While the holiday season is a time to indulge in treats we look forward to all year long, there's no rule that says every bite we take between November and January must be soaked in butter and covered in cheese. We've gathered some of our favorite recipes for lighter appetizers that ease up on the fat and have plenty of colorful vegetables and bright, refreshing flavors. Intersperse some lighter appetizers amongst the rich dips and Christmas cookies, and your guests will thank you for it.
Lemon zest, lemon juice, and fresh thyme add fresh flavor to a creamy combination of light mayonnaise and reduced-fat sour cream. Serve this dip with whole-wheat crackers and vegetables such as endive, carrot sticks, broccoli and cauliflower florets, and blanched Brussels sprouts.
Flavorful green Picholine olives are marinated with roasted garlic, red onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, and Champagne vinegar. This party appetizer can be made up to a week in advance.
Button mushrooms absorb the bold, tangy flavors of tarragon, lemon juice, and white-wine vinegar during a four-hour soak. Serve these marinated mushrooms with olives, roasted peppers, and pickled vegetables such as green beans or cauliflower as flavorful accompaniments to a meat and cheese platter.
Reduced-fat cream cheese and a modest amount of Parmesan cheese add richness to this crowd-pleasing party dip without adding loads of fat. Lemon juice, galrlic, scallions, and a pinch of cayenne pepper add plenty of flavor to the blend of artichoke hearts and spinach.
The flavor of garlic becomes soft and rich when it's roasted. The roasted garlic is pureed with chickpeas, lemon juice, and sparing amounts of tahini and olive oil to create a lightened-up but very flavorful version of hummus. Serve with assorted vegetables for a colorful and healthful appetizer.
These colorful sushi rolls are packed with carrot, red bell pepper, celery, scallion, and pickled ginger. Since they do not contain fish, they can be made a day in advance. Serve them with the accompanying dipping sauce recipe made from a flavorful combination of mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil, and wasabi.
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