7 Flavorful Roasted Appetizers for an Unforgettable Holiday Gathering

It’s nearly impossible to pin down which part of the holiday feast generates the most excitement, but appetizers certainly give the main course a run for its money. Encompassing everything from bite-size finger foods to dips, the pre-dinner spread seems to offer something for just about everyone. One of the best and simplest ways to unlock the fullest flavors in your starter dishes is by roasting them, as this process transforms even the simplest ingredients into unforgettable dishes that any guest is sure to enjoy.

Try these seven recipes for roasted appetizers to impress family and friends for the holidays.

Source: iStock

1. Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Garlic Aioli

These Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Garlic Aioli are elegant, understated, and sure to keep guests satisfied before a holiday feast. Costa Kitchen uses canola oil in this recipe so that the unique flavor of Brussels sprouts can shine through without competing for attention with olive oil. These roasted veggies are complemented by a decadently creamy garlic aioli, culminating in a luxurious and comforting winter dish.

Ingredients:

For Brussels sprouts

  • 20 Brussels sprouts, cut into wedges
  • Canola oil
  • Salt and pepper

For aioli

  • 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic, minced fine
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, chopped fine

Directions: For Brussels sprouts – Place Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet and drizzle with canola oil. Crack some fresh salt and pepper to taste. Mix around Brussels sprouts on pan to ensure they all get nicely coated in the oil. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes or until golden-brown on at least one side.

For aioli — Mix together mayonnaise, garlic, parsley and lemon juice. Serve in a ramekin. Place ramekin of aioli on a plate and surround with Brussels sprouts. If serving as an appetizer, put some toothpicks on the side for your guests. Enjoy!

Source: iStock

2. Roasted Chili-Lime Chickpeas

Roasted chickpeas are more than just a crispy-crunchy delight — they’re a nutritional powerhouse! One cup of these beans manages to pack in about 6.2 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber, all totaling out at just 134 calories. In addition to being a guiltless snack, Inspired Edible’s Roasted Chili-Lime Chickpeas offer a zesty kick through the incorporation of lime juice and chili powder. The dish is simple, irresistible, and deceptively healthy. What more could you and your guests wish for in an appetizer?

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups dry chickpeas, or 3 cups cooked and well-rinsed from can
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook dry beans according to package directions or thoroughly rinse canned beans.

Once cooled and drained, place chickpeas in a large bowl. Add olive oil, chili powder, lime juice, lime zest, and sea salt over chickpeas and then toss contents to thoroughly coat chickpeas with mixture.

Invert chickpeas onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread chickpeas out on baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 35 minutes, shaking the tray every 10 minutes or so, until chickpeas are crispy. If you prefer a “meatier” texture, rather than an “airier” texture, cook for only around 20 minutes.

Remove chickpeas from oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes. Once cooled, place roasted chickpeas in a bowl or serving dish of choice and enjoy.

Source: iStock

3. Garlic-Butter Roasted Mushrooms

We admit it: We are totally smitten with Smitten Kitchen’s lavish Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms, and we think you will be, too, once you try a bite! This dish may look like it belongs in a Michelin Star restaurant, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to make in your own home. Quickly roast up your button mushrooms along with capers, garlic, oil, and butter to wind up with a savory, sumptuous starter in fewer than 20 minutes. You can also serve these mushrooms up as a side dish, if preferred. If serving as an appetizer, you might want to give guests the option of putting their mushrooms over crostini.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound mushrooms, such as cremini or white, halved lengthwise if large
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit with rack in middle. Toss mushrooms with capers, garlic, oil, ⅛ teaspoon salt, and several grinds of pepper in a 1½- to 2-quart shallow baking dish. Top with butter and roast, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and golden, and bubbly garlic sauce forms below, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and parsley. Serve immediately, with crusty bread on the side for swiping up the juices.

Source: iStock

4. Smoky Roasted Sweet Potato Stacks

Paprika and nutty brown butter flavor these Smoky Roasted Sweet Potato Stacks for an unforgettable holiday treat. The dish can be served warm or at room temperature, making them perfect for entertaining during the hectic holidays. The stacks make delightfully low-maintenance finger foods, and they can be topped off with creme fraîche or sour cream for a mild and slightly tart finish. Soup Addict’s recipe takes 55 minutes to make and yields 10 sweet potato stacks.

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 2 sweet potatoes, well scrubbed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 5 sage leaves, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt for sprinkling
  • Creme fraîche, sour cream, or Greek yogurt, and minced chives for garnish

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cleanly slice off the end of one sweet potato and then cut into very thin slices using a mandoline or a sharp knife and a steady hand. You’ll be making 10 stacks. Each stack will need 10 slices, for a total of 100. Use a second sweet potato, if needed.

Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Allow to simmer and turn brown and fragrant. When the foaming has subsided and the butter gives off a nutty aroma, add the sage and turn off the heat. Allow the sage to infuse the butter for several minutes, stirring frequently.

On a parchment-lined baking sheet, begin building the sweet potato stacks. Place one slice from a group of 10 on the parchment and brush lightly with the browned butter. Lay another slice and brush with butter. Continue until the first stack of 10 slices has been created. The edges do not have to line up in a perfect cylinder. Repeat for the other nine stacks, leaving 3 inches between each stack.

Using your fingers, sprinkle the smoked paprika over the top layers of the stacks. Top with a small pinch of your favorite salt.

Place in oven on a rack toward the bottom of the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the edges are browning and curling. Allow potatoes to cool for 10 minutes. Top each stack with a dab of creme fraîche, sour cream, or yogurt and a sprinkling of chives. The stacks can be served warm or at room temperature.

Source: iStock

5. Roasted Mediterranean Bruschetta

Hosts and hostesses looking to serve a particularly bold starter this holiday may wish to try Roasted Mediterranean Bruschetta, compliments of Passports and Pancakes. This rustic dish gets its full-bodied flavor from a medley of roasted tomatoes, artichokes, olives, feta, and basil. Each ingredient offers a fresh burst of Mediterranean flavor, and roasting the dish makes it all the more reminiscent of its rustic influences. The recipe yields 8 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can artichoke hearts in water, drained and quartered
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives, cut in half
  • 5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 baguette, toasted (for serving)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a mixing bowl, stir together the first five ingredients. Drizzle with lemon juice, olive oil (just a few tablespoons), and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir together to combine, and transfer to a small baking dish. Cook for 30 minutes; serve with toasted baguette.

Source: iStock

6. Roasted Garlic and Rosemary on Crusty Bread

The beauty of Gobo Root’s comforting and savory Roasted Garlic and Rosemary on Crusty Bread lies in the dish’s sheer simplicity. To make it, roast garlic and rosemary along with olive oil, salt, and pepper. The result will be a tender, creamy garlic butter infused with elegant rosemary. Serve alongside toasted slices of crusty bread for a soothing pre-dinner snack.

Ingredients:

  • 6 garlic bulbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 sprig rosemary, stripped to pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Butter
  • Baguette, sliced into ½-inch thickness, toasted

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut off the bulb tops. Peel coarse layers off, leaving the last skin to keep bulbs intact.

Place the bulbs on individual pieces of aluminum foil. Top with rosemary. Pour 1 teaspoon olive oil to the cut surfaces of each bulb. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Close each packet by twisting tightly at the top. Bake on a baking sheet for 45 to 50 minutes or until tender. Spread butter on the toasts and smear with the garlic clove and rosemary packets. Adjust with salt and pepper.

Source: iStock

7. Roasted Grape and Brie Crostini With Honey and Sea Salt

Roasted grapes pair beautifully with a creamy brie in this dish from Ambitious Kitchen, but drizzling a bit of honey and sea salt will truly tie it all together. The soft, tender texture of the grapes and brie are offset by the toasty crunch of a warm baguette on these Roasted Grape and Brie Crostini With Honey and Sea Salt. The unforgettable appetizer takes just 30 minutes to make and yields 2 to 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups seedless grapes
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 whole-grain demi-French baguette (found at Trader Joe’s) or about ½ a loaf of French baguette, sliced in half, lengthwise
  • 4 to 6 ounces of brie cheese, thinly sliced
  • Honey, for drizzling
  • Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place grapes on a nonstick baking sheet and drizzle with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Toss to coat grapes evenly and roast for about 15 minutes or until grapes begin to look like they might burst and shrivel a bit. Set grapes aside to cool. Keep oven temperature.

Place bread on separate baking sheet and brush each half with remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Top each with brie cheese slices and bake for 10 minutes. Turn oven to broil and broil for 30 to 45 seconds until cheese melts and bubbles. Add grapes on top of cheese and drizzle honey all over. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Cut bread into wedges and serve.

More from Life Cheat Sheet: