Here are five easy appetizer recipes that I love to serve guests, each incorporating high-vibrational foods or ingredients you can savor and feel good about enjoying. Use organic ingredients whenever possible. Prepare, serve, and celebrate – Mangiare!
Nutty, Herbaceous Olive Oil Dip
(Makes 1 cup; serves 8-12 people.)
Look no further for a cold party dip. With a total prep time of just 10-15 minutes, this easy appetizer takes the edge off hunger with my favorite healthy fat – olive oil – infused with a high-vibrational burst of flavor. Herbaceous, with a hint of tang from the capers, this dip also surprises with a delicious essence of holiday juniper and spice from the fresh pepper. It’s a healthy and flavor-rich addition to any New Years’ spread.
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 cup of oregano or rosemary flavored olive oil
- 3 teaspoons of olive oil dipping blend spices
- 2 to Tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Sea salt, to taste.
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil (have more set aside to add, as needed)
- ¼ cup toasted almonds, chopped
- 3 cups sliced veggies (broccoli, carrots, peppers, celery, tomatoes, cukes, etc.) or lentil chips for dipping – the veggies can be raw or very lightly steamed.
Alternate ingredients: substitute extra virgin olive oil for flavored olive oil and add 1-2 tsp of fresh or dried oregano, rosemary and/or thyme.
- Preheat oven to 400℉.
- Spread ¼ cup almonds onto a baking sheet or pan, and toast in the oven until almonds are fragrant (about 5 minutes).
- If cooking the veggies, steam them in a pan with 1/2 to 1 inch of water until barely steamed – al dente.
- While almonds are toasting, finely mince the garlic.
- Grate the Parmesan cheese, if not already grated.
- When the almonds are finished toasting, remove from the oven and finely chop.
- Mix the desired olive oils together in a bowl, to taste.
- Place garlic into a bowl along with the dried herbs and spices and grated Parmesan cheese.
- Season the mixture with the salt and pepper.
- Use a spoon or a pestle to mash the mixture together and release all the flavors.
- Make one or two mounds of the garlic-herb mixture on a rimmed plate.
- Drizzle the olive oil over each mixture then sprinkle crushed toasted almonds on top.
- Serve with raw or steamed vegetables or lentil chips to dip with.
Zesty Oregano & Orange Marinated Veggies
(Makes about 3 cups; serves 6 people)
With a total prep time of just 15 minutes, this vibrant cold appetizer recipe is a delicious way to serve healthy vegetables that will have guests returning for seconds. With just a hint of zest from the orange and slight essence of licorice from the fennel bulb, this is the perfect mix of holiday flavors and colors.
- 1⅓ cups halved frozen or jarred artichoke hearts (in water – not marinated)
- 1⅓ cups sliced red bell pepper
- 1⅓ cups sliced fennel bulb
- 1/2 cup cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 strips fresh orange zest
- 2 sprigs fresh oregano
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
(15 minutes of preparation; ready in two hours and 15 minutes total)
- Bring a small pot of water to boil. Cook the artichoke hearts, bell pepper and fennel in the pot until they are crisp (yet tender) for 30 seconds to one minute.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the artichoke hearts, bell pepper and fennel to a bowl of ice water to cool.
- Drain the artichokes, peppers and fennel, pat them dry and transfer to a medium bowl.
- Whisk oil, vinegar, orange zest, oregano, salt and pepper together in a small bowl.
- Pour the marinade over the vegetables, stirring to coat.
- Cover and refrigerate the mixture, stirring every 20 minutes or so, for at least two hours.
NOTE: If you make this party appetizer ahead, you can marinate the vegetables for up to five days.
Honey and Walnut-Topped Endive
With its heart-healthy walnut and fresh endive, this easy party snack is a fresh favorite of mine. The walnuts and raw honey are especially high vibrational, and they complement one another. Honey lends a hint of sweetness to the well-paired endive with goat cheese duo. This healthy appetizer is also a cinch to make.
- 2 heads of endive
- 8 oz soft goat cheese
- 3 Tbsp walnuts, chopped
- Raw honey
- Gently wash and separate the endive leaves from the head.
- Arrange large, outer endive leaves on a serving platter.
- Spoon a just a teaspoon (or a Tablespoon, depending on the size of the leaf) of goat cheese onto each leaf, and spread the cheese evenly with one or two swipes across the length of the leaf.
- Top the cheese with the chopped walnuts, drizzle with the honey and serve.
Spicy Bison Meatballs
(Makes 20-25 meatballs)
One of the most nutritious and lean red meats available, bison makes a delicious, hearty meatball. I love this sauce, which combines marinara (my favorite sauce of all time) with some other classic favorite flavors (including a dash of honey). It’s simply a more delicious and health-conscious way to do meatballs, and these are a crowd favorite if you’re looking for an appetizer for a party that’s sure to satiate.
- 1lb grass-fed ground bison
- 1 egg
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs, or for a gluten-free option, use rolled oats (finely ground in the blender)
- 2 Tbsp of fresh parsley
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp ground or fresh chopped basil
- 1-2 jars marinara sauce
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped yellow onion
- 1 tsp Honey
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- In a large bowl, blend the ground bison, egg, chopped onion, chopped parsley, bread crumbs (or oats), freshly ground pepper, sea salt and basil
- Use your hands or a heavy-duty spoon to mix all of the ingredients well. Add water, as needed, until you reach the right consistency.
- Form the meat mixture into one-inch balls and place them on an oiled cookie tray, leaving some space between the meatballs on all sides.
- Bake the meatballs in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Heat the marinara sauce in a saucepan and add the meatballs when done.
That’s right – full of heart-healthy fats and proteins, nuts are the king of healthy finger foods! Processed nuts are often heavily salted, so choose unsalted nuts when you can, if helping yourself to more than a small handful.
And because “mixed nuts” isn’t much of a recipe, I’ve included the recipe below – another easy party appetizer we love in my family. Yes, it’s an indulgence and not all that high vibrational, but as party comfort food nibbled in moderation during the holidays, it’s okay.
Warm Pear & Brie Crostini
(Makes 12 crostinis)
Sweet, savory and delectable, this dish combines the cozy flavor of warm pear with the freshness of chopped greens and ground pepper. An easy party snack, this decadent appetizer adds just the right amount of richness to an otherwise “light bite.”
- 12 diagonal slices whole-grain baguette (½ inch thick)
- 4 Tablespoons extra virgin or blood orange flavored olive oil
- 12 slices Brie cheese (¼-inch; about 3 ounces)
- 2 ripe (but still relatively firm) pears
- 1 cup watercress or arugula, finely chopped
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- While oven preheats, thinly slice the baguette into 12 pieces.
- Coat both sides of each crostini with a light brushing of olive oil and arrange on a
- Bake the crostinis for 6 minutes, then turn them over and bake them for an additional
- Remove the crostinis from the oven and top each crostini with a slice of Brie. Bake for two more minutes, or just until the Brie is melted.
- Slice the pears into 24 thin slices.
- Top each crostini with 2 pear slices, then top with the chopped greens.
- Add a generous dash of freshly ground pepper and serve.
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