the easiest, tastiest antipasto plates around!
Now, What’s for Dinner?
Because antipasti are meant to be served before the main dish, we couldn’t leave you hanging and not share some post-antipasti recipe ideas!
If you selected the pasta salad appetizer, we suggest following it up with our hearty Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms. With a mild, nutty flavor, artichokes blend beautifully with mushrooms and complement the buttery, bread crumb topping, completed with the gooey, melted goodness of Vevan Mozza-Shred.
If you went carb-heavy on the bruschetta, we suggest soup and salad for the main course. This “Green Goodness” salad is super satisfying with kale, broccolini, green beans, snow peas and more. Pair it with this savory Italian White Bean & Kale Bowl, easy to cook in just 10 minutes!
Let your simple vegan cheese plate be your gateway to a host of tasty dinner options like these Mushroom & Mozza Lasagna Spirals or Fettucini Alfredo, or keep things super casual with an Al Fresco Antipasti Pizza.
Antipasti for Everybody
While antipasti may have traditional ties to dairy-rich foods, we know plant-based small plates can be just as inviting. Food brings people together in beautiful ways, creating a space for families and friends to celebrate life’s ordinary and extraordinary moments alike.