Warm Goat Cheese Appetizer with Mini Tomatoes & Capers

An Easy, Impromptu Summer Appetizer

Oh people, if only dinner were this easy! But then again? Add a bottle of chilled white wine and you just might be inclined to go ahead and call this big jumble of warm goat cheese and tiny tangy tomatoes and capers dinner, after all.

Simple & Summery. Easy Enough for Everyday, Special Enough for an Occasion. Perfect for Casual Summer Entertaining & Convivial Gatherings.
Warm Goat Cheese Appetizer with Mini Tomatoes & Capers, another easy summer appetizer ♥ KitchenParade.com, a big jumble of tangy goat cheese and tomatoes in a simple vinaigrette. Weeknight easy, worthy of an occasion. Fresh & Seasonal for casual summer entertaining.

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How to Really, Truly Celebrate a Birthday

This family birthday tradition sounds a lot like Christmas, don't you think?

  • Birthday Eve – the night before your birthday!
  • Birthday Day – the big day, the "real" birthday!
  • Birthday Boxing Day – and then the day after too!

Three days!

And isn't there a certain joy in a three-day celebration? It shifts a birthday into a pure excuse for fun, turning a single day that comes around every year into not just a cake 'n' ice cream obligation but a timeout to just play, to just enjoy, to just celebrate.

And so for all the "my birthday is just another day" people – me, included! – perhaps the antidote to all that sourpuss sentiment is to celebrate more, not less, making something special, just because, no matter what.

A birthday cake decorated by my husband with strawberries and blueberries ♥ KitchenParade.com. Can you make out the words?!

My family celebrated "Little Oliver's" first birthday this month, he's my sweet just-walking grand-nephew and the great-grandson and namesake of my 93-year old father. We filled the room with colorful balloon bouquets, plenty for the baby birthday boy and his big brothers Christian and Mario plus cupcakes and ice cream.

Oliver's little party was a few days early – time-shifting is not only allowed but encouraged with this birthday tradition, why let time and distance get in the way of a little fun?

But when I think how all three boys lit up with surprise, how pudgy fingers became sticky with neon frosting, how kids love the very looks of a gift wrapped with bright paper and ribbons? When I think of the pure fun it is to celebrate the life of one much-loved little boy?

Three days might not even be enough, age 1 or 11 or 21 or 31 or 41 or 51 or 61(!) or 71 or 81 or 91 or ...

The Simple Joy of Easy Summer Appetizers

So LOL, no doubt you're wondering why I'm going on 'n' on about three-day birthday traditions and how birthday thoughts got tangled up with the easy summer appetizer that's before you.

Warm Goat Cheese Appetizer with Mini Tomatoes & Capers, another easy summer appetizer ♥ KitchenParade.com, a big jumble of tangy goat cheese and tomatoes in a simple vinaigrette. Weeknight easy, worthy of an occasion. Fresh & Seasonal for casual summer entertaining.

Last summer, family visited from California, by lucky happenstance at my birthday. The night before was unseasonably cool for August, lovely to linger outside before dinner. We needed a little somethin-somethin to nibble on so on a whim, I threw together an appetizer, no recipe per se – just taking advantage of what was on hand.

And if your garden is like ours this time of year, it overflows with tiny little tomatoes, quick bites of "tomato candy" they are. So I had big bowls of tiny tomatoes and a log of inexpensive goat cheese in the fridge and fresh herbs – Never Buy Fresh Herbs Again, I recommend! Uncharacteristically, I wasn't staging a dish to share online, I was simply feeding us.

But after those first scoops? After the "Wow" and "What Is This?" comments? I grabbed my camera for a few fast photos and back we went to scooping, devouring the whole thing in minutes.

And that's when our guests told us about their tradition of three-day birthday celebrations.

It was a wonderful Birthday Eve, my first and not, I vow, my last.

Birthday or Not, You'll Love This Warm Goat Cheese Appetizer If ...

  • the very idea of warm goat cheese sets off your tastebuds
  • life hands over an abundance of sweet, home-grown (ha! home-groan?) tiny tomatoes
  • your palate appreciates the contrast of creaminess and gentle acidity
  • it's plain too hot to cook, almost too hot to eat
  • the words "fresh and seasonal" guide your food choices

Warm Goat Cheese Appetizer with Mini Tomatoes & Capers, another easy summer appetizer ♥ KitchenParade.com, a big jumble of tangy goat cheese and tomatoes in a simple vinaigrette. Weeknight easy, worthy of an occasion. Fresh & Seasonal for casual summer entertaining.

Ready to get started? Here's your recipe!


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time-to-table: 10 minutes
Serves about 8
  • Mini tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • Mixed fresh herbs (chives, basil and parsley are wonderful)
  • A splash of good vinegar
  • A splash of good olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces (225g) goat cheese
  • A tablespoon or two of capers, drained
  • Trader Joe's Corn Chip Dippers (or similar) , for scooping

TOMATO MIXTURE Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. If you have a Tomato Knife for Clean, Sharp Slices, now's the time to use it!

TO SERVE In a shallow, microwave-safe bowl or platter, spread the goat cheese across the center. Place in the microwave and warm until the goat cheese is warm and soft but not melting into a puddle. Immediately top with the Tomato Mixture and sprinkle with capers.

MAKE-AHEAD TIPS You can cut up the tomatoes and herbs a few hours ahead of time but don't combine with the oil and vinegar up until about an hour before serving.

LEFTOVERS make for excellent little scoops on the side with crackers or breakfast eggs. You won't have any trouble using it all up!

ALANNA's TIPS Good tomatoes matter here, use ones from the farmers market or your garden or a pot of mini tomatoes from the patio. Those tiny tomatoes are like summer candy, tiny bites of sweet acidity that go pop in your mouth. Try to eat just one! But a pricey goat cheese isn't necessary, after all, we're warming it up in the microwave. I'm happy with the large logs from Trader Joe's. Speaking of Trader Joe's, those Corn Chip Dippers are wonderful for guacamole and salsa and all sorts of appetizers. I try to keep a bag on hand because my local store does, occasionally, run out. No goat cheese? Homemade Ricotta would work beautifully too.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving (assumes 8 servings, 8oz tomatoes & goat cheese, 2 tablespoons herbs, 1 tablespoon each vinegar & oil): 96 Calories; 7g Tot Fat; 4g Sat Fat; 13mg Cholesterol; 153mg Sodium; 1g Carb; 0g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 6g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 2 & PointsPlus 3 & SmartPoints 4 & Freestyle 3 & myWW green 3 & blue 3 & purple 3

More Easy-Breezy Summer Appetizers

(hover with a mouse for a description; otherwise click a photo to view the recipe)

Creamy Ricotta with Tomato-Cucumber-Corn Salad Easy Shrimp Bites Savory Peach Appetizer
~ more easy summer appetizers ~
from Kitchen Parade

~ Caponata – Sicilian Eggplant ~
~ Beet Salad with Sumac, Yogurt & Pita ~
~ Creamy Cucumber-Tomato Salsa ~
~ more appetizers with vegetables ~
from A Veggie Venture

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ tomato recipes ~
~ caper recipes ~
~ goat cheese recipes ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.