This fun and festive Christmas Tree Antipasto Platter only takes 20 minutes to put together and will look so pretty on your holiday table!
Antipasto Christmas Tree
You know I really like making cute food like turkey pretzel dinner rolls and a snowman cheese ball but I wanted something specific for Christmas.
A charcuterie board is a staple for serving at a holiday party but turning those ingredients into a fancy looking tree is perfect to serve before your Christmas dinner.
What is antipasto?
Stemming from Latin, antipasto translates to “before meal”.
Typically made of small portions served on a platter, family-style, antipasto is the traditional first course of a formal Italian meal. It is meant to stimulate the appetite before the main course.
Antipasto includes appetizers of small plates including cured meats, cheese, olives, and pickled treats.
Why you’ll love this Christmas Tree Antipasto Platter
Festive holiday app – This unique treat is such a fun addition to the Christmas appetizers lineup.
Work of art – It looks really impressive but is honestly simple enough for for anyone to make. Don’t be intimidated!
Flavorful – All the flavors of this antipasto Christmas tree work so well together with the salty cured meats, creamy mozzarella, and fresh tangy tomatoes.
Customizable – I love making this because you can use your favorite antipasto ingredients to create your tree – red bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, prosciutto slices, cheese cubes, fresh fruit, etc.
Things you’ll need
- Large Platter – a large, clean, chopping board also works.
- Silicone Pastry Brush – for brushing the olive oil over the tree.
- Kitchen Shears – a dedicated pair of kitchen scissors are super helpful.
Ingredients for your Christmas Tree Appetizer
Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.
- Fresh herbs – rosemary and springs of parsley – both for color and flavor!
- Tomatoes – Cherry tomatoes come in a variety of colors. I like to pick up the medley from Sam’s Club that comes in red, orange, and yellow.
- Olives – A variety of olives like Italian castelvetrano olives (a bright green olive with a buttery-sweet flavor) and kalamata olives (dark brown, almost purpleish with a smooth, meaty texture). Any blend of colors/sizes/flavors you like.
- Cheeses – Mozzarella balls (pearls) are easy to work with.
- Cold Meats – Calabrese (an Italian sausage), peppered salami, and capicola (a tender, smoky cured pork).
- Garnishes – A high quality olive oil and coarse salt to finish the tree off.
How do you make a Christmas tree appetizer?
- STEP ONE: First, lay out a large serving platter and start at the top of the tree with rosemary sprigs.
- STEP TWO: Next, work on the layers of tomatoes, olives, cheese, meats, making each wider than the one above it so it takes on the Christmas tree shape.
- STEP THREE: Then, use small sprigs of rosemary and leaves of parsley to fill in any empty spots and add depth – unless you’re going for a Charlie Brown-thin tree look.
- STEP FOUR: Finally, use a pastry brush to lightly brush olive oil all over the tree and then sprinkle with coarse salt.
How to serve it
- Keep some toothpicks on the table and small plates so people can load up.
- If you have leftover ingredients, you can place the extras in separate small bowls throughout the dinner table for grazing.
- The tree itself should not sit out any longer than 3 hours.
For extra festive fun, use a small star cookie cutter to make salami stars or cut a piece of cheese into a star shape for the top of the tree.
What to serve with your Antipasto Christmas Tree
Crackers, grainy mustard, and sweet honey and fig jam goes nicely with this antipasto board.
This also goes great with crusty bread and butter, crostini toasts, pretzel sticks, and nuts (like my savory lemon pepper almonds).
Alongside the cold tray, try some warm finger foods like buffalo chicken egg rolls, cheesy asparagus puffs, and bacon wrapped little smokies.
To wash down all the salty deliciousness, try a drunk rudolph milkshake, cranberry apple cider, or a cranberry prosecco spritzer.
The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without Christmas cookies!
Try some fun reindeer “poop” cookies, easy rum balls, ginger snaps, and peanut butter blossoms.
Additional Options 🎄
Additional add-ons to dress up your festive antipasto tree: roasted red pepper strips, artichoke hearts, black olives, prosciutto, genoa salami, sweet soppressata, any cured meat of your choice, cheese tortellini, cubed cheese, or any other type of tomato that you prefer.
There are so many yummy options so have fun being creative!
Try drizzling balsamic vinegar over the top.
How to store leftovers
The tree can be kept covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
What is typically on an antipasto platter?
Antipasto is usually a combination of vegetables, olives, cheeses, meats, peppers, breads, and crackers.
Other common names: mezze, tapas, or antipasti.
How many does it serve?
It should serve around 10 people.
Can I make it ahead of time?
Yes. You can serve it immediately or you can place it in the refrigerator, wrapped tightly, up to 24 hours before serving.
If you plan to make this ahead of time, wait to add the olive oil and coarse salt until just before serving.
Need more appetizer recipes? Try these:
Baked Brie with Pecans & Honey
Click here for my entire collection of appetizer recipes.
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