These appetizers will be the stars of your next holiday party. Each recipe is delicious, healthy and easy to make. They all make six servings, but you may want to double them. They’ll go fast!
Serve these three dips in separate bowls placed together on a large platter or tray. Arrange crudités or baked chips on the side.
1 pound smoked fish (any type of white smoked fish)
½ cup sweet pickle relish
½ cup prepared horseradish
½ cup diced onion
½ teaspoon lime juice
½ teaspoon hot sauce
½ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
Add all the ingredients to a food processor, and pulse until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl, taste and add more hot sauce if needed.
White Bean Dip
Make this recipe even easier by chopping the onion and parsley first in the food processor. Remove and measure, then continue with the recipe.
1 15.5-ounce can of reduced-sodium navy or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tablespoons diced red onion
1 crushed garlic clove
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus several leaves for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Add all the ingredients except the salt, pepper and garnish to a food processor, and pulse until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed.
Transfer to a bowl, and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Place the reserved parsley leaves on top.
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
¼ cup sliced red onion
1 garlic clove, whole, skin removed
17¼-ounce jar/can roasted red peppers, drained (about 1 cup)
½ cup reduced-sodium chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 Tablespoon tahini paste
½ Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
¼ cup nonfat ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the broiler. Line a baking tray with foil. Place the onion and garlic on tray, making sure that the onion slices are in one layer. Broil for five minutes. Remove the baking tray from broiler, and turn the onions and garlic over. Broil for five more minutes. Drain the roasted red peppers, and squeeze any excess liquid from them. Place them in a food processor with the onion, garlic, chickpeas, tahini, balsamic vinegar and ricotta cheese. Pulse until smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor when needed. Transfer to a serving bowl. Add the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
Mini Caprese Kabobs
For added color, use both red and yellow cherry or grape tomatoes. Balsamic vinegar glaze is available in most markets.
24 cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and dried
12 large, decorative toothpicks or mini skewers
1 bunch fresh basil, 24 leaves needed
24 mini fresh mozzarella balls or fresh mozzarella cut to about the same size as the tomatoes
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar glaze
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place a tomato on a skewer, followed by a basil leaf and then a mozzarella ball. Repeat once on the same skewer. Then repeat this process on the remaining skewers, placing each on a baking sheet as you finish it. Drizzle the assembled skewers with olive oil and balsamic glaze and salt and pepper to taste, then place on a serving platter. These can be made several hours ahead.
Spicy Sweet Mixed Nuts
These nuts will keep for five to six days in an airtight container at room temperature. They also make a memorable homemade gift.
1 cup each of unsalted cashews, pecan halves and almonds
½ cup unsalted walnut halves
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
¼ cup olive oil
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Spread the nuts on the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for five minutes. Remove the nuts from the oven, stir them, then return them to the oven for five more minutes. Meanwhile, mix the cumin, cayenne pepper, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the olive oil, and mix well. Add the roasted nuts to the mixture, and toss to make sure all the nuts are coated. Cool and store in an airtight container.
Citrus-Kissed Shrimp with Sweet and Savory Dipping Sauces
This is a foolproof method for cooking plump and juicy shrimp that takes less than five minutes. They can be made a day ahead and refrigerated.
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tablespoon lemon or lime juice
Rinse the shrimp, and place them in a pot of water along with the lemon or lime juice, making sure that the water covers the shrimp. Bring to a simmer. When bubbles start to appear around the edge of the pot and the water starts to turn white, take the pot off the heat and let it sit, uncovered, for one minute. Then drain the shrimp, and place them in a bowl of ice water for one to two minutes, then drain again.
Sweet and Savory Dipping Sauces
These sauces are a great alternative to the usual cocktail sauce. For each recipe, add all the ingredients to a serving bowl and mix well. Serve one or both with the shrimp.
1 cup fruit juice–sweetened orange marmalade
¼ cup prepared horseradish
Grainy Mustard and Honey Dip…
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup low-fat sour cream
½ cup grainy mustard
⅓ cup honey
2 teaspoons lime juice
Endive Spears with Roasted Sweet Potato and Tahini
You can make the sweet potato mixture and refrigerate it for up to three days. You can fill the endive spears and let them sit at room temperature for up to two hours before serving.
2 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes (about ½-inch cubes)
2 medium-sized whole garlic cloves, skin removed
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
12 large endive spears (you’ll need about three large endives)
2 Tablespoons tahini
¼ cup olive oil, divided use
2 Tablespoons water
¼ cup sliced scallions
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Add the potatoes, garlic, and salt and pepper to a bowl, and toss well. Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Remove, and let them cool to room temperature. While the potatoes cool, separate the endive spears, being careful not to tear them. Rinse, pat dry and place them on a serving platter.
Add the tahini to a food processor along with the potatoes and garlic. Pulse the processor to combine the ingredients, then coarsely chop the mixture. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and stir in the olive oil, water and scallions. Add more salt and pepper to taste if needed. Spoon the mixture into the wide ends of the endive spears. Option: Sprinkle red pepper flakes on top if you like an extra kick.