Healthy Appetizer Recipes & Ideas

We rock these healthy appetizer recipes for our happy hours any day of the week. Grab a favorite beverage or cocktail, turn on the tunes and gather round for some good eats, great conversation and your dearest company. Happy hour indeed, any time!

The following healthy appetizer recipes are gluten free recipes too!


Warm White Bean & Artichoke Dip

This little healthy appetizer recipe is a re-work of the over-the-top artichoke dip we fell in love with long ago. One can of artichokes works plenty fine, just add more beans...heck, use all beans for a great warm bean dip too, I'm just a sucker for artichokes. Pinto, navy, cannellini and even garbanzo beans work too -- though garbanzos are better when using no artichokes as they tend to squelch the artichokes' flavor. 
~ Mavenjoy Tip: This method of whipping or pureeing the beans does the trick for all kinds of recipes where you want to add creaminess and texture without adding a lot of fat -- and it works great for soups, spreads and schmears too! ~


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Warm White Bean & Artichoke Dip

Mavenjoy Tip
Using a microplane grater gives a lot of taste without using a lot of cheese -- try it! 

Ingredients
1/3 cup plain organic yogurt or light sour cream 
1/4 cup organic light mayonnaise 
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 14 oz. cans of artichoke hearts, drained and divided (see note above)
1 15 oz. can organic Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained 
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons grated fresh organic Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese* 
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Preparation 
Preheat oven to 400.
Rough chop 1 can of artichokes and set a aside. Combine remaining artichokes and first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Using a handheld immersion blender, pulse bean mixture to a creamy consistency. Stir in chopped artichokes and 1/2 cup cheese. Spoon mixture into 9-inch pie dish.
Top with remaining cheese and parsley. Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Serve warm or at room temperature. 
Adapted from Cooking Light


Guacamole

One of my absolute favorite healthy appetizer recipes -- so rich and packed with the heart healthy fat and vitamins of the avocado and nothing but real fresh food ingredients. And this is the only guacamole you'll ever need or want again from one of the best cookbooks to use religiously: The Barbecue! Bible! It's as much an expansive travelogue as it is cookbook; each recipe packs a culinary, sociological, cultural and geography lesson that's as informative and intriguing as it is delicious. 


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Guacamole, Oaxacan-Style

Mavenjoy Tip
A mini food processor provides just the right size and ease for mixing up a quick batch. 

Ingredients
1/4 cup chopped onion (a very scant 1/4 cup, erring with less is best)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, minced
1-3 organic jalapeños, chopped
2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh organic cilantro
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation
Combine onions, garlic, and jalapeños in food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the avocados and process until good and creamy but leaving a few lumps for texture. Add lime juice, cilantro and salt and pulse until just combined. Taste for seasoning, adding more lime juice or salt as needed. Best served immediately or after chilling 1-2 hours.
(Cover if refrigerating for later -- the vibrant green color will fade a bit on top, so just stir before serving.)
Adapted from The Barbecue Bible


Summer Salsa

Yummy fresh salsa that gets better the longer it sits. Great with chips and such, but
equally fantastic on meat, fish and as a colorful topper to Cinnamon Black Beans too.
The quintessential healthy dip recipe -- fresh, bursting with flavor and antioxidants.


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Summer Salsa

Ingredients
1 cup of quartered and halved organic grape tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped organic cucumber (peeled and seeded)
2/3 cup chopped mango
1 tablespoon finely shopped onion
1-2 small organic jalapenos, seeded and chopped
Juice from 1/2 fresh orange
Juice from 1/2 fresh lime
1/4 teaspoon pure sea salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh organic cilantro (optional) 

Preparation 
Combine all ingredients. Salsa gets more flavorful and juicy after refrigerating several hours and up to 1-2 days.


Roasted Babaganoush

Roasting an eggplant whole is super simple and really highlights the rich almost smoky flavor that gets sealed in for a juicy, creamy pulp that is perfect for this white babaganoush. For a little color and taste variation, add some roasted or fresh chopped tomatoes.


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Roasted Babaganoush

Ingredients
1 large eggplant
2-3 roasted garlic* cloves
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons roasted tahini*
2 tablespoons lemon juice
chopped organic parsley for color/garnish (optional)

Preparation
Preheat oven to 450.
Prick eggplant with a fork and place on a cookie sheet. Remove any loose, papery skins from a whole garlic clove but leave the skins of the individual cloves intact. Cut off approximately 1/4 of the head (@ 1/2 inch), exposing the flattened tops of the individual cloves. Place head in center of a square of foil, drizzle with olive oil, draw up for corners, twist to seal. Set on cookie sheet with eggplant. Cook for approximately 20 minutes -- until eggplant is soft inside and garlic is soft and starting to caramelize.
Cut eggplant in half lengthwise and scoop out pulp into food processor bowl. Add 2-3 roasted garlic cloves and remaining ingredients. Process until smooth. 

* 1 clove raw minced garlic and regular tahini may be substituted for roasted versions.

"Fried" Green Tomatoes with Remoulade Relish

Shhhh...
no one will ever know that we've lightened up these southern fried darlings by
baking them and, dare I say, even used gluten free flour. They're just as crunchy and even more flavorful (thanks to the sweet potato chips) without all the greasiness and fat that can come when fried. Topped with our simple deconstructed remoulade, this healthy appetizer recipe hits all the high notes of the traditional version and more! One large green tomato is just right for an appetizer for two and bakes up perfectly in a toaster oven especially one with convection/fan bake function.


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Baked ("Fried") Green Tomatoes with Remoulade Relish

Ingredients
Fresh organic green tomatoes
Gluten free all purpose flour (King Arthur's or Bob's works really well)
Cajun/Creole seasoning
Goat milk or buttermilk are tops, but unsweetened non-dairy milks will work too
Hot sauce
Sweet Potato Chips, crushed - the thick waffle kind work best or these
Squeeze of lemon (optional)

Mavenjoy Tip
Unless they're homemade, pickles can have some unappealing ingredients hiding in them -- organic is your best bet, Whole Food's 360 brand makes some good ones and at a good price.

For Relish:
Organic bread and butter pickles
Chevre or feta cheese, crumbled
Smidgeon of minced sweet onion or chives (optional)

Mavenjoy Tip
Unless they're homemade, pickles can have some unappealing ingredients hiding in them -- organic is your best bet, Whole Food's 360 brand makes some good ones and at a good price.

Preparation
Preheat oven to 400. Grease a wire rack and place atop a foil or parchment lined jelly roll or other pan to catch any crumbs/drippings. 
Combine flour with creole seasonings in one bowl. Combine hot sauce and milk in a second bowl. Combine crushed chips in a third bowl. Slice tomatoes to 1/4 inch and salt and pepper both sides. Dredge each slice in flour, dunk into milk and press into crushed chips. Place on greased wired rack. Give slices a quick/ light squeeze of lemon, if using. Bake for 15- 20 minutes, until crisp and browned. 
While tomatoes are baking, chop pickles and and gently mash with cheese (and onion if using) -- just enough that it sticks together but appears crumbly.
Remove tomatoes from oven and allow to sit 1-3 minutes on rack, top with relish and serve while warm.


Quick Picks

Healthy Appetizer Recipes: Quick Appetizers & Noshes

Mavenjoy Tips
Equal parts coconut oil and grapeseed oil work nicely for popping corn. ~
~ Always test pop three kernels to get the oil hot before adding all kernels and seasonings to pan. ~
~ Since tumeric is such a super spice (BIG preventative agent and anti-inflammatory!), we keep dialing up the amount we add to the seasoning mix.
 

Easy, peasy, good and simple! These quick but healthy appetizer recipes can be whipped up in a flash for the perfect light bites and noshes.

Grape Goats: Halve red and green organic grapes. Schmear halved grapes with chevre goat cheese and top with crushed toasted almonds. Refrigerate on tray until ready to serve.

Olives, Nuts & Cheese Bits: Fill a pretty olive boat with an  assortment of olives in all different colors and sizes with some whole toasted almonds and some pegs of good organic hard or sharp cheese.

P'corn Sunshine: Combine equal parts cumin, tumeric, chili powder and sea salt with a few dashes of garlic powder. (Dashes of cayenne or chipotle powder can be added for more spiced kick.) Sprinkle seasonings on top of organic popcorn kernels right after they're added to hot oil. Transfer to bowl after popping slows. You'll see why it's so named.

Mavenjoy Tips
Equal parts coconut oil and grapeseed oil work nicely for popping the corn. ~
~ Always test pop three kernels to get the oil hot before adding all kernels and seasonings to pan. ~
~ Since tumeric is such a super spice (BIG preventative agent and anti-inflammatory!), we keep dialing up the amount we add to the seasoning mix.
 


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