5 of the Best Vegan Appetizers You Can Get at Any Grocery Store Right Now

published Nov 30, 2021
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If you’re anything like me, your holiday hangouts are just getting going. With several weeks of gift exchanges, ugly sweater soirées, and festive movie marathons to come, I set out to find a vegan appetizer spread that’s so good, I’d want to serve it on repeat.

This mix of cheesy bites, spicy wings, flavorful bags of popcorn (you can’t see a movie and not include popcorn), and more is perfect for kids and adults alike. And there’s little to no prep time needed beyond opening a box, removing a wrapper, or popping off a lid. Here are my top picks — what I consider the “fab five” of vegan appetizers — to kick off any party.

Credit: Rachel Werner

1. Wholly Veggie Mozzarella Style Sticks  

Gluten-free, vegan mozzarella sticks may sound too good to be true (at least, as a pre-packaged item in the frozen aisle), but Wholly Veggie nailed it — inside and out! The panko cauliflower crust is delightfully crispy and the vegan cheese melts and stretches just as well as the traditional dairy versions found at most restaurants. Each box includes a small pouch of marinara sauce for dipping. If any expected guests have a hankering for spice, leave space on a platter for the brand’s Cheddar Style Jalapeño Sticks, which are equally tasty, mini morsels.

Find it in stores: Wholly Veggie Mozzarella Style Sticks, $7.99 for 8.8 ounces

Credit: Rachel Werner

2. Violife Cheeses 

Think vegans are missing out on the charcuterie board craze? They’re not at all! Violife makes enough types of melty, stretchy, creamy, tangy cheeses to stage several plant-based renditions of this grazing board. In particular, the Just Like Feta, Epic Smoked Cheddar, and Epic Mature Cheddar blocks along with the Just Like Parmesan wedge, pair well with an assortment of crackers, olives, fruit, peppers, preserves, and jams. 

Credit: Rachel Werner

3. LesserEvil Popcorn, Puffs, and Veggie Sticks

Looking for family-friendly nibbles that can easily get poured out into a bowl? LesserEvil’s line of organic popcorn, Paleo puffs, and veggie sticks come in a variety of sizes and allergy-friendly flavors, including Avocado-licious, No Cheese Cheesiness, Spicy Salsa, and Himalayan Pink Salt. Whether the soirée is a party solely for kiddos or an intergenerational festivity, there’s a pre-packaged portion for that. Bestsellers also are available for purchase in variety packs. 

Buy: LesserEvils’ Organic Himalayan Pink Salt Popcorn, $2.95 for 5 ounces at Hive Brands

Credit: Rachel Werner

4. Loca Potato Queso

A queso that’s ready in less than two minutes is a dream turned reality when using this new potato-based dip. Either flavor (Spicy Jalapeño or Mild) would make an ideal centerpiece to any party platter. Consider serving alongside broccoli, cauliflower, chips, crackers, and even pretzel bread. Bonus: It’s free from the top eight allergens and any artificial flavors or preservatives.

Buy: Loca Potato Queso, $43.20 for 4 12-ounce jars at Loca

Credit: Rachel Werner

5. Gardein Chick’n Wings and Tenders

Gardein’s assortment of meatless morsels are a party on a platter. The Chipotle Georgia and Spicy Gochujang style wings, in addition to the Chipotle Lime and Nashville Hot flavored tenders, pair well with an array of dips, but my favorite is Bitchin’ Sauce (a kosher, vegan, flavor-forward condiment with an almond base).

Do you have a favorite vegan appetizer? Tell us about it in the comments below!