Here are five easy appetizer recipes that I love to serve friends and family – each incorporates high-vibrational foods or seasonings you can feel good about enjoying and sharing. Use organic ingredients whenever possible. Mangiare!
Zesty Olive Oil Veggie Dip
(Makes 1 cup; serves 8-12 people.)
Look no further for a simple 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 burst of flavor. With a colorful array of veggies, this high vibrational dip is a healthy and flavor-rich addition to any New Years’ spread.
- 1 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
- 3 to 5 teaspoons of Italian Seasoning & Dipping Spices
- Optional – 1 to 2 Tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 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 garlic flavored olive oil, in whole or in part, for extra virgin olive oil for a kick of garlic gusto.
- If steaming the veggies, cook them in a pan with 1/2 to 1 inch of water until barely steamed – al dente. Run under cold water to preserve crispness, then set drain and aside.
- Fill your dipping bowl with 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, alone or mixed with garlic flavored olive oil.
- To the olive oil, add Olive Oil Dipping Blend until you reach desired zest.
- If using cheese, grate the Parmesan (if necessary) and add to oil mixture
- Serve on a platter surrounded by raw or steamed vegetables or lentil chips for dipping.
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 people 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, leaves only
- ½ tsp freshly ground Savory Salt Blend
- ¼ tsp freshly ground Pepper & Juniper Blend
(15 minutes of preparation; ready in two hours and 15 minutes total)
- Bring a small pot of water to boil. Cook the bell pepper, fennel and artichoke hearts (if frozen) 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.
Honey and Walnut-Topped Endive
With its heart-healthy walnut and fresh endive, this easy party snack is a fresh favorite of mine. Raw 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. It’s simply a more delicious and health-conscious way to do meatballs. These are always a crowd-pleaser in my home.
- 1lb ground bison (or grass fed ground beef)
- 1 egg
- 1 small 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 Pepper & Juniper Blend
- 1/4 tsp Savory Salt Blend
- 2 tsp ground herbs and spices – basil and rosemary are nice; I like Italian Seasoning & Dipping Blend for a zesty kick of garlic and chili peppers
- 1-2 jars Organic Marinara Sauce
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- In a large bowl, blend the ground bison, egg, chopped onion, chopped parsley, bread crumbs (or oats), freshly ground pepper, sea salt and herbs
- 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 indulgenc, 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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