Healthy Appetizers for Holiday Parties

It’s that time of year again and this go around, I’m responsible for appetizers at a few different parties. Unfortunately for most of my delicious, calorie-laden recipes, this time, just about everyone is on a diet.

So, what are some healthy (or at least healthier than usual) appetizer options I can make that are good?


Everybody loves that ring of shrimp. Make sure to bring a dish for the peels. (I can’t stand it, but nobody ever asks me.)

Cut up fruit with a yogurt dip (I mixed strawberry yogurt with a tablespoon of honey and served it with cut up melons, bananas, apples and pineapple).

While I appreciate the suggestions, there are two things I didn’t address in the OP so you absolutely couldn’t have known:

1: I don’t eat any kind of seafood. I’m a decent enough cook, but because I have such a strong distaste for any kind of seafood, there’s no way I could prepare something good because I have no way to taste if what I’m making is good (since it’s all bad to me).

2: I’m looking for something I can actually cook- probably warm, but at least more involved than a cheese tray or something. We’re having appetizers in lieu of dinner, so I’d like to make something tasty. And hell: impressive. I’d like to make something nice :).

Sorry for not being more clear!

10oz Frozen spinach, very well drained
1 small can sliced black olives, well drained
1 cup roasted peppers (red, yellow, orange or all three), well drained
4 large eggs
1 cup non-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup fat free feta, crumbled
1 tsp crushed garlic
salt & pepper to taste
cooking spray (to coat pan)

Makes 4 servings.

Pre-heat oven to 450.

Thaw spinach & drain all vegetables very well in paper towels - watery veggies will leave the finished pie soggy.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together all ingredients until well mixed. Pour into a non-stick 8x8 square baking pan, lightly coated with cooking spray.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until pie is firm.

Number of Servings: 4

It says four servings, but that’s because I usually have it as a meal, with a salad or something. At 4 servings, it’s 180 calories, 6.5 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber each. It’s good hot, cold, or lukewarm, and it’s also good to make ahead of time, it’ll be great the next day.

It’s also pretty with different colored peppers. I’ve tried it using fattier cottage cheese, but that doesn’t make a difference. Real feta, however, does, so I usually just use that instead of the fat free, which is…not good.

Bean dip is delicious. Mash or lightly puree canned beans (white beans, black beans, pinto beans, and garbanzos work well) with a little oil. Add salt, pepper, and garlic (raw or roasted) to taste. Add herbs or spices, starting with a flavor profile that goes well with the beans. In my experience, white beans are good with herbs, especially rosemary and thyme, black and pinto beans go Latin American, and garbanzos go Middle Eastern and Indian subcontinent.

You could do a trio: white bean with rosemary, pinto or black bean with Mexican spices (cumin, oregano, etc), and hummus or Indian-spiced garbanzos. I’m not sure about the hummus, which I’ve only had cold, but I know the others taste good hot or cold.

Serve with a selection of crispy things: pita (chips or just plain pita), tortilla chips, Indian flat bread, maybe some crunchy bread sticks.

Try using plain or vanilla yogurt instead of strawberry and add some nutmeg with the honey. So good, and easier for people who are allergic to strawberry.

How about chicken or beef skewers? I think you could add cherry tomatoes, onions and peppers to the recipe below.

Here is the recipe we work from most often:

Marinate chicken strips for at least 30 min in:
1/4c brown sugar
2TB chopped cilantro leaves
1 chipotle chile in adobo, minced plus 2 tsp adobo sauce
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder or sm. minced garlic clove
1/4 tsp black pepper
Chicken can be prepared a day in advance

Weave chicken onto skewers
Heat broiler
Spray broiler pan, load up with skewers
Broil 5-8 minutes, flipping halfway through

Creamy chipolte dipping sauce:
cover and let stand at room temp for 30 min (or refrigerate for up to 2 days)
3/4c low fat sour cream
1/4c light mayo
1/4c juice from 2-3 limes
1/8 tsp garlic powder
2 T minced cilantro leaves
2 minced scallions
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

There’s that Cajun Salmon recipe I linked to in the ‘A friend wrote a cookbook’ thread. Salmon’s healthy, right?

Mushroom tarts- full crust or bottom crust only. There are other recipes online, if neither of those suit your purposes, and premade tart crusts can be found in your local grocery store in the freezer section.
*I’m not affiliated with that blog.

Here’s a great website with tons of healthy recipes (plus some amazingly fattening ones):

I haven’t tried everything on the site, but everything I have tried has been wonderful.

Wonton wrappers are your friend. You can wrap all sorts of stuff quickly and easily in a wrapper - and hide a ton of healthy food - mashed sweet potato. Spinach and skim ricotta. Mushrooms and swiss. Steam and don’t fry or the calorie count skyrockets.

This couldn’t be easier and everyone is impressed with them. Get some button or baby portobello mushrooms and remove the stems. Put some Light Laughing Cow Cheese or Fat Free Cream Cheese inside the caps. Top with a thin layer of pesto and stick in the oven until the cheese is melty. Delicious and VERY low calorie!

Salami bites! Get the low-fat turkey salami, some low-fat cream cheese, and a jar of sliced pepperoncini. Pipe the cream cheese down the center of the salami slice, lay a couple of pepperoncini bits on the cheese, fold/roll it all up and stab with a toothpick. Non-carb, high flavor. Warning - it is very easy to accidentally eat way too many of these.

Mix some wasabi and some salt with reduced fat creamcheese and pipe on crudites like halved baby carrots, endive leaves, celery, blanched snow pea pods. I usually get fancy with the piping - they are tasty and impressive.

Grind some kosher salt onto boiled edamame - just like in a sushi restaurant. Totally addictive.

This is less healthy but insanely delicious:
Unroll a sheet of puff pastry, thinly spread dijon mustard over it. Shave slices off a block of parmesan and cover the mustard with it. Top with proscuitto. Roll up long ways, tightly, like a jelly roll and chill. Heat oven (Look at package direction), slice into rounds and bake on parchment. They will be gone in seconds.