4 Healthy Appetizers for Your Next Dinner Party, According to a Registered Dietitian
Next time you’re hosting a dinner party, consider whipping up one of these scrumptious, nutrient-dense appetizers.
Appetizers can be one of the best parts of a gathering with friends, family, or colleagues — and they lend the opportunity to sample several types of dishes. And while heating up a tray of frozen, premade apps might seem like the most efficient route, there are so many options out there for homemade, healthy appetizers.
Below, you’ll see a few recipes that can be made with just a handful of ingredients. Warning: You may fill up on these appetizers before dinner is served.
4 Healthy Appetizers To Make at Home
1.Smashed Parmesan Brussels Sprouts
Whether you love vegetables or have a hard time getting enough of them on your plate, this brussels sprouts recipe is sure to please. It’s made with six ingredients and ready in less than 20 minutes. One cup of brussels sprouts provides more than 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C for adult women and 86 percent of the RDA for adult men. They’re also a good source of fiber, protein, and glucosinolates — the chemical compounds currently being researched for their role as anticarcinogenic (preventing or delaying cancer development) compounds.
Enjoy this nutrient-rich appetizer by itself or enjoy it alongside your favorite dip.
- 4 cups of brussels sprouts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 450℉ (230℃) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Bring water in a pot to a boil. Add 4 cups of brussels sprouts and boil for eight to 10 minutes. Drain the water.
- In a bowl, toss together the brussels sprouts, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and red pepper flakes.
- Transfer the sprouts to the baking sheet and use a measuring cup to smash down the sprouts until lightly crushed. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and bake for 10 minutes. Serve immediately and enjoy.
2.Beet Balsamic Dip
Dinner guests are sure to flock to the appetizer table with this colorful dip. In addition to having a pop of color, this dish is packed with energizing and immune-boosting ingredients. According to the Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, beets are a rich source of powerful phytonutrients (naturally occurring chemical compounds in plants). One of the phytonutrients in beets, known as betanin, might reduce the risk of some cancers, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, and liver and kidney damage.
For athletes, beets may also help with performance due to its nitrite content, which converts to nitric oxide during digestion and absorption and can help increase blood circulation. In part, this allows oxygen-rich blood to be delivered to working muscle groups so that they don’t fatigue too early. Also packed with garlic, this dip may help support the immune system, so grab your favorite cracker and dive into this nutrient-rich dip.
- 4 beets
- 1 yellow onion (sliced)
- 12 cloves of garlic
- Balsamic vinegar
- Parsley (for garnish)
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF (204ºC). Cut a large piece of foil or parchment paper.
- In the center of the foil or parchment, place beets, sliced yellow onion and peeled garlic cloves and season with ¼ teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons oil. Wrap tightly and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the beets are tender. Let cool slightly.
- Transfer the cooked beets, onions, garlic and all the juices to a blender along with ½ cup water, balsamic 1 ½ tablespoons vinegar, ¼ teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons oil. Blend until smooth and silky.
- Serve chilled and garnish with parsley, if using.
3.Coconut Turmeric Chicken Nuggets
Ready in under 30 minutes, this gluten- and dairy-free recipe is not only simple to make, but it’s also one that many dinner guests can eat — even with dietary restrictions. The coconut flour gives extra flavor to the chicken and adds a bit of fiber to the dish. Turmeric is known for its wide range of health benefits such as fighting inflammation, protecting the health of the brain and heart, and its potential as an anti-cancer agent, and it packs a colorful and flavorful punch to chicken nuggets.
A tahini-based dip or plant-based ranch will pair well with these nuggets while keeping the appetizer free of dairy.
- 1 pound of chicken breasts (cubed)
- 1 cup coconut flour
- 2 tablespoons turmeric powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- Dipping sauce (your choice)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (176ºC).
- In a large bowl, combine coconut flour, turmeric powder, sea salt and black pepper.
- In a separate bowl, toss cubed chicken breasts in avocado oil until evenly distributed. Pour the flour mixture over the chicken and toss until the chicken is coated.
- Bake on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet for 15-20 minutes.
- Serve the chicken nuggets with your favorite dipping sauce.
4.Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
This recipe requires a bit more effort, but it’s worth the extra time in the kitchen. Whether you are actively following a plant-based diet or looking for a way to add more vegetables to your eating pattern, this dish is a surefire way to satisfy even the most devout meat eaters.
Cauliflower has received much attention in the health world as a way to replace traditional carbohydrates, like rice or pizza dough, but this cruciferous vegetable is so much more than a starch replacement. One large head of cauliflower provides roughly 30 percent of the recommended daily intake of magnesium for adult men and 39 percent of the recommended daily intake of magnesium for women, and more than 400 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C for both adult men and women. One large head of cauliflower is also a significant source of protein and fiber, which is important for keeping you feeling full and supporting digestion.
As long as certified gluten-free oat flour and bread crumbs are used, this healthy appetizer is appropriate for those following a gluten-free diet as well as vegetarians and vegans (assuming the hot sauce is void of dairy).
- 1 head of cauliflower, chopped
- 2 tablespoona coconut oil.
- 1 cup oat flour
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- ½ cup hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 450ºF (232ºC). Line a baking sheet with foil and grease with 1 tablespoon coconut oil.
- In a bowl, whisk together oat flour, unsweetened almond milk, salt, and garlic powder to make the batter.
- Place 1 cup of breadcrumbs in a separate bowl.
- Coat the cauliflower florets in the batter one at a time, letting any excess drip off. Transfer to the breadcrumbs and coat completely, then place coated florets onto the foil-lined baking sheet. Repeat until all florets are coated. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until crispy and slightly golden.
- Meanwhile, in a microwave-safe bowl, add hot sauce, maple syrup, and 1 tablespoon coconut oil and microwave for 20 seconds, or until the coconut oil has melted.
- Gently toss the cauliflower in the sauce then return to the baking sheet and continue baking for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
Words by Sydney Greene, M.S., R.D.N.