Holiday party season is a great time to catch up with friends and family, but it can be rough on a diet. With cheese plates, canapés, and pigs-in-a-blanket galore, it's hard to eat healthy and still enjoy yourself. This week, we rounded up 10 smarter appetizers for a healthier holiday party. Whether you're hosting or attending a fancy gathering this holiday season, prep one (or more than one!) of these wholesome nibbles to keep you sated without feeling like Santa.
Beet and Goat Cheese Spread via Brittany Powell
Photo: Brittany Powell
Liven up the appetizer table with this brightly colored dip — the festive hue comes from red beets! Pair it with crackers, chips, or sliced veggies. We even think it would make an interesting base on a seasonal pizza.
Pancetta and Sage Cauliflower via The Meaning of Pie
Photo: Kelly Yandell / The Meaning of Pie
The nutty cauliflower, herby sage, and rich pancetta in this dish work together to create an appetizer that's equal parts wholesome, rich, comforting, and tasty. Brush cauliflower florets with olive oil so they get nice and crispy in the oven.
Apples with Roasted Beet Tartare, Cashew Cheese, and Candied Walnuts via Luminous Vegans
Photo: Ketty / Luminous Vegans
Looking for a starter that will truly impress guests? These vegan apple dippers are perfect for a fancy fiesta. Slice apples into thin wedges, then top them with roasted beets, cashew cheese, and candied nuts. It sounds complicated, but most of the steps can be done well in advance to make your party prep smoother.
Curry Grilled Zucchini Roll Ups via Edible Perspective
Photo: Ashley McLaughlin / Edible Perspective
These unexpected snacks are short on ingredients but huge on flavor. Grilled zucchini, roasted red peppers, goat cheese, and tons of spices make these rolls a tasty, non-traditional addition to your holiday party.
Edamame-Pear Crostini via Eat Yourself Skinny
Bored of tired holiday party standbys like baked brie and chicken wings? Try a lighter, fresher approach with this unexpected hors d'oeuvre. Edamame, mint, and pear crostini will definitely keep any palate entertained.
Sriracha Edamame via Mango & Tomato
Photo: Olga / Mango & Tomato
Upgrade regular edamame (aka boiled soybeans in their pods) with a spicy, salty sauce made from Sriracha (or another hot sauce of your choice), soy sauce, garlic, and sesame oil. Considering that whole recipe takes about 10 minutes to prepare, this would be a perfect last-minute party snack.
Spinach-Artichoke Dip via A Dash of Sass
If you've written off spinach-artichoke dip as a dangerfood, think again. This version is so far from the Applebee's standby — it gets its creaminess from ground cannellini beans and just a touch of low-fat ricotta cheese and sour cream.
Pine Nut Stuffed Mushrooms (Gluten-Free) via The Healthy Apple
Stuffed mushrooms are normally loaded with breadcrumbs, cheese, and other allergy un-friendly toppings. These button-sized starters are filled with wholesome ingredients like brown rice, quinoa, salsa, and pine nuts.
Avocado Hummus via A Cozy Kitchen
It's not a party until someone brings the hummus! This zesty, avocado-spiked version is super easy to make. Just toss the ingredients (all five of 'em) into a food processor and blend.
Crispy Quinoa Fritters via The Vegetarian Ginger
Photo: Veronica Sheppard / The Vegetarian Ginger
These fritters are flavored with onions, black pepper, sea salt and parmesan cheese — they're very similar to potato pancakes, but they use protein-rich quinoa instead of potatoes as the base. Eat 'em plain or dunk them in the accompanying creamy Greek yogurt-dill dip.
Have another recipe suggestion for us to include next week? Share with us in the comments below or tweet the author @sophbreene.