Lighter Appetizer Recipes
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. 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.
Crispy Chickpea Snack
Canned chickpeas are drained well, then tossed with garam masala, salt, pepper, and a little olive oil and baked at a high temperature until golden and crunchy. This easy appetizer is an excellent, healthy alternative to snack mix or potato chips.
Picholine Olives with Roasted Garlic and Red Onion
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.
Mashed Avocado and Hummus Dip Recipe
Avocados are healthy and delicious -- and they make fantastic dips! Try this unique and creative combination of avocado, hummus, cilantro, scallions, and lime juice. Pair this with veggie sticks for a colorful and nutritious holiday appetizer.
Endive Boats with Marinated Vegetables
Shredded beets, carrots, and fennel bulb are marinated in a white-wine vinaigrette. The colorful and refreshing combination is mounded into Belgian endive leaves and, if you like, topped with salmon roe just before serving.
Chickpea, Mint, and Parsley Spread
Lots of fresh mint and parsley give fresh flavor and a pleasant light-green hue to this chickpea and garlic spread. This appetizer can be made up to three days in advance. Serve the spread with warm pita bread or fresh vegetables for dipping.
A chunky relish of green olives and diced celery is spooned over creamy chickpea dip on toasted baguette slices. The relish and the chickpea dip can be made up to three days in advance; assemble this appetizer just before you are ready to serve it.
Tarragon Marinated Mushrooms
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.
Carrot Roulades with Radish and Herb Goat Cheese
Goat cheese gets a fresh zing from minced radishes, chives, and chervil. Blanched carrot stips are rolled into bite-size cups and filled with the goat cheese mixture to create a light, elegant appetizer.
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.
Chopped artichoke hearts are mixed with light mayonnaise, lemon juice, and dill to create a flavoful topping for crostini. Choose artichoke hearts packed in water, rather than oil, to keep this appetizer on the lighter side.
Crisp baked pita chips are an excellent alternative to potato chips for serving with any dip or spread for your holiday party. This recipe calls for fresh mint and parsley, and dried oregano and thyme, but feel free to use any combination of herbs you like.
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.