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 plantbased 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 dairyfree ingredients.

Our recipes consist of mainly wholefood ingredients such as:

  • Seasonal vegetables and fruits
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Yogurt and cheese (with dairyfree substitutions).
breaded eggplant

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

1. Air fryer eggplant

breaded air fryer eggplant with marinara sauce

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 meltinyourmouth tenderness of the eggplant, making it a familyfriendly choice for any gathering.

2. Crostini

crostini with tomatoes and chard

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.

3. Rice balls

Italian rice balls dipped in marinara sauce

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.

4. Hummus

Fatteh with yogurt, chickpeas and herbs

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 flavorpacked MiddleEastern starter.

5. Bruschetta

Bruschetta on a white cutting board

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.

6. Pita bread

Pita bread with dukkah and vegetables

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.

7. Steamed artichokes

steamed artichokes served with vegan mayo

Steamed artichokes are a sophisticated appetizer with tender leaves and a delicate heart.

We love serving them with creamy mayonnaise and zesty chimichurri sauce for a restaurantworthy starter.

8. Roasted potatoes

tahini sauce as a dip for roasted potatoes

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.

9. Zucchini fritters

Tzatziki sauce on zucchini fritters

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!

10. Eggplant dip

pita bread dipped in eggplant dip

Roasted eggplant, tahini, garlic, and lemon juice combine in a velvety dip.

This MiddleEastern eggplant appetizer is perfect for a “mezze” (a selection of cold and hot small dishes) with bread and fresh veggie sticks.

11. Tabbouleh

lettuce stuffed with tabbouleh

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.

12. Vegan basil pesto

grilled zucchini with pesto

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.

13. Sautèed eggplant

bruschetta with sautéed eggplant

This vegetarian appetizer captures the essence of Mediterranean cuisine in every satisfying bruschetta bite.

Tender dice of panfried eggplant infused with a rich and tangy tomato flavor create a tasty mix of textures. It’s a guaranteed favorite among kids and adults.

14. Muhammara

Muhammara with naan bread

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 crowdpleasing way to kick off any gathering.

15. Shaved Brussels sprout salad

shaved brussels sprouts salad

The tangy sweetness of cranberries complements shaved Brussels Sprouts, while the mustard dressing adds a zesty touch.

This easytomake appetizer will impress guests with its restaurant-worthy presentation and slightly sweet taste.

16. Farinata

socca in a round shape served with olives and pesto

Chickpea flour farinata is a savory and protein-rich vegetarian dish.

For a flavorful and satisfying starter, serve this glutenfree chickpea dish with briny olives, vibrant parsley, and creamy guacamole.

17. Olive tapenade

olive tapenade in a bowl

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.

18. Confit tomatoes

Confit tomatoes with garlic in a round tray

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.

19. Roasted zucchini

roasted zucchini on a serving platter

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 crowdpleasing dish for any occasion.

20. Grilled eggplant

mezze platter with tabbouleh and hummus

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.

21. Marinated bell pepper

red and yellow bell peppers with basil

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.

22. Tzatziki sauce

tzatziki sauce

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.

23. Focaccia bread

rosemary focaccia

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.

24. Guacamole and nachos

Guacamole with hand and nachos

Whip up this delicious 5minute 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 kidfriendly appetizer that will disappear in no time!

25. Eggplant pizza

roasted eggplant pizza

Eggplant pizza topped with melted cheese is a delicious and healthyish alternative to traditional pizza, perfect for kids. Combining roasted eggplant with gooey melted cheese creates a savory and satisfying bite.

Want it cheesefree? Add a sprinkle of fresh cherry tomatoes mixed with basil on the eggplant for a crowdpleasing finger food.

26. Smashed potatoes

Smashed potatoes ganished pico de gaillo

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.

27. Vegan tuna

tomatoes and lettuce leaves filled with vegan tuna

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.

28. Falafel

hummus with falafel and tahini sauce

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 vegetarianfriendly way.

29. White bean dip

White bean dip and pita bread

White bean dip with tahini is a crowdpleasing 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.

30. Avocado spread

avocado dip served with warm pita bread

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 familyfriendly snack that’s both healthy and satisfying.

Top tips for making vegetarian appetizers

  1. 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.
  2. Grains: Incorporate grains like quinoa, rice, couscous, bulgur, or barley into mini veggie wraps, salads, and stuffed mushrooms.
  3. Legumes: Chickpeas, lentils, beans, tofu, and peas can make dips like hummus, cream cheese, or lentil pâté or formed into fritters or vegetarian sliders.
  4. 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.
  5. Dairy and dairy alternatives: Ricotta, parmesan, feta, or plant-based alternatives such as vegan ricotta or storebought vegan cheeses.
  6. Nuts and seeds: Add a crunchy element to your appetizers by incorporating nuts like almonds, walnuts, or cashews.
  7. 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.
tofu cream cheese bruschetta

For many more starter ideas, check out our starters category page.

Easy Vegetarian Appetizers with dips and fritters

30 Vegetarian Appetizers

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 3 votes
Bruschetta is a classic Italian appetizer everyone loves. Learn how to make it with crunchy bread and a tasty garlicky topping of fresh tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and basil.
This recipe is quick and easy to make, and it's the perfect dish for a wonderful dinner with friends and family.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 10 slices
Course: Side dish, Starter
Cuisine: Italian


  • 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.
    cherry tomatoes in dices and knife
  • 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).
    bruschetta tomato mix
  • Toss until well combined, then taste and just for salt.
    Let mixture marinate at room temperature for about 10 – 15 minutes.
    tomato mixture marinating in a bowl
  • 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.
    roasted bruschetta bread
  • While the bread is still warm, rub it with fresh garlic to infuse it with garlic flavor.
    hands brushing bread with garlic
  • 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.
    Bruschetta bread and tomato on a cutting board
  • Serve on a platter or cutting board as an appetizer, snack, aperitivo, or crunchy and healthy dinner.
    Bruschetta on a white platter


Italian Bruschetta (appetizer and side dish idea)


Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 slice of tomato bruschetta out of 10 slices.
For more bruschetta toppings ideas, check out our “variations” chapter above.
Bread: we recommend crusty bread, artisanal bread, or a rustic baguette.
Tomatoes: you can use most tomato varieties as long as they are fresh and ripe. We recommend vine tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, beef tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, or plum tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes.
Balsamic vinegar: substitute 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar for 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.
Fresh basil: substitute dried or fresh oregano.
Make Ahead: you can’t assemble the bruschetta ahead of time because the bread will get soggy. However, you can slice the bread and make the tomato mixture beforehand, so when you want to serve it, you’ll only have to toast the bread and top it.
Refrigerator: you can store the toppings in the fridge for a few days in an airtight container. You can also keep the bread in a basket for a few days. 2 to 3 days old bread is excellent for juicy tomato bruschetta.
Freezer: this recipe is not suitable for freezing.


Calories: 185kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 175mg, Dietary Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 418IU, Vitamin B6: 0.1mg, Vitamin C: 7mg, Vitamin E: 1mg, Vitamin K: 10µg, Calcium: 34mg, Folate: 69µg, Iron: 2mg, Manganese: 0.3mg, Magnesium: 22mg, Zinc: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Leave a comment below or mention @theplantbasedschool on Instagram. We are also on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok.

If you liked these vegetarian appetizers, you might also enjoy:

[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”Bh9wP7Uo” upload-date=”2023-04-07T05:16:29.000Z” name=”Italian Bruschetta” description=”Bruschetta is a classic Italian appetizer everyone loves. Learn how to make it with crunchy bread and a tasty garlicky topping of fresh tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and basil.” player-type=”default” override-embed=”default”]

Nico and Louise in the kitchen

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.

Easy right?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating