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Healthy Appetizer Ideas

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I am having a casual dinner party for 8 this weekend. It is an outdoor wood fire oven pizza party with various wines. These Guests requested the pizza party (otherwise I might have picked something different at this point in time, myself). These types of parties require alot of prep. My energy has been low and I can't seem to be creative right now. Please help.

We are all very active and have good appetites (except for one guest who is ill). Half of us are low carb, two are Gluten free, one low fat, one "primarily" Vegetarian and one very weak and in failing health from cancer. All foodies -preferring healthy foods.

Edit: the gluten free folks are more by choice than allergy- they will eat pizza- just not too much. Same with the low carb folks (not diabetic).

The pizza's are very carby and filling of course, so I am going light, simple, vegetarian on them
(classic Margherita and Gorgonzola, caramelized onion). So bruschetta apps are not what I want :)

I would like the appetizers to be: light, fresh, clean, easy to eat with fingers, appropriate for Italian theme, and to pair well with wine... or perhaps a prosecco or specialty cocktail first. I will serve a green salad with the pizza...either a ceasar or a beet /goats /cheese/ balsamic...opinions?

I would like to have 3 or 4 different apps. I thought maybe one could be grilled shrimp skewers with an orange and saffron glaze. They are fast and easy....and....????

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Perhaps you can post on the home cooking board as well? Your title caught my eye as I too am starting to plan for a dinner party; otherwise, I never look at this board. Forgive me if my suggestions are not appropriate.

    Roasted red pepper/eggplant/vegetables served with toothpicks
    olives
    Salumi plate (low fat person doesn't have to indulge)
    smoked salmon with low carb bread/cracker
    spicy mini meatballs

    I think caesar salad will pair nicely with the pizza as the other has too many components which may distract from the pizza. Also, 3 to 4 apps seems like quite a bit for someone who may be pressed for time.

    You are very kind to throw what will be a fabulous party with just the wood fired pizza & wine/cocktails. I'd go crazy if my guests/friends gave me such restrictions!

    2 Replies
    1. re: ceekskat

      Thanks so much for the reply!

      I was hoping to tap into the wisdom and experience of the special diets folk for some interesting apps that I might not have thought of.

      I like your antipasti idea with the toothpicks. I think I will do that, and go by the store and just buy some ready made olives, peppers and marinated items to fill out my tray. A safe pick for everyone and will save me time.

      I decided on shrimp with romesco (low carb and gluten free)

      Blanched asparagus and green beans with a piquant quark dip (everyone might like that).

      I think I will take your advice about the caesar salad. It is easy and stress free.

      I just want everyone to be able to get full, not feel restricted, and know that I cared enough to accommodate their preferences. They are not asking me to do that. This is a difficult time for one of the guests and although a bit of a pain to plan...I want it to be special.

      1. re: ceekskat

        I have made smoked salmon rosettes on top of english cucumber slices with capers which looks pretty and is low carb.

        Marinated vegetable salad is also nice- a mixture of chunks of fresh vegetables- you can par boil the really crunchy ones like broccoli, carrots and cauliflower placed in a ziplock bag marinated in lowfat italian dressing overnight.

      2. vietnamese/thai-style fresh rolls are always a hit here. you can marinate tofu to wrap up with the veggies, or use shrimp or smoked salmon. skip the noodles in favor of bean sprouts or shredded jicama or daikon etc, for your low-carber. spicy peanut dip, or thai sweet chili sauce, are both good dips.

        caprese skewers: cherry tomato, basil, mozzarella fresca (very low fat and low cal) on toothpicks/skewers. can serve with olive oil/balsamic to dip.

        1. I make little caprese salad skewers with grape tomatoes and basil but you're already making pizza. Also, with or without a low carb wrap, you can make pinwheels from rolled up slices of coldcuts, basil, cheese, etc, sliced into little rounds. I'm thinking protein for apps since your main is carby.

          1. The party was a huge success.
            The apps ended up as: blanched asparagus and green beans with saffron aioli, marinated and grill shrimp skewers with romesco and skewers with tomato, salami, olive and artichoke and a bowl of homemade marinated olives.

            Very nice and............. all of it disappeared!

            1 Reply