Healthy Party Appetizers
Healthy party appetizers are so easy to make, and healthy choices will certainly be appreciated by your guests. When entertaining, it is wise to offer the choice of a healthy food options—especially during the holidays!
In general, people are more health-conscious today, and parties can often be difficult to get through when they offer only high-calorie fare. Don't stress out your guests; offer them guilt-free options!
Healthy Appetizers Are Simple to Assemble
A great example of a healthy and simple appetizer is the smoked salmon canape pictured above. These are created by a simple assembly of ingredients.
- Choose a cracker of any type.
- Add a small dollop of cream cheese.
- Top with a slice of cucumber.
- Top it off with a thin slice of smoked salmon and you are done.
It just doesn't get any easier!
Provide Healthy Appetizer Options at Your Party
Health-conscious people are always looking for advice about how to eat healthy when attending a party where the food choices are limited to what the host has prepared. At your next gathering, make it easy for your guests by serving healthy starters. If they eat these foods before the main meal, they will be less likely to overindulge.
There are many quick and easy recipes that meet healthy requirements, and they are very simple to put together. It's always hard to avoid the sugary treats at parties, so whether you are the host or participating in a potluck gathering, bring some healthy snacks instead.
Appetizers are quick to make and can be quite versatile. You can feed a few or a large crowd with any of the recipes below.
Cheese and Tomato Skewers
- Bocconcini cheese balls (small size)
- Fresh basil leaves
- Cherry tomatoes
- Balsamic dressing (cream)
- You will need skewers for this recipe a smaller size not the long ones you use for kebobs.
- Assemble as follows cheese ball first, followed by the basil leaf and lastly the cherry (or grape) tomato.
- Arrange your display on a large serving dish or several smaller ones depending on how many you make.
- Plan for 3 per person because they are delish especially when dunked in the creamy balsamic dip.
- Make sure you have plenty of dip on hand for these babies! Not familiar with this dip? More information is below!
What is Balsamic Crema?
Balsamic cream sauce, or crema, is made from a balsamic vinegar combined with a grape concentrate. This combination is reduced to a rich and creamy texture.
Uses of Balsamic Cream
Balsamic cream has many uses in the kitchen. It is wonderful as a marinade for fish, meat or poultry. It is also used to add flavour to salads, vegetables and it is quite tasty drizzled over cheeses. Balsamic cream is so versatile it can also be used to complement dessert dishes such as cakes, ice cream or fresh fruit.
Decorate Your Dish With Balsamic Cream
You will often see professional chefs decorating their dishes with balsamic cream. They will create artistic little swirls around the food or do something as simple as little dots on the dish.
You will recognize balsamic cream as that dark substance chefs use to decorate their plates by drawing wonderful swirls to kick the presentation up a notch. You can do this, too!
What Is Bocconcini?
Bocconcini literally translated means "small mouthfuls" in Italian. They are mozzarella cheese balls that are packed in water or whey. Bocconcini is white in colour and is semi-soft and are about the size of a small egg.
Baby Cheese Balls Are Best for Skewers
You can also purchase bambini bocconcini, which are smaller versions of the original and are about the size of a grape.
This grape size is best for appetizers on a skewer. Alternatively, you could cut the larger bocconcini in half or quarters but you will lose the smooth rounded shape. When bocconcini is sliced it shows the inner course texture of the cheese. The best presentation would therefore be the baby-sized, as the shape is maintained uniformly and is smooth all around.
Cucumber and Smoked Salmon Appetizer
- Cucumbers (seedless) sliced in rounds 1/4 inch thick
- Smoked salmon (small)
- Non-fat plain yogurt or low-fat sour cream
- Fresh dill (or dried but fresh is preferred)
- Blend the yogurt with the dill to taste and chill in the fridge to blend the flavour.
- Top your sliced cucumber rounds with the smoked salmon.
- Add a dollop of the dill yogurt sauce.
Health Benefits of Cucumbers
Cucumbers are the perfect base for a quick and healthy appetizer. They are very easy to prepare, as you just slice them up and add a topping. It's always best to eat your vegetables raw and the cucumber is a good example of a food that is always eaten raw. The cucumber provides many health benefits.
- B Vitamins: They are full of B vitamins and this attribute makes them perfect as a mid-day snack to get you revved up for the remainder of the day. So forget that coffee break—make it a cucumber break.
- Freshens your breath: No need to chew that sugary gum just eat some cucumber. Keep it pressed to the roof of your mouth to help release the "phytochemicals" inside the cucumber that will kill off the bacteria in your mouth causing that stink.
- Hydration: Cucumbers are 95 percent water. Rather than drinking loads of water each day just start eating more cucumbers. This water is natural and needed by the body to rejuvenate and repair.
One word of advice when purchasing your cucumbers; buy organic as they are often sprayed with pesticides.
Tortilla Chips and Cocktail Shrimp
- Cocktail shrimp
- Tortilla chips (scoop-shaped)
- Cheese (shredded; your choice of type)
- Mix the cocktail shrimp together with salsa (go light on the salsa you want a thick consistency).
- Fill the tortilla chips with this mixture as many as you need for your party.
- Add the shredded cheese on top.
- Bake at 375 degrees F on a cookie sheet just until cheese melts.
- You are done! Yay!
Slow-Roasted Roma Tomatoes
Prep time: 10 min Cook time: 1 hour Ready in: 1 hour 10 min
Yield: 8 servings
- 8 plum tomatoes
- cooking spray
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- Black pepper to taste
- low-fat feta cheese
- 8 kalamata olives (optional)
- Preheat oven at 225° F.
- Use heavy-duty foil to line a baking sheet.
- Spray the foil with cooking oil to prevent sticking.
- Chop the top off each tomato and then cut it lengthwise.
- Scoop out the centres and place with the cut side facing up on the baking sheet.
- Spray the tomatoes lightly with oil.
- Sprinkle each tomato with the garlic powder and black pepper to taste.
- Bake for 1 hour then check the tomatoes for doneness. (they should be softened but holding their shape well)
- Bake up to 30 minutes longer if needed but be careful not to burn.
- Remove from oven and fill with crumbled feta to taste.
- Add a kalamata olive on top of each if desired.
Preparing Large Quantities
When you have a large quantity of appetizers to prepare for a party, get a little help from your friends! This is a wonderful social gathering in itself.
Create a food assembly line and have a great time chatting and catching up. Appetizers are simple to assemble but can become boring and overwhelming if there are many to be assembled. Have a pre-party "party" to get it done quickly and efficiently.
Easy Healthy Appetizers: Resources Online
- Quick and Healthy Appetizer Recipes and Menus | Eating Well
Healthy, quick appetizers from EatingWell. Enjoy these fast, delicious appetizers.
Healthy holiday or any time appetizers are relatively easy to put together. These recipes are simple and can be prepared in advance of your gathering. With the assembled appetizer you can do them freshly the same day or even an hour before, they are that simple!
Your guests will thank you for these healthy and tasty alternatives.
Questions & Answers
© 2012 Sharon Bellissimo