Some of these pre-dinner snacks nod to Spain, where tapas originated, while others take cues from other parts of the world. The commonality: Each of these 14 tapas relies on five ingredients or fewer (outside of salt, pepper and olive oil).
1. Apples on horseback
Wrap apples and Manchego in pancetta and grill on a rosemary skewer.
2. Sardines on toast
Drape the tinned fish over olive oil toasts and drizzle with reduced balsamic for an elegant, healthy starter.
3. Crispy chickpeas
Roast chickpeas tossed with olive oil, salt and rosemary for a supereasy bar snack.
4. Spicy popcorn
Break out the Japanese ingredients in your pantry, including nori and togarashi, for this delicious savory-spicy popcorn.
5. Pumpkin seed–cheese spread
Blend cream cheese with mustard and pumpkin seed oil for an Austrian-style spread for bread or dip for pretzels.
6. Sweet potato chips
Slice sweet potatoes on a mandoline, toss with olive oil and roast until crisp.
7. Fast flatbread
Spread hummus on store-bought pizza dough and top with sliced zucchini for a three-ingredient snack.
8. Grilled ham and cheese
Turn the toasted sandwich into a pre-dinner snack by cutting it into quarters. Elevate it with a spread of strawberry jam.
9. Grilled okra with red curry–lime dressing
Grilled okra actually makes good finger food, especially when it’s tossed in a tangy-hot dressing.
10. Watercress-Fontina omelet
Any frittata can be sliced into small pieces for an easy tapa. This one is extra special because the egg whites get whipped to make a fluffy omelet.
11. Garlicky shrimp
Poach shrimp in olive oil with garlic and crushed red pepper, then serve with crusty bread.
12. Chorizo poached in red wine
Plump Spanish chorizo in dry red wine flavored with garlic and bay leaves, then slice and serve with toothpicks. http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/chorizo-poached-in-red-wine
13. Fried peppers with prosciutto
Fried green peppers, like pimiento de padrón, are the world’s best one-ingredient tapa. To make the peppers even more spectacular, toss them with fried ham and fresh mint.
14. Tuna red pepper mousse
For a tapa that could be at home on a bar in San Sebastián, puree olive oil–packed tuna with a roasted red pepper and butter, then spread on toasts and top with pine nuts.
Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016) and the blog Eat Better, Drink Better. She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.