20 Healthy Holiday Appetizers Your Guests Will Love

Buffalo style cauliflower in white bowl
Photo: Soup Loving Nicole

The appeal of holiday parties has a lot to do with the indulgent treats served; from charcuterie boards to fondue service to stuffed breads, great holiday party snacks don't skimp on flavor. However, if you're trying to focus on health-conscious eats during this festive season, it can prove tricky to find healthy holiday appetizers that deliver on both taste and nutrition. That's why we built this list of healthy appetizers with holiday-perfect flavors that will fit perfectly into any party spread.

01 of 21

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

Vegan Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip with bread and crackers
Mackenzie Schieck

Spinach artichoke dip is a classic crowd pleaser, beloved by generations of party hosts (and guests), but because typical recipes involve several full-fat dairy ingredients, its healthfulness is questionable at best (in spite of its veggie-focused name). This healthy holiday appetizer spin on spinach artichoke dip utilizes vegan cream cheese and "Parmesan," which won't compromise your cholesterol, but will still offer the creamy, luxurious texture that we all expect from this snack.

02 of 21

Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls

Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls on a wooden board
Allrecipes Magazine

Light, refreshing, and packed with robust flavors, these handheld treats make excellent appetizers to serve before a hearty holiday repast. Their shrimp and veggie fillings are seasoned with bright herbs and seasonings like mint, cilantro, and hoisin, and their delicate texture prevents these healthy holiday appetizers from hindering your appetite before the main course.

03 of 21

Thai Chicken Larb

close up of Thai Chicken Larb
Cassandra Kimbler

Larb, a spicy salad made with ground meat and plenty of fresh herbs, is easy to adapt into a delicious canape by wrapping a spoonful in a piece of butter lettuce. This version uses lean ground chicken as its protein, which allows the flavors to shine while keeping the dish healthy.

04 of 21

Best-Ever Texas Caviar

Best-Ever Texas Caviar
Nicole Myers

For a substantial, protein-loaded alternative to salsa, try Texas caviar, a chip dip made with legumes, red onion, peppers, and spices. This version of Texas caviar replaces the typical black-eyed peas with pinto beans and black beans, and the end result is a hearty dip sure to satisfy your guests.

05 of 21

Vegan Jalapeno Poppers

Vegan Jalapeno Poppers
Vegan Jalapeno Poppers. fabeveryday

While traditional jalapeño poppers are breaded, deep-fried, and stuffed with cream cheese and bacon, these vegan poppers replace regular cream cheese with plant-based cream cheese, swap out bacon for sautéed button mushrooms, and get their crispiness from a 20-minute bake in a hot oven.

06 of 21

Real Hummus

Real Hummus

It's difficult to think of a tastier (and more nutritious) crudite dip than hummus, and this healthy holiday appetizer recipe keeps things simple with a small ingredient list (chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper) that produces a classic and versatile spread.

07 of 21

Spinach Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Spinach Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms on a blue and white plate
Tatiana Super

Portobello mushrooms count among the best plant-based alternatives for meat-eaters, thanks to their naturally "meaty" flavor and texture. This recipe strikes a perfect balance by using mushrooms and vegetables as its key ingredients but also including small portions of dairy and cured meat to amplify the dish's festive flair.

08 of 21

Light and Baked Mozzarella Sticks

Light and Baked Mozzarella Sticks

Deep-fried mozzarella sticks aren't often considered healthy, but this spin on the regular format features fat-free mozzarella and cooks in the oven rather than in a deep fryer, which improves their nutrition quotient without lessening their appeal.

09 of 21

Herbed Pomegranate Salsa

pomegranate salsa in a glass bowl
Julie Castro

Pomegranates give this salsa a bright tang, along with a deep crimson color that's very holiday appropriate. Pair it with tortilla chips or veggie chips, or use this healthy holiday appetizer as a condiment for a party platter of street tacos.

10 of 21

Baked Turkey Meatballs

Baked Turkey Meatballs in a white bowl with spaghetti
Allrecipes Trusted Brands

Cocktail meatballs have a charmingly retro vibe, and they're easy to skewer on toothpicks, which makes serving them a mess-free breeze. This healthy holiday appetizer recipe replaces ground beef with ground turkey and baby spinach, and the fact that these meatballs are oven-baked is both a healthy variation and also a time saver (since you can easily line them up on a baking sheet and cook them all at the same time).

11 of 21

Double Tomato Bruschetta

Double Tomato Bruschetta
House of Aqua

Thanks to its use of bright red tomatoes and bright green basil leaves, bruschetta is an understandably popular appetizer to serve during the holiday season. Luckily, it's also a delicious one packed with nutrients. To boost the health value of this recipe, feel free to swap out the classic baguette for a whole-wheat version.

12 of 21

My Own Famous Stuffed Grape Leaves

My Own Famous Stuffed Grape Leaves
Maryam Fathy

"These are grape leaves, stuffed with a tantalizing mixture of rice, fresh dill, mint and lemon. 'Yum' is the only word to describe these. These can either be a main dish or an appetizer, depending on your appetite," recipe writer Patti Moschonas says of this handheld party bite. If you'd prefer to avoid white rice, you can easily use brown rice or cauliflower rice instead.

13 of 21

Air Fryer Falafel

Air Fryer Falafel
Buckwheat Queen

If you'd like to get the delightfully crisp texture that comes from deep frying without the health concerns attached to this cooking style, then an air fryer is about to become your best friend. This air-fried falafel provides the crunchy exterior, soft interior, and bold seasonings of traditional falafel, but there won't be any oily residue left behind. Serve on toothpicks or in mini-pitas with tzatziki and harissa for dipping.

14 of 21

Air Fryer Pakoras

Air Fryer Pakoras
Photo by crickey87. crickey87

Pakoras are a popular Indian snack akin to fritters made of fried vegetables. They're ideal grab-and-go appetizers for a holiday cocktail party, and the rich spice blend in this recipe — which includes curry, coriander, and cumin — pairs beautifully with a cool yogurt dipping sauce.

15 of 21

Air Fryer Latkes

Air Fryer Latkes

The latke, a potato pancake closely associated with Hanukkah, is traditionally deep-fried in hot oil. Luckily, an air fryer can do the job equally well. This recipe uses frozen hashbrown potatoes, but you could substitute grated sweet potatoes for a healthier version.

16 of 21

Bomba Calabrese (Spicy Calabrian Pepper Spread)

Bomba Calabrese Spicy Calabrian Pepper Spread
Chef John

This spicy Italian pepper spread has any number of potential party-snack uses. It can be used as a crudite dip, it can be smoothed onto slices of toasted bread, and it can even be a garnish for deviled eggs. This recipe recommends including cherry peppers and habanero peppers, but if you can get your hands on Calabrian chiles, those make an excellent alternative.

17 of 21

Roasted Buffalo Cauliflower

Buffalo style cauliflower in white bowl
Soup Loving Nicole

Buffalo wings always offer a festive vibe, but if nutrition is a concern, then you'll be glad to know that this oven-roasted variation with cauliflower instead of chicken wings still provides that engaging Buffalo sauce flavor.

18 of 21

Fig and Prosciutto Appetizer Bites

slices of rolled proscuitto stuffed with fig and cheese served atop crackers

"A simple to make yet impressive appetizer that is sure to make your guests swoon! Prosciutto, honeyed goat cheese, and fresh figs come together in each fabulous bite. When ready to serve, slice and serve with crackers," recipe developer SunnyDaysNora says of this canape, which can be served on whole-grain crackers in lieu of Ritz crackers.

19 of 21

Baked Maryland Lump Crab Cakes

Baked Maryland Lump Crab Cakes

These baked crab cakes feel luxurious without the potential greasiness that comes from oil-frying. This recipe is heavy on lump crab meat and spices and low on fillers, which keeps the cakes light and enormously flavorful.

20 of 21

Egg White Breakfast Bites

Egg White Breakfast Bites
France C

Brunch parties can be an enjoyable way to entertain during the holiday season, and these egg white bites pack rich flavor from cottage cheese and feta cheese, along with seasonally-perfect colors from healthy add-ins like spinach and red peppers.

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