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Last Updated on September 24, 2021
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the globe, many health experts are increasingly advocating for immunity strengthening as one of the ways of reducing the risk of infection. Now, more than ever before, it has become very important for us to take special consideration, not only in how we interact socially, but also what we consume.
Sticking to a healthy diet is absolutely central to strengthening immunity and safeguarding our health from the effects of coronavirus. However, with all the anxiety and uncertainty that has taken over our lives, it may be difficult to find the motivation to prepare and consume healthy meals consistently. If your appetite has taken a hit due to the negative news that we are constantly bombarded with, now is the time to reboot your diet and take up healthy eating habits.
In this post, we are going to look at some great appetizer recipes to breathe life into your taste buds and get you eating healthy during this period. Don’t worry if your culinary skills are not 5-star material. All the appetizers that we shall cover in this article are not only simple and fun to prepare, but also super delicious.
So, let us jump right into it…
Top 13 Best Appetizers
Being the foodie that I am, I’ve done some digging around and found a couple of scrumptious one-bite appetizers that are super easy to prepare but also healthy and tasty. This guide is not about making the best popcorn or a fat burger, What I listed down are the delicious yet healthy snacks.
I already tried out a number of these recipes and I have to admit I absolutely loved the results.
1. Curried Peanut Dip
When it comes to preparing a great appetizer, you want something quick to make to keep your guests occupied as you finish up on the main course.
The cream curried peanut dip makes for an excellent choice especially when paired with roasted sweet potatoes, jammy eggs, or rotisserie chicken.
- Vegetable oil
- Red curry paste
- Creamy peanut butter
- Coconut milk
- Unseasoned rice vinegar
- Fish sauce
- Kosher salt (alternatively you can use sea salt)
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add a ¼ cup of red curry paste and stir-cook for 2-3 minutes.
2. Whisk coconut milk into the saucepan and cook until the mixture turns darker in color. This should take about 3 minutes.
3. Remove the saucepan from heat and whisk in ½ a cup of peanut butter, 3 tablespoons of rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon of fish sauce.
4. Add 1 tablespoon of honey and season with salt to taste. This last part is very important because whatever foods you may be dipping (boiled eggs or roasted sweet potatoes) may not be pre-seasoned.
5. Let the dip cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container to rest. If you intend to use the dip later, say in a day or two, you should keep it refrigerated to preserve.
As already mentioned, this appetizer tastes great when served with boiled eggs or roasted potatoes. However, I personally love pairing it with tortilla chips or flatbread for a quick snack.
2. Crispy Cheese Twists
If you are looking for a tongue-tingling starter for a house party or any other kind of informal event, you can never go wrong with the crispy cheese straws.
Since these flaky twists come frozen – when you buy them from the store – I would highly recommend letting them thaw in the fridge overnight before preparing them.
This helps to prevent cracking or splitting when rolled out, and preserves their texture.
Apart from hard or semi-firm cheese such as Manchego or Parmesan, here are some of the other ingredients that you need in order to prepare this delicious starter:
- All-purpose flour (this is used for dusting)
- 1 14-ounce package of frozen puff pastry (remember to thaw in the fridge)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika
- ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- Ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1. Grate 6 ounces of cheese using the medium holes of a box grater. Put a lining of parchment paper on two baking sheets, and arrange racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven. Preheat them to a temperature of about 400 degrees.
2. Lightly dust your work surface with flour and unroll your thawed puff pastry onto the surface. Using a rolling pin, lightly roll out the pastry to remove any creases and then cut them into half laterally.
3. Mix 1 egg yolk with a teaspoon of water in a small bowl and lightly brush the mixture on one sheet of pastry. Sprinkle one half of grated cheese evenly on the egg-coated surface.
4. Sprinkle ½ a teaspoon of paprika and ⅛ teaspoon of cayenne pepper over the cheese and season with salt. Add some black pepper seasoning according to your liking.
5. Place the second sheet of puff pastry over the top making sure the edges are aligned. Press gently to flatten and lightly brush with more egg-yolk mix. Sprinkle the leftover cheese, cayenne pepper and paprika then season with some more salt and black pepper.
6. Dust your rolling pin with more flour and gently roll over the pastry to create a rectangle, about ¼ inch in thickness.
7. Cut the pastry into ½ inch thick strips. If you want fewer straws that are longer, you should cut lengthwise, whereas if you prefer more straws that are shorter in size, you need to cut crosswise.
8. Transfer the pastry cuts onto your prepared baking sheets and twist both ends in opposite directions until you achieve a spiral shape. The pastry cheese straws should be spaced at least 1 inch apart from each other.
9. Bake the cheese strips until they turn golden brown and the cheese is fully toasted and crisp. This should take between 10- 18 minutes. Let the pastry straws cool for a few minutes before serving.
Note: While this appetizer is incredibly delicious almost to the point of being addictive, you should be careful not to overfeed your guests, as this can make them lose appetite for the main course.
3. Cashew Nam Prik
Nam prik is a super delicious dip which is popular in Thailand as well as other parts of South eastern Asia.
Although this Chile-based appetizer is commonly made with pork or beef, the Cashew nam prik replaces meat with cashew nuts for a healthier and creamier dip, which any vegan will find absolutely tantalizing.
- 1 cup of cashews
- 4 chopped Thai chiles
- 2 chopped medium shallots
- 1 lemongrass stalk with the green parts coarsely chopped
- 4 chopped garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon of kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons of canola oil
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro leaves
1. Grind cashews in a food processor until the pieces are less than ¼ inches in size. Don’t worry if some of the cashews are ground to powder since this will help to thicken the dip. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl.
2. Pulse lemongrass, garlic, shallots, chiles and lime zest in a food processor until it forms a coarse paste. Transfer the mix in a small-bowl.
3. Heat 3 tablespoons canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cashew and stir-cook until golden brown. Add curry paste and cook until it becomes slightly darker.
4. Add tomato paste and stir-cook for two minutes before adding 8 ounces of halved cherry tomatoes. Add half a cup of water and cook until the cherry tomatoes have fully broken down and the mixture has formed a thick paste.
5. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice and fish sauce. Add some salt seasoning to taste and transfer the cashew nam prik to a medium-sized bowl. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve. This dish is best paired with some cucumbers, lettuce and eggs for a healthy and delicious appetizer snack.
4. Marinated Manchego
If you are a cheese-lover like myself, then the marinated Manchego is an appetizer worth trying out. This marinated cheese appetizer makes for a delightful snack, whether served by itself or paired with other roasted potatoes.
- 8 cloves of peeled garlic
- 1 small orange, quartered through the stem and with the seeds removed
- ½ cup of olive oil
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- ½ tablespoon of kosher salt
- 1 lb or Manchego cheese or semi-firm cheese like Monterey Jack or Gouda
1. Heat a ½ cup of olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat and add garlic and orange. Stir-cook until the garlic turns golden brown.
2. Remove from heat and add rosemary sprigs, then season with ½ tablespoon of Kosher salt.
3. Pour the garlic mixture into a medium bowl and add cheese. Gently toss until all of the cheese is coated.
4. Cover with a lid and allow to rest for about 12 hours before serving.
5. Onion-dip Potato Chips
As someone who is crazy about potato chips, I find it absolutely staggering the amount of money I spend on these delightful snacks. However, thanks to this great recipe, I am now able to make great tasting and crispy potato chips in the comfort of my home.
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 8 ounce bag of cooked potato chips
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup of olive oil
- 1 medium lemon
1. Preheat your oven to a temperature of 450 degrees.
2. Grind garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes and salt in a spice mill until everything is finely ground and mixed. Transfer the mix in a small bowl and put aside.
3. Spread out the potato chips in a baking sheet and bake for a 5 minutes while tossing regularly until they turn golden brown.
4. Transfer the cooked potato chips to a medium bowl and douse with a little olive oil.
5. Sprinkle the prepared spice mixture and squeeze some lemon juice over the chips.
6. Sprinkle some black pepper and toss until the chips are fully coated.
7. Add some salt to taste and then serve.
6. Spicy Lightly Pickled Cucumbers
While most crunchy vegetables taste better and are crunchier when pickled with brine, cucumbers are in my opinion one of the best vegan recipes to prepare. And what better to prepare for a light vegan snack than spicy lightly pickled cucumbers?
- 12 medium Parmesan cucumbers cut lengthwise
- ¼ cup of white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill
1. Add cucumbers in a large bowl with red pepper flakes, sugar, vinegar and 2 teaspoons of salt. Toss the mixture at least once per hour and chill.
2. Immediately before serving, add lemon juice and dill then toss until evenly mixed. Taste and season with more salt if necessary.
7. Anchovy and Sardine Toasts with Chile Butter
It would be grossly out of order for me to make a post on great starter dishes without throwing in something for the oily fish lovers. If seafood is your forte, the anchovy and sardine toast recipe is a must-try.
The chile butter adds a fantastic contrast to the fish which your taste buds will be thoroughly pleased with.
- 1 4.4 ounce of canned sardines, drained
- 8 oil-packed anchovy fillets
- 2 tablespoons of finely chopped Calabrian chiles
- 8 ½ inch thick slices of country-style bread
- ¼ cup of extra virgin oil
- ½ cup salted butter
- 1 medium-size lemon cut in half
- 1 cup parsley leaves
1. Cut bread slices into halves and arrange them on a rimmed baking sheet in your heat broiler. Drizzle with oil and broil until it turns just brown. Leave to cool for a few minutes in order to prevent butter from melting when you spread.
2. Mix butter and chiles in a small bowl and lightly spread this mix evenly over each toast. Place anchovies on one toast top the rest with sardines.
3. Mix parsley and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in a small bowl and season with salt. Drizzle some oil over it and toss thoroughly until it is properly mixed.
4. Sprinkle the parsley salad on the toast and finely grate some lemon peel on top.
Note: You don’t necessarily require kosher salt (although I highly recommend using it). However, if you do not have any, you can substitute with flaky sea salt.
8 Roasted Beet and Walnut Dip
If you are a sucker for sourcream dips and are looking for a healthier substitute to the regular mayo-based ones, you will find the roasted beet and walnut dip very appealing.
The roasted beet gives a very tangy flavor to the dip, while the walnut makes it creamy and thick.
- 1 lb coarsely chopped roasted beets
- ½ cup toasted and finely chopped walnuts
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill
- 1 teaspoon Sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons creme fraiche
- Kosher salt
- Olive oil
- Ground black pepper
1. Put walnuts, beets, creme fraiche, dill and vinegar in a food processor and process until evenly mixed and smooth.
2. Season with salt and pepper then top with drill sprigs. Drizzle some olive oil then serve.
9. Marinated Cucumbers with Fried Shallots
Vegan dishes are generally healthy, and require very little time to prepare. This is perhaps most true when it comes to this marinated cucumbers with fried shallots recipe, which I have tried out twice already.
- 3 medium cucumbers
- 2 finely grate garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- Cilantro leaves (for garnish)
- Store-bought fried shallots
1. Peel and slice the cucumbers crosswise into 2-inch thick pieces. Cut the pieces into quarters and remove the seeds.
2. Put the cucumber pieces in a medium bowl and toss with salt garlic and oil. Let it chill for a minimum of 30 minutes, then sprinkle some salt and sesame oil for cooking and thoroughly toss again.
3. Serve the cucumbers on a plate and garnish with fried shallots and cilantro leaves.
10. Lettuce with Yogurt-Lemon Dip
If you are looking for a low-cost vegan appetizer for an evening snack or dinner party, then the lettuce with yogurt-lemon dressing is just the perfect option for you.
I would strongly recommend getting fresh Romaine lettuces for this starter dish since they are sturdy enough, and have a crunchier texture.
- 2 cups plain yogurt
- 1 grated clove of garlic
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 trimmed Romaine lettuces
1. Mix yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk thoroughly until it is even and smooth.
2. Serve Romaine lettuce leaves in a bowl and pair with the yogurt-lemon dip.
11. Creamy Kimchi Dip
While Kimchi is a staple of Korean cuisine, for many Westerners, it is one of those dishes that takes some time to get used to.
The sour and spicy flavor of this great vegetable dish may be an acquired taste for many, but what happens when you throw in some cream cheese? I tried this recipe recently and I’ve got to say it greatly surpassed my expectations.
- 2 cups of kimchi
- 6 ounces of cream cheese
- 6 ounces of sour cream
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- Ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1. Squeeze the kimchi over a sink to get rid of excess moisture and chop them into fine pieces.
2. Mix cream cheese and sour cream in a medium bowl and mash together until they are evenly mixed. Add the chopped kimchi and soy sauce into the bowl and stir thoroughly.
3. Season with salt and black pepper as desired. Serve with potato chips, flatbread or vegetables.
It is worth noting that kimchi is a fermented vegetable which is why it has the naturally sour taste. However, the flavor also depends on the type of vegetable and the amount of salt and sugar. So don’t hesitate to experiment with different types of kimchi to find one that suits your tastes.
12. Eggs with Pickled Shallot and Parsley
One of the reasons why I love eggs is because they lend themselves well to a wide variety of cuisines and preparation styles. Which is why I was very pleased to discover this egg with pickled shallot and parsley recipe that makes for a delightful protein-rich snack.
- 4 eggs
- 1 finely chopped shallot
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ cup of freshly chopped parsley
- ½ tablespoon of flaky sea salt
1. Boil eggs in a cooking pot for 8 minutes. Transfer them in a medium bowl filled with cold water and let them cool for a few minutes.
2. Mix shallot and lemon juice in a small bowl and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
3. Drain the shallots and toss them in a bowl with parsley. Add salt to season.
4. Peel the eggs and slice them crosswise then serve on a platter. Garnish with parsley and shallot mix.
13. Roasted Chickpeas
Chickpeas are rich in protein, which makes them a great substitute for meat. If you are looking for a tongue-smacking vegan snack, then this roasted chickpeas delight is just the thing for you.
- 1 can of rinsed, drained and dried chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Coarse sea salt
- ½ teaspoon of paprika
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
1. Mix olive oil, paprika, salt and black pepper in a medium bowl.
2. Add the rinsed and dried chickpeas into the mixture and toss until it is evenly mixed.
3. Transfer the mixture in a baking sheet and roast in the oven at a steady temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes.
4. Serve on a plate and add some salt to taste.
While this appetizer tastes great on its own, sometimes I like to pair it with garlic sauce just to get a little more spiciness from it. Whichever the case, this is a great easy-fix starter to keep your taste buds tingling as you wait for dinner to be ready.