Healthy Holiday Entertaining…What does that mean to me? As a dietitian, you may think that my holiday table is chock full of veggie platters and hummus. Ok, that is what I brought to my in-laws house for a Thanksgiving app, but only because the homemade hummus and laffa bread were AMAZING. If you need a hummus recipe that will blow you away, go buy the Zahav cookbook and discover it for yourself.
Ok, back to the meaning of “healthy holiday entertaining.” No, it does not mean a table stuffed full of veggies, and nothing else in sight. To me, it is about the experiences with family and friends, and mindfully enjoying all of your favorite holiday foods, regardless of the nutrient content.
If you’re getting ready to host a slew of people for the holidays, I wouldn’t dare suggest that your world famous mac & cheese or grandma’s pumpkin cheesecake be omitted from the menu. But it also never hurts to incorporate heart healthy beans or veggies into your holiday appetizers. Enter two of my favorite crowd pleasers: falafel and goat cheese dip served on belgian endive.
Let’s start with falafel: full of fiber (thank you chickpeas) and bursting with flavor! Falafel is traditionally fried, but you can save the mess and keep these heart healthy by throwing them in the air fryer to get perfectly crispy! I searched for mini pitas to stuff with a falafel ball but had no luck. So I grabbed some pocketless pita and cut out rounds to fit the falafel bites. I finished them off with a dollop of (store-bought) tzatziki. Doesn’t get much easier than that.
Next comes the goat cheese dip served in belgian endive. This is the absolute easiest appetizer…ever. Blend up goat cheese with Greek yogurt, roasted garlic, salt and pepper. Dollop it onto the belgian endive leaves and garnish with chives. This is so simple, but elegant! And you sneak in some veggie in a way that isn’t your typical baby carrots and celery sitting in a bowl next to ranch dip.
In need of some more ideas for your menu? Here are a few other appetizers that are sure to please:
- Baked Hummus
- Zucchini Fries
- Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Baked BBQ Chicken Wings
- Black Bean Quesadillas
- Buffalo Cauliflower with Ranch Greek Yogurt
- Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
- Cowboy Caviar
- Cranberry Lamb Koftas
- Pumpkin Dip
- Roasted Chickpeas
We hope you have a healthy happy holiday season with friends and family. Let us know what you’re planning on serving at your next holiday gathering! Cheers!