No party is complete without a delicious appetizer. The challenge is finding healthy appetizer recipes that are easy to make and that your guests will love. Read on for some healthy appetizers you can whip up that everyone will enjoy.
What Constitutes Healthy Appetizers?
An appetizer is simply a small dish of food eaten prior to the main course. It’s designed to stimulate your appetite.1 Of course, appetizers, just like main courses and desserts, may not necessarily be healthy. They may be nutrient-poor foods containing copious amounts of sugars, salts, and fats. On the other hand, healthy appetizers may consist of nutrient-rich ingredients, like green veggies, fresh herbs, and a boost of protein.
Choose Easy Appetizers
Most everybody has a favorite appetizer recipe. The easier the recipe, the more likely it will make it to the table. Alternatively, you might want to prepare appetizers for an afternoon on the go.
If you’re hosting guests, you’ll get your dose of protein by combining plain yogurt with cucumber and dill. Or you could serve crunchy veggies with dishes like creamy avocado guacamole and spinach artichoke dip.
If you’re on-the-go, you can never go wrong packing healthy appetizer recipes such as green apple slices, sweet potatoes, and creamy hummus.
Organize All Your Cooking Needs In One Place
In order to make your appetizers in an efficient and orderly manner, you might want to follow some kitchen tips:
- Keep commonly-used ingredients within easy reach.
- Prepare the ingredients before you start cooking.2
- Compile a shopping list with all your ingredients. Every little ingredient should be on the list.
- Make a menu of all your appetizers.3
Healthy Appetizers That Are Delicious And Easy-To-Make (With Recipe Instructions)
One simple but very popular appetizer is hummus. It can be paired up with a wide variety of other healthy ingredients.
- 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
- ½ teaspoon baking soda (if using canned chickpeas)
- ¼ cup lemon juice (approximately 1 ½ to 2 lemons)
- 1 medium-to-large clove garlic, roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
- ½ cup tahini
- 2 to 4 Tbsps ice water, more as needed
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Boil chickpeas for 20 minutes on high heat, adding baking soda. The chickpeas will be done when their skins start falling off.
- Drain in a fine-mesh strainer, and rinse with cool water.
- Using a food processor (or high-speed blender), combine lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Then let rest for 10 minutes for the garlic flavor to mellow.
- Add tahini to the mixture and blend until thick and creamy, making sure to scrape down any tahini stuck to the sides.
- While running the food processor or blender, drizzle in ice water while continuing to scrape the sides.
- Add cooked, drained chickpeas and cumin to the food processor.
- While it is blending, drizzle in the olive oil. Continue blending for about 2 minutes (or until very smooth and creamy). Add a Tbsp more ice water at a time, if necessary.
- Adjust salt, cumin, and lemon juice to taste.4
If you like your dips with a spicy kick, an alternative to hummus is spicy hummus (with cayenne pepper or crushed pepper flakes).5
This guacamole recipe is perhaps the ultimate delicious appetizer accomplice when it comes to finger foods. It goes well with chips and any number of colorful garden veggies.
- 2 large Hass avocados, halved and pitted
- ½ cup tomato, finely chopped or diced
- ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
- 2-3 Tbsps cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- ½ jalapeño pepper (with seeds), minced
- 1 Tbsp lime juice or juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/4 tsp salt (table or kosher)
- Using a large bowl, mash avocados into large chunks
- Add all other ingredients, including salt and pepper to taste. Gently stir to combine.
- Serve with tortilla chips, inside tacos, or in a salad.6
If you prefer your guacamole with creamy avocado vs. avocado chunks, you can mash the avocados more finely.
Delicious Appetizer Finger Foods
Green Apple Slices With Toppings
These green apple slices have a savory flavor.
- 2 Granny Smith apples
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup water
- 8 ounces full fat cream cheese
- 1 Tbsp fresh chives
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup pecans, roasted and chopped
- ¼ cup chopped celery
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
- Microgreens for garnish
- Rinse, dry, and slice the apples. Remove the seeds. Soak in lemon water (1 Tbsp lemon juice and 1 cup of water) for 5 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix cream cheese, garlic, chives, and sea salt.
- Roast pecans on low heat in a small pan until slightly golden.
- Spread cream cheese on apple slices, then transfer to a platter.
- Distribute the chopped celery, roasted pecans, and pomegranate seeds around the apple slices.
- Top with micro greens or herbs. Refrigerate afterward. They will keep fresh for two days.7
Healthy Sweet Potato Dip With Spiced Pita Chips
This tasty dip is full of fiber-rich potatoes. It’s a healthy spin on traditional party dips, which can be very high in sodium.8
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 3 whole-wheat pitas, split
- 2 Tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper, freshly ground
- 2/3 cup plain, Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/8 cayenne pepper
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
- Using the center oven rack, preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and a wire rack on top.
- Prick each sweet potato five times with a fork and place on the rack; bake for about 45 minutes.
- Line the baking sheet with parchment.
- Brush both sides of each pita with olive oil, then add paprika and ¼ tsp salt to the inner side of the pita.
- Slice each seasoned pita into six wedges, lay out on a baking sheet, and bake 6-8 minutes (or until lightly golden and crisp).
- After the sweet potatoes have cooled, scoop the insides and add to a food processor with yogurt, lemon juice, garlic powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Process until smooth.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and top with chives. Serve with spiced pita chips.9
Vegetable Side Dish Recipes
Baked Zucchini Slices
This recipe for baked zucchini slices provides a nice dose of veggies.
- 2 medium zucchini, sliced into half-inch coins
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- ⅓ cup parmesan cheese, shredded and divided
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Marinate zucchini slices with olive oil, seasoning, salt and pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the parmesan cheese.
- Place the zucchini slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; top with the rest of the parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 5 minutes.
- Turn up the oven to broil. Place the pan near the top of the oven, and broil for 3-5 minutes (or until cheese melts and zucchini crisps).10
Refried Bean Dip
This refried bean dip contains black beans, which are a reliable source of plant protein.
- 4 cups refried beans
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup taco seasoning
- 8 ounces grated cheddar cheese (divided)
- 8 ounces grated pepper jack cheese (divided)
- 2 Tbsps Cholula hot sauce
- 4 ounces chopped green chiles (canned)
- 1 Tbsp fresh cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Combine all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Set aside half of the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses. Mix well.
- Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish, and top with the rest of the cheese.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes (or until the cheese has melted).
- Top with cilantro, and serve along with chips for dipping.11
Healthy Dishes To Stimulate The Appetite
When it comes to healthier appetizer recipes, there are many simple recipes to make. Oftentimes, that simply involves putting a healthy spin on a traditional recipe. The next time you entertain guests or decide to throw holiday parties, you’ll have some healthy, crowd-pleasing options.