Though the main course is the centerpiece of a meal, appetizers are arguably the most important. As the first thing your guests devour, they set the tone for the rest of the meal. In other words, if you want to make a good first impression on your dinner guests, don't forget to focus some of your energy on those starters. That being said, we know most of the effort is going toward that giant turkey, honey-baked ham, or whatever it is you've decided to anchor the holiday meal this year. So to make things a little easier, we rounded up eight delicious, simple, surprisingly healthy appetizer recipes to whip up during the holiday season (and beyond).
Read on to get inspired in the kitchen and start planning your menu around these secretly healthy holiday appetizer recipes.
These crispy vegan polenta bites from The First Mess are a serious crowd-pleaser. And considering how delicious they are, they're also surprisingly light and vegan-friendly. The best part is that they're very simple to throw together: All you need is a few ingredients and an oven to bake them in.
Spreads are the easiest thing to serve at a party when you're trying to accommodate a wide array of eaters. You can set out some indulgent crostinis, healthy-ish crackers, or light raw veggies to dip into the spread, that way each person can customize it depending on their own dietary preferences. This recipe from Salt & Wind yields a delicious roasted pepper–and-eggplant dip. The festive color makes it perfect for the holiday season, too.
These skewers from Half Baked Harvest are the perfect thing to make when you want something filling but not to the extent that it'll ruin everyone's appetite. Plus, they're the perfect finger food since they're premader. They're also so easy to throw together; think of them like a chopped salad on a stick.
A healthy snack that's magazine-worthy and drool-worthy? This roasted carrot–and-chickpea harissa dip from The First Mess hits the jackpot. And as if the vivid orange hue weren't pretty enough, the parsley and pomegranate seed toppings make it look like a work of art (and add a nice crunch to each bite).
Bite-size bliss, right here. When you're looking for an appetizer recipe that's almost too healthy, delicious, and easy to be true, opt for this speck-wrapped persimmon dish from Salt & Wind. Not only are they light and simple, but they're also seasonally on point during the holidays.
Who doesn't love a good salad roll? This recipe from Wu Haus is full of zest, spicy ginger flavors, fresh crunchy veggies, and an earthy peanut dipping sauce. The crisp, light nature of the rolls is perfect with the rich sauce, and the mango slices add an unexpected fruity twist to every bite.
How cute are these personal-size caprese bowls? Brought to us by Half Baked Harvest, this recipe brings a delightful twist to the classic salad. It's complete with honeydew, watermelon, cantaloupe, burrata, basil, and a light lemon vinaigrette. It doesn't get easier than this!
Though the pretty bright hues and fancy presentation make this dish from Salt & Wind look like it takes a ton of time to create, it actually only requires five minutes of your time. Seriously. If you want to cook your own crab meat, it may take a little longer, but otherwise you just have to assemble these Meyer lemon bites with the radishes and add a few garnishes.
This vegan snack board from The First Mess hits the holiday appetizer jackpot. It's beautifully colorful, simple to put together, and it has a nice mix of flavors and textures. There's a velvety roasted garlic and butternut squash dip with sesame, a balsamic olive and mushroom pate, and a soft cashew "cheese" spread. We want it all…