Olive Magazine
Tomato Salad Recipe with Burrata

46 starter recipes

Published: September 16, 2021 at 10:29 am
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Kick off your dinner party with one of our easy yet impressive starters, from in-the-shell scallops to veggie cauliflower fritters or colourful tomato salad with 'nduja

Looking for easy starter recipes? Try one of our dinner party starters for simple but impressive entertaining. We have vegetarian starter recipes from creamy burrata to stunning courgette flowers and smart soups with pickled mushrooms. Or try one of our seafood starters – scallops, ceviche, smoked salmon and more.


Seafood starters

Baked feta with roasted grapes and rosemary

Simple to make with maximum reward, this baked feta starter with roasted grapes and rosemary only takes 5 minutes to prepare.

Baked feta with grapes and rosemary

Salt and pepper squid

Kick-start your dinner party with a crowd-pleasing plate of salt and pepper squid – the mix of sichuan and black peppercorns gives a tingly spiciness and kick of heat. This recipe is from the co-owners of seafood restaurant Prawn on the Lawn.

A frying pan filled with fried squid, red chillies and topped with green spring onions, set against a pale blue background


Red snapper fillet is flavoured with citrus and coconut cream to create a smooth, fragrant and refreshing starter that’s similar to ceviche.

A blue bowl filled with ceviche with tortilla crisps on the side

Prawns pil pil

This prawn starter for two sees plump prawns in a deliciously garlicky, spicy oil. Don’t forget the crusty bread for mopping up all of those wonderful juices.

Prawns pil pil

Giant champagne and lemon prawn vol-au-vents

Take your Christmas dinner starter to the next level by adding champagne to your king prawn vol-au-vents.

Prawn Vol Au Vents Recipe with Champagne

Nanami gyoza

Serve these Japanese-style dumplings stuffed with salted white cabbage, garlic, spring onion, chilli paste and tofu as part of a Japanese-style feast.

Nanami gyoza on a black plate with a pot of dipping sauce against a blue background

Grilled scallops with ’nduja butter

Start Christmas dinner with a bang and serve these flavour-packed, spicy scallops in their shells.

Grilled Scallops Recipe with ’Nduja Butter

Polish pierogi

Zuza Zak's traditional pierogi ruskie recipe has a classic caramelised onion, “twaróg” curd cheese and potato filling that is adapted across the world to what is locally available. This type of pierogi is the most popular, both in Poland and beyond.

Two plates of three Polish pierogi

Herb and chilli calamari

Liven up crisp, golden squid rings with coriander, peanuts and chilli for an easy seafood starter.

Calamari Recipe For Squid Rings

Scallop shell pies

We serve these pretty pies in their original scallop shell and top with flaky puff pastry, a perfect way to start your dinner with friends.

Scallop Pie Recipe

Brown shrimp Ranhofer

Put shrimps at the heart of this easy starter recipe. Ranhofer is a creamy, luxurious sauce spiked with brandy and cayenne pepper. The original dish uses lobster but we've switched for brown shrimp to make it an easy dinner party starter.

Brown Shrimp Ranhofer Recipe

Italian scotch olives

This recipe from Italian restaurant Luca sees olives rolled them in sausagemeat and breadcrumbs before frying. A great starter or nibble to serve with drinks.

A plate of olives coated in golden breadcrumbs with fresh herbs

Moules marinière

Mussels make a great sharing starter. Check out our easy recipe for moules marinière (mussels in white wine sauce). This classic French recipe is a great way to impress dinner party guests. Pop on the table with some dipping bowls and crunchy bread and let everyone dig in. We've got plenty more mussels recipes here.

Moule Marinière Recipe

Prawn cocktail

Make this classic starter recipe in just 15 minutes, using fresh prawns and an indulgent, creamy sauce. This tried and tested recipe is a firm favourite and great for entertaining.

Smoky salmon tartare with lemon and capers

If you love serving smoked salmon for a Christmas starter, this is a great modern twist. The salmon is finely chopped and tossed in a fragrant dressing of lemon, shallots and capers. Serve with thin slices of melba toast.

Salmon Tartare Recipe with Lemon and Capers

Garlic chilli clams on sourdough toast

Make our easy, low calorie garlic chilli clams with crunchy sourdough toast for a show-stopping starter. This easy recipe is ready in just fifteen minutes making it perfect for a last minute dinner party.

Fresh Clam Recipe with Chilli and Soughdough Toast

Sea bream ceviche with charred sweetcorn

This easy starter is a traditional Latin American dish. Our recipe is gluten-free and uses sea bream, a great fish that works well with the zesty limes and a kick of chilli. It is super quick and easy, a perfect show off starter.

Sea Bream Ceviche Recipe

Thai-style fishcakes with sweet and sour cucumber pickle

Thai fishcakes make brilliant party food or a dinner party starter as you can fry them in advance and keep warm in the oven. The easy cucumber pickle adds an authentic Southeast Asian touch. More fishcake recipes here...

Thai Fishcakes Recipe With Sweet and Sour Cucumber

Seared tuna tataki

This simple Asian dish is super-healthy and will have your tastebuds singing. It's only 211 calories, too. Ask your fishmonger for sashimi-grade tuna.

Seared Tuna Tatatki Recipe

Vegetarian starters

Grilled vegetable antipasti

Kick off a classic Italian meal with these gorgeous grilled veggies. Serve with fresh focaccia, olives and cured meats for an impressive spread.

Grilled Vegetable Antipasti Recipe

Pea and Yorkshire Fettle croquettes with mint mayo

Check out these crispy croquettes with peas and crumbly Yorkshire fettle. This impressive veggie recipe comes from chef Chris Boustead of new Islington restaurant, Linden Stores.

Pea Croquettes Recipe with Feta and Mint Mayo

Burrata with savoury granola

Everyone loves burrata for an impressive starter. Try our creamy burrata recipe with savoury granola, it will provide a talking point for your guests. Try our top vegetarian entertaining recipes here.

Burrata Cheese Recipe with Savoury Granola

Asparagus, goat’s cheese and lovage

Make this vibrant asparagus starter recipe with creamy goat's cheese and fresh lovage, perfect to impress friends at your next dinner party. This dish comes from chef Johnnie Crowe at his new East London restaurant, Nest. Make the full dinner party menu from Nest with our recipes adapted to home cooking, here...

Asparagus and Goat's Cheese Recipe served on a round white plate on a dark brown wooden table

Fried courgette flowers with honey and vinegar

Beautiful finger food to start your dinner party. Packed with sweet and tangy flavour, these courgette flowers with honey and vinegar are a great starter for any summer dinner party. What's more, they look impressive and are quick and easy to make.

Fried Courgette Flowers Recipe With Honey and Vinegar

Broccoli tempura with ponzu dipping sauce

Looking for a vegan starter recipe? Try this crunchy purple sprouting broccoli in crispy tempura batter. Ready in under 30 minutes, this dish will make an impressive vegan dinner party starter.

Broccoli Tempura with Ponzu Sauce

Fil0-baked fresh figs with peppered goat's cheese

An easy starter or an impressive canapé for your next dinner party. Check out our vegetarian recipe for crunchy filo-baked fresh figs stuffed with peppered goat’s cheese.

Goat's Cheese Filo Parcels Recipe with Figs

Asparagus with butter, balsamic and capers

This recipe for asparagus with butter, balsamic and capers makes a great starter or lunch. Plus, it's ready in just 15 minutes and is under 300 calories.

Asparagus Recipe With Butter and Capers

Soup starters

Roast beetroot soup with caramelised onion and blue cheese toasts

Get your festive feast off to a vibrant start with our creamy beetroot soup topped with crunchy, cheesy mini sourdough toasts.

Roasted Beet Soup Recipe with Blue Cheese

Mushroom soup with pickled mushrooms

Looking for an impressive soup starter? Try our creamy mushroom soup with simple pickled mushrooms. This super easy recipe is smartened up with a pickled mushroom topping. Here are our other soup recipes to try...

Mushroom Soup With Pickled Mushrooms

Green gazpacho with burrata and prosciutto

For a refreshing starter idea, try this vibrant gazpacho recipe with punchy jalapeños, crispy prosciutto and creamy burrata. Chilling this gazpacho will allow its flavours to develop fully. You could use red tomatoes, but you won’t get as vivid a colour.

Green Gazpacho Recipe with Burrata and Prosciutto

Melon gazpacho

This sweet melon gazpacho is a refreshing light summer meal or starter. Packed with plenty of flavour and topped with crispy parma ham, this dish has under 250 calories per serving.

Melon Gazpacho Recipe

Starters from around the world

Chicory with mixed pulses and grains

Check out this chicory salad with lentils, borlotti beans and crunchy panko breadcrumbs. This easy recipe comes from Italian restaurant Bancone in Covent Garden.

Chicory with Grain Salad Recipe

Classic manti

If you’re seeking proper comfort food to start your dinner you can’t go far wrong with dumplings. The Polish have pierogi, Italians have ravioli, the Chinese have dim sum – and in Turkey they have manti. Check out our recipe for classic manti, these dumplings are the perfect dinner party starter.

Manti Recipe

Chicken wings with sanbei sauce

A really impressive starter from Taiwan. Check out these delicious chicken wings with punchy sanbei sauce. This recipe is easy to make and comes from new Taiwanese restaurant XU in London's Chinatown. Try XU's mapo tofu recipe here for a vegetarian main course.

Chicken wings with sansei sauce, Xu restaurant
Chicken wings with sansei sauce, XU restaurant, Soho

Ham hock rillettes with pistachio salt

This recipe for ham hock rillettes with pistachio salt comes from Salt and Honey in London and makes a great dinner party starter.

Check out more flavoursome ham hock recipes, from salads and terrines to risottos and pasta bakes.

Ham Hock Rillettes Recipe

Thai red curry mussels

This recipe for Thai red curry mussels is a great new way to serve mussels. It's a really easy dish to make, is ready in just 30 minutes and is under 300 calories but is still packed with flavour and a great chilli kick.

Thai Red Curry Paste Mussels Recipe

Baba ganoush with cumin crispbreads

Serve this baba ganoush with cumin crispbreads as a meze starter with hummus, olives, lamb kofte or falafel. You can keep with crispbreads in an airtight container for up to three days.

Baba Ganoush Recipe for Aubergine Dip

Meat starters

Grilled peaches with burrata

Juicy peaches give a sweet contrast to creamy burrata and salty serrano ham in this showstopping summer salad to share as a starter.

A grey plate topped with green leaves, orange peaches and a ball of white cheese

Summer deli board

Put together our pick of the charcuterie and veggies and serve with melted brie for an easy sharing starter.

Charcuterie Board Recipe

Marinated figs with mozzarella and serrano ham

Check out our easy fig recipe with creamy mozzarella, salty serrano ham and peppery rocket. These easy pickled figs make a simple recipe for your next dinner party with friends.

Marinated Figs with Mozzarella and Ham

Tomato salad with burrata and warm 'nduja dressing

One of our most impressive starters yet. With the spice of the 'nduja, the crunch and freshness of the vibrant tomatoes, and the creamy indulgent burrata, this fresh tomato salad is a great summer starter.

Tomato Salad Recipe with Burrata

Griddled avocados with crab and chorizo

Check out this quick and easy avocado recipe with crab salsa and spicy chorizo. This simple avocado dish is ready in just 20 minutes – a great starter recipe for a summer dinner party. Love avocados? We've got plenty more recipes here...

Grilled Avocado Recipe with Crab and Chorizo

Duck, chicken and sour cherry terrine

This indulgent terrine is an impressive starter recipe to make for your guests. Packed with rich meats and pistachio jewels, this is a starter your guests will remember.

Easy Terrine Recipe with Duck, Chicken and Sour Cherry

Steak tartare

This classic dish doesn't have to be intimidating. This simple recipe makes for a great dinner-party starter, just multiply the ingredients by how many guests you have.

Steak Tartare Recipe

Tomatoes and lardo on toast with basil oil

Try our quick and easy recipe for tomatoes and lardo on toast with a super light basil oil. Crunchy toasted soughdough topped with soft and velvety lardo, and good-quality juicy ripe tomatoes, this recipe works really well as part of an antipasti. We love toast toppings, so try our recipes here.

Tomatoes on Toast Recipe with Lardo

BBQ fish sauce chicken wings

Your next dinner party will go down a treat if you start with our sweet and sticky BBQ chicken wings. This gluten-free recipe is super easy to make and a real crowd pleaser at any summer BBQ or dinner. Try one of our Vietnamese recipes for a fresh and punchy dinner party spread.

Chicken Wings Recipe with BBQ Fish Sauce

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