This healthy appetizer recipe roundup includes gluten free & Paleo appetizers, perfect for the holidays!
How is it halfway through November already?!
It's been such a strange year and, if you're anything like me, it seems like parts have dragged on so slowly while other parts just flew by.
There's no denying it though, the holidays are upon us and that means holiday meal planning!
I love day dreaming about my holiday menus. It feels really good to prepare special foods that I know will contribute to the sense of joy and festivity of the season.
As much as I love perusing different recipes though, I have some pretty strict guidelines over what I'll actually make. Mainly, it has to be able to be prepped ahead.
Call me selfish, but I don't want to spend all day on a holiday cooking in the kitchen. I want to spend that time with my friends and family. Also, I know my loved ones could sense it if I were stressed over last minute cooking details, so maybe it's not really selfish at all.
I want to help you get out of the kitchen this holiday season as well, which is why I've assembled this healthy appetizer recipe roundup with 9 of my favorite, totally prep-able, holiday appetizers. Like all of my recipes, these appetizers are all gluten free and there are many Paleo appetizers on the list as well.
Gluten Free Appetizer Recipes
Sweet & Savory Rosemary Pecans
These nuts can easily be made in the days leading up to a holiday. All you have to do on the day-of is set them out in a pretty bowl!
Living in Texas, I'm partial to the pecans that grow all around this area but feel free to mix it up with your favorite nuts.
These totally addictive nuts make a beautiful hostess gift or party favor as well!
To make these fully Paleo, use coconut oil and honey in place of the butter and brown sugar – still totally delicious!
(Pssst! If you love cooking with fresh herbs as much as I do, make sure to watch my YouTube video on my favorite ways to include fresh herbs in my cooking.)
Baba Ganoush & Hummus
If you haven't made baba ganoush before, it's super simple and delicious! Not to mention it's sure to impress any guests. I always love packing a little nutrition in to the appetizer course as well, it feels like a bonus. With a main ingredient of eggplant, this one offers plenty of nutrition!
And of course hummus is always a crowdpleaser and a great dip to accompany baba ganoush. My recipe features white beans and balsamic for a bit of a different flavor profile. Serve these tasty dips with your favorite gluten free crackers and a variety of crudités! You may also want to include a little assortment of olives alongside the platter for a little something extra.
While the hummus contains beans, the baba ganoush is Paleo so feel free to omit the hummus if you're sticking to strictly Paleo appetizers.
Few appetizers look more festive than a beautifully displayed cheese board! This also takes very little prep, apart from chopping any fruit and veggies you wish to include.
Paleo Appetizer Recipes
Guacamole Stuffed Mini Peppers
These stuffed mini peppers are vegan, gluten free, keto and Paleo! Basically, they're perfect for a get together where you're not sure who eats what.
If you're hosting a Christmas party, you can also use red mini peppers for the festive green & red effect.
This recipe is also perfect for including little ones in the holiday food prep. They can mash avocados with this adorable mini potato masher, and can help squeeze the lime juice.
To prep these ahead, dice the onion and wash and chop the peppers the day before. You can also squeeze the lime juice ahead of time if you like, but save making the actual guac for the day of so it retains that beautiful vibrant green color.
While I originally shared this shrimp recipe as a main dish, it's the perfect addition to an appetizer spread! Each bite packs in a ton of bold flavor and shrimp are such an easy protein to serve in individual portions. Whenever I include shrimp on a party menu, I find they're one of the first items to go!
You can serve these with the polenta and vegetables in little individual cups, or simply cook the shrimp in the cajun spice mix and serve on a platter with toothpicks.
Meatballs are another great protein-packed recipe. I especially like to include these if I'm doing a meal completely comprised of appetizers (which is super fun and low stress!)
Even if you're hosting a holiday get together next month, you could totally make these today and freeze them. They thaw beautifully and are an especially great option if you'll have kids in attendance – my own son has loved them since he was a baby!
Mediterranean Stuffed Mini Peppers
This is another one that I originally created as an entree, but is easily converted into a hearty appetizer – simply swap the larger bell peppers for mini peppers!
You can make the stuffing and wash and halve the mini peppers ahead of time. All you'll have to do on the day-of is stuff the peppers and heat in the oven!
Of course, leave out the optional feta if you want Paleo appetizers.
Veggies w/ Paleo Ranch
This ranch has really become one of my go-to's. There's something fun and a bit nostalgic about that classic ranch flavor and this version is even tastier than the original in my opinion!
Serve alongside your favorite crudités and you're good to go!
Dairy Free Pesto
This dairy free pesto is another crowd pleasing dip. It's super versatile too! Serve with raw or roasted veggies, or even alongside some shrimp or caprese skewers to dip. You really can't go wrong!
Looking for more gluten free & Paleo appetizer ideas? Make sure to check out my 6 Healthy Holiday Appetizer Recipe Roundup, including my recipe for grapes rolled in goat cheese and pistachios! We also offer an Entertainment Bundle with a full appetizer menu and a Holiday eCookbook with plenty of prep-ahead healthy holiday recipes!