Experience Rome for a day with these 11 easy Roman appetizers, from the popular Bruschetta Alla Romana to the refreshing Roman Summer Salad.
Due to the Roman empire’s expansion in the past, the Romans were exposed to various cooking methods and diverse culinary habits, which made Roman cuisine one of the most popular cuisines in the world.
Roman cuisine features seasonal, fresh, and plainly prepared ingredients from central Italy’s Lazio region.
Since Roman cooking involves fresh and in-season ingredients, eating in Rome means exploring humble flavors that excite the palate.
However, that doesn’t mean you don’t get the aggressive flavors, too!
For example, the classic Roman dishes are heavy on bitter greens, funky pecorino, offal, black pepper, prosciutto, peas, globe artichokes, and let’s not forget all sorts of cheeses like ricotta and Pecorino Romano.
That said, before enjoying your main course in Rome, don’t miss out on some delicious Roman appetizers that will make your tastebuds dance with joy.
Appetizers prepare you for the main dish, increasing your hunger, and they are also relevant or closely connected to the main course when it comes to ingredients and cooking style.
So aside from promenading around the Colosseum, take a trip down the best restaurants in Rome and try these 11 appetizers.
Better yet, why not make these recipes yourself as they’re pretty simple—just like Roman-style cooking.
Try #11, the Roman Summer Salad, if you like a light and refreshing appetizer.
This appetizer is a popular Italian favorite because it’s delicious, easy to make, and only requires four ingredients.
You’ll undoubtedly find Fried Zucchini Flowers in traditional restaurants or pizzerias in Rome and even in Italy.
Why don’t you try this recipe if you love zucchini’s mild flavor, with a slightly bitter and sweet taste and a rich feel?
Plus, you’ll be surprised how quickly you can make these zucchini flowers.
Start by cleaning the flowers and making your yummy batter, then fry them to golden and crispy perfection and serve.
The color is pretty, too, with a mix of orange, yellow, and green hues.
You only need water, flour, salt, and zucchini flowers!
If you’re having your friends over for an intimate dinner or big get-together, you’ve got to try whipping up these Bruschetta Alla Romana appetizers.
Every bite is a party of flavors in your mouth as you get various profiles from the toppings and a good crunch from the grilled bread.
Basic bruschetta means grilled or rustic bread slathered with olive oil and rubbed with garlic.
It’s then topped with all the basic ingredients you probably already have in your pantry, such as tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper.
You can either do the bread in a pre-set oven for broiling or you can put the bread on a grill for that earthy taste.
Who says you can only eat snails in France and Spain?
Since heliciculture or snail farming is widespread in Spain, France, and Italy, snails are one of the go-to appetizers in Rome.
And why not?
Snails give you that brackish, almost umami flavor with an interesting texture.
But this lumache Alla Romana prepares snails in a fun and delectable way by braising them in tomato sauce and combining it with chili flakes and anchovies.
This appetizer is also a part of Rome’s culture because this is typically prepared and eaten in June during the Feast of Saint John the Baptist.
Also, farmed or wild snails might be better options to make this appetizer tastier, but canned snails will also do as they’re more accessible.
If you ever visit Rome, especially in the Ghetto area, don’t be surprised if you’ll see Carciofi Alla Giudia on the menu.
This recipe is served as an appetizer, the second course of vegetables, or even a side dish, making it highly versatile if you prep it at home for an entire week.
This recipe comes from Jewish-Roman cuisine and is also popular in the shantytowns of Rome.
These artichoke flowers offer a crunchy, flavorful, and tender bite, served with wedges of the remaining lemon.
They are irresistible and are aesthetically pleasing as they look like beautiful brown flowers.
Zucchini is a favorite in Rome, especially when it comes to delectable starters, and this recipe is another fried zucchini on this list but with a twist—it’s stuffed zucchini flowers!
This recipe will make you want more before devouring any Italian main course.
Imagine stuffing zucchini flowers with oozing, gooey cheese and savory anchovies.
It’s best to use the flowers immediately after picking them because zucchini flowers wilt very quickly.
Also, serve these babies in small batches right after frying them so they won’t get soggy when you put them on a plate for a long period, exposed to air.
It seems like a complicated Roman appetizer name to remember, but once you taste these bad boys, this recipe name will easily come out of your mouth!
This recipe is also known as artichoke with mint and parsley.
Also, it may seem like a complex recipe to make.
However, this appetizer is easy to whip up because it only takes toasted baguette slices, which are topped with blended and creamy artichoke puree.
If this sounds boring, wait until you braise the artichoke with mint, parsley, and garlic.
After spreading this puree on the baguette slices, you’ll enjoy the marriage of various flavors from these different herbs and condiments.
But don’t forget to add some shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to get that beautiful briny flavor that melds with other flavor profiles.
And a slight drizzle of olive oil also doesn’t hurt anybody.
Semolina Gnocchi or gnocchi Alla Romana is another go-to appetizer you have to try whenever you’re in Rome or if you’re thinking of something to surprise your family for dinner this weekend.
Most people know gnocchi as the fork-dented potatoes.
However, the Semolina Gnocchi is originally from Rome and is made with eggs, milk, parmesan, and cornmeal.
If those ingredients don’t entice your palate, we don’t know what will!
But imagine munching on disks of semolina gnocchi caramelized to perfection, with a puffy texture.
But wait, there’s more!
The gnocchi is then smothered in bread crumbs and dusted with lots of savory cheese before popping them in the oven.
Now, who can resist that?
Pronounced as “sue-plea,” this rice ball street snack can also be served as an appetizer during weekday or weeknight dinners.
Known as supplì, these little ball appetizers are popular in Rome because they’re unique and offer a bold flavor.
It is not to be confused with a similar appetizer called “arancini,” a classic Sicilian food with rice and is also breaded and fried to golden perfection.
Smaller than arancini, these supplì appetizers will let you enjoy gooey and crunchy croquettes on every bite.
Try this Roman Salted Fish With Arugula Sauce if you want to return to basics and bring back an ancient Roman appetizer.
Salting was the only method to preserve meat and fish in Rome during the ancient world, and this recipe is one of the remaining popular appetizers to be eaten in small quantities.
If you love a bold starter, you’ll enjoy this salted fish’s intense aromatic arugula sauce.
This recipe tastes even better when paired with poppy seed bread or mustacei (Roman grape must bread).
You may also eat some eggs, vegetables, bread, and olives with this recipe.
The Roman Green Peas With Prosciutto is another unique appetizer that gets your tastebuds excited.
This appetizer is best when paired with countries-style bread with a perfectly crunchy crust.
You’ll need some fresh young peas, diced prosciutto, parsley, chicken broth, and the best olive oil you can find.
Romans love their salad, and this Roman Summer Salad isn’t only made for summer, but you can easily prep this all year round.
It’s light and refreshing and offers you a taste of Rome in every bite.
Grab a few ingredients, such as pitted green olives, balsamic vinegar, anchovy fillets, fresh basil leaves, tablespoon capers, garlic clove, ripened tomatoes, marinated artichoke, and extra virgin olive oil.
Don’t get intimidated by these ingredients because this salad is easy to prepare.
Cook the balsamic vinegar in a small pan over low heat until you get a thick consistency.
Combine all ingredients except the tomatoes and parsley.
Then spoon olive oil and parsley on top, then serve with cut-up tomatoes.
The bottom line
If you want to experience Rome for a day, try one of these appetizers that will undeniably delight your senses.
These starters are super easy to make, with only a few simple ingredients.
Plus, the cooking methods are fundamental, meaning any chef at heart can pull these off.
- Fried Zucchini Flowers
- Bruschetta Alla Romana
- Lumache Alla Romana
- Carciofi Alla Giudia
- Fried Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
- Artichoke Crostini With Parsley & Mint
- Semolina Gnocchi
- Supplì Al Telefono (Tomato Basil Risotto Balls)
- Roman Salted Fish With Arugula Sauce
- Roman Green Peas With Prosciutto
- Roman Summer Salad
- Pick one or more options from our list of Roman Appetizers here!
- Start creating your new favorite dish.
- Share and comment! Did you make any changes to make it even better?