This easy Christmas Pinwheels Appetizer recipe is filled with pesto and sun-dried tomatoes, making them a perfect savory snack. The beautiful green and red filling makes them a perfect hors d’oeuvres for the holiday season, but if I’m being honest, I’d happily eat them all year round.
I don’t know about you, but Christmas is my jam. The day after Thanksgiving (because each holiday deserves its own chance to shine), Matt and I start our decorating. The whole house gets decked out in green and red.
If you’re also one to get into the Christmas spirit and love the idea of themed snacks, this delicious pinwheel recipe is for you. Filled with vegan pesto and sun-dried tomatoes, they’re fresh, herbaceous and bright enough to bring a smile to even the Grinchiest among you.
I have shared a few of my Christmas treats before like my Snickerdoodle Cookie Dip and Gingerbread Hot Chocolate but I wanted something savory to add to the mix. My Christmas Pinwheels are the perfect foil to all of the sweet snacks we usually associate with the season.
How I Came Up With This Festive Holiday Appetizer
This time of year everyone is looking for festive ways to celebrate the season. Traditional Christmas colors like red and green are always a hit, so I knew those colors had to be part of my recipe.
Biscuits are always a hit, but I wanted something more playful. As a fun twist on biscuits (pun totally intended!), I decided to make a pinwheel shaped appetizer filled with some savory deliciousness.
Using my predetermined color palate, I started bouncing around stuffing ideas. Spinach, broccoli, kale or green peppers with tomatoes, cranberries or red peppers were all considered.
While they all sounded good, I ultimately went with what I had in my fridge at the time of recipe testing – leftover pesto and some sun-dried tomatoes. I knew they’d work well together because I make sun-dried tomato pesto often and it is de-licious.
TIP: Whenever you’re looking for recipe inspiration, I find that it’s best to start with what you have on hand. Generally speaking, the things that are already in your house are things that you and your family enjoy! So many of my favorite creations have come from rummaging about all the half filled jars that live in my refrigerator.
An Easy Christmas Snack Idea
Once I had figured out my filling, I needed to engineer a way to actually make my appetizer pinwheels. I used refrigerated Pillsbury Crescent Dough, which I was so excited to find out was vegan! Using this store bought hack makes these Christmas snacks a real snap to put together.
Pinwheels are fun to make for kids of all ages. I know I had a good time slathering on the pesto, adding the tomatoes and rolling them up. I think this would be a great recipe for the whole family.
To make these even more festive, you could arrange the baked pinwheels into a Chrismas tree on your serving tray. I wanted to do that for these pictures, but Matt and I were too busy eating these babies right out of the oven.
I realized too late that I wouldn’t have enough to stack them – poor planning on my part, but it does say something about how tasty these Christmas pinwheels are. What can I say? They’re irresistible!
What You’ll Need to Make Christmas Pinwheels
For these colorful Christmas Pinwheels, I like to use:
- Pillsbury Original Crescent Roll Sheet– these can be found at most grocery stores. Be sure to get the one that is 1 single sheet, not the rolls which have the perforations throughout the sheet.
- My Pistachio Pesto but any pesto will do. The extra green color from the pistachios adds a bit of extra holiday sparkle!
- Fresh sun-dried tomatoes rather than the kind that are packed in oil. They end up tasting more tomato-y and the end result isn’t as greasy but if all you have are the ones in oil, that’s totally fine.
TIP: I noticed cutting up sun-dried tomatoes can be a bit challenging (is it just me?). As a shortcut, I actually cut them with scissors, which saves a bunch of time and frustration. I also recently found out that you can purchase them pre-julienned, which I might do in the future.
To make life easier, I also love making a big batch of pesto ahead of time. It lasts for quite awhile in the refrigerator (just make sure to cover the top with oil so it doesn’t oxidize), and I love how I can turn it into a quick dinner on my busiest nights.
Pesto tastes awesome on everything from pasta to roasted veggies, tofu to grilled “cheese” sandwiches. Oh, and it’s also pretty great in these delicious appetizer pinwheels. 🙂
These Pesto and Sun Dried Tomato Christmas Pinwheels have a bright kick of flavor and are beautiful enough for company, but only take minutes to assemble. I can almost guarantee your guests will be impressed by how fancy they look and will never know how easy they are to make. Don’t worry, it can be our little secret.
How to Assemble This Easy Christmas Appetizer
Sprinkle some flour on your working surface and roll out the Pillsbury Crescent Dough Sheet, being careful to not pull it apart. Pinch together any of the perforations, making sure it is one continuous sheet of dough.
Spread the pesto over the whole sheet, then sprinkle with sun-dried tomatoes.
Take the shorter side and roll up the sheet of dough. When you get to the end, be sure to pinch it closed so nothing falls out.
Cut off the sad looking ends that might not be exactly perfect, then cut the roll into 8 pieces.
Pro Tip: Those sad looking ends will still taste good! Smush them together and bake off with the rest. That way you can get a nice little taste in before the guests arrive. BONUS!
Bake at 375 degrees for 12-16 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
Now plate them up however you like and watch the enjoyment on your guests’ faces. How easy was that? Now go on and pour yourself a glass of something merry and join the party. You deserve it!
Frequently Asked Questions
I hear you, and I’m here for you! To make these delicious appetizer pinwheels even easier to assemble, purchase store bought pesto and pre-julienned sun-dried tomatoes.
These yummy appetizers taste the best warm from the oven (which is why I didn’t get around to taking that Christmas tree shot). That said, you can certainly assemble the log ahead of time!
Simply slather on the pesto, sprinkle on the tomatoes and roll it up. 20-30 minutes before your guests arrive, pop it out of the fridge, slice it and bake it. Boom! You’re basically Martha Stewart.
If you’re REALLY trying to get a jump on your holiday preparations, you can also roll the log in plastic wrap, then again in freezer paper and pop it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Simply allow it to defrost overnight before slicing and baking.
Don’t you just hate it when you can’t find the ingredients you need for a party recipe? That’s the dang story of my life. As a result, I’ve figured out all the swaps and hacks in the vegan world to handle whatever the grocery store throws at me.
So don’t you worry! My pesto recipe will be delicious whatever nut you use. The traditional preparation would be with pignolias, but you can certainly opt for almonds, walnuts, pecans or even cashews.
Need more holiday entertaining inspiration? Check out these other awesome recipes:
- This Vegan Cheese Ball with port wine (yum) will be a hit at any gathering.
- Garam Masala Roasted Squash makes a pretty side dish to any holiday table.
- What vegan dinner would be complete without some delicious baked Pumpkin Mac & Cheese?
- And finally here are lots of Vegan Christmas Breakfast Recipe options s for a tasty holiday morning!
If you make these Christmas pinwheels, let me know what you think by ★ star rating it and leaving a comment below.
- 1 package (8 oz) Pillsbury Original Crescent Roll Sheet*
- 1 batch Vegan Pistachio Pesto (or 1 cup of any pesto)
- 8 sun-dried tomatoes (chopped/cut)
- Sprinkle some flour on your working surface and roll out the Pillsbury Crescent Dough Sheet, being careful to not pull it apart. Pinch together any of the perforations, making sure it is one continuous sheet of dough.
- Spread the pesto over the whole sheet and sprinkle sun-dried tomatoes.
- Take the shorter side and roll up the sheet of dough being sure that the end is pinched together so nothing falls out.
- Cut off the sad looking ends that might not be exactly perfect, then cut the roll into 8 pieces.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 12-16 minutes or until the edges get a golden brown.
- Enjoy with your festivities!
Mary Ellen Valverde MS, CNS, LDN is a Licensed Nutritionist and Certified Nutrition Specialist who empowers vegans to feel confident creating sustainable habits that align with their values and health goals. She shares easy plant-powered food to nourish your body + satisfy your tastebuds. Mary Ellen’s recipes and nutrition info have been featured on Yahoo News, Parade, VegNews, LIVESTRONG, Dr. Axe, Greatist, LIVEKINDLY, Brit+Co, Well+Good, and more. She lives in NJ with her husband & two sweet shih tzus, Firenze & Sophie.