When we are welcoming guests for a big holiday meal, tradition often dictates that we prepare and serve some Hors D’oeuvres so guests, as they arrive, can have something to munch on and warm into the main event with. Oftentimes, these Hors D’oeuvres are so filling in and of them that they can actually diminish the pleasure your guests might get from enjoying the main course you have worked so hard to prepare. There is a simple and easy to prepare solution.
They require minimal preparation, are simple to serve and attractive to behold. For the ingredients, you need look no further than the produce department at your local store or Farmer’s Market. Why, it is fresh, dippable vegetables of course.
It has worked for many years in my family and I suspect it may work just as well in yours. These healthy and festive appetizers are colorful, tasty and light. They are freshly sliced raw vegetables, with or without some dip to enhance the experience of eating them.
On the health side of the coin, vegetables of bright color tend to be the healthiest and those most laden with anti-oxidants. Brightly colored peppers (red, green, yellow and orange), snow peas (which needn’t be shucked and are eaten whole), carrots (either sticks cut from large ones or little ‘˜mini’ carrots) and cherry tomatoes (round or pear-shaped in red, yellow or orange) come to mind.
Celery sticks are an excellent source of fiber and are not, in and of themselves, particularly filling. Bite-size pieces of broccoli and cauliflower crowns add a nice touch, too. Although not brightly colored, they are well worth including on your vegetable appetizer platter as well.
From the festive perspective, the bright colors mirror the traditional colors of Autumn and early winter. There is also something ‘˜festive’ about feeling the snap as you bite into a piece of fresh, naturally tasty and sweet, vegetable.
So as not to compromise their health benefits too severely, dips provided are best of the no or low-fat variety. Most popular flavors are commercially available that way and making them from scratch at home lends yet another nice touch to the special simplicity, health and festiveness of these natural appetizers.
As an added bonus, these appetizers are less apt to fill people up in the way that heavier pre-meal munchies might. Commonly used cheese cubes or hot hors d’ouevres tend to be a bit much to temp people with. If your guests are already half or even three-quarters full when they sit down to your main course, they will eat less and you may feel some sense of disappointment.
So for every imaginable reason; Visual, nutritional, sensual and psychological, a plan to serve sliced fresh brightly colored vegetables as festive and healthy appetizers and Hors D’oeuvres are always worth considering as a good plan for warming up the appetites of your guests for your special holiday meal.