Best no cook apps?
May 27, 2014 8:38 AM   Subscribe

What are your best recipes for appetizers you can prep in advance, require no cooking? Extra points if it can be made a day or two in advance. Really looking to step up my game from the usual grocery store veggie and fruit trays and seven layer dips.
posted by xicana63 to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
no cooking at all is a high bar. the only meat things i can think of are ceviche (seafood immersed in lemon/lime juice for awhile), beef carpaccio with horseradish and capers, and cured ham, like parma prosciutto or jamon iberico. japan has chicken sashimi, but most americans aren't gonna eat that.

if you're allowed to boil eggs, you can do deviled eggs, they'll keep a day in advance.
posted by bruce at 8:58 AM on May 27, 2014

Veggie "pizzas" make a nice fresh appetizer-- get a pack of 6" mini pitas, plus a container of herb-flavored spreadable cheese, plus assorted fresh vegetables (red onion, broccoli, cauliflower, grape tomatoes, red bell pepper). Chop up the veggies, spread the pitas with cheese nearly to the edge, top with chopped veggies, slice into wedges to serve.

It's hard to make them 100% in advance, but if you chop all the veggies beforehand, the final assembly takes <5min.
posted by Bardolph at 9:05 AM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

"Ploughman's lunch on a stick" -- cut cubes of cheeses and breads and apples, and gherkins and pickled onions, and maybe a chunk of boiled egg, and skewer it

Egg salad in a frosting bag piped into chunks of cucumber made into cups with a melon baller

Gazpacho in shot glasses

Caprese salad on a stick: tomato + little ball of fresh mozz + basil on a toothpick

Watermelon + mint + feta on sticks

Lentil and/or wild rice salad -- you can stuff tomatoes (or the above-mentioned hollowed-out cucumber, or artichoke bottoms, or...) with this
posted by kmennie at 9:05 AM on May 27, 2014 [10 favorites]

Toothpick skewers: cherry tomato + little mozzarella ball + basil leaf, melon chunk + prosciutto (or ham), seedless grape + cheddar. You can also make or buy really good sandwiches (interesting sandwiches, like pastrami on rye and turkey on brown bread), cube and toothpick. You can also do deli meat roll-ups with cheese and a spread, with romaine or endive inside or out. Endive boats can hold dip-like spreads.

Dates pitted and stuffed with cream, goat, or a hard cheese (asiago is good).

sun-dried tomato and pesto cream cheese torta is my go-to. My tip is to serve it with a sturdier cracker (I like a Triscuit, especially the pepper ones) because it can be pretty stiff if it's only recently out of the fridge.

You can buy boiled eggs at most stores now, so making deviled eggs is an option.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:07 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Mix chopped fresh dill with cream cheese, season with black pepper. Spread onto smoked salmon slices and roll up (like a swiss roll). Slice the roll into 2cm slices.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:08 AM on May 27, 2014

Fruit pizza forever and ever, amen.

If you are ok with a LITTLE cooking, you can buy one of those refrigerated sugar cookie rolls and just roll it into a giant cookie for the crust. If you really want NO cooking, then make individual fruit pizzas on storebought (but good, like from a bakery or at least a bakery section) sugar cookies.

Here's how you do: Cover the cookie in a mix of cream cheese & cool whip (you can add sugar and vanilla if you want, but I'm lazy and don't want it too sweet). Top it with lots of fruit. You can get artsy with this if you want but again, lazy, so I just throw some berries on there. If you go the giant cookie route, slice it like a pizza. Mmmm.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 9:09 AM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Good salami spread with a thin layer or cream cheese. You can then roll it up in a tube. Place a bunch of these on a plate in a starburst design with some pickles in the middle. So simple and so so yummy.
posted by dawkins_7 at 9:10 AM on May 27, 2014

How about frozen cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp and cocktail sauce?

Just thaw the bag in the fridge overnight, and the cocktail sauce is:

Horseradish (the kind you get in the Kosher section.)
Worchestershire Sauce.

I like to sqeeze lemon juice on the shrimp before serving.

Another one is Canapes. An easy way to do it is to get deli spreads and put them on little breads. A fancy way is pinwheels. Just get a bakery loaf of bread and have them slice it horizontally. Spread and roll. Works with pumpernickel and tuna, or white and egg, or rye and chicken salad. You can also do tortillas with spreads, rolled up and cut into chunks.

An Antipasto plate is nice. Buy a bunch of yummy things at the olives and marinated things bar, some salami, cheese cubes and a shit ton of toothpicks.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:14 AM on May 27, 2014

Gazpacho. Made the night before.

Smoked Oysters in a shot glass with a Bloody Mary on top. OK can't do the night before but you can make the mix up early. Open tin of oysters, into glasses and pour earlier made mix on takes like 2 minutes.

Antipasto platters. Google will provide you with more ideas than I can fit in this post. Basically many delicious little nibbles on a big platter everyone helps themselves to. Pickled veg, meats, olives. I would eat Antipasto plates for all my meals if I could.
posted by wwax at 9:15 AM on May 27, 2014

I make a corn and black bean salad/salsa that people are wild about. Rinse and drain a tin of black beans. Add a roughly equivalent amount of corn--from a tin, thawed from frozen, of fresh and cut off the cob. Mix beans and corn together. You can also add tomatoes, jalapenos, and/or red peppers (roasted or fresh). Any of those things should be chopped finely. Make a dressing of oil, lime juice, cilantro, and cumin--I just throw those things into the blender and run it until they're emulsified. Before serving, add a chopped avocado. Keeps great in the fridge for several days. You can serve it with spoons or give people chips to dip.

Tzatziki (grated cucumber, dill, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, strained yoghurt) and hummus (drained and rinsed chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, cumin) are usually well received--a lot of people only buy them from stores, and are very impressed when the homemade kind appears. Serve with pita chips. Add olives on the side for increased fancy points.

Peach and tomato salsa: equal weights of chopped peaches and heirloom tomatoes. Add shallot, hot pepper, and basil. Drizzle with olive oil, mild vinegar, and salt. Top with crumbled feta.

Couscous based pasta salad--couscous doesn't need to be cooked so much as it needs to be rehydrated. One part couscous to slightly more than one part water, and leave it sit for a while--tada, it's done. Roughly chop some cucumbers and tomatoes, sweet onion, olives, and roasted red peppers. Mix them with the couscous, add some feta and oregano. Make a dressing of red wine vinegar, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil--dress it lightly before it goes into the fridge, and then taste it to see if it needs more before serving.
posted by MeghanC at 9:25 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

All Greek/Turkish, Middle Eastern and Indian cold apps. Three sprawling culinary traditions designed around just what you want.

Most familiar: baba gounoush, hummus, raita, lebni, skordalia, dolma, etc etc ad infinitum.
posted by Quisp Lover at 9:27 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I make a corn and black bean salad/salsa that people are wild about.

2nding MeghanC's suggestion. Though I haven't had the pleasure of trying theirs, a friend brought something almost identical to a get-together this past weekend, and it was a big hit.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:43 AM on May 27, 2014

Vegetable spring rolls (example, personally I would omit the grilled mushrooms in this particular recipe) - it does require you to slice and shred vegetables, and soften the spring roll wrappers if you are using the dried kind. You should probably make them the day you're planning to serve them, although the dipping sauce can be made in advance.
posted by needled at 9:52 AM on May 27, 2014

Quisp Lover has it right.
posted by digitalprimate at 10:28 AM on May 27, 2014

To add to the suggestions that have already been made:

Brie with honey and thyme: Take some brie cheese, slice off the top rind, drizzle with honey and thyme, then put in the microwave 1-2 minutes until melted (the bottom and side rinds won't melt). Serve with bread or crackers.

Ham and garlic cheese spread: Take a ham slice, spread it with a garlic cheese spread, then roll it up. Cut it into several pieces and serve with toothpicks. (The link is in French but its all explained by the pictures).
posted by Blissful at 10:42 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Snap peas stuffed with herbed cheese! Here, they mix herbs into cream cheese; when I did it I used boursin. Yum!
posted by aimedwander at 11:03 AM on May 27, 2014

One of my favorites is a block of GOOD tofu with good soy sauce and [scallions, daikon, ginger]. Check out this basic recipe/history online, then go crazy.

I'm also a huge fan of peanut satay sauce, thick enough to use as dip for veggies, which requires no cooking just a couple minutes with a knife or food processor. I can eat this with cucumber and call it a meal. The bean-corn "Mexican" salad is another staple in my house.
posted by whatzit at 11:19 AM on May 27, 2014

Cream cheese and shrimp dip: spread cream cheese onto a plate or the bottom of a clear bowl, then spread a thin layer of cocktail sauce on the top, then cocktail shrimp on top of that. You can substitute sweet chili sauce for the cocktail sauce. Top with chopped chives, or other pretty green herb. Chill a couple of hours before serving with hearty crackers, baguette rounds, and/ or celery or endive pieces.
posted by rpfields at 11:26 AM on May 27, 2014

Here are a bunch of no-cook appetizers from the Kitchn.

Also, my favorite, dead easy (no-cook) app is:
- take a block of feta, put it on a serving plate
- cut into slices (of serving size) and fan them out slightly
- cover with honey
- sprinkle thyme leaves on top
- grind lots of black pepper on top
- serve with bread/crackers

It's delish!
posted by mon-ma-tron at 1:00 PM on May 27, 2014

Dips might be a good place to look: there are lots that are best made the night before, to allow the flavors to mingle e.g.: Black bean and feta dip.

My favorite super-bad-for-you, painfully '70s, no-cook, prep-in-advance appetizer is a dip made of equal parts sour cream and mayonnaise, some onion flakes, and a bunch of dill weed and dried parsley (seriously, a bunch -- when I've made it with fresh herbs I've chopped up a full bunch each of parsley and dill). You just mix everything together, refrigerate it overnight, and serve in a sourdough or rye bread bowl (this, of course, depends on having a source of round loaves). The flavor stands up to reduced fat mayo and sour cream, and soy mayo, if the full fat versions are a bit much. I suspect you could substitute greek yoghurt for the sour cream, too, but haven't tried it.
posted by EvaDestruction at 1:37 PM on May 27, 2014

Cheese balls! They're often even better if you make them a day in advance. This recipe is my favorite; it's on the junky unfancy side (it contains dried beef and MSG!) but it is so good.

Guacamole is super easy and delicious, though you have to time things right so you have ripe avocados. I use Alton Brown's recipe. It does go brown with exposure to air, so ideally you should make it the same day, but if you press plastic wrap right on the surface of the guacamole to seal out any extra air it'll stay green for longer.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:25 PM on May 27, 2014

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