Last updated January 2, 2019

This dainty, savory bite is a beautiful, tasty appetizer you can prepare when you’re short on time, but still want to show up as the potluck princess.

Throughout my husband’s Army career, there always comes the time when I have to prepare a dish for the senior officer’s wife for the first time. I always place undue pressure upon myself to make something beautiful and tasty in an effort to set a good first impression.

Being a food blogger, there is even added pressure because people expect my dishes to wow them. The challenging part however is that I have to work my regular job all day, so I can’t prepare a dish hot from the oven. I have to make something the night before and keep it in the work fridge all day, hoping that none of my coworkers sneak a piece.

Tomato Basil Tartlets from Zestuous

I have a couple of tartlet recipes that are easy to prepare on work nights and hold their beauty overnight in the fridge. You can serve them at room temperature or pop them in the oven or microwave right before serving (if you have time).

One of the secrets to making beautiful, yet easy appetizers is having the right tools. First and foremost, you need a mini muffin pan. I recommend you get the large 24-count pan so you can make more and spend less time in the kitchen.

Circle Cutters

Second, invest in a round cookie cutter set. When I make mini quiches, I use the 2 ¼ or 2 ½-inch cutter to cut crust circles that will fill the tin cup, but for tartlets, you want less crust, so use the 2-inch cutter. Then, use the smallest 1-inch cutter for the cheese slice. This gives you the perfect amount of cheese, so it doesn’t overflow.

If you make your own crust and your own pesto, this dish will likely be even more fabulous, but if you’re crunched for time, refrigerated Pillsbury Piecrusts and Buitoni Pesto with Basil do the trick.

Tomato Pesto Tartlets

Yield: 48 tartlets

Tomato Pesto Tartlets


  • 2 refrigerated Pillsbury Piecrusts
  • 1 container Buitoni Pesto with Basil
  • 6 slices mozzarella cheese slices
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 24 cherry tomatoes
  • kosher salt

Unroll the piecrust. Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut out 24 circles from each crust.

Using the 1-inch round cutter, cut out circles from the mozzarella cheese slices. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.

Place the circles into a mini muffin pan. Spoon in about a teaspoon of pesto. Add a slice of cheese, a piece of fresh basil and a tomato half. Sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt.

Bake in a 425-degree oven for 10 minutes.

Serve right away or chill and serve when ready.