100+ Healthy Holiday Appetizer Recipes + Cocktail Party Menu Planning Tips

by Jeanette

I have to admit that appetizers are my favorite part of the meal, whether we’re eating at a restaurant or going to a holiday party. I just love being able to taste little bites of this and that. In fact, I’d rather eat a bunch of appetizers than eat a whole meal. The only problem with appetizers during the holiday season is that they’re often very rich, so the calories and fat start adding up quickly.

So, to help with holiday menu planning, whether you’re throwing a holiday party or just entertaining your own family, I’ve put together an enormous list of healthier, light holiday appetizers. I’ve categorized this huge list into Nibbles, Finger Foods, Skewered and Stuffed Appetizers, Bean Dips and Hummus, and Salsas and More to make it easier  to pick and choose your favorites.

Cocktail Party Menu Planning Tips

How Much Food To Make For A Cocktail Party

I’m always worried I won’t have enough food, so here are a couple of tips for how much food to make for a cocktail party:

  • Make 5-6 different appetizers
  • Choose 3-4 appetizers that can be made ahead of time and either served cold, room temperature, can be easily reheated or assembled last minute
  • Include a few dips or a cheese platter that can be placed out as soon as guests arrive while you attend to last minute details
  • Count on 8-10 bites per person (e.g., For a party of 10, that means 80-100 bites total. So, if you’re making 5 appetizers, make 16-20 pieces of each appetizer, erring on the side of more rather than less
  • Put out a few bowls of nuts and nibbles (Trader Joe’s has a nice assortment of spiced nuts if you don’t want to make your own)

Tips For Organizing A Cocktail Party

  • Write down the menu and print out the recipes
  • Test all the recipes ahead of time (my family loved eating appetizers for dinner as I was testing out recipes for our cocktail party)
  • Jot down any garnishes you want to include with the appetizers (e.g., lemon slices for Roasted Shrimp Cocktail platter, banana leaves to line the platter for Thai Chicken Skewers, chopped chives and red bell peppers for Endive Stuffed with Old Bay Crab Salad)
  • Make a shopping list and shop a few days before the event (you will almost always have last minute items to pick up, but try to get most of the shopping out of the way earlier)
  • Take out serving platters the day before
  • Write down a schedule of what needs to be done the day before and the day of the party, and anything that needs to be done right before the party.  I’m a little anal, so I even write down what needs to be done hour by hour the day of the party, backing up from the time the party starts.

Sample Cocktail Party Menu

Take a look around and let me know if you try any of these recipes. I know I’ll be referring to it through the New Year.


Pictured left to right, top to bottom: Honey Mustard Roasted Cashews (The Law Student’s Wife), Warm Rosemary Olives (The Kitchen is my Playground), Falafel-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas (An Edible Mosaic)

Finger Foods

Pictured left to right, top to bottom: Spicy Tuna Bites (Food Faith Fitness), Caprese Bites (Cooking On The Front Burners), Coconut Shrimp with Thai Chili Ginger Sauce (Joyful Healthy Eats)

  1. Easy Asian Salmon Cucumber Appetizers, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
  2. Spicy Tuna Avocado Cucumber Appetizers with Pickled Ginger, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
  3. Spicy Ahi Tuna Avocado Tartare Bites, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
  4. Roasted Old Bay Shrimp, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
  5. Roasted Shrimp Cocktail, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
  6. The Best Spanish Garlic Shrimp, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
  7. Red Curry Meatballs with Vietnamese Dipping Sauce, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
  8. Za’atar Meatballs, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
  9. Assorted Tartines, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
  10. Pink Salmon Quinoa Patties, The Bitter Side of Sweet
  11. Spicy Tuna Bites, Food Faith Fitness
  12. Zucchini, Tapenade & Feta Bites, Cook The Story
  13. Crispy Millet Pancakes with Smoked Salmon, Cook The Story
  14. Garlicky Red Quinoa Patties with Mango Black Bean Salsa, An Edible Mosaic
  15. Spinach and Feta Quinoa Bites, Aggie’s Kitchen
  16. Red Lentil Patties with Spicy Tomato Jam, Crumb
  17. Coconut Shrimp with Thai Chili Ginger Sauce, Joyful Healthy Eats
  18. Caprese Bites, Cooking On The Front Burners
  19. Spicy Barbecue Beer Shrimp, American Heritage Cooking
  20. Crab Puffs, Seasonal and Savory
  21. Southwestern Sweet Potato Rounds, A Cedar Spoon
  22. Roasted Cauliflower Bruschetta, The Law Student’s Wife
  23. Sweet Potato Bites, The Law Student’s Wife
  24. Mini Caprese Polenta Pizzas, Cupcakes and Kale Chips
  25. Butternut Squash Pomegranate Goat Cheese Crostini, Cupcakes and Kale Chips
  26. Easy Grilled Polenta with Fresh Mozzarella and Balsamic Tomatoes, Two Healthy Kitchens (with indoor broiler option)
  27. Mini Hummus & Roasted Pepper Phyllo Bites, Cookin’ Canuck
  28. Skinny Pesto Pizza Crostini, Cookin’ Canuck
  29. Skinny Coconut Shrimp, Skinnytaste
  30. Shrimp Salad on Cucumber Slices, Skinnytaste

Stuffed and Skewered

Pictured left to right, top to bottom: Greek Salad Skewers (Karen’s Kitchen Stories), Mediterranean Stuffed Mushrooms (Aggie’s Kitchen), Party Animals (The View From Great Island)

Bean Dips and Hummus

Pictured top to bottom, left to right: Hummus Dip with Kalamata Olives and Capers (Jeanette’s Healthy Living), Fresh Basil Hummus (The View From Great Island), Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (A Cedar Spoon)

Salsas and More Dips

Pictured top to bottom, left to right: Black Bean, Pomegranate and Avocado Salsa (Two Peas and Their Pod), Smoked Salmon Dip (An Edible Mosaic), Cowboy Caviar (From Valerie’s Kitchen)

  1. Cranberry Apple Chutney Pecan Brie Appetizer, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
  2. Cranberry Pistachio Mint Goat Cheese Appetizer, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
  3. Crab Avocado Tomato Basil Appetizer with Wasabi Soy Dressing Jeanette’s Healthy Living
  4. Skinny Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
  5. Warm Artichoke and Hearts of Palm Dip, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
  6. Greek Feta Yogurt Dip, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
  7. Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
  8. A Healthier Crab Dip, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
  9. Black Bean, Pomegranate and Avocado Salsa, Two Peas and Their Pod
  10. Creamy Avocado Yogurt Dip, Two Peas and Their Pod
  11. Goat Cheese Spread with Roasted Tomatoes, The Creekside Cook
  12. Tomato, Garlic and Basil Bruschetta, Karen’s Kitchen Stories
  13. Harvest Sweet Potato Salsa, Farm Fresh Feasts
  14. Butter Chicken Dip & Homemade Naan Bread, Food Faith Fitness
  15. Smoked Salmon Dip, An Edible Mosaic
  16. Healthy Roasted Garlic and Chive Cottage Cheese Crema, An Edible Mosaic
  17. Festive Greek Dip, Neighborhood Food
  18. Corn, Edamame and Quinoa Dip, Two Healthy Kitchens
  19. Black Eye Pea and Three Pepper Salsa, The Domestic Front
  20. Creamy Roasted Corn Avocado Dip, Petite Allergy Treats
  21. Homemade French Onion Dip, Crumb
  22. Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip, Seasonal and Savory
  23. Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Dip, Tasty Yummies
  24. Creamy Dill Greek Yogurt Dip, A Cedar Spoon
  25. Guilt-Free Jalapeno Artichoke Dip, Dizzy Busy and Hungry
  26. Cowboy Caviar, From Valerie’s Kitchen
  27. Roasted Garlic Chive Dip, Dinners Dishes and Desserts
  28. Skinny Avocado Dip, Yummy Healthy Easy

What are your favorite healthy holiday appetizers? Do you have any cocktail party menu planning tips you’d like to share?

Source: http://jeanetteshealthyliving.com/healthy-holiday-appetizer-recipes/