These Zucchini Canapes are made with tapenade and feta. The perfect little bite for an appetizer or to accompany lunch.
Looking for an easy, vegetable-forward appetizer for your next get-together? These zucchini canapes made with tapenade and feta fit the bill perfectly and they just happen to be gluten-free. Once you see how easy this hors d’oeuvre is to make, you will never want to be without the ingredients for this recipe, trust me.
Have you ever eaten zucchini raw? Does that idea make your nervous? Well, please relax because zucchini is perfectly safe to eat raw, and this versatile summer squash actually has a mild flavor and lovely crunch when served raw.
In this recipe, slices of raw zucchini serve as the base for a remarkably easy appetizer featuring olive tapenade and creamy, briny feta cheese. Imagine the flavors of a Greek salad in appetizer form and you have some idea of how flavorful these zucchini bites are. Best of all, they take almost no time to assemble.
Indeed, this recipe has only a few steps: slice the zucchini nice and thin. Top each slice with a spoonful of olive tapenade – either homemade or store-bought works well here – and some crumbled feta. It’s that simple!
Another thing I love about this zucchini appetizer – besides how easy it is to make – is that it is gluten-free. So many hors d’oeuvres and party foods rely heavily on bread and crackers, don’t they? That can be difficult for gluten-free folks to navigate.
With so many people eating low-carb these days or avoiding gluten for health reasons, it is a good idea to have a few gluten-free appetizers in your repertoire and this one is definitely a winner.
When a dish has only a handful of ingredients, like this one, it is important to make sure your ingredients are of the very best quality. Starting with the zucchini – which is, after all the base of our dish – be sure to look for zucchini that are not too large. Select squash that are around 6 to 8 inches in length. Large zucchini can be watery or even a bit bitter. The smaller ones will have the mild sweet flavor we are looking for. (Extra points if you picked the zucchini from your own garden!)
And because you will not be cooking the zucchini, be sure to wash the squash well in cold water and scrub the exterior with a soft brush to remove any bacteria or pesticide residue. However, do not be tempted to peel the zucchini! A lot of the vegetable’s nutrition is found in the green exterior and it also adds a pop of color to this dish. So put down the vegetable peeler; we don’t need it here!
For the cheese, any good-quality feta will work. Because we are breaking it into crumbles for this recipe, you want a feta that is not too soft. French feta tends to be the softest, so you may want to avoid it in this instance. Greek or Bulgarian feta both will work well. Bulgarian feta tends to be saltier than Greek feta, and this dish already has quite a bit of salt from the tapenade, so if you are concerned about the dish being overly salty, seek out a Greek feta.
However, regardless of what country your feta comes from, it is worthwhile to purchase whole feta packed in brine versus the crumbled or vacuum-packed varieties. Those packaged feta crumbles may be convenient, but they tend to be rubbery and dry. Whole feta packed in brine is by far the most flavorful and it will stay fresh much longer in your refrigerator. And did you know that you can use the brine that the feta comes in as a marinade or to cook grains and beans? What a cool tip!
So if you have been searching for the perfect, summer nibble that is light and refreshing yet full of flavor, then these zucchini bites are for you. The fact that this dish is also vegetarian and naturally gluten-free is just an added bonus!Print
- 1 small to medium zucchini (6 to 8 inches in length)
- 1/4 cup olive tapenade, homemade or store-bought
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese preferably Greek
- 6 large basil leaves, torn into pieces
- Cut the zucchini on the diagonal into 1/4-inch thick slices and arrange on a serving platter.
- Top each slices with approximately 1/2 teaspoon of tapenade.
- Sprinkle the feta cheese over the platter. (Some of the cheese may end up on the platter instead of on the zucchini, which will look pretty, but aim to get a few crumbles on each piece of zucchini.)
- Top each zucchini slice with a few pieces of basil. Serve cold or at room temperature.