4 Healthy Appetisers 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 appetisers.
Appetisers 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 appetisers might seem like the most efficient route, there are so many options out there for homemade, healthy appetisers.
Below, you'll see a few recipes that can be made with just a handful of ingredients. Warning: You may fill up on these appetisers before dinner is served.
4 Healthy Appetisers 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 fibre, protein and glucosinolates—the chemical compounds currently being researched for their role as anticarcinogenic (preventing or delaying cancer development) compounds.
Enjoy this nutrient-rich appetiser by itself or alongside your favourite 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 230℃ and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- Bring water in a pot to a boil. Add 4 cups of brussels sprouts and boil for 8–10 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 tray 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.Beetroot Balsamic Dip
Dinner guests are sure to flock to the appetiser table with this colourful dip. In addition to having a pop of colour, this dish is packed with energising and immune-boosting ingredients. According to the Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, beetroot is a rich source of powerful phytonutrients (naturally occurring chemical compounds in plants). One of the phytonutrients in beetroot, known as betanin, might reduce the risk of some cancers, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, and liver and kidney damage.
For athletes, beetroot 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 favourite cracker and dive into this nutrient-rich dip.
- 4 beetroots
- 1 brown onion (sliced)
- 12 cloves of garlic
- Balsamic vinegar
- Parsley (for garnish)
- Preheat the oven to 204°C. Cut a large piece of foil or greaseproof paper.
- In the centre of the foil or greaseproof paper, place the beetroot, sliced brown onion and peeled garlic cloves and season with ¼ teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons oil. Wrap tightly and transfer to a baking tray. Bake for 40–45 minutes or until the beetroot is tender. Let cool slightly.
- Transfer the cooked beetroot, onions, garlic and all the juices to a blender along with ½ cup water, 1½ tablespoons balsamic 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 flavour to the chicken and adds a bit of fibre 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 adds a colourful and flavourful punch to chicken nuggets.
A tahini-based dip or plant-based ranch dressing will pair well with these nuggets while keeping the appetiser free of dairy.
- 450g of chicken breast (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 176°C.
- In a large bowl, combine the coconut flour, turmeric powder, sea salt and black pepper.
- In a separate bowl, toss the 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 greaseproof-paper-lined baking tray for 15–20 minutes.
- Serve the chicken nuggets with your favourite 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 sure-fire 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 fibre, 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 appetiser 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 tablespoons 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 232°C. Line a baking tray with foil and grease with 1 tablespoon coconut oil.
- In a bowl, whisk together the 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 tray. Repeat until all florets are coated. Bake for 20–25 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 tray and continue baking for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
Words by Sydney Greene, MS, RDN.