As 2023 comes to a close, it’s time to start preparing for what is perhaps the most exciting date on the holiday calendar, New Year’s Eve. Unlike other seasonal gatherings such as Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas, ringing in the new year is a more relaxed, informal gathering that is all about fun. That’s why it’s the perfect opportunity to indulge in the art of the appetizer. At RiceSelect® we have an affinity for appetizers, as they provide a chance to get creative with detail and subtlety. Crafting small dishes that are both pleasing to the eye and the palate is what being a home chef is all about, so join us as we journey through some delectable appetizer dishes that will please and impress your guests in equal measure.

Best Appetizers for Parties - Something for Everyone

When planning your appetizers for the party, it’s important to take everyone’s tastes into account. The best way to do so is to cover your bases in terms of food preferences, i.e. prepare a little something for everyone. That way, you’ll make sure everyone leaves your gathering with a smile on their face.

Vegetarian Appetizers

For those who prefer plant-based meals, RiceSelect® has some delicious vegetarian recipe options for you to explore. These Veggie Quinoa Cakes are the perfect dish to pass around the party. Its unique blend of White Quinoa, cheese, herbs, jalapeños, grated carrot, and zucchini make for a crowd-pleasing savory bite.

Then, for lovers of sushi, why not offer up these Vegetarian Sushi Rolls. Although sushi recipes can be a main course in their own right, they also work very well as appetizers. The mystique around making good sushi is famous, so why not show off your sushi skills? Check out our Guide to Becoming a Sushi Connoisseur here, in case you’re looking for a brief refresher course.

Seafood Appetizers

Bringing flavors of the sea to your gathering is a must. Ingredients like shrimp are ideal for finger food-style appetizers. This Spicy Salmon and Avocado Tower recipe is not only aesthetically appealing but also richly layered in its flavor profile. Made with Aromatic Jasmati Rice and fresh cilantro, it’s a fragrant and flavorful marvel that will have your guests demanding you hand over the recipe.

Savory Stuffed Delights

Next up comes something for the meat lovers in your social group. These Wild Rice and Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms will be simply irresistible. Oftentimes, it’s the subtle touches that make a dish stand out. Note how the addition of breadcrumbs adds crunch to the texture or how combining parmesan with cheddar adds an extra dimension to its savory profile—the devil is very much in the detail with this dish.

Alternatively, if recipes with sausages pique your interest, then this Sausage and Sage Arancini is another delicious sausage dish to impress your guests with. Whichever you opt for, the combination of sausage and melted cheese in these recipes is always a winner in winter. Just make sure you make a big enough batch.

Creative Recipes with Quinoa and Couscous

If you like recipes that feature less commonly used grains, then you’re in for a treat. These Garlic Lemon Couscous Cakes combine chickpeas, couscous, and a few select herbs to create an appetizer that truly dazzles. Your guests will appreciate the unique texture achieved through the melding of chickpeas and couscous, along with the infusion of mint.

To add a little flavor of the Andes to proceedings, bring out these Cheese and Jalapeño Quinoa Cakes and watch them fly off the platter!

New Year’s Eve Desserts for Aesthete Foodies

Finally, to ring in the new year in style, you’ll want to round off the celebration with desserts that dazzle the senses. Flavor is not only a matter of ingredients, it’s also about perception. Presenting your desserts is key. Make sure you use large white dishes that allow you to place your creations front and center. Remember: the dish is a stage, and your dessert is the star of the show. Consider an artful application of garnish to add the finishing touches.

Sticky Rice with Mango and Coconut

Served as street food in Thailand, this sweet sticky rice can be served as a snack, breakfast or dessert.

Cinnamon Crunch Cookies Recipe Cinnamon Crunch Cookies Recipe
Cinnamon Crunch Cookies Recipe Cinnamon Crunch Cookies Recipe
Cinnamon Crunch Cookies Recipe

With slivered almonds, vanilla and sugar these Cinnamon Crunch Cookies are perfect for snack or dessert using our RiceSelect® Texmati® White Rice.

Toasted Pecan Rice Cream Recipe Toasted Pecan Rice Cream Recipe
Toasted Pecan Rice Cream Recipe Toasted Pecan Rice Cream Recipe
Toasted Pecan Rice Cream Recipe

Reminscent of weekends at grandma's, this Toasted Pecan Rice Cream recipe is made with RiceSelect® Sushi Rice for an extra creamy and flavorful touch.

Sustainable Hosting

Now that you have some appetizer inspiration, let’s take a moment to think about how you can host your New Year’s Eve gathering in the spirit of sustainability. By taking just a few small measures in your kitchen, you can make a big difference to the environment. Here are some simple ways to make your hosting more sustainable.

  • Plan for leftovers: Make sure you have adequate containers in which to store leftovers after the celebration. Think about what you’re making and how it can be reinvented afterwards.

  • Shop for local produce: Make a conscious effort to buy seasonal ingredients from local sources, as doing so will reduce the carbon footprint of your gathering.

  • Recycle and reuse old packaging: Our unique RiceSelect jars are 100% recyclable and 100% reusable. If you don’t have a composting setup where you live, find out if one of your guests has and arrange for them to take organic waste home for composting.

For more ideas on how to make your gatherings more sustainable check out our seasonal collaboration with the good people of Bon Appetit. Let’s start 2024 in the best way possible, enjoying good food and being surrounded by the people you love.