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Easy Spanish and Spanish-inspired Tapas Recipes

Small plates, big flavors
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Tapas are small plates or snacks that are popular in Spanish cuisine. While anything can be served tapas style, traditional dishes include marinated olives, meatballs and patatas bravas. Originally, tapas started as a bar snack, but they’ve become much more than that over time. The snackable factors of these dishes make them the perfect foods for entertaining. If you’re planning to organize your own tapas party, whip up a pitcher of sangria and try making these small-plate dishes.

Sangria

Sangria
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Any good party starts with a good beverage and sangria, a Spanish wine punch, is perfect for a tapas party. The cocktail, which even works as a mocktail, will keep you refreshed in the dog days of summer and complement the salty and savory flavors of the small plates outlined below.

For the Sangria recipe, click here.

Orange Olives

Orange Olives
Bill Hogan, Chicago Tribune

Marinated olives are a common tapas-style dish. Here, the briny fruits are cooked in a skillet with thyme, orange zest, garlic, fennel seeds and white wine vinegar. Enjoy the snack cold or hot and if you have leftovers after your party, we recommend using them to take your salads to the next level.

For the Orange Olives recipe, click here.

Pan con Tomate

Pan con Tomate
Bill Hogan, Chicago Tribune

Pan con tomate, or tomato bread, is a Catalan-style dish. The appetizer is made with five ingredients ー olive oil, garlic, salt, tomato and bread ー and is one of the best ways to use fresh tomatoes.

For the Pan con Tomate recipe, click here.

Pa-tot-as Bravas

Pa-tot-as Bravas
Michael Tercha / Chicago Tribune

Traditional patatas bravas are prepared by frying cubed potatoes and serving them with a spicy sauce. This playful recipe switches things up by using tater tots instead of potatoes so you don’t need to go through the laborious process of frying food at home. Add in crumbly Mexican chorizo for added texture and kick.

For the Pa-tot-as Bravas recipes, click here.

Charcuterie Boards

Charcuterie Boards
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Charcuterie boards speak a universal language; after all, who doesn’t love a smattering of cured meats and various cheeses? To give the appetizer a Spanish flair, make the board with jamon (a dry-cured ham from Spain), Spanish chorizo and Spanish cheeses like manchego, idiazabal and sharp cabrales.

For charcuterie board ideas, tips and recipes, click here.

Grilled Sardines Stuffed With Bell Peppers and Lemon-Herb Breadcrumbs

Grilled Sardines Stuffed With Bell Peppers and Lemon-Herb Breadcrumbs
National Geographic/Jason Mandel

Sardines are an essential part of Mediterranean food culture and also a popular tapas food in Spain and petiscos food in Portugal. In this recipe from Gordon Ramsay, they’re stuffed with bell peppers and breadcrumbs and is one of many seafood recipes sure to please pescatarians and meat eaters alike.

For the Grilled Sardines Stuffed With Bell Peppers and Lemon-Herb Breadcrumbs recipe, click here.

Gazpacho

Gazpacho
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Gazpacho — a cold soup made by blending raw tomatoes and peppers — originated in Andalusia, Spain. Serve it in shooter glasses topped with homemade croutons for your tapas party or enjoy a bowl as a cold dish for hot days.

For the Gazpacho recipe, click here.

Grilled Marinated Flank Steak

Grilled Marinated Flank Steak
Bill Hogan, Chicago Tribune

When cooked correctly, flank steak is a lean and juicy cut of meat that doesn’t break the bank. Marinate it with this recipe then serve it with a chimichurri sauce or over sliced bread, crostini-style.

For the Grilled Marinated Flank Steak recipe, click here.

Garlic Shrimp

Garlic Shrimp
Jacqui Wedewer/The Daily Meal

Garlic shrimp, or gambas al ajillo, is a classic tapas food served at many Spanish restaurants. This recipe uses a non-traditional cooking method by adding the shrimp to an air fryer instead of cooking it in a skillet.

For the Garlic Shrimp recipe, click here.

Bacon With Dates

Bacon With Dates
Image Source/Getty Images

Salty and savory foods are a staple at any tapas party, but it's possible to blend those flavor profiles with sweeter ones as well. This recipe wraps salty, crispy bacon around sweet, chewy dates for a classic juxtaposition of flavors and textures.

For the Bacon With Dates recipe, click here.

Chorizo and Potato Omelets

Chorizo and Potato Omelets
Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune; Shannon Kinsella / food styling

In the United States we tend to think of eggs as breakfast food, but in Spain they are fair game for bar snacks. Spanish tortillas, also known as Spanish omelets, are made with eggs and potatoes. This recipe adds chorizo for a welcome kick or you can substitute sliced andouille or kielbasa sausage.

For the Chorizo and Potato Omelet recipe, click here.

Flan

Flan
Courtesy of Nestlé

If you have room for dessert after finishing your small plates, end the evening with flan. This light but decadent dessert has a custard-like consistency sweetened with a layer of caramel sauce. However, if you don’t want to fire up the oven, check out these easy no-bake desserts.

For the Flan recipe, click here.

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