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Home / 3 Healthy Holiday Appetizers for Potlucks & Parties

3 Healthy Holiday Appetizers for Potlucks & Parties

December means work potlucks and holiday parties, leaving hosts and guests alike searching Pinterest and recipe websites for something to contribute. Deciding what crowd-pleasing dish to bring can certainly be puzzling. Offering something healthy can make the selection even more challenging. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with three nutrient-dense easy-to-make appetizers:

Pear Salad Skewers

Serves: 6

Difficulty: Easy

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Skewers are an easy crowd-pleaser– convenient to grab and eat. These bites offer a balanced combination of sweet and savory with a hint of pepper from arugula. Easy to make, simply skewer on the ingredients and drizzle the balsamic reduction for a beautiful contrast.


  • 2 pears, core removed cubed ½-inch thick
  • 3 oz. Brie cheese, sliced ½-inch thick
  • 1 cup arugula
  • ¼ cup balsamic reduction
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Cocktail picks


  1. On each cocktail pick, place 1 pear slice followed by a few sprigs of arugula and a slice of brie cheese. Place assembled picks on a plate and drizzle with balsamic reduction and olive oil.

Holiday Hummus Wreath

Serves: 6

Difficulty: easy

Prep Time: 15

Total Time: 15

Whether you’re hosting or bringing a dish, this easy-to-make festive holiday is an eye catcher.  The hummus dip is filled with healthy fats and protein to add a satisfying element. The toppings double as a nutrient punch and decorative holiday element.


  • 1-2 cups hummus of choice, depending on size of serving plate for wreath
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ~8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 sprigs rosemary


  1. On a large serving plate, place a small to medium-sized bowl upside down in the middle, spreading hummus around the rim to the shape of a wreath.
  2. Remove the bowl from the center.
  3. Onto the hummus, sprinkle the chopped parsley evenly.
  4. Place halved cherry tomatoes around the “wreath” to represent ornaments.
  5. Place the rosemary sprigs at the bottom.
  6.  Serve with your favorite dippers and enjoy!

Cucumber Shrimp Bites

Serves: 6

Difficulty: Medium

Prep Time: 20

Total Time: 40

These crunchy, sweet and savory delights offer healthy fats from the avocado and protein from the shrimp – adding a satisfying element. The shrimp are marinated in a honey-and-soy sauce mixture with generous fresh garlic and then cooked on the stovetop. Placed on a cucumber slice topped with guacamole, it’s a perfect bite of varying textures.


  • 24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail removed
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 1 tsp. ginger paste
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes or 1 Tbsp. sriracha
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 small avocados, peeled and pit removed
  • 3 Tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced, divided
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 3 sprigs green onions, chopped horizontally
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds (optional)


  1. Pat the shrimp dry using a towel or paper towel.
  2. For the marinade: In a bowl combine honey, soy sauce, 3 garlic cloves, ginger and red pepper flakes. Reserve the remaining garlic clove for the guacamole.
  3. In a separate bowl or zippered bag, add shrimp and ½ the marinade, reserving the rest. Make sure all of the shrimp is covered. Allow to marinate for 15 minutes.
  4. Heat the oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, discarding any leftover marinade. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until pink and barely cooked through.
  5. Pour the remaining marinade into the pan and bring it to a simmer, stirring with the shrimp as it slightly reduces and warms through, for about a minute.
  6. In a separate bowl, add avocados, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic clove, cilantro and ½ juiced lime. Reserve the rest of the lime juice for the final touch. Press the mixture with a fork until desired guacamole consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir.
  7. On a cucumber slice, add ~1 Tbsp. of the avocado mixture followed by a shrimp, green onion, lime juice and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Shanthi Appelö is a registered dietitian and health and wellness spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan based in Detroit. Passionate about the science of nutrition and behavior, Shanthi has experience working in clinical nutrition, public health and teaching in the university setting. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, exploring the outdoors, working on art and spending time with family. For more recipes and health information, visit

A Healthier Michigan
Author: A Healthier Michigan

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