It’s here. That crazy, chaotic, joy-filled season we call “the holidays” has not only arrived, it’s in full swing. And even the Scrooges among us are waxing a tad nostalgic about brisk morning walks, cozy firelit evenings, pine-scented candles, and oooh, the food. If you’re anything like us, you’re already salivating at the thought of buttery crusts, decadent sauces, sweet creamy fillings, and warm, winter spices. We’re floating on a sugar high just thinking about it.
One thing we’re not embracing, though, is the day-after heaviness, lethargy, and general malaise that typically accompanies all those excess, empty calories. Lucky for us, we’ve stumbled upon a way to indulge our holiday food cravings without having to suffer the consequences. Our favorite home chefs and bloggers have turned us on to some seriously delicious and healthy appetizers for holiday parties that are sure to charm even the pickiest eaters. It seems the secret to creating dips, spreads and small bites that are as yummy as they are good for you is to make veggies (and more specifically, probiotic-rich, fermented veggies) the star ingredient. We’re talking about tangy, crunchy krauts, kimchis, salsas, and slaws. With a well-stocked pantry and a little culinary ingenuity, you can entertain every night of the week and still feel great. Give the gut-healthy recipes below a try and join us in saying “Hello holidays; goodbye guilt!”
These are not your grandma’s deviled eggs. The addition of spicy kimchi ratchets up the heat and elevates this classic picnic food to a whole new level. Every bite screams Korean peppers, sea veggies, and ginger. Absolutely irresistible any time of the year.
Regardless of where you hail from, you’ll love this classic German beer garden fare. For a healthier bite, substitute grated potato for the sausage and wildCREAMERY plant-based dairy alternatives for the cream cheese and sour cream. And then, of course, bake – don’t fry. The end result will be every bit as scrumptious and so much more nutritious. But don’t take our word for it. Set out a platter of these golden-brown fritters and see for yourself how fast they disappear.
Festive and colorful, this chunky green dip with diced red peppers is a real crowd pleaser. Nothing says “Let’s party” more than fresh avocado combined with the fire-roasted flavors of Salsa Verde. Serve it up with oven-toasted tortilla chips at your next company mixer or pair it with a basket of chips and steaming bowl of Albondigas (Mexican meatball) soup for a cozy dinner in. Either way, it’s a winner.
The kid in you is going to love this cold-weather treat served sizzling hot straight from the cast iron skillet it’s baked in. No one can resist golden brown waffle fries smothered in bacon, freshly diced veggies, ooey-gooey melted cheese, chunky salsa, and generous dollops of sour cream. The best part is that with a few alterations, this fam-favorite can be as nutritious as it is delicious. First, cut back on the bacon, adding in pinto or black beans instead. Then, visit wildbrine.com to choose a veggie-packed, probiotic-rich fermented salsa and dairy-free sour cream alternative. We recommend the Salsa Rojo, a mix of crunchy cabbage, ripe tomatoes, red peppers, and Anaheim chiles that’s out of this world. It’s proof positive that you don’t have to sacrifice taste for nutrition.
Packed with protein, a bowl of thick, creamy hummus is always a safe choice for a healthy snack. However, healthy appetizers for holiday parties don’t have to be lackluster. If you want more – more flavor, more texture, more everything, then try this super-easy hummus recipe. The secret ingredient is Japanese-style Kimchi. One bite, and its array of distinctive flavors will literally be dancing across your tongue: umami-rich miso, tangy daikon, hot horseradish, and last, but not least, a splash of citrus. If your guests don’t tell you how incredible this dip is, the empty bowl at the end of the night will do it for them.
For most of us, holiday eating is more of a marathon than a sprint. So, treat your taste buds and your gut right this season by trying the five healthy appetizers for holiday parties recommended above. We guarantee you’ll love ‘em. And the best part is you’ll be giving yourself a little well-earned wiggle room to indulge in one of those sugary, buttery, fudgy holiday desserts you’ve been dreaming about all year long.