Balsamic Tomato & Pesto Canapés

By Jacqueline Meldrum •

Here's an easy canape idea for New Year's Eve parties.  Jac pairs homemade dairy-free pesto with succulent balsamic cherry tomatoes. The Mediterranean flavours burst in your mouth and will leave you wanting more.


The canapés I remember from childhood Hogmanay (New Year's Eve) parties were not sophisticated.
There was the face down half orange, filled with toothpicks that were stacked with cubes of cheddar and pineapple. It looked a bit like a colourful hedgehog. Then egg and cress sandwiches cut into dainty squares, pickled onions, also on toothpicks and the obligatory bowls of crisps and twiglets.
It’s quite fun to recreate the cheese and pineapple hedgehogs for a bit of nostalgia, but bite-sized nibbles can be a lot more interesting and flavourful than that.
The canapés I’ve created are circles of puff pastry topped with homemade dairy-free pesto and a succulent balsamic cherry tomatoes. The Mediterranean flavours burst in your mouth and leave you wanting more.
I used shop bought puff pastry, but made my own pesto. You could also use shop bought pesto as a shortcut, but the flavour of homemade pesto is wonderful and it can be made in minutes. I made a full batch of pesto and that is the recipe I’ve given you. It’s so good I like to have some leftover to serve tossed through pasta.

Balsamic Tomato & Pesto Canapés

Makes 50 delicious little morsels

250g chilled puff pastry

Balsamic Tomatoes

50 cherry tomatoes
a good slug of balsamic vinegar

Dairy-Free Pesto

120ml olive oil
30g basil
90g salted cashew nuts
1 clove garlic
a good grinding of black pepper


1.      Take the pastry out of the fridge to come to room temperature.

2.      Preheat the oven to 200c/180c fan/gas mark 6 and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

3.      Heat a frying pan and add the cherry tomatoes. Do not use any oil, you want to dry fry them. When the tomatoes start to crack add a good slug of balsamic vinegar to the pan. This will seep into the cracks and caramelise slightly in the heat of the pan. Remove the tomatoes from the pan and set aside until you need them.

4.      Next make the pesto. Whizz up all the ingredients in a food processor or bash the basil, garlic and nuts in a pestle and mortar, before adding the oil and seasoning.

5.      Roll out half the pastry and cut little circles using a shot glass or egg cup. Something just a little bigger than the cherry tomatoes.

6.      Place your circles on the baking tray and top each with a little dollop of pesto and a cherry tomato.

7.      Bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes until the pastry has risen and is golden. While the first batch is baking prepare the second batch.

8.      Serve warm.

Notes: You can prepare each tray ahead of time, then leave them in the fridge until your guests arrive, then pop them in the oven to bake. Make more than you think you will need as these are very moreish!
With your leftover pesto, why not try:   
·         Avocado and Roast Tomato Fusilli
·         Penne with Roast Vegetables & Pesto
·         Tagliatelle al Pesto e Yogurt
·         Green Goddess Farfalle
·         Stuffed Peppers with New Potatoes Pesto & Feta
·         Warm Ribbon Courgette Potato Salad with Pesto

For more New Year's Eve and canape recipes visit Great British Chefs collections.


Thanks Urvashi. Cooper had great fun helping me cut shapes.

We had the last of the pesto last night on pasta with roast vegetables and fresh mozzarella. It was gorgeous.
30 December 2013
So easy for the kids to make these too. Lovely idea :-)
30 December 2013

Jacqueline Meldrum

Jacqueline Meldrum is a food writer and recipe developer from bonnie Scotland. As well as creating easy veggie and vegan recipes for readers of her award winning blog Tinned Tomatoes, she also writes for BabyCentre UK and Readers Digest as well as developing recipes for top UK brands.

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