Cold Hors D' Oeuvres Recipes:
Cool, Easy and, well... Awesome!

Planning an elegant summer party? Cold hors d' oeuvres recipes like the ones here can be a wonderful addition to your party menu. They're elegant, they're easy to make ahead, they're fun to eat... and of course they taste so good your guests may forget to be elegant about eating them.

Whether just serving small bites and appetizers for a cocktail party, or looking for something to serve before a sit-down dinner, these recipes are some of my favorites when I want something simply elegant and easy to put together. Most of 'em are also nicely flexible: with a little extra time spent, they can be decoratively assembled to look really impressive, or left clean and simple. Ingredients can be switched around to make them more or less "fancy." And putting them together ahead of time makes your life a heck of a lot easier.

These also work for a party in any season-- but I especially love these cold hors d' oeuvres recipes for the warmer months.

Looking for some more ideas for cold appetizers to serve at your shindig? Check out:

Creamy Cheese and Roasted Garlic Truffles

Cheese Truffle Bites with Pecan
These little balls of creamy-garlicky heaven are one of my favorite cold hors d' oeuvres recipes. Why? Because you don't get much better than creamy cheese truffles with a sweet bite of roasted garlic and a nutty crunch of pecans. Since they're rolled in chopped pecan, they look simple and inoffensive... but hit you with a wonderful burst of flavor.

I often add more garlic than listed here, as I love the stuff, and sometimes some fresh minced herbs. Play around with the mixture to get a flavor you love-- you can even swap the pecans out for crisp-cooked bacon (which I heartily endorse!). And be sure to do it up about a day in advance to allow the flavors to come together before serving (though you can create your truffles and roll them in nuts right before your event.)

Serves 20-40, depending on the size of your truffles.

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  • Ingredients:
  • 2 packages of cream cheese, 8 ounces each, softened
  • 8 oz. Sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 head of roasted garlic, peeled
  • 1 dash of red pepper flakes, ground
  • 1/4 C. roasted red peppers, finely chopped
  • 1/3 C. green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 2/3 C. pecans, finely chopped

Directions: 1. Beat shredded cheeses, cream cheese, ground red pepper, and roasted garlic until very well blended. Take the mixture and divide it in half.

2. On one half of the mixture, add roasted peppers and to the other half, green onions. Mix very well until blended.

3. Cover and place in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled.

4. Take each cheese mixture and shape them into balls about 1 inch. Make 24 balls.

5. Roll each ball into pecans.

6. Cover again and refrigerate again until you are ready to serve. Serve with chips, or crackers, or whatever you fancy.

Crispy Endive with Goat Cheese, Fig, and Honey Glazed Pecans

This is one of those easy cold appetizers that tastes much more complicated than it really is. I love the combination of crisp-bitter endive, tangy goat cheese, sweet fig, and nutty-crunchy pecans. There's just so much going on, and it all comes together beautifully.

One of the best parts is how much of this cold hors d' oeuvres recipe you can do ahead of time. You can do the honey pecans several days ahead, if you like. Then the endive pieces themselves can be assembled a few hours ahead. Just add the pecans and port syrup right before serving.

Tip: to make this appetizer even prettier, soften the goat cheese (you can even add a little cream to thin it out) and pipe it into the endive leaves using a cake decorator's bag.

Recipe serves 36

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  • Ingredients:
  • 9 Figs, dried or fresh, cut into 3/4 inch wedges
  • 8 ounces soft Goat Cheese
  • 3/4 C. Pecan halves
  • 5 tbsp. honey, divided
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup Port Wine
  • 36 leaves of fresh Endive

Directions: 1. Turn oven on to 350 degrees

2. Take 2 tbsp of honey and toss with the pecan halves and place on a cookie sheet. Spread out evenly and bake for 4 minutes. Then stir them, and bake 4 more minutes or until they're a bit shiny. Sprinkle lightly with salt, if desired.

3. Make 36 oblong scoops of the softened goat cheese

4. Take the remaining honey and mix in with the port wine in a small saucepan and cook on a low heat setting until it is thick and syrupy. It should reduce its volume by about half and take about 5 minutes.

5. If dried figs are used, take an extra 2 tbsp. Port Wine and 3 tbsp. warm water to reconstitute them for 5 minutes before using.

6. Place a scoop of goat cheese into the center of each endive leaf.

7. Divide pecan halves and figs evenly among endives.

8. Drizzle port syrup over.

Fresh Ahi Tuna Tataki Appetizers

Ahi Tuna Bites Appetizer Recipe with Sauce
This is a recipe for people who really love tuna. Not a fan of tuna cooked a bit pink in the middle? Then this particular appetizer might not be for you, as the tuna is left raw, for the most part.

But it's also totally delicious, and an easy and elegant way to highlight wonderful ingredients. And you can't get much more wonderful than a perfect piece of fresh ahi tuna! This cold hors d' oeuvres recipe can actually be served cold or room temperature, but should be served not too long after it's seared-- don't sear it off and then let it sit in the fridge all day.

Serves 12-16 as an appetizer.

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  • Ingredients:
  • 4 very fresh (sushi grade) ahi tuna loin
  • Coarse-cracked black pepper, as needed
  • 3/4 C. peanut oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1/4 C. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. minced or grated ginger (fresh!)
  • pinch of Chinese 5-spice powder (optional)
  • Garnish Options:
  • Picked ginger, or
  • Sesame seeds, or
  • Cilantro leaves (as pictured) (all optional)

Directions: 1. To make the sauce, combine the oils, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and five spice. This can be done the day ahead, and should be done at least the morning before to allow flavors to mix.

2. To prepare the tuna, spread a bunch of coarse black pepper onto a plate. Roll your clean, uncooked tuna loins in the pepper.

3. Heat a cast-iron or other heavy-bottomed pan until VERY hot, with no oil. Sear your tuna on all size, until well seared but still red all the way through (about 1 minute per side).

4. Cool to room temperature or chill before slicing on the bias into 1/2" slices.

5. Line your serving plate with a generous portion of your sauce mixture, and place tuna slices on the serving tray. Drizzle a little more sauce over and garnish as desired. Serve immediately.


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More Elegant Recipes

Want some more appetizers that are elegant and impressive for your next do? When you're done with these cold hors d' oeuvres recipes, check out:

Delish Lobster Appetizers


THE Best Rated Seafood Appetizers


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