Bookmark (or Pin) this collection of 100+ Healthy Holiday Appetizer Recipes and refer back to these tips for planning a cocktail party menu. Our family loves appetizers, so for the holidays, we graze on appetizers in the afternoon before dinner. Our schedule shifts later and later into the day, so breakfast becomes brunch, and dinner is often served later, so appetizers are the perfect way to tied everyone’s appetites over until then. Whether you’re looking for little nibbles, dips, spreads or more substantial appetizers, there’s something for everyone in this collection of healthy holiday appetizer recipes.
Pictured top to bottom, left to right: Black Bean, Pomegranate and Avocado Salsa (Two Peas and Their Pod), Coconut Shrimp with Thai Chili Ginger Sauce (Joyful Healthy Eats), Spicy Tuna Avocado Cucumber Appetizers with Pickled Ginger (Jeanette’s Healthy Living), Caprese Bites (Cooking On The Front Burners), Thai Chicken Skewers with Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce (Jeanette’s Healthy Living), Mediterranean Stuffed Mushrooms (Aggie’s Kitchen), Fresh Basil Hummus (The View From Great Island), Prosciutto Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Goat Cheese (Jeanette’s Healthy Living), Kalamata Olive & Goat Cheese Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes (Tasty Yummies), Satay Beef Skewers with Peanut Sauce (Jeanette’s Healthy Living), Roasted Shrimp Cocktail (Jeanette’s Healthy Living), Endive Stuffed with Old Bay Crab Salad (Jeanette’s Healthy Living), Falafel-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas (An Edible Mosaic), Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (A Cedar Spoon)
I have to admit that appetizers are my favorite part of the meal, whether we’re eating at a restaurant or going to a holiday party. I just love being able to taste little bites of this and that. In fact, I’d rather eat a bunch of appetizers than eat a whole meal. The only problem with appetizers during the holiday season is that they’re often very rich, so the calories and fat start adding up quickly.
So, to help with holiday menu planning, whether you’re throwing a holiday party or just entertaining your own family, I’ve put together an enormous list of healthier, light holiday appetizers. I’ve categorized this huge list into Nibbles, Finger Foods, Skewered and Stuffed Appetizers, Bean Dips and Hummus, and Salsas Spreads and More to make it easier to pick and choose your favorites.
Cocktail Party Menu Planning Tips
How Much Food To Make For A Cocktail Party
I’m always worried I won’t have enough food, so here are a couple of tips for how much food to make for a cocktail party:
- Make 5-6 different appetizers
- Choose 3-4 appetizers that can be made ahead of time and either served cold, room temperature, can be easily reheated or assembled last minute
- Include a few dips or a cheese platter that can be placed out as soon as guests arrive while you attend to last minute details
- Count on 8-10 bites per person (e.g., For a party of 10, that means 80-100 bites total. So, if you’re making 5 appetizers, make 16-20 pieces of each appetizer, erring on the side of more rather than less
- Put out a few bowls of nuts and nibbles (Trader Joe’s has a nice assortment of spiced nuts if you don’t want to make your own)
Tips For Organizing A Cocktail Party
- Write down the menu and print out the recipes
- Test all the recipes ahead of time (my family loved eating appetizers for dinner as I was testing out recipes for our cocktail party)
- Jot down any garnishes you want to include with the appetizers (e.g., lemon slices for Roasted Shrimp Cocktail platter, banana leaves to line the platter for Thai Chicken Skewers, chopped chives and red bell peppers for Endive Stuffed with Old Bay Crab Salad)
- Make a shopping list and shop a few days before the event (you will almost always have last minute items to pick up, but try to get most of the shopping out of the way earlier)
- Take out serving platters the day before
- Write down a schedule of what needs to be done the day before and the day of the party, and anything that needs to be done right before the party. I’m a little anal, so I even write down what needs to be done hour by hour the day of the party, backing up from the time the party starts.
Sample Cocktail Party Menu
- Spicy Tuna Avocado Cucumber Bites with Pickled Ginger – tuna seared ahead of time; cucumber rounds cut ahead of time; sauces made ahead of time; assembly done last minute
- Roasted Shrimp Cocktail – shrimp roasted ahead of time; sauce made ahead of time
- Thai Chicken Skewers with Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce – chicken marinated the night before; sauce made ahead of time; grilled on panini press last minute
- Thai Beef Satay with Peanut Sauce – chicken marinated the night before; sauce made ahead of time and reheated; grilled on panini press last minute
- Endive Stuffed with Old Bay Crab Salad – endive separated into leaves ahead of time and kept refrigerated in container using paper towels between layers; crab salad made ahead of time; assembled right before guests arrived; replenished throughout party
- Prosciutto Wrapped Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates with Balsamic Vinegar Glaze – assembled ahead of time and refrigerated; removed from refrigerator 1/2 hour before guests arrived
- A snack tray with veggies, assorted nuts, cheese cubes, and other little nibbles
Take a look around and let me know if you try any of these recipes. I know I’ll be referring to it through the New Year.
Finger Food Appetizers
- Spicy Tuna Wonton Cups, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
- Easy Asian Salmon Cucumber Appetizers, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
Stuffed and Skewered Appetizers
- Marinated Mozzarella Balls, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
Bean Dips and Hummus
Pictured top to bottom, left to right: Hummus Dip with Kalamata Olives and Capers (Jeanette’s Healthy Living), Fresh Basil Hummus (The View From Great Island), Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (A Cedar Spoon)
- Smoky Sun-Dried Tomato Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
Salsas, Spreads and More Dips
- Cranberry Apple Chutney Pecan Brie Appetizer, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
- Cranberry Pistachio Mint Goat Cheese Appetizer, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
- Crab Avocado Tomato Basil Appetizer with Wasabi Soy Dressing, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
- Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
- Healthy Roasted Garlic and Chive Cottage Cheese Crema, An Edible Mosaic
What are your favorite healthy holiday appetizers? Do you have any cocktail party menu planning tips you’d like to share?
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