New Year’s Day is often a time to kick-start healthy habits and kiss those less-than-stellar ones goodbye. From eating Whole30 to dry January to digital detoxes, January 1 is commonly a day of fresh starts and clean living. New Year’s Eve, on the other hand, not so much. Full of champagne, sugar-filled cocktails, that one last indulgent meal, rich dessert, plate of cheese… for many, it’s often far from moderate.
While it’s fun to ring in the New Year with festive and decadent snacks (and drinks), it’s also possible to eat healthily and wake up feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed instead of bleary-eyed and hungover—from the booze and the food. These 19 New Year’s Eve appetizer recipes are flavorful and fun crowd-pleasers that will help you get a jump-start on those New Year’s Day health goals, rather than sabotage them.
When it comes to appetizers, few things beat crackers and cheese. Crazy-delicious, incredibly easy to assemble… it’s an equally as satisfying snack for hosts as it is for guests. We love this recipe because it uses a homemade chutney that’s more savory than sweet, meaning the amount of sugar is much lower than store-bought and even other homemade varieties. Pair with gluten-free seed crackers instead of toasted bread for extra omegas, or use a whole-grain baguette.
It’s easy to get lost in a land of carbs at parties. Baguette, crackers, pastry puffs… there’s something comforting about coating your stomach with bread while celebrating. But as tasty as carbo-loading can be, it’s nice to balance things out with some low-carb snacks too. These easy antipasto skewers are satisfying and easy to put together. Made with artichoke hearts, soppressata salami, pepperoncini peppers, small balls of mozzarella, and green olives, they look gorgeous and provide a nice, salty complement to those festive champagne cocktails.
Anyone who’s attempted to cook risotto knows it’s no easy task—when it comes to getting it right at least. But you don’t have to worry about that when it comes to this recipe: The risotto is fried after it’s stuffed with broccoli rabe, so there’s little room for error. This recipe certainly isn’t simple, but it is mind-blowing (read: worth the effort). Save some time by making the marinara the day before or grab store-bought (we won’t tell).
Serving store-bought hummus in a beautiful dish is one of our favorite party tricks. But when we really want to go big, we opt for interesting spins on the world-class dip. Take this baba ganoush, which is made extra savory with the addition of miso and za’atar. Top with sliced yellow cherry tomatoes to make it look fancy as can be and drizzle with high-quality olive oil as a final New Year’s Eve-worthy touch.
What’s so great about potato chips, you ask? For one, these are homemade. They’re also topped with fried garlic and thyme and a hefty sprinkle of Parmesan. Talk about gourmet. We love that these chips will please salt-lovers and that they’re so flavorful, you truly only need a handful.
Don’t be intimidated by raw fish. All you need is access to a fishmonger or market that sells sushi-grade fish—the rest is easy! This recipe uses a light marinade—made with soy sauce, Sriracha, and mirin—and sliced cucumber and avocado to make bite-size, rice-free sushi bites that are refreshing and full of protein. Add mayo to the marinade if you want a little creaminess and top with chopped macadamia nuts and scallions for an added crunch.
Just looking at this picture makes us wanna empanada. We love that this vegetarian version skips the classic meat filling and opts for comforting squash and goat cheese. It also uses whole-wheat flour in the dough, adding extra fiber and that nutty flavor that pairs so well with squash and cheese. Pro tip: Invite a few friends over early to help you assemble them. It’s a super fun way to start the celebration.
Veggie platters and various dips may be delicious, but they can be a snoozefest when it comes to New Year’s Eve. Spice up your veggie game with these baked zucchini roll-ups. Filled with pesto goat cheese, cherry tomato, and spinach, this recipe is a great way to get plenty of greens without needing to slug a green juice. To make vegan, sub the goat cheese for a cashew cheese or replace altogether with hummus or olive tapenade.
Baked Brie is heavenly. But if you love cheese, like we do, it’s easy to overdo it and tread into dairy overload territory. These baked Brie bites not only help with portion control, but they’re also adorable and ensure that the dough-to-cheese ratio is perfect in every bite. Top with diced pear, toasted pecans, and a drizzle of the homemade balsamic reduction—which you really, really don’t want to skip.
Spiced nuts that aren’t overly doused in sugar? Cheers to that! These addictive nuts get their sweetness from coconut oil and a touch of all-natural maple syrup, and a kick from cayenne, sea salt, and chopped rosemary. We recommend taking a small portion and walking away because you’ll definitely want to come back for more. The best part: Guests will love them, whether they’re Paleo or not.
You don’t need to slave away in the kitchen to produce an amazing appetizer. This decadent flatbread is proof: It only takes 20 minutes to make! While we’re huge fans of homemade, this flatbread opts for store-bought dough, which is what makes it such a time-saver that gets topped simple sautéed red onions, bleu cheese, and thinly sliced pear. Not into bleu cheese? Use manchego. Don’t love pears? Go for apples. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary, drizzle with honey, and enjoy.
Chips and guacamole is a classic—and a great one at that. Pomegranate guacamole with fried plantain chips… now that’s an appetizer worth celebrating. We love the subtle spice from cumin and cinnamon and sneaky addition of feta cheese in this lip-smacking dip. We also love the fried plantain chips, which are way more fun (and tasty) than classic chips. If you’d prefer to skip the frying, buy store-bought plantain chips, which are widely available at health food stores.
We’re big fans of bite-size snacks served on a toothpick. It makes eating oh-so-easy and also helps curb over-snacking, which is easy to do at parties. These prosciutto wrapped dates can be whipped up in minutes and have so much flavor and texture, it forces you (and guests) to slow down, chew, and savor the snack. The goat cheese filling gets extra creaminess from cream cheese and a welcomed crunch from chopped pecans. Nom.
Pinwheels aren’t just for children’s birthday parties. And they certainly don’t need to be filled with deli meats. These adult-style pinwheels are filled with vegan cream cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, garlic, and basil leaves, and taste like anything but a simple snack. Feel free to experiment with add-ins like diced cucumber, olives, sliced peppers, and caramelized onion for extra flavor—and additional options for guests.
This is another dish that’s fun to make with friends. If tackling alone, it can feel a bit tedious, as they take about an hour to make and each triangle requires individual wrapping. If going solo, buy pre-made vegan dough and make the ricotta filling ahead of time. Though it may be tempting to skimp on the fresh herbs, we highly recommend sticking to the recommended amount, as the herbs are what make the recipe so awesome. Another pro tip: Don’t overfill the triangles! The filling will seep out of the delicate wrapping.
If you’re looking for an appetizer that won’t ruin dinner, try shishito peppers. The low-cal bite won’t fill you up but will satisfy your snack craving. The snack is a host’s dream too. Whipping them up merely requires charring the pre-oiled peppers for a few minutes, sprinkling with sea salt, and mixing together the Greek yogurt, Sriracha, and rice vinegar for the sauce. For extra tang, squeeze fresh lime or lemon juice over the peppers post-cooking.
Sliders are a great party snack, but nothing says celebration quite like these mini grilled cheese sandwiches. And they’re not just any grilled cheese. These crispy sandwiches are loaded with aged cheddar, arugula, Sriracha, sautéed mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil. Talk about stacked. Use a whole-wheat or multigrain baguette for a heartier flavor and cook in coconut oil instead of butter for a hint of sweetness (and added health benefits). Another great addition: slathering fresh pesto on each bread slice.
Double avocado, double yum. These vegan avocado fries are made by coating fresh avocado slices with bread crumbs, baking them, and serving with a tangy avocado sauce... because there’s no such thing as too much avocado. To ensure the fries are extra crispy, make sure to spread them out at least 1/4 inch while baking. We also love dipping the fries in Sriracha yogurt sauce or fresh salsa.
These phyllo bites are another great way to sneak loads of veggies and nutrients into an amazing appetizer. They’re also super easy to make, as the recipe uses frozen phyllo cups (#win). Fill the cups with hummus, diced cucumber, roasted red pepper, and feta cheese, and snack away. To make things extra fun, fill the cups with various flavors of hummus—like lemon, garlic, or chive—and don’t tell guests.