A roundup of over 25 vegan appetizer recipes. There’s lots of inspiration here for hot & cold vegan dips, 100% plant-based paté and tartare (and other things to eat on bread), small bites like cauliflower wings and crispy tofu lettuce wraps.
I love a good vegan appetizer. I often make a meal out of a bunch of them (especially if we’re talking dips–my fave!). And yet, whenever I’m asked to bring an appetizer to a gathering, I’m generally stumped and start searching online. Has this ever happened to you? That’s why I created this roundup of vegan appetizer recipes–partly as a reference for myself, but also for you if you find yourself in need!
I’ve broken this selection down into 4 categories. We have hot vegan dips and cold vegan dips (honestly both would also be great at room temperature). Our third category comprises all things that are great on bread or wrapped up in a mini tortilla or lettuce leaf. Lastly, we have small bites, sometimes known as finger food (something about this term is annoying to me haha). You can tap on each category below to be taken directly to the type of recipe that you’re looking for!
The First Mess Cookbook
There’s even more vegan appetizer recipes in my cookbook! Everything from cauliflower-based “ricotta” toasts to a spicy whipped red lentil spread.
Hot Dip Appetizers
Spicy Pepperoncini, Artichoke & Kale Dip. I love this one so much! It has all the creamy comfort of the classic dip, but with the spicy, slightly acidic punch of pepperoncinis. The kale addition is lovely here too. This dip is also delicious cold.
Vegan Seven Layer Dip with Buffalo Refried Beans. Maybe this isn’t a hot dip, but I do prefer the base to be slightly warmer than room temperature! The Buffalo refried beans in this are so good that I often just make them on their own and have them with warm rice and chopped avocado. So great!
Vegan Jalapeño Popper Dip. This warm, crunchy and buttery cracker-topped dip is spicy, creamy, and indulgent! It has a little protein bump from white beans too. Great served with cut vegetables, tortilla chips, and crackers.
Cold Dip Appetizers
Silky and Spicy Red Pepper Dip. This mega creamy dip is completely dairy-free and bean-free, and can easily be made nut-free too. It gets a huge flavour boost from fresh chili, garlic, shallots, and paprika.
Black Bean Dip with Roasted Squash, Pumpkin Seeds & Chipotles. Such a great dip for a harvest gathering! Roasted honeynut squash makes it so creamy. We use a whole head of roasted garlic and some finely ground pumpkin seeds as the base here. Unique, beautiful, and so tasty.
Edamame Dip with Mint, Jalapeño & Lime. Only 7 ingredients needed for this super fresh dip with an unusual combination of flavours. This one is so refreshing a beautiful vibrant green colour.
Vegan Caramelized Onion Dip with Fresh Za’atar. This is the best vegan onion dip out there in my opinion. It’s so creamy and flavourful. No one will ever guess that it’s dairy-free! Truly the best pairing for this one is potato chips. It just doesn’t get any better.
Eggplant Dip with Toasted Walnuts, Lemon, Tahini & Yogurt. This dip is rich and flavourful with toasted walnuts, tahini, lemon, and dairy-free coconut milk yogurt. The inspiration point for this dip and the eggplant preparation is baba ganoush.
Roasted Carrot & Harissa Chickpea Dip. This is so flavourful! It has all the warm spices that you would typically find in harissa, the sweetness of the roasted carrots, plenty of lemon, and garlic as well. Chickpeas help fill out the base of this dip to make it extra hearty.
Creamy Kale Pesto & White Bean Dip. This is certifiably the best way to eat kale! This dip is creamy, slightly cheesy, and super familiar because of the pesto factor. The sunflower seed, tahini, and white bean base is naturally nut-free.
Vegan Dill Pickle Dip. This dip is tangy, dill-y (!!), super savoury, and delicious with crackers, chips, or cut vegetables. Sautéed zucchini and raw cashews help with the creaminess. The perfect vegan appetizer for pickle lovers!
The Ultimate Vegan Snack Board. Three recipes in one post! This is a deluxe vegan snack board with a beet cashew “cheese”, mushroom & olive pâté, and a roasted butternut & garlic spread.
Great on Bread, Lettuce Wraps & Tacos
Raw and Vegan Tacos with Corn Salsa & Cashew Sour Cream. These are so refreshing and flavourful! A ground up, nut-based “meat” is wrapped up in a mix of chard and cabbage and then topped with a bright corn salsa, creamy cashew sour cream, and avocado.
Bloody Mary Bruschetta. This is such a fun and delicious snack to have with drinks or as part of a brunch. All of those fun Bloody Mary flavours and garnishes factor into these perfect bites. Don’t look to closrly at my photos in this one because I definitely over-charred some of the ciabatta here haha.
Avocado Tartare with Roasted Beets, Basil & Dukkah. There are so many flavour bombs in this recipe! Tamari, Dijon mustard, finely minced capers, and tiny dices of red onion make it so flavourful. I love serving this at get-togethers because people take a quick glance at it and think that it’s guacamole, and then their mind is blown when they have that first mouthful.
Crispy Coconut Tofu Lettuce Wraps with Sweet Chili Sauce. I generally eat these as a light dinner, but they are an ideal vegan appetizer. The tofu cubes have a golden, spiced, crisp coconut exterior. Having a few crunchy cubes in a crisp lettuce leaf with a drizzle of that chili sauce is just pure heaven.
BBQ Mushroom Flatbread with Chive Cream & Arugula. I love to serve a simple flatbread that holds up at room temperature as an appetizer. This one has a sticky and flavourful sautéed BBQ mushroom topping along with some peppery arugula and a nut-free chive cream drizzle. Using a pre-made dough makes this recipe so simple!
Mustard-Roasted Broccoli Paté with Leeks & Lemon. This is such a fun take on plant-based charcuterie. Broccoli and leeks are roasted with grainy mustard and then blitzed up with lots of olive oil, lemon, nutritional yeast, and thyme. Love to serve with crostini or as part of a bigger snack board setup!
Avocado Chickpea Salad Wraps. This flavourful and plant-based take on a typical tuna/egg salad kind of mixture is so pretty in lettuce or radicchio leaves. The salad itself is filled with punchy flavours like lemon, capers, pickles, chives, and Dijon mustard.
Saucy and Sticky Sweet Potato Tacos with Avocado Cilantro Sauce. Making these with smaller tortillas would be such a cute (and totally delicious) appetizer. Shredded sweet potatoes are sautéed with some sticky date barbecue sauce and then finished up with a creamy avocado cilantro sauce.
Small Bites & More Vegan Appetizer Recipes
Lemony Oregano Vegan Meatballs. Imagine these as little mini vegan meatballs on skewers with a little tahini sauce dip on the side and lots of herbs sprinkled on top. So cute and satisfying. These hold up nicely at room temperature.
Grilled Mini Peppers with Spiced Lentil & Walnut Filling. These are so cute and really fun to make. The filling is super meaty and flavourful with cooked lentils, chopped walnuts, olives, herbs, garlic, and spices.
Sticky & Crispy Sesame Cauliflower. These saucy and slightly spicy bites will be devoured in no time. The sauce is so flavourful and the breading makes a nice, slightly crisp exterior. This is one of my most popular recipes! It is admittedly on the more fussy end of appetizer prep, but I think it’s worth it :)
Super Savoury Veggie, Hemp & Millet Nuggets with Creamy Maple Mustard Dip. These are just fun and totally wholesome. Golden nuggets loaded with veggie goodness are baked until golden and slightly crisp, and then served with a creamy, dairy-free maple mustard dip.
Papaya Salad Rolls with Spicy Lime Dip. The freshness of these! The cool mint/cilantro combined with the finely sliced papaya and other veg plus a tart lime dip? It’s a high vibe flavour explosion.
Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms with Pesto Cream & Garlicky Breadcrumbs. This is such a simple recipe, especially if you buy pre-made vegan pesto (which I often do). You simply roast cremini mushroom caps until tender and golden, and then you fill them with a simple pesto cream and top with crunchy, quickly sautéed breadcrumbs for a little texture.
Eggplant Meatballs with Lemony Kale Pesto. Another great meatball recipe that would be adorable in mini form! These pair the classic flavour combination of browned eggplant, lemon, za’atar, and fresh herbs. If you want to serve this with the pesto, I would recommend thinning the pesto out a bit with water to make it easier for dipping.
Sweet Potato Cakes with Lemony Tahini Sauce. These naturally gluten-free cakes with sweet potato, quinoa, and spices would be lovely whipped up into mini cakes with a little bowl of the tahini sauce on the platter. They are great at room temperature, and can easily be made ahead of time.
Vegan Appetizer Recipes: Creamy Edamame Dip
- 1½ cups shelled frozen edamame
- ¼ cup mild nut/seed butter, such as tahini, cashew or watermelon seed butter
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded if necessary & chopped
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves
- 2 green onions, chopped
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 2-3 tablespoons ice water, if necessary
- Other soft herbs would taste great in this dip. Think: cilantro, basil, Thai basil, parsley, or a combination.
- I’ve been working with watermelon seed butter lately, which is a new ingredient for me. It swaps in anywhere you would use tahini. Feel free to use tahini here or a mild nut butter like raw cashew.
- If you want to keep this oil-free, you can omit the olive oil! Just use an extra tablespoon of your nut/seed butter of choice.
- Place the frozen edamame in a small saucepan and cover with water. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat off and drain the edamame.
- Transfer the edamame to a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Pulse until the edamame becomes a very chunky puree. To the edamame, add the nut/seed butter, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, jalapeño, mint, green onions, salt, and pepper. Run the motor of the food processor until you have a smooth and thick puree, stopping the machine a couple times to scrape down the sides with a spatula. To get the dip to a more fluid/loose state, drizzle in some ice water through the feed tube, 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Check the dip for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Transfer the dip to your serving bowl/platter. Garnish the dip with a drizzle of olive oil, extra mint, extra sliced green onions, and any other toppings you might enjoy. Serve the edamame dip with cut vegetables, crackers, chips etc! Keep the edamame dip in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.