5 Healthy Thanksgiving Appetizer Ideas

FightCamp - Healthy Thanksgiving Appetizer Ideas

It’s hard enough trying to plan Thanksgiving dinner let alone come up with appetizer ideas. We have you covered with easy and healthy Thanksgiving appetizers.

Published: November 3, 2022

Topics: Nutrition, Wellness

Author: Carolina Schneider, MS, RD

The holiday season is upon us… and for as much as we love gathering with family and friends to celebrate special occasions, we can’t help but feel overwhelmed when it comes to eating during the holidays. If you’re a healthy eater, thinking about a Thanksgiving feast full of casseroles and pies may make you feel a bit anxious. After all, Thanksgiving is notorious for stuffing (pun intended) yourself with large amounts of food. But this doesn't have to mean you fall off the health wagon completely. One way to make this year’s feast more nutritionally balanced is to include healthy Thanksgiving hors d’oeuvres on the table. Here are five dietitian-approved recipes for a healthier twist on Thanksgiving appetizers.

5 Easy and Healthy Thanksgiving Appetizers

Black Rice Stuffed Mushrooms

FightCamp - Healthy Thanksgiving Appetizers

Not all low-calorie foods are nutritious, but mushrooms are an exception. These low-calorie fungi are an excellent source of B vitamins such as folate, heart-healthy soluble fiber, and antioxidants, and some mushrooms are also a good source of vitamin D, which is important for immune health. Mushrooms also contain important minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, selenium, and copper. This recipe also includes black rice which is rich in antioxidants, fiber, and iron, as well as walnuts, one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These nutty, hearty bites make for a perfect healthy appetizer to impress your guests.


  • 1/2 cup black rice (or wild rice)

  • 1 cup vegetable stock

  • 1 10-ounce package of baby portobello mushrooms

  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (or vegan parmesan)

  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts, crushed

  • Cooking oil spray

  • Salt and pepper to taste 


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F 

  2. Cook the rice: Bring vegetable stock to a boil in a saucepan, then add the rice. Reduce to medium heat and cover. Cook until the vegetable stock is absorbed (about 30 minutes)

  3. Prepare the mushrooms: Using a damp paper towel, brush the dirt from the mushrooms. Set them on a baking sheet and spray them with cooking oil. Bake the mushrooms for about 10 minutes to soften.

  4. Once the rice is cooked, add parmesan cheese, walnuts, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste as needed. 

  5. Stuff pre-cooked mushrooms with rice filling and top it with more parmesan cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes or until tender.

  6. Optional: Garnish with fresh parsley and crushed nuts. 

White Bean Dip

FightCamp - Healthy Thanksgiving Appetizers

A protein and fiber powerhouse, this white bean dip is very satisfying and gut-friendly. White beans also pack micronutrients such as vitamin C, iron, zinc, folate, magnesium, and B vitamins. This flavorful recipe is not only easy, but also inexpensive to make, and versatile. You can serve this healthy dip with whole grain crackers, warm whole wheat bread, raw vegetables, or as a spread on toast, sandwiches, and wraps. 


  • 1 15-ounce can of cannellini or navy beans, drained and rinsed

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 

  • 1-2 tablespoons water

  • Juice of ½ lemon

  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled 

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • Ground pepper to taste 

  • Optional: 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves  


  1. In a food processor or high-speed blender, add the cannellini beans, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pulse until combined. With the food processor running, slowly add the water and process until smooth. Blend in the fresh rosemary leaves if desired. Adjust seasonings to taste as needed.

  2. Serve with whole grain crackers, fresh warm bread, or raw vegetables such as cucumber, snap peas, carrots, celery, or bell peppers 

Sundried Tomato and Olive Tapenade

FightCamp - Healthy Thanksgiving Appetizers

This simple and easy recipe packs a ton of flavor! A tapenade is a thick, olive-based spread that can be enjoyed as an appetizer over fresh bread or crackers, or as a spread for wraps and sandwiches. You can also use this tapenade as a hummus topping or serve it with roasted vegetables! This healthy recipe packs anti-inflammatory garlic, vitamin C-rich sundried tomatoes, and lots of healthy fats from the olives. 


  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (preferably not packed in oil) 

  • 2 cups olives, drained and pitted

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1/3 cup fresh basil


  1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor

  2. Pulse until combined, scraping down the sides as needed

  3. Adjust seasonings to taste as needed, adding salt and pepper to taste  

Roasted Beet Hummus 

FightCamp - Healthy Thanksgiving Appetizers

Looking for a fun twist on hummus? Look no further! This bright pink beet hummus makes any charcuterie board more aesthetically pleasing, plus it’s extremely creamy and nutritious! Beets are a natural source of nitrates, which improves blood flow and supports exercise performance and muscle recovery, making them a great addition to a boxer’s diet. Beets are a low-calorie vegetable but a good source of folate, potassium, and fiber. 


  • 1 small beet

  • 1 15-ounce can of cooked chickpeas, drained

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 tablespoons tahini

  • 1/4 cup olive oil  

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • Pepper to taste 


  1. Roast the beet: 

    • Preheat oven to 375°F 

    • Remove the stem and the roots from the beet 

    • Wash under water until clean 

    • Drizzle the beet with olive or avocado oil, then wrap it in foil 

    • Roast it in the oven for about one hour, until tender or until you can easily insert a fork without resistance 

    • Let it cool to room temperature 

    • Peel the skin off 

  2. Chop the beet into chunks and blend it in a food processor or high-speed blender

  3. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste as needed.

  4. Optional: Garnish with olive oil drizzle, pine nuts, and fresh chopped herbs

  5. Serve it with raw vegetables, whole grain crackers, or fresh whole wheat bread 

Sweet Potato Bites

FightCamp - Healthy Thanksgiving Appetizers

A mix of creamy and crunchy, these sweet potato bites are the perfect thanksgiving snack to impress your guests. Plus, sweet potatoes are a nutrition powerhouse: One small sweet potato provides more than 100% of your daily requirements of vitamin A, along with 15% of your daily needs for dietary fiber, and contains virtually no fat. This healthy starchy vegetable is paired with healthy fats from avocado and sesame seeds, making it a filling and highly nutritious appetizer. 


  • 2 medium sweet potatoes

  • 1 large avocado, diced

  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds

  • Olive or avocado oil, for drizzling

  • ¼ cup red onion, diced

  • ½ lemon

  • Fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped

  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F

  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper

  3. Slice sweet potatoes into thin rounds. Place the sweet potato rounds on the baking sheet in a single layer, and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper

  4. Roast for 20 minutes, turn the slices, and roast until tender (about 10 minutes) 

  5. Top the roasted sweet potato rounds with diced avocado and diced red onions

  6. Before serving: Squeeze lemon juice and top it with sesame seeds and fresh cilantro

A Healthier Feast

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to spend with your loved ones and share the things you are thankful for. However, the holidays can also be a stressful time for those on a health journey who are trying to eat a nutritious diet and follow an exercise routine. With so many delicious foods on the table, it can be challenging to listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, which often leads to overeating and an uncomfortable feeling afterward, aka “food coma.” By serving nutrient-dense foods as appetizers, you and your guests will have healthier food choices, feel more satiated, and experience a more nutritionally balanced Thanksgiving feast. 

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Carolina Schneider, MS, RD is a registered dietitian specializing in plant-based nutrition and wellness. She is passionate about evidence-based nutrition and educating individuals on how to eat well for good health.

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