This collection of our 30 best vegetarian appetizers is a medley of easy starters bursting with fresh flavors.
Explore a variety of tempting flavors from all over the world, including fritters, dips, potatoes, and vegetable-packed mezze platters.
Take your pick, and prepare for these plant–based starter ideas that will delight your tastebuds.
Why you will love these vegetarian appetizers
We’ve focused on affordable, easy-to-find, easily made vegan and dairy–free ingredients.
Our recipes consist of mainly wholefood ingredients such as:
- Seasonal vegetables and fruits
- Nuts and seeds
- Yogurt and cheese (with dairy–free substitutions).
These vegetarian recipes do not include meat but can consist of dairy, eggs, yet always with vegan alternatives.
Scroll through this list, and embark on a journey of vegetarian appetizers that embrace wholesome ingredients and sheer deliciousness.
Our 30 best vegetarian starters
This tender air fryer eggplant is a delightful vegetarian appetizer with marinara sauce and fresh basil.
Each bite offers a satisfying flavor, complemented by the melt–in–your–mouth tenderness of the eggplant, making it a family–friendly choice for any gathering.
Our next vegetarian appetizer is an Italian classic: crostini with fresh veggies and a zesty olive tapenade.
Each bite is a burst of Mediterranean goodness, harmonizing textures and tastes to delight your palate. A finger food idea that will leave your guests craving more.
Game night-perfect rice balls made from leftover risotto, perfect for a delicious and easy starter.
Their crispy texture and gooey center make them a hit with everyone. For an extra burst of taste, don’t forget to dip them in a rich marinara sauce or tzatziki.
There are many ways to serve hummus as an appetizer, and it’s a versatile and nourishing vegetarian dish.
Try this fatteh (loaded hummus with crispy pita bread), and indulge in a meatless but flavor–packed Middle–Eastern starter.
Get the flavors of Italy right into your kitchen with our tomato bruschetta on toasted bread.
It’s a mouthwatering vegetarian appetizer with fresh tomatoes, olive oil, aromatic basil, and zesty garlic combined to create a burst of Mediterranean goodness.
Homemade pita bread is the perfect canvas for spreads, dips, and spices such as hummus, tzatziki, and dukkah spice blend.
Try dipping each tear into luscious extra virgin olive oil with a serving of feta and fresh vegetables. It’s a summer-perfect and refreshing appetizer idea.
Steamed artichokes are a sophisticated appetizer with tender leaves and a delicate heart.
Crispy and tender roasted potatoes, aromatically seasoned and served as finger food.
We like to pair these golden delights with velvety tahini sauce, giving them a creamy and nutty twist.
With sour cream or tzatziki, these fritters are a light and refreshing vegetarian appetizer idea.
You can make them with or without eggs and serve them as a starter with lemon wedges and fresh herbs. Kids and adults alike will love them!
Roasted eggplant, tahini, garlic, and lemon juice combine in a velvety dip.
This Middle–Eastern eggplant appetizer is perfect for a “mezze” (a selection of cold and hot small dishes) with bread and fresh veggie sticks.
Try tabbouleh salad in lettuce wraps with pita bread and fresh lemon wedges.
This vegetarian dish combines finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, zesty lemon juice, and nutty bulgur wheat. Great for summer as it offers a refreshing burst of flavors and textures in every bite.
Served on crostini or grilled zucchini, this parmesan-free basil pesto is an aromatic condiment excellent as an appetizer.
Make it in a blender in 5 minutes, and upgrade your veggies, frittata, or focaccia bread with this rich and nutty pesto.
This vegetarian appetizer captures the essence of Mediterranean cuisine in every satisfying bruschetta bite.
Tender dice of pan–fried eggplant infused with a rich and tangy tomato flavor create a tasty mix of textures. It’s a guaranteed favorite among kids and adults.
The vibrant red hue of the roasted peppers and tomatoes and the earthy flavors of walnuts and spices create an indulgent taste experience.
Serve muhammara with warm Naan bread, pita bread, or crackers as a dip or spread. It’s a delightful and crowd–pleasing way to kick off any gathering.
The tangy sweetness of cranberries complements shaved Brussels Sprouts, while the mustard dressing adds a zesty touch.
This easy–to–make appetizer will impress guests with its restaurant-worthy presentation and slightly sweet taste.
Chickpea flour farinata is a savory and protein-rich vegetarian dish.
For a flavorful and satisfying starter, serve this gluten–free chickpea dish with briny olives, vibrant parsley, and creamy guacamole.
Olive tapenade is a rich and flavorful condiment perfect for finger food appetizers. Made with a simple blend of olives, capers, parsley, and olive oil, it takes just 5 minutes to prepare.
Its tangy and salty notes add a delightful twist to any bread, making it a must-serve for effortless entertaining.
Try the exquisite flavor of confit tomatoes, a simple yet impressive appetizer that will leave your guests in awe.
Slowly cooked in the oven, these juicy cherry tomatoes become intensely rich and sweet. Serve them with crusty crostini or creamy cheeses for an irresistible vegetarian starter.
Roasted zucchini with breadcrumbs is an aromatic Italian vegetarian starter, bursting with fresh herbs and a crunchy bite.
The tender flesh of zucchini is complemented by garlic-infused breadcrumb filling, creating a satisfying and crowd–pleasing dish for any occasion.
Serve grilled eggplant as part of a mezze platter with hummus, pita, and falafel.
Grilled eggplant (cooked in just 5 minutes) offers a smoky and robust flavor that delights the palate. Its tender flesh creates a mouthwatering contrast with other Mediterranean delicacies.
Experience the sweet and tangy flavors of marinated bell peppers infused with aromatic Italian herbs.
This colorful and healthy appetizer is a feast for the eyes and the taste buds, providing a perfect balance of freshness and tanginess.
Cool and refreshing, this cucumber mint tzatziki is the perfect summer vegetarian appetizer.
A creamy yogurt base complements the crispness of cucumbers, while the fragrant dill and mint add a fresh aroma. Serve with warm pita bread or fresh vegetables for a delightful and healthy snack.
This rosemary-topped no-knead focaccia bread is an excellent appetizer with dips and savory spreads.
Its soft, pillowy core and subtle herbaceous notes create a canvas for creamy hummus, cheeses, and nutty pesto.
Whip up this delicious 5–minute guacamole with ripe avocados, lime juice, and chopped red onion for a creamy and flavorful dip.
Pair it with crispy nachos for a quick and kid–friendly appetizer that will disappear in no time!
Eggplant pizza topped with melted cheese is a delicious and healthy–ish alternative to traditional pizza, perfect for kids. Combining roasted eggplant with gooey melted cheese creates a savory and satisfying bite.
Want it cheese–free? Add a sprinkle of fresh cherry tomatoes mixed with basil on the eggplant for a crowd–pleasing finger food.
With this loaded smashed potato recipe, you’ll enjoy the best of crispy potatoes with a medley of fresh veggies.
With each bite, this finger food appetizer is a delightful mix of juicy tomatoes, fresh parsley, and tangy notes of chimichurri dressing.
Smashed chickpea salad “tuna” offers a tasty vegetarian alternative to fish.
The blend of herbs, spices, mayonnaise, and creamy chickpeas is an elegant appetizer that appeals to vegetarians and seafood lovers alike.
Serve the mash stuffed in cherry tomatoes or as a veggie wrap to showcase the versatility and deliciousness of a plant-based diet.
Crispy and flavorful falafel balls made from ground chickpeas are served alongside various fresh herbs and creamy tahini sauce.
This satisfying appetizer showcases the aromatic flavors of the Middle East in a vegetarian–friendly way.
White bean dip with tahini is a crowd–pleasing dip that combines the creaminess of white beans with the nutty flavor of tahini.
Its velvety texture and subtle tang make it an excellent option for guests, game nights, and as a light snack experience.
Our last appetizer on this list is a creamy tahini avocado spread made in just 5 minutes.
Fresh and nutritious, this vegetarian dip is perfect for any gathering. Serve it with crackers, pita bread, or veggies for a family–friendly snack that’s both healthy and satisfying.
Top tips for making vegetarian appetizers
- Vegetables: You can use a variety of vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, zucchini, and radishes as the base for salads and stuffed appetizers.
- Grains: Incorporate grains like quinoa, rice, couscous, bulgur, or barley into mini veggie wraps, salads, and stuffed mushrooms.
- Legumes: Chickpeas, lentils, beans, tofu, and peas can make dips like hummus, cream cheese, or lentil pâté or formed into fritters or vegetarian sliders.
- Tofu and tempeh: These plant-based protein sources can be marinated and used in stir-fries, skewers, or as a filling for lettuce wraps or dumplings.
- Dairy and dairy alternatives: Ricotta, parmesan, feta, or plant-based alternatives such as vegan ricotta or storebought vegan cheeses.
- Nuts and seeds: Add a crunchy element to your appetizers by incorporating nuts like almonds, walnuts, or cashews.
- Herbs and spices: Enhance the flavors of your vegetarian appetizers with herbs like basil, cilantro, mint, or parsley and spices like cumin, paprika, turmeric, or chili powder.
For many more starter ideas, check out our starters category page.
30 Vegetarian Appetizers
- 10 slices crusty bread or baguette cut into ½ inch or 1.2 cm thick slices.
- 1 pound tomatoes any variety as long as they are ripe
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic 1 for mixture, 1 for rubbing on bread
- 15 leaves fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Rinse 1 pound tomatoes, dry them, then cut them into small dice.You can discard half of their liquid if they are very watery.
- To a mixing bowl, add the diced tomatoes, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 clove of grated or crushed garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and 15 leaves fresh basil (chopped).
- Toss until well combined, then taste and just for salt.Let mixture marinate at room temperature for about 10 – 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, slice the bread into 10 to 12 half-inch thick slices (1.2 cm).Arrange the bread on a baking sheet or grill rack and toast it in the oven with the broiler function until golden and crunchy.You can turn the slices to broil them on both sides for extra crunchy bread.
- While the bread is still warm, rub it with fresh garlic to infuse it with garlic flavor.
- Top each slice with one or two tablespoons of tomato mixture. Don't add too much of the liquid at first. You can sprinkle some on the slices rights before serving the bruschetta.
- Serve on a platter or cutting board as an appetizer, snack, aperitivo, or crunchy and healthy dinner.
Hi! We are Nico & Louise
Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.
Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.