Gluten free tapas recipes are just waiting to be enjoyed. These are my seven favourite tapas inspired by the cookbook I bought in Spain many years ago.
What Are Tapas?
Tapas can be hot or cold, in sauce or deep fried, wrapped in pastry or not; one thing is for sure, they're amazing!
Tapas, often referred to as the little dishes of Spain, come in a variety of types from simple to complex. These tapas can be served as an appetizer anytime but when you're making tapas, they should be Spanish. Featuring flavours and ingredients popular to Spanish cuisine like paprika, saffron, almonds, olives and more.
Here I'm sharing my favourite tapas recipes together to introduce you to tapas or even inspire you to host a Tapas Night where you make them all.
Manchego Cheese with Quince Paste
This tapa takes only minutes to assemble but requires effort to find manchego cheese and quince paste. This Spanish cheese is readily available in cheese shops and well stocked grocery stores.
Quince paste may be a little harder to find but you can make this tapa by substituting the paste with quince or fig jam.
Assembling banderillas is a fun activity to start out the evening. Place all the jars on the counter, give a quick instruction and let people get making a large tray of them.
When we visited Spanish tapa bars we were sometimes charged for our food by the number of empty toothpicks on our plates.
Homemade mayo is a must for this tapa. It's simple to make yet not an everyday recipe people make.
Chorizo Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Dates
Wrap anything in bacon and it's almost guaranteed to be a hit. This tapa can be prepared well in advance and even frozen raw. Broil them in the oven to avoid a mess on the stove and serve them hot.
Shrimp in Garlic Sauce
This is my husbands' signature dish. He makes it for every Guys Weekend or Game Night and friends often text for this recipe. I posted it with writing on the glass like we so often saw in Spanish tapas bars.
Meatballs In Almond Sauce
For gluten free cooks with ground almonds or almond flour in your pantry here's another use for that ingredient.
If you love meatballs make this tapa recipe for dinner. I suggest you make the whole recipe and freeze some in portions you'll want to reheat. You'll be a rock star when you pull these out of the freezer and serve them on toothpicks as a tapa!
Tuna Rice Tapa
This is one of those rare dishes that seems to be more than the sum of it's parts. Simply made with canned tuna it is definitely worth trying. Individual portions can be served on fancy spoons if you have some.
Frittata (Spanish Tortilla)
In my experience when people are lucky enough to be sitting at your table they either don't care about the name of a dish or it's an interesting point for discussion. As long as it's delicious no one will be disappointed.
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Tips for Entertaining
Cooking with friends is the best way I know to learn about food from around the world. It's a fun evening with friends and it's a safe environment for gluten free eaters.
When you're new to gluten free people often suggest you host dinners. It's effort at first but it may be the safest option. Here are a few tips for the host.
- Make the same menu for different groups. This ideas a game changer! Once you've got a handful of menus it'll be a year of deliciousness to look forward to.
- Adopt the acronym K.I.S.S. with the meaning Keep It Simple and Safe. Focus on casual conversation and whole food rather than reading labels and hidden gluten.
- Accept people where they are. Not everyone understands the challenges of a strict gluten free diet. Ask those people to bring wine (or any specific item you know will be safe). Make a short list on your phone and don't be cheap, ask for things you wouldn't usually buy. These items can be a gift in lieu of food and not part of the menu.
- When it's your party you get to make the rules. People tell me they have shared documents with brand names, lists of trusted stores and even pictures of specific items.
Authentic Spanish Dinner Menu
I love creating dinner menus with food from a specific country. It's a great way to learn more about a culture and the bonus is finding naturally gluten free recipes you've never heard of. (Brazilian Cheese Bread anyone?)
These seven gluten free tapas recipes are perfect for a Tapas Night menu with friends. Open a nice bottle of Tempranillo, set out jars of pickles, olives etcetera and start by making banderillas in the kitchen.
Spanish Menu with Paella
Some occasions call for a sit down dinner and I have a menu for that too. This Spanish Menu is created around paella, what most people outside of Spain think of as their national dish. It's actually the classic rice dish from the region of Valencia.
Whether you're creating a Spanish meal or something more specific to Valencia, paella is the perfect choice. This paella recipe can be made with seafood, meat or even vegetarian; follow the recipe and adjust the protein accordingly.
There are many wonderful wines from Spain worth trying. Sangria lovers need to know that bottled sangria may have gluten (it's always a recipe). I made this Prosecco Berry Sangria recipe long before bottled sangria was a thing. The addition of Prosecco makes it a winner.
I hope I've inspired you to try a few tapas. Organize a casual tapas night with friends or a Spanish themed Dinner. Let me know in the comments below if you made one of these recipes or plan to.
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