These Mini Bilinis With Smoked Tomato Are the Perfect Bite-Sized Appetizers

A recipe for mini bilinis, excerpted from the cookbook Savoring by Murielle Banackissa

Mini blinis (blinis is Russian for crepes) have been one of my mom’s traditional Christmas dishes for decades. Usually topped with smoked salmon, a dollop of sour cream, and capers, this dish is synonymous with celebrations. My veganized version features a star ingredient: marinated Roma tomatoes as the “smoked salmon.” Preparing them requires you to employ a few fun techniques: blanching, coring, and marinating the tomatoes overnight in a mixture of tamari, liquid smoke, and seaweed. These are then served on pillowy mini blinis, along with silky vegan cream cheese, salty capers, and herbaceous dill. All the flavors build on each other to create the perfect little appetizer or amuse-bouche that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser!

(Related: Make Dinner in Just 20 Minutes With This Recipe for Spicy Gochujang Tofu)

Mini Bilinis

Makes 24-26 mini bilinis


Smoked Tomato

  • 1 Tbsp + 1½ tsp water
  • 1 Tbsp + ½ tsp tamari
  • 1½ tsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp liquid smoke (see note)
  • ¼ tsp ground seaweed (see note)
  • 2 firm Roma tomatoes

Mini Blinis

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp organic cane sugar
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¾ cup unsweetened soy milk
  • 1 tsp avocado oil
  • Melted vegan butter or margarine, for cooking

For Assembly

  • Vegan cream cheese or vegan sour cream
  • Capers
  • Fresh dill
  • Freshly cracked black pepper


  1. Prepare the smoked tomato. Place the water, tamari, olive oil, liquid smoke, and seaweed in a glass container with a lid. Set aside. Fill a saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Meanwhile, make 4 long and shallow lengthwise incisions in each tomato, from end to end. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Drain the tomatoes, then run them under cold water for 2 minutes. Remove the tomatoes’ skins (it should come off easily after blanching) and quarter the tomatoes lengthwise. Scoop out the core and the seeds (freeze these to use in sauces). Cut each tomato quarter into 4 to 6 pieces, depending on the size of tomatoes, and add to the tamari mixture. Put the lid on the container, then shake it a few times to fully coat the tomatoes with the marinade. Place in the fridge to marinate overnight.
  2. Prepare the blinis. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add the soy milk and avocado oil and stir until well combined. Heat a medium or large pan over medium heat. Using a silicone brush, brush the entire surface of the pan with melted butter. Scoop the blini batter into the pan, using 1 heaping teaspoon of batter per blini, spreading the batter slightly into a circle using your spoon. Fit in as many blinis as you can while still leaving space between them to facilitate their flipping. Cook for one to two minutes, until golden. Flip and cook for another minute. Repeat until you have used all the batter. If the pan gets too hot and starts to smoke, reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the mini blinis cool completely before serving.
  3. Assemble the blinis. Dollop some vegan cream cheese onto the mini blinis. Top with 1 or 2 slices of smoked tomato, 1 or 2 capers, fresh dill, and a crack of pepper. Enjoy after assembly. Alternatively, store all the elements separately in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can eat your mini blinis cold or warm by microwaving them on medium power for 15 to 30 seconds.

Savoring Cover Image

Excerpted from Savoring by Murielle Banackissa. Copyright © 2024 Murielle Banackissa. Photographs by Murielle Banackissa. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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Originally Published in Best Health Canada