We’re celebrating Christmas with my family tomorrow, and I’m feeling a wee bit overwhelmed at the moment. With a soccer game for my son this morning and a scavenger hunt with my daughter’s team this afternoon, I’m running out of time to prepare. So I took a few minutes in between to throw together this super easy appetizer wreath, and that’s one less thing I’ll have to do tomorrow morning!
Presentation can take the most ordinary dish to a whole new level, you know? I mean, this simple appetizer is really just your basic meat and cheese tray. But when you arrange it in the shape of a wreath, add a few green olives, and tuck some rosemary sprigs around the edges, it morphs into a festive holiday hors d’oeuvre.
How To Make An Appetizer Wreath
I’m not sure this even needs an explanation, but here goes… Start by cutting your cheese into 3/4-inch cubes. I went the budget-friendly route and picked up four blocks of store brand cheese at the grocery store, two sharp cheddar and two Colby-Jack.
If you’re really pressed for time, a lot of stores carry pre-cubed cheese in the deli area. I usually steer clear of this because a) it costs more and b) I’m not a fan of the cellulose they coat the cubes in to prevent them from sticking together. I’ll take my cheese without the wood pulp, please!
For the meat, I picked up Johnsonville Summer Sausage in both the original and garlic flavors. I just love the old world style of the bulk variety with its string and waxed paper wrapping. Pick up a couple extras, and you can hang them in your pantry to be prepared for last minute guests. No refrigeration necessary! Which is awesome because I don’t have a spare bit of space in my fridge at the moment.
I sliced the Johnsonville Summer Sausage into 3/4-inch rounds, then trimmed off the outer edges to form a square. Then I cut each square into four cubes. Don’t worry about the trimmings — I guarantee they won’t go to waste. My kids were snacking on them as fast as I was trimming them off!
Tips For Forming The Wreath Shape
There are a couple of ways you can guide shaping your appetizer wreath. You can draw a circle for the center on a piece of parchment paper, or as I did, you can use a small bowl as a guide. Simply arrange your sausage and cheese around the outside, and then remove the bowl. A few pieces may cave in, but it’s easy enough to tuck them back into place and maintain the basic wreath shape.
The finishing touch is garnishing the wreath. This step isn’t totally necessary, but it’s my favorite part. I placed a few green olives among the cheese and sausage cubes, and then I tucked some fresh rosemary sprigs around the outside. Fresh rosemary is actually one of my go-to tricks for giving any dish a bit of holiday flair because it fits right in with all of the seasonal evergreen!
I splurged a bit on these tiny bamboo forks for guests to snack on my appetizer wreath, but you can totally just use toothpicks. Either way, a shot glass placed in the center of the wreath is the perfect size for holding them.
Replenishing Your Appetizer Wreath
Chances are you’ll want to refresh your wreath appetizer throughout your gathering. Keep additional cubed cheese and sausage in containers in the refrigerator for this purpose and charge your spouse or a friends with keeping an eye out and topping it up as necessary. I charge my girls with this task, and they’re happy to feel like they’re contributing to the gathering by helping out with it!
Check out the Johnsonville Summer Sausage website to learn more about their summer sausage. You’ll also find additional holiday recipes!
This post is in partnership with Johnsonville. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this site possible!