As I was recently planning for a small dinner party, I decided I wanted to make a couple of unique appetizers for my guests.

Amazing Appetizers Idea 1

My first thought was to make spicy roasted shrimp appetizer:

  1. Toss medium shrimp (peeled and deveined) with 1 Tablespoon of homemade red curry paste (or to taste). Stay tuned for a recipe for red curry paste on Friday!
  2. Place shrimp on a cookie sheet and roast in a 400-degree oven for 5-7 minutes or until cooked through and pink in color.
  3. Garnish with chopped, fresh cilantro.
  4. Serve with lime wedges.

Note: you can substitute seared scallops for the shrimp and have another excellent go-to appetizer to share with your friends or family.

Amazing Appetizers Idea 2

This Asian Ahi Tuna Tartar appetizer was a big hit!

This Asian Ahi Tuna Tartar appetizer was a big hit!

My second appetizer thought, and the hit of our recent dinner, was an inspired creation that I call a Composed Salad, a mixture of fresh Ahi tuna tartar with a soy-ginger marinade, topped with a layer of avocado topped with a layer of avocado mousse. I have added pickled carrots and cucumber as a garnish for color and crunch. The end result is an amazing restaurant quality appetizer.

Avocado Mousse Recipe

This recipe is originally from the Food Network.


  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 bunches fresh cilantro, washed and dried, leaves picked off and reserved (about 2 1/4 cups loosely packed)
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 green onions, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice, from about 1 lime
  • 1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, deveined, and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes unflavored gelatin (recommended: Knox)


Spray 3 (1 cup) or 6 (1/2 cup) ramekins with vegetable oil cooking spray.

Place the cilantro, green onions, cream cheese, salt, lime juice, and chile in a food processor and puree until smooth. Pour the cold water in a small bowl.

Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it sit for a few minutes. Place 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the boiling water over the softened gelatin and whisk until the gelatin has dissolved. Add the gelatin to the mixture in the food processor, pulsing until pureed and thoroughly blended. Pour the mixture into the prepared ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. To unmold, fill a large container with very hot water. Dip the ramekins in the water for 1 minute. Run a small, sharp knife tip around the edge of each mousse. Unmold onto a platter. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.

Appetizer Assembly:

When making this dish, make sure you use sushi-grade tuna. 1/2 pound of tuna will yield 4 servings.

  1. Make your own Asian marinade using soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds (recipe below). You might want to cut the recipe in half or purchase a pre-made teriyaki marinade. I prefer the Soy Vay brand. Marinate at least 30 minutes.
  2. Place a 3-inch ring mold on individual salad plates or several molds onto 1 large cookie sheet. Spray each ring mold liberally with cooking spray and fill halfway with marinated Ahi tuna that has been finely chopped.
  3. Make the avocado mousse as directed (you will have enough for 8 servings).
  4. Fill your individual ring molds to the top with the mousse and refrigerate in individual molds until set, approx. 1 to 2 hours.
  5. Make pickled vegetables:
    • In a small bowl, mix together 3 to 4 Tablespoons of rice wine vinegar with 1 to 2 Tablespoons of white sugar or to taste. It should be sweet and sour.
    • Add thin slices of English cucumber and grated/slivered carrots.
    • Cover and set aside until ready to plate the composed salad.
  6. Un-mold the layered ingredients onto individual plates and top with pickled vegetables
  7. Serve cold

Optional: Top with additional micro greens.

Asian Marinade Recipe:


  • 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse groad black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry chili flakes
  • 3 chopped green onions


Mix all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix. I used 1/2 cup marinade for 1/2 pound of chopped ahi tuna. If you make you own marinade, you will have more than is needed.

Download and print above recipes here.

What are your favorite types of appetizers?

Mary Hathaway, Owner of Dinner Diva, has been a personal chef since 2002. She cooks regularly for clients who have special dietary needs, value healthy cooking by using organic products where possible and those who want healthy family meals but have no time to cook. Whether it’s a dinner for 4, a holiday party for 20, or a set of meals for the week, all of the recipes are customized to her client’s needs or lifestyle. Go to: for more info.