Hosting the most festive party of the year comes with a lot to consider… White or colored Christmas lights? Which shade of red lipstick for your complexion? Who to invite to your holiday party? Since so much goes into throwing a festive bash (not to mention the baseline stress that accompanies the season), take the no-fuss approach with these 15 easy Christmas appetizer recipes. From pesto Christmas tree pizza to avocado tartare, these recipes are all equally delicious as simple to make. They also feature some great health benefits for those of us who need to balance out the holiday party bender.
The Recipe: Pesto Christmas Tree Pizza
The Standout Ingredient: As it turns out, not only does pesto add bold taste to pizza, but it also makes for an ideal holiday tree color. Plus, with olive oil and pine nuts as some of its key ingredients, pesto makes this appetizer high in healthy fats.
Make-It-Easy Pro Tip: To keep the tree shape after baking be sure to use a pizza peel, suggests Sonja and Alex Overhiser of A Couple Cooks. Then your inner creative can get straight to decorating with diced-tomato holiday lights and red-onion tinsel.
The Recipe: Crispy Cashew Coconut Chicken
The Standout Ingredient: Chilly weather is in full swing, but you can easily transport your guests to the tropics with the delightful taste of coconut (unlike most fruits, coconut grows year-round). Coconut is packed with minerals, including magnesium, calcium and iron.
Make-It-Easy Pro Tip: Before you get started on the mango honey dip, make sure you know how to properly cut a mango. Easy instructions provided by Carlsbad Cravings here.
The Recipe: 3-Ingredient Bruschetta Mozzarella Crescents
The Standout Ingredient: Mozzarella cheese adds a salty savory taste and melts flawlessly in these mouthwatering crescents. Your guests will be thrilled to cave into their warm cheesy food cravings (’tis the season, right?). But the good news is that mozzarella is a great source of calcium and protein.
Make-It-Easy Pro Tip: Buy your bruschetta already prepared. “I honestly didn’t even know they made jarred bruschetta, but I’m so glad I know now!” writes Jennifer Sabin Sattley of Carlsbad Cravings.
The Recipe: Easy Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp
The Standout Ingredient: Turkey and ham often steal the show during the holidays, but for this recipe, shrimp is the star. These little crustaceans are high in vitamins and minerals and packed with protein to hit the spot when your guests just can’t wait for dinner.
Make-It-Easy Tip: Just because it’s a simple appetizer doesn’t mean you have to skimp on presentation. Ali Ebright of Gimme Some Oven suggests serving with wooden skewers.
The Standout Ingredient: The sprinkle of garlic-infused crunchy breadcrumbs on top of the creamy filling of these aromatic stuffed-mushrooms adds perfect texture. Garlic has been known to combat sickness helping you to ward off holiday colds (fingers crossed!).
Make-It-Easy Pro Tip: First Mess founder Laura Wright suggests making the pesto ahead of time so day-of cooking is a little easier.
The Recipe: Nuts-and-Seeds Crackers
The Standout Ingredients: The assortment of chia seeds, fennel seeds, almonds, and walnuts make this appetizer wholesome and satiating. Plus the thin cracker crunch is especially satisfying!
Make-It-Easy Pro Tip: Make the batter a few days before your holiday party, and then stick it in the freezer until you’re ready to bake, notes Kankana Saxena of Playful Cooking.
The Standout Ingredient: Capers add a punchy flavor to this vegetarian tartare appetizer. The small pickled flower buds are also known to be good for your skin and hair health.
The Make-It-Easy Pro Tip: “You want the avocado to be ripe, but not so ripe that it’s soft and mushy. A little firmness is key for this one to distinguish itself from guacamole,” writes Laura Wright of My First Mess.
The Recipe: Persimmon, Fried Sage, and Goat Cheese Bites
The Standout Ingredient: Sage adds a nice savory pepper flavor to these delectable appetizer bites. The woody herb has also been shown to help with digestion.
Make-It-Easy Pro Tip: Save on time and prepare the fried sage one day before. Just be sure to store in an airtight container to keep the crisp, notes Lillian King of Salt & Wind.
The Recipe: Oven-Roasted Sweet Potato Fries
The Standout Ingredient: Smoked paprika, an antioxidant-rich spice, is a great option for making traditional sweet potato fries more piquant.
Make-It-Easy Pro Tip: If you don’t have time to peel your sweet potatoes, a good scrub beforehand will do, notes Ali Ebright of Gimme Some Oven.
The Standout Ingredient: Broccoli functions perfectly as a textured tree-like base, enticing your guests to eat their veggies.
Make-It-Easy Pro Tip: Slice the broccoli stems at a straight angle so they can easily stand up on the platter, suggests Chelsea Lords of My Messy Apron.
The Recipe: Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Flatbread
The Standout Ingredient: A balsamic glaze adds a punch of flavor to this savory pizza appetizer. And for an added health benefit, balsamic helps to regulate blood sugar when eaten as part of a meal.
Make-it-Easy Pro Tip: Buy your bacon already prepped and ready to go. “If you live near a Trader Joe’s, I’ve become obsessed recently with their Uncured Bacon Ends & Pieces,” writes Ali Elbright of Gimme Some Oven.
The Recipe: Ultimate Holiday Charcuterie Board
The Standout Ingredient: A high-quality dark chocolate bar pairs well with the savory, sweet tastes of dried fruits, nuts, and meats commonly found in this snackable favorite. The higher the cocoa content (70% or more), the better the health benefits.
Make-It-Easy Pro Tip: According to Megan van der Kruik of This Mess Is Ours, instead of using one large heavy board, use a selection of smaller boards making them light to carry and easier to curate by dietary preference. Genius!
The Recipe: Very Merry Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip
The Standout Ingredient: Pomegranate arils add texture and a festive red color to this crowd-pleasing appetizer. Plus they’re chock-full of antioxidants.
Make-It-Easy Pro Tip: Check your list twice by nixing the onions, as this addictive favorite is sweet enough to double as dessert, notes Ali Ebright of Gimme Some Oven.
The Standout Ingredient: Fuyu persimmons offer a sweet taste and delectable crunch to this quick-to-make recipe. Plus they’re rich in fiber.
Make-It-Easy Pro Tip: Feel free to substitute prosciutto (e.g., extras from the prosciutto-wrapped shrimp) for speck, notes Aida Mollencamp, editor in chief at Salt & Wind.
The Recipe: Sea Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips
The Standout Ingredient: Kale continues to be the star superfood in making “chips” guilt-free. Also, its rich dark green color will match well with the holiday décor.
Make-It-Easy Pro Tip: Ali Elbright of Gimme Some Oven says it’s important to make sure the kale pieces aren’t lying on top of each other while baking. This will ensure an extra crisp making this nibble even more devourable.
Shop our selection of kitchen essentials below to make cooking even easier this season…