Fitness & Nutrition

Skip the Guilt and Maximize Appetizer Appeal with Healthful Recipes

November 23, 2021

Whether you’re planning a holiday get-together or want an easy meal starter for an any-day dish, healthful appetizers offer a wide array of tasty options. We’ve pulled together a flavorful assortment of recipes you can make in a flash.

Cucumber Sushi

Sushi makes great finger food, but not everyone’s a fan of raw fish. Here’s a quick, easy imposter that starts with sliced cucumber—seeds removed—and packs it with sliced fresh veggies. Serve up its spicy dip in individual cups or as a batch for an entire group.

Substitutions: This is almost a vegan recipe, except for the mayo in the dip. Try veggie mayo or a nut-based yogurt substitute instead. Swap in zucchini for cucumber, and you have a roastable delight that makes a tasty little side dish.

Roasted Tomato & Chive Pizza

Pair up grape tomatoes with mushrooms and olive tapenade on a pre-baked pizza crust, and you’ve got a delightful culinary explosion for your taste buds. This sauceless recipe banishes the drips and mess to make tidier finger food.

Substitutions: Instead of Gruyère cheese, experiment with other dairy or non-dairy options. To make individual slices even easier to pick up, try a “party cut”— squares instead of triangles.

Cracked Pepper Potato Chips with Onion Dip

Potato chips are high on pretty much everyone’s list of favorite guilty pleasures, but when they’re oven-baked instead of fried, they’re a lot more healthful. The yogurt-and-mayonnaise dip base yields a creamy but tangy option.

Substitutions: Veggie mayo swaps in easily for the regular, less healthy, version. Experiment with other types of potatoes or even other root vegetables.

Easy Oven French Fries

Bake the guilt out of an all-time classic with these “unfries.” For best results, make sure you spread out the fries so air circulates around them on the baking sheet.

Substitutions: Spice these potatoes as much, as little, or any way you like.

Crispy Chickpeas

Roasted chickpeas pack a boatload of protein, fiber, nutrients and flavor. Try these crunchy goodies instead of traditional nut appetizers such as peanuts or almonds.

Substitutions: Add your favorite flavorings to boost your bites!

Crustless Jalapeño Mini Quiches

Mix egg, vegetables, cheese, and spices to bake up bite-sized appetizers with flavorful nutrition. In a little over half an hour, you can turn out 24 servings.

Substitutions: Prefer cauliflower rather than broccoli, white or yellow onion over red, or a different cheese (including non-dairy options)? This recipe thrives on alternatives.

Sweet Potato Tots

Potato tots make great finger-food appetizers, and these cheesy bites will appeal to anyone, including vegans—thanks to the non-dairy cheese—and folks with gluten-free diets.

Substitutions: This recipe uses vegan ingredients and options, but you can swap in dairy cheese if you prefer.

Avocado-Stuffed Mushrooms

Looking for a savory option that’s quick to prepare? This take on stuffed mushrooms brings in toasted nuts and chopped avocado for a low-fat, low-carb taste that’s packed with nutrition.

Substitutions: If you’re not a fan of champagne vinegar, try wine or balsamic instead.

Rice Croquettes with Mozzarella

Oven-baked croquettes give you a lovely crunch and a luscious gooey, stretchy center without the fat of frying. These rice-and-mozzarella combos make for straightforward prep with delicious results.

Substitutions: Add chicken or beef stock instead of vegetable stock for a different flavor profile.

Cranberry Nut Granola Bars

These quick-to-bake goodies use an oat base with nuts, seeds and cranberries for robust flavor and crunch.

Substitutions: This recipe lends itself to additions as well as alternatives. Nut butters, dried fruits, and coconut flakes all make great options.

Get Creative

Start a new family tradition—or redefine one—with versatile recipes for easy-to-make, easy-to-eat bites. Create your own versions of these appetizers to start any meal with bold flavors.