Low-Calorie Party Foods
Middle Eastern Layered Dip
This healthy dip recipe has a Middle Eastern twist--cucumbers, tomatoes, feta and olives are layered on top of a creamy base of hummus and a touch of tangy yogurt. A sprinkle of ground sumac adds a fruity, sour flavor. Look for this bright red spice (made from the tart red berries of the Mediterranean sumac bush) in Middle Eastern markets, specialty food shops and online at penzeys.com. Serve the dip with pita chips.
Mini Strawberry-Rhubarb Pies
This muffin-tin recipe for strawberry-rhubarb pies is cute as can be and delicious too! These mini strawberry-rhubarb pies have a special crust made from almonds and white whole-wheat flour. Make sure you let the baked pies cool in the pan for the full 30 minutes so the filling has time to set. Serve with fresh whipped cream or a dollop of Greek yogurt.
Chipotle-Cheddar Broiled Avocado Halves
In this avocado side-dish recipe, zesty avocado halves are topped with melted Cheddar cheese and broiled until golden brown. You can serve these healthy avocado halves as a side dish with grilled chicken or steak.
Grilled Eggplant Dip
This grilled eggplant dip recipe is a lighter take on baba ganoush, with the smoky eggplant brightened by herbs and lemon juice rather than tahini. Serve with crostini or use as a sandwich spread that'll put plain mayo to shame.
This lightly sweetened fruit dessert recipe looks beautiful with the red raspberries suspended in purple gelatin. It's not as firm as a classic jello dessert since it's not meant to be unmolded, so prepare in a large serving dish or divide the mixture among 8 small glass bowls for individual servings. The smaller portions will set quicker than the single serving dish.
Chinese five-spice powder is a blend of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, star anise and Szechuan peppercorns; it adds subtle flavor to these pistachios. Look for it in the spice section at the market or with other Asian ingredients. Omit the added salt if you use salted pistachios.
This pomegranate float recipe, which uses low-calorie pomegranate-flavored seltzer, pomegranate juice, vanilla frozen yogurt and fresh blueberries, is a refreshing, fruity twist on a malt-shop ice cream float. Combine ingredients just before serving.
Marinated Olives & Feta
Olives and feta marinated with rosemary, lemon and garlic are great served on crisp flatbread-style crackers or warm slices of crusty baguette.
Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomato Bruschetta
Roasting tomatoes brings out their inherent sweetness.
This delicious guacamole recipe replaces half the amount of high-calorie avocado in a traditional guacamole recipe with a stealth, low-calorie vegetable--zucchini--to cut 100 calories and 6 grams of fat so we can eat more guacamole with fewer calories. We use the microwave to cook the zucchini until it's very tender, but you can steam it on the stovetop if you prefer.
Fresh Tomato Salsa
Fresh and easy, this recipe yields about 5 cups of salsa--plenty to serve a crowd. If you like spicy salsa, use the full amount of jalapenos and add more cayenne pepper.
Enjoy this crunchy, refreshing alternative to mayonnaise-based coleslaw on a taco or on the side.
Creamy Grape Salad with Candied Walnuts
Traditional grape salad recipes are loaded with sugar and fat, but we made this creamy grape dessert salad recipe healthier by using reduced-fat cream cheese instead of full-fat cream cheese and using half the sugar called for in classic recipes. Bring this healthy grape salad recipe to a potluck and watch it disappear in moments.
Nicoise Egg Salad
Green beans, tuna and olives make this Niçoise-style egg salad recipe substantial. Serve it over salad greens.
Almond-Crusted Pork with Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce
Sliced almonds add a delectable, almost-like-fried-chicken crunch to the breading for these tender pieces of pork. We slice the pork thinly to keep the cooking time quick. The resulting pork “fingers” are great dipped in this surprisingly simple, delicious honey, soy and mustard sauce.
Almond Butter-Quinoa Blondies
People likely won't even notice that these delicately nutty, just a little chocolaty, blondies are gluten-free. They use quinoa flour, which you can find in well-stocked supermarkets and natural-foods stores, in place of all-purpose flour. To make your own quinoa flour, grind raw quinoa into a powder in a clean coffee grinder. (Adapted from Quinoa Revolution by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming.)
Mini Frozen Baklava
Try this recipe for frozen mini baklava bites using low-fat frozen yogurt the next time you want to whip up a quick dessert. Shelf-stable mini phyllo cups are widely available, but for this recipe the frozen cups are best.
Lemon-Thyme Whipped Ricotta
This stunning yet easy appetizer recipe infuses creamy ricotta with fresh herbs and lemon. Serve with whole-grain crackers and cut-up vegetables or use as a spread for sandwiches or sauce for pasta.
Not a fan of kale? These crispy baked kale chips will convert you! For the best result, don't overcrowd the pans.
Panko-Crusted Asparagus Spears
Warm from the oven, these crunchy asparagus spears make a tasty side dish or cocktail nibble. Before being coated in panko breadcrumbs they are rolled in a flavorful sesame-miso sauce that doubles as a simple dipping sauce.
Middle Eastern Zucchini Dip
This creamy and tangy Middle Eastern zucchini dip recipe, also known as Koosa Ma Laban, is best served with baked pita chips or crunchy vegetables.
Rocky Road Brownies
These super-rich brownies made chocolaty with plenty of cocoa powder have less fat than other brownies, but stay extra gooey and good with marshmallows, nuts and chocolate chunks on top.
Perk up your popcorn with a bit of lemon pepper and Parmesan cheese.
A hard-boiled egg is a protein-packed snack on its own--give it a little more pizzazz with a bit of mayo and mustard on top.
Creamy Spinach Dip
Try this light spinach dip made healthier with reduced-fat cream cheese, nonfat yogurt and low-fat cottage cheese instead of full-fat cheese, mayonnaise and sour cream. It will save you a whopping 84 calories and 10 grams of fat per serving when compared to traditional versions. Serve it with pita chips and crunchy vegetables or spread it on a sandwich.
Turkey Fingers with Maple-Mustard Sauce
Popular with both children and adults, these crispy, low-fat turkey fingers will disappear faster than you expect. For a fruity alternative, substitute apricot jam for the maple syrup in the dipping sauce.
EatingWell's Pimiento Cheese
This Southern favorite is a simple blend of Cheddar, mayonnaise and pimientos. If you like spicy foods, add a few shakes of hot sauce. Serve with crackers for an appetizer or as a sandwich spread for lunch!
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper dress up air-popped popcorn.
Asparagus-Mushroom Mini Lasagnas
Although not conventional, wonton wrappers are the perfect stand-in for noodles in this muffin-tin mini lasagna recipe. Once you get the hang of making this healthy vegetarian lasagna recipe in your muffin tin, experiment with different fillings to suit your fancy.
Southwestern Layered Bean Dip
Plenty of black beans, salsa and chopped fresh vegetables mean a healthy amount of dietary fiber in this Tex-Mex layered dip. We use reduced-fat sour cream along with full-fat (and full-flavored) cheese to make the dip lighter without compromising great taste. Be sure to have lots of baked tortilla chips on hand when you serve it.
Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches
You'll definitely want to make an extra batch (or 5) to have handy in your freezer in the summer. A great way to use up the last of that pint of sorbet or frozen yogurt. Kids will love them too!
Boneless Buffalo Wings
Even though boneless Buffalo wings are made with healthy white-meat chicken, they're usually deep-fried and drenched in hot sauce laced with butter. The solution: chicken tenders are dredged in seasoned whole-wheat flour and cornmeal, pan-fried in only a small amount of oil and then drizzled with a tangy hot pepper sauce. With a fraction of the fat, calories and sodium, these boneless wings are reason enough to throw a party.
A creamy, honey-scented mascarpone filling makes this fresh fig recipe luxurious, yet still lets the fruit be the star. Serve these pretty stuffed figs to top off a special meal.