Throw a Spanish Tapas Party

Dinner Parties, Entertain, Menu Ideas

The plus side of living so far away from my family (I’m in California; they’re in Mississippi) is that coming home is always cause for celebration. A couple of weekends ago I was in my hometown for just one night, so naturally my foodie father and I started planning our dinner menu a month in advance.


We settled on a Spanish tapas feast. Tapas refer to small plates, or a variety of appetizer dishes served family-style for the table, and it’s a traditional way of dining in Spain. My family and I spent all evening in the kitchen, cooking, standing around and chatting as we nibbled on each dish just as it emerged from the oven or stove.


Next time you’re inviting a crowd over for dinner, mix up a batch of sangria and set out tapas for guests to enjoy. Here are a few recipes to get you started, similar to the ones my family and I enjoyed. I’ve also included some of my own takeaways to simplify preparation. I promise: these dishes will provide all the conversation starters you need!


Cremini Mushrooms Stuffed with Spanish HamSalty, cured serrano ham is Spain’s answer to Italian prosciutto, so you’ll taste authentically Spanish flavors in this dish.


Tip: If you can’t find serrano, use prosciutto or regular bacon. I like to sauté minced mushroom stems, bacon, garlic and parsley, and use that as the stuffing for regular button mushrooms.


Eggplant Salad with Onions and Peppers A combination of roasted eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and onions creates a dish full of flavor and color.


Tip: To move the process along, try simmering the vegetables in a pot on the stove, ratatouille-style.






Peppers Stuffed with Salt Cod Stuffed peppers are a favorite in Spanish cuisine, and they’re easy to customize.


Tip: Bell peppers and poblanos will work in place of piquillo peppers, and deep frying isn’t necessary. For a lighter option, roast stuffed peppers in a 400°F oven for about 20 minutes. If you prefer, fill peppers with smashed potatoes, chorizo and a Spanish cheese, like I did.

Flatbread with Eggplant, Peppers and OlivesFlatbreads are perfect for feeding a crowd, and this one is packed with rich vegetable flavors.


Tip: For easy appetizer serving (and no dough-proofing), simply pile the topping onto toasted crostini.




Sizzling Shrimp with GarlicShrimp make easy finger food, and notes of sweet paprika and hot pepper flakes bring this dish to life. Bonus: these cook in about 3 minutes.


Tip: Since variety is the spice of life, try squid and scallops in addition to the shrimp.


What’s on your tapas menu? Tell us in the comments!


About the author: Olivia Terenzio grew up in Mississippi, where she cultivated a love of sweet potatoes, crawfish and cloth napkins at a young age. A passion for sharing food with friends and family led her into the kitchen and later to culinary school, where she learned how to roast a chicken and decorate a cake like a pro. As a Williams-Sonoma blog editor, she’s now lucky enough to be talking, writing and thinking about food all day.

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