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Antipasto Christmas Tree – Easy Kitchen Guide

Last Updated on January 1, 2024

The holiday season is a time for family, friends, and of course, delicious food. One of the most festive and delicious recipes to make for the holidays is the Antipasto Christmas Tree. It’s a unique and creative way to turn your favorite antipasto ingredients into a beautiful, edible centerpiece. 

Whether you’re hosting a holiday gathering or simply want to add a bit of holiday cheer to your dinner table, an Antipasto Christmas Tree is sure to be a hit.

Antipasto Christmas Tree

What is Antipasto Christmas Tree?

An Antipasto Christmas Tree is a unique and festive way to serve your favorite antipasto ingredients. It’s a creative spin on the classic Italian appetizer, and it’s sure to be a hit at any holiday gathering. 

The tree is made up of a variety of antipasto ingredients, like olives, cured meats, cheeses, and vegetables, arranged in the shape of a tree. It’s a visually stunning dish that’s sure to be the centerpiece of your holiday spread.

What does it taste like?

An Antipasto Christmas Tree tastes as good as it looks. The combination of olives, cheeses, and vegetables is a classic Italian flavor combination that’s sure to please. 

Wiith the briney olives, the cheeses add a creamy, tangy element. The fresh vegetables add a crunchy texture and brighten up the dish. The result is a delicious and unique appetizer that your guests will love.

Ingredients

For The Dip:

  • 2 cups softened cream cheese: Cream cheese serves as the base for the dip, providing a creamy and rich texture. It’s a common ingredient in dips and adds a smooth consistency.
  • 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes: Sun-dried tomatoes contribute a concentrated, sweet-tart flavor to the dip. They also add a chewy texture and a festive red color, enhancing both the taste and visual appeal.
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell peppers (or capsicum): Red bell peppers bring a sweet and slightly tangy taste to the dip. Their vibrant red color adds a pop of brightness, creating a visually appealing contrast.
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced dill pickles: Dill pickles provide a crunchy and tangy element to the dip. The pickles add a savory and zesty flavor that complements the creaminess of the cheese.
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives: Chives contribute a mild onion flavor and a subtle hint of freshness. They also add a touch of green color to the dip, enhancing its overall visual presentation.
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley: Parsley adds a fresh and herbaceous flavor to the dip. The bright green color of parsley further contributes to the festive appearance of the Antipasto Christmas Tree.
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder: Onion powder intensifies the onion flavor without adding the texture of raw onions. It provides a well-rounded savory taste to the dip.
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder: Garlic powder imparts a savory and aromatic garlic flavor to the dip. It eliminates the need for chopping or mincing fresh garlic while ensuring a consistent distribution of flavor.
  • Salt, to taste (if desired): Salt enhances the overall flavor profile of the dip by balancing sweetness, acidity, and savory elements. Adjusting the salt to taste ensures the dip is seasoned to perfection.
How to Make Antipasto Christmas Tree

For The Decorations:

  • 3/4 – 1 cup pitted mixed olives (use a variety of black, green, and Kalamata olives) — dried with paper towel: The olives serve as decorative ornaments on the Antipasto Christmas Tree. Their varied colors and shapes resemble Christmas baubles, adding a festive and Mediterranean touch.
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (dried with paper towel): Chopped and dried sun-dried tomatoes are used as additional ornaments, contributing a burst of color and sweet-tart flavor to the Christmas tree.
  • Rosemary leaves/sprigs to decorate: Rosemary leaves or sprigs act as “pine needles” on the tree, enhancing the holiday theme. They also infuse a subtle earthy and aromatic note to the presentation.

Serving:

  • Ritz, water crackers, or pretzels: These serve as vehicles for enjoying the antipasto dip. Their crunchy texture complements the creamy dip, providing a delightful contrast.
  • Salami slices (adjust quantity based on preference): Salami adds a savory and cured meat component to the antipasto platter. Its rich flavor pairs well with the creamy dip and other accompaniments.
  • Prosciutto slices (adjust quantity based on preference): Prosciutto contributes a delicate and salty flavor to the overall platter. Its thin, velvety texture complements the other ingredients, offering a variety of tastes and textures.

Directions

Step 1: Prepare the Cream Cheese Mixture:

  • In a large mixing bowl, gather the softened cream cheese, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, diced red bell peppers, finely diced dill pickles, chopped chives, chopped parsley, onion powder, and garlic powder.
  • Carefully combine all the ingredients, ensuring they are thoroughly mixed to achieve a homogenous mixture.
  • Optionally, add salt to taste and mix once more to incorporate the seasoning evenly.

Step 2: Shape the Christmas Tree:

  • Select a serving platter or a flat surface to build your festive creation.
  • Using the cream cheese mixture, shape a cone to represent the Christmas tree. Ensure the base is wider, gradually tapering towards the top to achieve the iconic tree shape.

Step 3: Decorate the Tree:

  • Embellish your cream cheese Christmas tree with dried olives, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and rosemary leaves.
  • Place the dried olives strategically around the tree as ornaments, adding a playful touch.
  • Sprinkle the chopped sun-dried tomatoes onto the cream cheese surface, resembling colorful decorations.
  • Use rosemary leaves as garland, draping them across the tree for an extra festive appearance.

Step 4: Prepare the Surroundings:

  • Arrange Ritz crackers, water crackers, or pretzels around the Christmas tree on the serving platter, creating an appealing base for your edible masterpiece.

Step 5: Add Meat Slices:

  • Enhance the presentation by artfully arranging slices of salami and prosciutto around the base of the tree. This not only adds a savory element but also contributes to the overall festive display.

Step 6: Serve and Enjoy:

  • Elevate your holiday table by placing the Antipasto Christmas Tree as the centerpiece.
  • Encourage guests to partake in the delicious cream cheese dip by pairing it with the surrounding crackers and meats.
  • Watch as the delightful combination of flavors and textures creates a visually stunning and appetizing focal point for your festive gathering. Enjoy the joyous moments shared around this edible masterpiece!

Tips

• Choose a variety of ingredients for a colorful and flavorful Antipasto Christmas Tree.

• Make sure to choose cured meats that are thinly sliced for easy arranging.

• Use toothpicks to secure the pieces of the tree together.

• If you’re making the tree ahead of time, place the ingredients on a platter and arrange the tree right before serving.

• If you want to make the tree vegan, use vegan “meats” like seitan or jackfruit.

Copycat Antipasto Christmas Tree

Nutrition Information

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What to serve with Antipasto Christmas Tree?

• Crackers
• Baguette slices
• Pita chips
• Crostini
• Focaccia
• Grissini
• Vegetable sticks

How to store leftover Antipasto Christmas Tree?

Leftover Antipasto Christmas Tree can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

What other substitutes can I use in Antipasto Christmas Tree?

• Sliced ham or turkey instead of cured meats
• Assorted nuts instead of olives
• Assorted fruits instead of vegetables
• Cream cheese instead of feta
• Brie instead of mozzarella

Copycat Antipasto Christmas Tree

Antipasto Christmas Tree

The holiday season is a time for family, friends, and of course, delicious food. One of the most festive and delicious recipes to make for the holidays is the Antipasto Christmas Tree.
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Author: Dr. Leah Alexander
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 7
Calories: 280kcal

Equipment

  • large mixing bowl

Ingredients

For The Dip:

  • 2 cups softened cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced dill pickles
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • Salt to taste (if desired)
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell peppers or capsicum
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

For The Decorations:

  • 3/4 – 1 cup pitted mixed olives use a variety of black, green, and Kalamata olives — dried with paper towel
  • Rosemary leaves/sprigs to decorate
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes chopped (dried with paper towel)

Serving:

  • Salami slices adjust quantity based on preference
  • Ritz water crackers, or pretzels
  • Prosciutto slices adjust quantity based on preference

Instructions

Prepare the Cream Cheese Mixture:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, diced red bell peppers, finely diced dill pickles, chopped chives, chopped parsley, onion powder, and garlic powder.
  • Mix the ingredients thoroughly until well combined.
  • Add salt to taste, if desired, and mix again.

Shape the Christmas Tree:

  • On a serving platter or a flat surface, use the cream cheese mixture to shape a Christmas tree. Start with a cone shape for the tree.

Decorate the Tree:

  • Use the dried olives, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and rosemary leaves to decorate the cream cheese Christmas tree.
  • Place the olives around the tree as ornaments, sprinkle the chopped sun-dried tomatoes to resemble decorations, and use rosemary leaves as garland.

Prepare the Surroundings:

  • Arrange Ritz, water crackers, or pretzels around the Christmas tree to serve as the base.

Add Meat Slices:

  • Arrange salami slices and prosciutto slices around the tree, creating a festive and appetizing display.

Serve and Enjoy:

  • Place the Antipasto Christmas Tree as the centerpiece on your table.
  • Invite guests to enjoy the delicious cream cheese dip with the surrounding crackers and meats.

Notes

  • Choose a variety of ingredients for a colorful and flavorful Antipasto Christmas Tree.
  • Make sure to choose cured meats that are thinly sliced for easy arranging.
  • Use toothpicks to secure the pieces of the tree together.
  • If you’re making the tree ahead of time, place the ingredients on a platter and arrange the tree right before serving.
  • If you want to make the tree vegan, use vegan “meats” like seitan or jackfruit.
Keyword: Antipasto Christmas Tree

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make the Antipasto Christmas Tree ahead of time?

A. Yes, you can make the Antipasto Christmas Tree ahead of time and assemble it right before serving.

Can I use different ingredients in the Antipasto Christmas Tree?

A. Yes, you can use different ingredients in the Antipasto Christmas Tree. Feel free to experiment with different cured meats, olives, cheeses, and vegetables.

How long can I store leftover Antipasto Christmas Tree?

A. Leftover Antipasto Christmas Tree can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

What should I serve with Antipasto Christmas Tree?

A. You can serve Antipasto Christmas Tree with crackers, baguette slices, pita chips, crostini, focaccia, grissini, or vegetable sticks.

Can I use different cheeses in the Antipasto Christmas Tree?

A. Yes, you can use different cheeses in the Antipasto Christmas Tree. Popular choices include mozzarella, provolone, feta, cream cheese, and brie.

Are there any vegan substitutes for cheeses in the Antipasto Christmas Tree?

A. Yes, there are several vegan substitutes for cheese, such as vegan cream cheese, vegan feta, and vegan mozzarella.

Conclusion

The Antipasto Christmas Tree is a unique and festive way to serve your favorite antipasto ingredients. It’s a creative spin on the classic Italian appetizer, and it’s sure to be a hit at any holiday gathering. 

The combination of olives, cheeses, and vegetables is a classic Italian flavor combination that’s sure to please. With a few simple ingredients and a little bit of creativity, you can put together a beautiful and delicious Antipasto Christmas Tree that’s sure to be the centerpiece of your holiday spread.

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Author Profile

Dr. Leah Alexander, M.D., is a board-certified Pediatrician in New Jersey and has been working at Elizabeth Pediatric Group of New Jersey since 2000.
She also has a passion for culinary arts that extends beyond the medical realm. After completing culinary school at the French Culinary Institute, she started Global Palate, LLC, a catering firm, in 2007. She ran her own six-year-old catering company and served small group parties as an owner and executive chef.

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