If it’s summer, chances are that company will be coming at some point, and that you’ll have to gather your resources and brain cells to make a last minute-meal. Whether it’s the in-laws or friends you haven’t seen in forever, you’ll want that meal to be a crowd-pleaser, designed to impressed.
The dilemma is that it is summer, after all, and you don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. A vegan antipasto platter can be the answer to your warm-weather entertaining quandaries. Served with fresh bread and pesto, it can make an almost instant lunch for four to six. Add a big pot of spaghetti or linguini with good store-bought sauce, and it becomes a fantastic dinner.
No one will suspect that you didn’t really slave over a hot stove for hours, because it all looks and tastes so appealing! And since you’ve saved all this time and effort, you can add some grilled vegetables and/or plant-based proteins if you’re feeding a larger crowd and are inclined to outdoor cooking.
And of course, you don’t have to save this company. It’s easy and fast enough for a weeknight meal for the family as well.
What you need
For the antipasto: Here are some possible components of appetizing and beautiful platter. Choose 8 or so. What’s nice is that only a handful need any cutting or prep at all!
- Fresh bell peppers or jarred roasted red peppers (drained), cut into strips
- Cured olives, black and/or green
- Baby carrots
- Sliced red onion
- Marinated artichoke hearts
- Pepperoncini or other hot peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
- Cut celery stalks
- Diced vegan cheese
- Pickled garlic (from the olive bar)
- Pickled giardiniera (from the olive bar or a jar)
- Small slender green beans, trimmed
- Baby spinach or mixed baby greens to line the platter
For the pasta
- 1 pound spaghetti or linguine
- 28-ounce jar good-quality marinara sauce
- 15- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes
- Vegan Parmesan for topping, homemade or store-bought
- Fresh whole grain baguette (or other bread)
- Vegan pesto
- A good wine never hurts, right?
What to do
1 If you’re adding pasta to the meal, start bringing a large pot of water to a boil and cooking the pasta while preparing the antipasto. Otherwise, skip this step.
2 Arrange the antipasto ingredients of choice on a large platter.
3 Put store-bought or homemade pesto into a small bowl; cut the baguette into slices and place on a platter or in a bowl.
4 When the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pot. Stir in the pasta sauce and diced tomatoes. Warm up as needed. Transfer to a large serving bowl. Garnish with thinly sliced basil leaves, if using.
5 Serve the pasta and let everyone take what they wish from the antipasto platter.
Photos: Evan Atlas
- Make life easier with more of our Vegan Dinner Hacks.