A reader from last week’s Free Range on Food chat wrote one of their favorite dinners was a humble cheese plate. Which we love. What better way to make dinner than to just pile up cheese, crackers and a little fruit and dig in until you’re full?

There’s a particular magic in snackable foods — by nature, they’re meant to keep you coming back for more, in smaller bites than your dinner does. And sometimes, that’s just what you want when the idea of constructing a balanced dinner plate doesn’t cut it, or when you want a little bit of everything.

Chips and dip. Fancy hors d’eourves. Samosas. All of these, in the right quantity, make a casual dinner you don’t have to fuss over. No table settings, no forks.

Here are some of our favorite snacks-for-dinner.

Must-Go Spinach Spread, above. A spinach and artichoke dip can certainly sustain us, but what if we amped up the spinach, ditched the artichoke and added feta? This is the answer! And it’s a delicious one.



(Laura Chase for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Summer on Toast. Panzanella, bruschetta and pan con tomato are all classic pairings of tomatoes and bread. Adding some ripe stone fruit to the mix is a little more exciting. Sweet, juicy plum and bright summer tomatoes are an unexpected and fantastic combo, especially with a balsamic drizzle.



(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Stuffed Cremini Mushrooms. Cremini mushrooms get a stuffing of cheese and deeply umami-packed sun-dried tomatoes. After a quick stint in the oven, they’re ready to pop into your mouth.



(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Ricotta Toasts With Peaches and Pistachios. Ricotta on toast is a pretty common breakfast item, but push it a little further with the ripest peaches you can find, just a little drizzle of honey, some pistachio crunch and a sprinkle of fresh thyme. Light, slightly sweet and filling.



(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Warm Pureed Beans With Olive Oil and Lemony Brussels sprouts. Whir some beans together to get a homey spread to smear over a good quality loaf of your favorite bread. This version gets a toss of bright Brussels sprouts, but if you’re looking for a different topping, we’ve got more over here.



(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Olive, Pomegranate and Walnut Dip (Zeytoon Parvardeh). Briny olives, sweet pops of pomegranate and walnuts to create a smooth base — it’s a dip you’ll want to fold into warm flatbread. Eat with some citrus fruit on the side for a juicy contrast.



(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Black Bean and Chorizo Nachos. Nachos can really be eaten for any meal — add some eggs and it’s breakfast; up the portion and it’s dinner. Chorizo delivers some spice, so be mindful about your jalapeño usage. Unless you really like it hot, in which case, play fast and loose with ’em.



(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Prosciutto, Goat Cheese and Green Bean Roll-Ups. Roast some green beans real quick, then wrap them in prosciutto with goat cheese and a little hot mustard. In just a few bites, you’ll be ready for the next roll-up.

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