With Christmas and New Year’s just around the corner, I have holiday entertaining on the brain. In addition to hosting a few Christmas parties, my husband and I usually have a small New Year’s Eve celebration with close friends. All of these gatherings are so fun, but planning so much food can get overwhelming. To keep it simple, I love to center the menu around heavier appetizers that are easily prepared ahead of time and endlessly customizable to the dietary needs and preferences of our guests. This year, I’m planning to make these Ricotta Toast with Caramelized Red Onion and Fig Tapenade for more than a few gatherings!
Our partner for this post is the amazing Queen Creek Olive Mill. As many of you know, Lane and I have been using the fantastic olive oils and vinegars from Queen Creek for years. Though I live in the Minneapolis area, my parents have lived (at least part time!) in Arizona for over 10 years. In that time, we’ve gotten to be semi-regulars at some amazing places and Queen Creek Olive Mill is definitely one of my favorites. It’s a great place to grab some food (try the french toast!!) and, of course, pick up some amazing olive oils.
In addition to olive oil, Queen Creek Olive Mill has some fantastic specialty foods that make entertaining so easy. Lately, I’ve been loving this Caramelized Red Onion and Fig Tapenade. A mix of sweet red onions, figs, and balsamic vinegar, the tapenade is vegan and gluten free. It really is so versatile but I love to use it for dressing up simple ricotta toasts. When combined with the freshest bread, creamy ricotta cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil, you have an easy appetizer that is ready to go in less than 15 minutes! I don’t think holiday entertaining gets much easier.
I used homemade ricotta cheese for these toasts (find an easy recipe here). If you’ve never made ricotta cheese before, it really is just about the easiest thing in the world. All you need is a half gallon of whole milk, some white vinegar, a pinch of salt, and about 20 minutes. The taste and texture of the homemade version is so much better than your typical grocery store option. That being said, it’s totally fine to just grab a tub of ricotta at the store! My recommendation is that if you buy the ricotta, definitely that you stick with full fat versions for the best flavor and texture.
One of my favorite things about ricotta toasts is just how versatile they are. If onion and fig are not your jam (bad pun totally intended), these toasts would also be fantastic with the Sun dried Tomato and Herb Tapenade or even just drizzled with a bit of balsamic reduction and olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. I’ve even served them in a sweet version with fresh fruit and honey. The possibilities really are endless.
What are your favorite holiday party recipes? Any kitchen hacks that make you look like a party genius? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram or in the comments below.
Thank you to Queen Creek Olive Mill for sponsoring this post. As always, the opinions in this post are entirely ours. We only partner with brands that we genuinely use and love!
Ricotta Toasts with Caramelized Red Onion and Fig Tapenade
A quick and easy appetizer, perfect for parties.
- 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
- 3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 1 generous pinch kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1 jar Caramelized Red Onion and Fig Tapenade
- 1 bunch parsley, chopped
- 1 fresh baguette, sliced
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, heavy cream, and salt and mix until smooth.
Brush the baguette slices with a thin layer of olive oil on one side and briefly grill (using a grill or griddle pan) until just toasted. (Alternatively, you can place these briefly under the broiler)
Smear a generous layer of the ricotta/cream mixture onto one side of each of the toasts.
Top with a small (approx 1/2-1 tsp) amount of tapenade.
Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil.
Sprinkle with fresh parsley and refrigerate or serve immediately.