During the holidays, it’s not at all uncommon to eat just about everything in sight and regret it only hours later. Though one can make up a ton of excuses to do this, it will more than likely result in a painful, sickly feeling. But the truth is all indulgent foods don’t have to be necessarily bad for you. If you whip up the right healthy holiday appetizers, you won’t feel like you’ve missed out on anything. And call us crazy, but appetizers can be the most satisfying part of a meal. Perhaps it’s because of their bite-size nature (allowing us to feel less guilty for eating copious amounts of them), or maybe it has to do with the fact that we’re most likely ravenous by the time the hors d’œuvres come out of the kitchen.
From yummy dips to veggie chips to stuffed mushrooms, we guarantee these recipes will allow you to celebrate the season without any regrets. And yes, it’s still possible to enjoy the holidays without the gobs of cheese, fried foods, and excessive carbs. If you’re the entertaining type, you’ll want to take note of these healthy, easy-to-make recipes. And one of the best things about hosting an event involving food? You can call the shots when it comes to the menu. If you’re a guest, prepare a few of these appetizers for your next fête, and the host will be singing your praises.
Below, find five healthy holiday appetizers worth celebrating (and worthy of celebrating with).
The Dip : Avocado Hummus
For a healthy dip, try a hummus base, then incorporate ripe avocados, fresh herbs, and red pepper flakes. The trick to achieving a smooth consistency is adding two tablespoons of ice water when blending. Garnish the hummus with some whole chickpeas, then ask everyone to dig in. Pita chips and fresh vegetables tend to pair well with this dip.
The Chips : Grilled Parmesan Polenta Chips
Instead of the salty, greasy potato chips you’ve put out before, try this polenta chip option. Cut a tube of polenta into thin slices; add some salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese; and then grill them for about five minutes on each side. You’ll know they’re ready when the polenta begins to turn a golden hue.
The Veggie : Crispy Brussels Sprouts With Sriracha Aioli
This healthy holiday appetizer just might become an adult favorite. The brussels sprouts are roasted and then tossed in garlic and any of your favorite herbs. Then, mix up a homemade sriracha aioli to use as your dipping sauce (although salsa, hummus, or guacamole will also do if you’re short on time). Best yet, this recipe only takes about five minutes to make.
The Finger Food : Cauliflower Tots With Cashew Buffalo Sauce
There’s no need to stop serving comfort food over the holidays. In this recipe, tater tots get a healthy makeover when made with cauliflower, broccoli, and an almond flour mixture. After the tots are baked, you can eat them alongside a vegan buffalo sauce (soaked cashews are the hero ingredient here).
The Hearty Option : Caprese Quinoa Grilled Stuffed Mushrooms
We love a good stuffed mushroom and a refreshing caprese salad. And when you combine the two, it’s a match made in heaven. Grill (or bake) mini portabella mushrooms and then fill them with mozzarella, tomato, basil, and quinoa (instead of bread crumbs). Complete the dish by drizzling balsamic glaze over the top.
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