5 five-minute appetizers perfect for any event

Your cocktail party, sorted.

Your cocktail party, sorted.

(Credit: Getty Images)

Whether you're gearing up to host people for a holiday celebration or simply trying to get your friends together at yours, entertaining can seem like a lot of work, but it really doesn't have to be. For instance, you can bypass fussy, time-consuming appetizers and turn to a single, simple offering to pique the appetites of guests, just like the ones below. Any of these elegant bites allow you to offer a handmade touch, and any one can be made in about five minutes. They're as delicious, beautiful and entertaining-worthy as their more precious counterparts. 

Spanish manchego and almond-coated quince skewers 

Cut 1 block of manchego cheese, rind removed, and 1 block of membrillo (quince paste), into 1-inch cubes. Roll the membrillo cubes in ½ cup finely chopped roasted almonds, pressing gently so that the almonds stick to the membrillo. Skewer one piece of manchego cheese and one piece of almond-coated membrillo onto a small decorative metal or bamboo skewer, and repeat until you have enough for your guests. Serve on a platter on as part of a larger cheese board. 

Pan-fried cherry tomatoes on hummus 

Using the back of a big spoon, spread 2 cups of prepared hummus (any flavour you'd like) onto a large plate, leaving a shallow well in the centre. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 smashed garlic clove and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Tip in 1 pint of cherry tomatoes and stir every so often for 3 minutes to 4 minutes, until the tomatoes are beginning to blister and are warmed through. Remove the garlic clove. Season tomatoes with a generous pinch of kosher salt, stir and spoon them into the well of the hummus. Serve with flatbread or pita for scooping.

Warm stovetop spiced nuts 

In a large skillet, add 2 cups of mixed unsalted nuts (or any unsalted nut or nut combination you'd like) plus 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 strip of orange zest (use a vegetable peeler to get a single strip), 2 teaspoons of finely chopped fresh rosemary, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and a dash of cayenne pepper. Toast the nut mixture, stirring often, over medium heat until the butter is melted and the nuts are fragrant and coated in the spices, salt and sugar, about 5 minutes. Remove the orange peel, and tip the nuts into a wide bowl. Serve warm with a spoon for easy access. 

Smoked salmon sushi rolls

Lay out a slice of smoked salmon on a cutting board and then add a dab of wasabi to the flesh. To one end of the smoked salmon slice, add a thin, 4-inch-long strip of English cucumber, and a 4-inch long, ¼-inch-thick wedge of peeled and pitted avocado. Roll the smoked salmon and filling up into a cigar shape, place on a platter and sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Repeat until you have enough for your guests. Serve with a small bowl of soy sauce for dipping. 

Martini-marinated olives 

In a serving bowl, add 2 cups of castelvetrano olives or your favourite green olive, 1 cup of gin, ¼ cup dry vermouth, the zest of 1 lemon and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Gently stir to combine and serve, or preferably, make these ahead and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks — they get boozier by the day.   

Allison Day is the cookbook author of Modern Lunch. Find her online at and Yummy Beet, and on Instagram @allisondaycooks


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