Handheld salad-like hors d'oeuvres for Thanksgiving?
November 13, 2017 4:19 PM   Subscribe

We're having a non-traditional menu this Friendsgiving and are doing everything appetizer style. I have lots of cheesy/high-carb/main dish appetizer ideas, but am having a hard time thinking of a handheld analog to the salad I usually serve at holiday meals. I'm looking for crisp, veggie-based, low cheese/carb appetizers that I can serve and reasonably expect people to eat without cutlery. I have access to a few decent local grocery stores the week before, and a Trader Joe's day-of.
posted by stellaluna to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Cucumber rounds topped with something like a dollop of deviled egg paste.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:21 PM on November 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

You could make that salad, chopped smaller and serve it endive leaf cups (or the bigger leaves of brussels sprouts for smaller portions).
posted by janell at 4:22 PM on November 13, 2017 [11 favorites]

lettuce wraps? outside of the recipe, you could really wrap pretty much anything that's relatively dry in them.
posted by koroshiya at 4:23 PM on November 13, 2017 [6 favorites]

Spring rolls. Check out the Trader Joe's version, and then make your own.
posted by betweenthebars at 4:25 PM on November 13, 2017 [6 favorites]

you want endive leaves. You can put a little plop of anything into them and they make nice-looking bites, much easier to eat than a lettuce wrap. For that salad you want to replicate, consider mincing up celery, fennel and apple and binding it with a mayonnaise or silken tofu based sauce (and put a plop of it into each endive boat.)

Also easy and vegetarian and perks up the palate: olives.
posted by fingersandtoes at 4:26 PM on November 13, 2017 [13 favorites]

Fresh spring rolls are easy to make and so fresh and delicious!
posted by jillithd at 4:32 PM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Just a heads up, Trader Joe's is not open Thanksgiving day. You'll have to go there day before, which will be very very busy.
posted by carnivoregiraffe at 4:46 PM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

It would take a lot of fennel to gather enough pieces of the right size and tenderness but you could use intact fennel layers to hold minced and dressed apple and celery, eaten like a loaded chip.

I feel like a loaded relish tray that people can eat via toothpicks might be a good way to go. Have celery sticks, apple slices, fennel pieces (get a bunch and offer the tender layers to be eaten whole, reserve the big pieces for roasting later), and whatever other veg you think would go well with the dressing which you can have in a cup to the side like a dip. Also offer olives, mushrooms, little pickles, radishes, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, maybe some blanched broccoli and cauliflower (extra autumnal if you can find orange and purple varieties.) You can also do fruit and nuts here too, like walnut halves, chestnuts, maybe some spiced almonds, pears, orange slices, blackberries. Put out some really fantastic olive oil and maybe a flavored sour cream dressing for the people who really want dip. It'll get decimated.
posted by Mizu at 4:47 PM on November 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I was just writing something suggesting a relish tray but Mizu beat me to it. It's utterly un-hip, but people at Thanksgiving are fucking desperate for something plain and fresh and nobody's going to judge. Ours is always just vegetables, no dip or anything, which makes it super light and low-cheese and etc., though it does mean you really want to get good fresh vegetables and slice them yourself instead of setting out a bag of kinda-grey baby carrots and figuring the dip will carry them.

(Also, if you use apple slices, make sure to give them a bath in something acidic so they don't go brown.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:53 PM on November 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

Endive leaves, cucumber rounds or oblongs, apple or pear slices, mini sweet pepper halves are all good for supporting a slaw or salad as long as you chop pretty fine, or even a cooked "spread" similar to eggroll/dumpling fillings. As long as the filling isn't too drippy you could also use a soft-leaf lettuce.

I feel like you could take the components for this brussels sprouts/butternut dish and serve them skewered on toothpicks. I am strongly considering trying it this year because I love those flavors together.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:54 PM on November 13, 2017

You could also serve your go-to salad in mini cups?
posted by Mchelly at 4:55 PM on November 13, 2017

This sounds like a time for cucumber boats! They're easy to make, and look super fancy.

1. Take a cucumber.
2. Cut into 1 inch pieces. Discard or eat the ends.
3. Hollow out most of the seeds, but leave some for the 'floor'. Discard or eat the seeds.
4. Fill with either hummus or baba ghannouj. If you want to get super fancypants, you can fill a pastry bag with the filling, and pipe out florets and stuff into it.
5. Totally optional but also totally yummy - top the boat with either half a cherry tomato, or half and olive. Or fit both on, if they'll fit. We used kalamata olives at one party, and it was a hit.
posted by spinifex23 at 4:59 PM on November 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

I made Gazpacho last year and served it in little shot glasses (actually, they might have been votive holders). There were a few little toppings for them (drizzle of spicy sesame oil, cubed avocado & chopped cilantro/chives). It's easy to make ahead and just re-blend right before serving. I have a friend who also likes a curried cauliflower soup that can be served cold in a similar fashion.

I love endive as they're like chips (you can dip them in stuff) but you can also fill them. I have some lowcarb friends who like to use them as a boat for cream cheese and lox but hummus and other stuff will also do.

Also, shaving a large cucumber to make a wrap ... you can pull together some chives & matchstick cucumber & carrots. They're very cute, just pin them together with a toothpick.

We also make fruit spears - just short bamboo skewers with a few cubes of strawberry, melon, pineapple or whatever is available fresh. Same thing for caprese skewers with those little mozzarella balls, fresh basil and cherry tomatoes.

Don't forget quick pickles, dilly beans or good old fashioned olives.
posted by typetive at 6:03 PM on November 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

I came in to say endive cups.

Crudité can be simple or fancy and is a perfectly acceptable veggie finger food.
posted by bunderful at 6:05 PM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Nthing endive cups. They're already a big part of my low-carb life because they're such a dang convenient transport mechanism for things I'd otherwise use crackers or bread for, but folks are also always impressed when I use them for party foods. You can put literally anything that will fit and hold up in them, including your usual salad.
posted by rhiannonstone at 6:18 PM on November 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

steamed asparagus with a light vinaigrette, sweet mustard, lemon juice, or salt
posted by amtho at 6:32 PM on November 13, 2017

Stuffed celery was a huge hit for our family on Thanksgiving. The adult version was cream cheese with a dusting a paprika. The child version was stuffed with peanut butter.

Relish trays and/or antipasto platters are also awesome.
posted by dancing_angel at 9:19 PM on November 13, 2017

I recently made salad skewers and they were a big hit. I tore off a piece of lettuce folded it up into a small square the strung it on to the skewer followed by a square of red pepper, folded lettuce, red pepper. You can substitute tomato, cucumber or another vegetable. I put some dressing & pecans on the side of the serving plate so ppl could dip & drizzle before taking.
posted by PeaPod at 7:19 AM on November 14, 2017

Parmesan crisps (you can buy them, but they're easy to make too) are great bases for maybe a dollop of dip or tapenade, and veggie topping.

If you're feeling extra fancy, you could make Parmesan cups, too. I would do this in the same way I've made low-carb cheese taco shells: sprinkle parm in a nonstick pan over med heat in a roughly circular shape. Once golden, flip over and cook until other side is golden. Then quickly use a spatula to take it out of the pan and drape it over an upside-down mini-muffin tray, similar to how these cookie bowls are made. Fill with whatever you want.
posted by rachaelfaith at 8:13 AM on November 14, 2017

I recently made veggie cups by getting shot glasses from the dollar store, putting a nice dollop of ranch or blue cheese dressing in the bottom and standing a variety of thinly sliced peppers, celery and carrots with a small radish slice (or cherry tomato) on top. Everyone raved about them and they were easily made ahead and fine at room temperature.

Have a great party!
posted by kiwi-epitome at 8:20 AM on November 14, 2017

These stuffed pea pods are nothing like your example salad but they are very salad-like to me. There are other stuffed-pea recipes around that are basically just snow pea pods and Boursin cheese, but the thing I like here is less cheese and a contrasting vegetable (in this case radish). If you wanted to stick to your original these, I bet a shave of apple and a shave of fennel would work just fine in place of the radish slices.
posted by aimedwander at 11:20 AM on November 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

« Older ID an American drama or film for me, pre-2000.   |   Which online petition applications do you like? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.