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When food service managers think about new appetizer ideas for restaurants, they’re making 77 percent of the dining public happy. Consumer tastes began trending towards downsized entrees several years ago, and a majority of professional chefs believe that the small plate is still a very hot thing.
Diners enjoy this abbreviated take on the menu because it lets them sample and share your kitchen’s creativity. Combine a high quality dining experience with innovative appetizer trends, and you have a recipe for satisfied customers and repeat business. We offer these six small plate recipes ideas for upsizing restaurant success.

1. Shrimp and Chorizo Tapas

Those who document food trend timelines consider tapas the original small plates, and Emeril Lagasse would surely agree. Never satisfied to not kick it up a notch, Lagasse puts big bang into these little Spanish appetizers with a crowd-pleasing combo of fresh shrimp sauteed with spicy chorizo. Just like their original namesakes, these tapas define the dine-and-share experience.

2. Greek Chicken Salad

Layer tender slices of grilled chicken breast over a comfort-food base of creamy potato salad. Present the combination on a bed of fresh romaine and iceberg lettuce accompanied by sides that speak Greek. This masterpiece on a small plate is bright and delicious with sliced cucumbers, Kalamata olives and tangy peperoncini. A generous topping of fresh feta finishes off the Mediterranean flavors.

3. Hearty Beef Burger Cups

Customers can have their beef and eat it too in this hearty and satisfying mini-meal. Our recipe idea showcases the versatility of premium baby iceberg lettuce. The crisp leaves create a crunchy, healthy alternative to traditional buns, and they give this favorite dish a gourmet look and taste. We like to dress up our mini-burgers with grilled yellow onion and Gruyere cheese.

4. Crab Balls with Grapefruit Salad

We bring you this small plate recipe idea from one of the culinary world’s biggest stars. French chef and restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten reimagined a crab and grapefruit combination into a masterpiece of appetizing simplicity. His dish features panko-crusted crab meat with tart slices of grapefruit. Small bites and big flavors make this seafood-salad fusion a star on its own.

5. Dukkah-Crusted Lamb Chops

This mini-entree serves as a delicious example of how well the small plate can present an international profile. Dukkah complements Egyptian cuisine with a unique blend of ground nuts, seeds and spices. It gives a tender lamb chop global appeal that impresses sophisticated palates and delights customers looking for culinary adventures. This little plate proves that fine dining doesn’t have to be large.

6. Citrus Mint Salad

A quick trim transforms our mini-iceberg lettuce into small edible bowls perfect for serving favorite salads. Eating healthy goes hand in fork with a citrus mint medley that marries the sweet-tart flavors of oranges and grapefruits. Fresh mint and slices of lime turn up the volume on small-plate refreshment that looks as good as it tastes.

Sharing News and Trends

Small plates and recipes that perfectly fit your menus help manage both portion and cost controls. They’re ideal for off-peak service, and they give the kitchen plenty of culinary freedom. From sampling tapas to munching on lamb chops, casual grazing has transitioned into small plate dining.
We enjoy sharing the latest restaurant news and trends, so check back with us soon for more industry updates. As one of California’s leading produce growers, we proudly supply food service operations across the U.S. and Canada with fresh, premium vegetables. You can depend on Hitchcock Farms to always deliver the very best.