Healthy Appetizer Recipes

chicken pieces in a skilletSeasoned Chicken Bites

Healthy appetizer recipes with a touch of taste! Made to be versatile and easy to prepare.  

Seasoned Chicken Bites

Almond Meatballs

Garlic Lemon Shrimp Appetizers

Seven Layer Bean Dip

Orange Garlic Tomato Sauce

Cilantro Salsa 

Roasted Onion Salsa

Seasoned Oven Chicken Bites

Makes about 20 chicken bites depending on sizes of the chicken breasts

These simple low-fat chicken appetizers are unexpected but delicious. Make it easier?  Use a store-bought seasoning mix, such as  Italian, Mexican, Mediterranean or Southern flavored.  Use about 1 tablespoon of mix and reduce or eliminate salt in the recipe if the mix contains salt.  

Serve with Curried Yogurt Dip, thin crispy bread slices, flatbread, Naan or crackers. Place toothpicks in chicken pieces for easier eating or serving for your guests.   Also great as a main dish with potatoes, rice or pasta and veggies. 

1 pound boneless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning or powdered chicken bouillon
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 400°F.  In a large bowl combine salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning and Italian seasoning. 

Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes, add to seasoning mix and toss until well coated.  Arrange in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil, making sure chicken is coated with oil on all sides.  Dot with butter cubes.  

Bake chicken for 16-18 minutes, stirring once or twice until internal temperature reaches 165°F.  For crispier chicken bites, broil on high for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking until desired crispiness.

Almond Meatballs

Makes about ½-inch appetizer meatballs. Recipe doubles easily.

Easy to make, garlic strong and almond enhanced!  Make these healthy appetizer cuties with ground chicken, turkey or lean pork.  Saute in just a bit of vegetable or olive oil.  Serve with any of the dips on this page and crispy bread slices, soft bread or crackers.  Also great as a main dish served with pasta or rice

½ pound ground meat
1 egg
½ cup fine bread crumbs
¼ cup raw, skinless almonds (also called blanched almonds), finely chopped
Salt, black pepper and red pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil 

Combine meat, egg, bread crumbs, garlic, almond, salt, black and red pepper.  Mix well.  Form into ½ meatballs.  

In a large skillet heat oil over medium-heat.  Add meatballs in one layer.  Cook, turning until browned and cooked through, 8-12 minutes.  Be careful not to overcook.  Serve hot, warm or room temperature. 

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Appetizers 

Garlic Lemon ShrimpGarlic Lemon Shrimp

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails optional
1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
3 cloves garlic
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup reduced sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

Pat the shrimp dry and add to a bowl with lemon pepper seasoning, toss to coat.  Preheat a non-stick pan over medium high heat.  Sear the shrimp on both sides, for about 3 minutes.  Mince the garlic and add to the pan. Cook for 1 minute.   Add the lemon juice and chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter until melted.  Stir in the fresh chopped parsley. Taste for seasoning.

Seven Layer Mexican Bean Dip

Serves 10-12 on an appetizer buffet

This classic dip is made with no-fat, low fat and low-sodium ingredients.  Prepare in a serving dish or container with a cover or lid.  Serve with tortillas, flatbread and/or thin crispy bread slices or crackers.

7 Layer Mexican Dip7 Layer Mexican Bean Dip

1 (16 oz) can fat-free, low sodium red refried beans
1¾ cups fat-free or low-fat sour cream, divided
2½ tablespoons low-sodium taco seasoning
Salt and black and red pepper to taste
3 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
1 lime, juiced
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese or nacho cheese blend 2 cups chopped Roma tomatoes
1 (2.25 oz) can sliced black olives, drained
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 large jalapeno, finely chopped

In a small bowl, add beans, ¼ cup sour cream, and the taco seasoning. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until combined.  In a 9x9-inch glass dish, spread the bean mixture in an even layer on the bottom.

In a small bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice and salt if needed. Gently spread avocado mixture on top of bean layer in a smooth, even layer.

Add remaining 1½ cups sour cream on top of avocado layer. In individual layers, add the cheese, tomatoes, olives, green onions, cilantro, and jalapeño.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 min. Serve with the tortilla or other crackers

Orange Garlic Tomato Sauce

Makes about 2 cups

Orange and garlic are a lively Mediterranean flavor combination.  Use a less sweet orange like tangelo or mandarin, not Navel or Cara Cara.   Sauce can be pureed to produce a smooth consistency to serve with Almond Meatballs or Chicken Bites.

3 tablespoons olive oil
10 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
16 ounces canned plum tomatoes, with juice
Cayenne pepper to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large orange, sliced

Add oil to a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic cloves and stir and cook about 6 minutes or until slightly browned.  Stir in and break up the tomatoes into smaller chunks.  Add remaining ingredients.  Keep the mixture at a simmer and cook and stir for about 15 minutes or until thickened.  Remove the orange slices. 

Puree the mixture (with or without the garlic cloves) to accompany sausages on a meat and cheese tray or appetizer bar.  Also serve with pork, chicken and shrimp.  

Cilantro Salsa

Makes about 1 cup

A spicy, herbaceous puree to serve with Lemon Garlic Shrimp, as a dip alongside crunchy tortilla chips or as a condiment on grilled chicken and beef.   Feel free to swap cilantro with other soft herbs or veg such as basil, parsley, spinach, arugula or watercress.  Replace ginger with 1-2 more garlic cloves if desired.

1 cup chopped cilantro leaves and some stems
1 jalapeño, serrano(s) or habenero pepper (depending on heat tolerance), stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
2 peeled garlic cloves, smashed
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Lime or lemon juice to taste

Add first five ingredients to a blender or food processor.  Puree until a smooth paste forms.  Transfer to a bowl and add salt, pepper and citrus juice. Add additional oil for a smoother mouth feel. Keep refrigerated but serve at room temperature.

Roasted Onion Salsa

Makes about 2 cups

Roasted onions and chilies become a delicious accompaniment on an appetizer bar or as a condiment or side dish for grilled steak or chicken.

2 large white or sweet onions (unpeeled)
1 small serrano pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced; or red pepper flakes to taste
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice

Preheat oven to 450°F.  Place onions in a baking dish and roast until slightly charred and very soft, about 20-30 minutes (depending on your oven).  

Peel and chop onions into small to medium-sized pieces. Add onions to a glass bowl with lid and then stir in remaining ingredients. Let flavors blend at room temperature for several hours.  Adjust seasonings before service if necessary. 


Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.