I had the best of intentions to scour thrift stores in an effort to score the cheesiest of all holiday sweaters, preferably one with pom-poms and a faux-fur collar. While I’ve yet to begin my hunt, I have been busy dressing my food in red and green, including today’s Christmas Appetizer Bites.
I might not have an ugly sweater to show my spirit, but my food is ready for a holiday soiree.
Today’s cute little Christmas appetizer bites were made using one of my favorite easy appetizer hacks: mini phyllo shells
Flakey, fully-baked phyllo dough that’s shaped for popping right into your mouth, these mini shells are an ideal vehicle for all sorts of sweet and savory ingredients.
Last month, I used them to make these Mini Fig Goat Cheese Bacon Bites, and today I’m giving them an Italian twist with a creamy sundried tomato, pesto, and Parmesan filling.
5 Star Review
“I made these for a Christmas party and cut the recipe in half – wish I hadn’t everyone loved them and they were so easy to make.”— Lynn —
How to Make Christmas Appetizer Bites
These sundried tomato pesto bites can honestly be enjoyed year-round for birthdays, wedding showers, or a fancy date night at home. But their festive Christmas color scheme and impressive taste also make them the best Christmas appetizer to share with friends, family, and loved ones this holiday season.
- Mini Phyllo Shells. My best-ever appetizer shortcut. I love how easy and versatile these flaky little tartlet shells are for sweet and savory appetizers. (Try swapping in phyllo shells with the filling of these Crab Artichoke Toasts.)
- Pesto. Good quality store-bought pesto is my second shortcut to easy, yet impressive Christmas appetizers (although the Creamy Basil Pesto from my Well Plate Cookbook will forever be my favorite).
- Light Cream Cheese + Greek Yogurt. A winning combo of healthy and creamy that keep the filling light but also indulgent.
- Parmesan. Finishes off the vibrant, cheesy filling making it good enough to serve on its own as a dip.
- Sundried Tomatoes. Bursting with tangy, sweet flavor, these festive red gems bring the bites to life and are a natural complement to the pesto and Parmesan. (Keep the sundried tomatoes coming by serving this Sundried Tomato Pesto Quiche for Christmas brunch.)
- Fresh Herbs. A sprinkle of fresh basil and parsley acts like tinsel on the finished filled tarts for added color and freshness.
- Remove the phyllo shells from their box.
- Beat the cream cheese and Greek yogurt together until smooth.
- Stir in the pesto.
- Fold in some sundried tomatoes and Parmesan.
- Pipe the filling into each phyllo shell, and top with additional sundried tomatoes and herbs. ENJOY!
- To Store. Assembled Christmas appetizer bites are best eaten within a few hours of assembling. They may be stored in the fridge for up to two days however the phyllo shells will lose their crispness.
The filling for these Christmas appetizer bites may be made up to two days ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge before filling the phyllo cups. Stir the filling before piping if the ingredients have separated.
- Disposable Piping Bags. Make prep and clean up a dream.
- Hand Mixer. The perfect tool for whipping up a perfectly smooth filling.
- Mixing Bowls. This non-slip set is especially nice.
Now that I have my red-and-green eats courtesy of these simple, lively sundried tomato pesto bites, all I need is the attire to match.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have never used mascarpone cheese in this recipe, however, I think it would be a fantastically delicious swap. If you try it, let me know your results.
If you only have access to sundried tomatoes that are vacuum-sealed rather than packed in oil, I would suggest letting them soak in a bit of olive oil for up to an hour before using them to rehydrate them. Otherwise, they may be tough and chewy.
Several readers have reported simply using the filling as a dip of spread. Serve the filling with crackers, pretzel rods, or toasted baguette slices and watch as it magically disappears to resounding mmmm’s and ahhh’s amongst your guests.
Christmas Appetizer Bites
- Remove the phyllo shells from their box and place them on the counter, keeping the shells in their protective tray until ready to use.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and Greek yogurt until smooth.
- Mix in the pesto until evenly combined.
- Then on low speed, add 2/3 of the sundried tomatoes and Parmesan and beat just until blended.
- Pipe or dollop the pesto filling into each phyllo shell, then transfer to a serving plate. Top with the remaining sundried tomatoes and chopped parsley or basil. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to four hours.
- FOR EXTRA CRISP SHELLS: Arrange the shells in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- TO STORE: Assembled Christmas appetizer bites are best eaten within a few hours of assembling. They may be stored in the fridge for up to two days however the phyllo shells will lose their crispness.
- MAKE AHEAD: The filling for these Christmas appetizer bites may be made up to two days ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge before filling the phyllo cups. Stir the filling before piping if the ingredients have separated.
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