I’m kind of obsessed with appetizers. I mean… I’d be fine with replacing a meal with a bunch of finger foods any day of the week. Maybe it’s because of the variety of flavours and number of options to choose from… I’m not quite sure. Maybe it ties into the fact that I’ve always loved eating a bit of everything.
When I was little, I was known to order a dish from a restaurant but then help myself to each person’s meal because I wanted to try it all. Who am I kidding… I still do this. Regardless, I love making delicious appetizers (especially around the holiday season), and I wanted to provide you with three of my favourites!
It’s always nice to offer a bit of variety with your appetizers. I personally like to share at least one vegetarian or vegan dish (which is typically the healthier option, too). I also like to tie in some of the season’s flavours when I can. In these recipes, I used pomegranate, rosemary, sage, and root vegetables to provide that festive ‘feel’.
1. Beet Hummus and Warm Butter and Herb Pitas
One of my favourite vegetarian appetizers during the holiday season is Beet Hummus. This hummus is delish, and the colour of it makes it perfect for the holiday season. I paired my hummus with warm pitas coated lightly with butter and fresh herbs. I also added some spicy olives to the platter for a bit of variation. Here is the beet hummus recipe.
Beet Humus Recipe
- 2 cans (900 g) chickpeas, liquid reserved from 1 can
- 1 Red Beet
- ¼ cup (35 g) sesame seeds
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup (60 ml) lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Butter (melted)
- Herbs of choice (rosemary, sage, basil), chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
- Remove the tops and the roots of the beets and peel each one with a vegetable peeler. Cut the beets in approximately 1 1/2-inch chunks
- Place the cut beets on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil. Bake for approximately 25 minutes (or until tender), turning once.
- Place chickpeas, liquid from 1 can of chickpeas, sesame seeds, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and cumin into a mixer/blender.
- Blend until fully mixed.
- Once beet is cooked and has cooled, add it to the blender and mix until well combined.
- Slice pitas into triangle shapes and coat lightly with melted butter. Sprinkle with herbs of choice. Bake in oven at 350 degrees F until warm, approximately 10 minutes.
Serve and Enjoy!
2. Caramelized Onion Tart with Gorgonzola and Brie Cheese
My second recipe is a family favourite; Caramelized Onion Tart with Gorgonzola and Brie Cheese. My mom discovered this recipe on Simply Recipes quite a while ago, and although it isn’t the healthiest appetizer you’ll ever eat, it is DELICIOUS! All of the flavours just come together so perfectly, and it’s always a hit at our dinner parties. I love to serve it with red hot pepper jelly on the side since it just seems to pair perfectly (for those who like a ‘kick’).
Caramelized Onion Tart Recipe
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 cups of sliced onions, sliced root-to-top into 1/4-inch thick slices (about 2-3 med onions)
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 oz chilled Brie cheese, rind removed and diced
- 8 oz frozen puff pastry (defrosted a couple hours in the fridge)
- 2 oz Gorgonzola or other blue cheese, diced
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
- Heat oil in a large deep pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook for about 10 minutes or until wilted and starting to brown.
- Add sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper. Reduce heat and cook gently, uncovered for about 20-15 minutes or until richly caramelized. Add a little water if the onions look like they are starting to dry out. Cool.
- Roll pastry into a 10 to 14 inch rectangle (or whatever size you want). Place pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Prick with a fork at a couple inch increments to prevent the pastry from forming big bubbles while baking.
- Spread onions over pastry, all the way to the edges. Dot with cheese, sprinkle with tarragon. Refrigerate if not baking immediately.
- Bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 18-20 minutes or until cheese has melted and pastry is crispy. Cool for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges or squares. Enjoy!
3. Pomegranate Rosemary Baked Brie
One of my favourite recipes during any time of the year is melted brie. In order to elevate it a bit, I made an easy Pomegranate Rosemary sauce for the topping, and guys…it is SO good!
I have gotten so many of my recipe ideas from The Domestic Geek on Youtube (she’s an AMAZING chef). This particular recipe is a rendition of her Blackberry Baked Brie Recipe, I simply switched out the berry and preferred the pistachios to the pecans.
I also love this sauce because the fruit is completely interchangeable. If you’re looking to make this recipe in the Spring or Summer for example, you could easily switch out the pomegranate for blueberries or cherries (or stick with the original blackberry version).
Pomegranate Rosemary Baked Brie Recipe
- 1 8-oz wheel of brie
- 1 pomegranate
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp chopped rosemary, and extra for garnish
- 2-3 tbsp honey (depending on level of sweetness you want)
- ¼ cup pistachios
Remove the top rind of the brie and set aside. Place the brie in a oval brie dish (like this one here) or on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 350ºF for 8-10 minutes, or until slightly melted (watch closely, as brie melts very quickly and can easily turn into a puddle of cheese).
In a pot, add pomegranate seeds from 1 pomegranate, the juice from the pomegranate, lemon juice, honey and rosemary and heat on stove over medium. Cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until the pomegranates have released their juices, and liquid has thickened. Once the brie begins to melt, transfer to a serving dish and top with pomegranate mixture. Garnish with pistachios, pomegranate seeds, and sprigs of rosemary.