4 Amazing Appetizers for Your Holiday Party – Amla Green
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4 Amazing Appetizers for Your Holiday Party

The holidays are here and that probably means that your calendar is quickly filling up. Whether you are attending or hosting a holiday party this year, we’ve got some plant-based holiday recipes for your meal-planning inspiration.

Plant-Based Holiday Party Planning

Eating plant-based recipes throughout the holiday season doesn’t mean you have to skimp on the flavor or miss out on your holiday favorites. Whether you’re gathering with the extended family or keeping the festivities chill at home, these appetizers are sure to please!

Sweet Potato Bean Tots with Pineapple Tomato Salsa

These sweet potato and black bean tots are a healthy appetizer that pairs well with a fresh pineapple tomato salsa. Got leftovers? Pile them on top of a bed of baby spinach for a tasty meal with an extra punch of vitamins and nutrients that every plant-based eater can use.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 cup canned, low-sodium black beans rinsed & dried
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 medium onion chopped & divided
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 cups canned, low-sodium diced tomatoes drained
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 1 cup pineapples
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 2 slices 1/2" pineapple

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to Bake at 400°F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.
  2. Bake the sweet potato in the oven for 30 minutes or until cooked. Once cooked, let cool to handle and scoop out the potato. Set aside.*
  3. Sauté the onion, in a little amount of water or low-sodium broth, over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or under soft.
  4. In a large bowl, mash together the potato, beans, cumin, black pepper, garlic powder, sautéed onion, and nutritional yeast. Form the mixture into small tots and place on the prepared baking sheet. (Makes 14 to 16). Bake for 30 minutes.
  5. In a food processor, pulse the drained tomatoes, green onions, and pineapple chunks a few times so that the salsa is chunky.
  6. Serve the tots on a bed of baby spinach and slice of pineapple along with the pineapple tomato salsa

NOTES: *Alternately, you can peel the sweet potato and steam it in a steamer until soft. Once cooked, mash the potato and set aside. Add your favorite spice to the tot mixture.

Piled High Veggie Potato Nachos

Potatoes are the base to this delicious veggie nacho dish. Pile on the vegetables, enjoy this tasty snack, and see why it will become a favorite of the whole family!

For the Nachos:

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium russet potato, thinly sliced
  • 1 serving vegan cheese sauce (see recipe below)
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1 small scallion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup low sodium black beans
  • 1/2 cup corn fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 2 large leaves romaine lettuce, shredded
  • 2 tbsp sliced black olives
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped

For the Vegan Cheese Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium Yukon Gold potato
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 cups hot water (or cooking water from the potato and carrots)

For the Nachos:

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to Bake at 400°F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.
  2. Place the potato slices on the prepared baking sheet. Ensure that the potatoes are laid out in a single layer. Cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked and browned slightly.
  3. Heat up one serving of cheese sauce (see instructions below).
  4. Combine the tomatoes, chili powder, cilantro, black pepper and scallion and set aside.
  5. Assemble the nachos: on a plate place the potatoes and top with black beans, corn, green pepper, lettuce, black olives, and tomato mixture and serve with a side of the heated cheese sauce or pour the sauce over the nachos.

For the Vegan Cheese Sauce:

Instructions:

  1. In a pot of boiling water, cook the potatoes and carrots until soft.
  2. Put all the ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Add more water one tablespoon at a time until you get the consistency you wish.
  3. Put the unused sauce in an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator.

NOTES: You can add or replace any vegetable you wish to this dish.

Nut-Free Cheesy Kale Chips

These nut-free cheesy kale chips are oil-free, dairy-free, low-fat and addictively delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz kale
  • 2 1/2 oz tomato
  • juice from 1/2 lemon, squeezed
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Chop the kale into large pieces.
  2. Blend tomato, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast until smooth.
  3. Pour the tomato mixture onto the chopped kale and toss until the kale is completely coated.
  4. If using a food dehydrator, place the kale onto dehydrator sheets and dehydrate for 4 - 6 hours at 125 degrees Fahrenheit (or until desired crunchiness is achieved). If using an oven, bake at 350°F until desired crunchiness is achieved (usually within 30 - 60 minutes). Just check the kale often to avoid making it too crisp!

Oil Free Baked Potato Cakes

Potato cakes are one of our favorite comfort foods. This healthy oil-free potato cake recipe is bursting with B vitamins to help combat holiday stress.

Ingredients:

  • 3 russet potatoes, medium-sized
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 handful fresh basil
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 4 oz tempeh
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 3 cup romaine lettuce

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to Bake at 400°F and line a tray with baking paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Peel and cut potatoes into 1" cubes.
  3. Boil potato cubes for 10 minutes on high heat.
  4. Remove potatoes from the water, then mash potatoes until no lumps are present.
  5. Stir in spices and chopped basil, combine well. Form into patties with your hands and place them on baking tray.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes until crisp and golden.

Party Planning Tips

Party planning can be stressful! And if this is your first holiday season as a whole food plant-based eater you may feel even more anxious about playing host. Feeling this way makes sense; with any new lifestyle change, we’re often met with resistance, both from ourselves and our network, before we 100% settle into our new lifestyle. The good news is: with a little plant-based holiday planning, you can push right on through that resistance and host a terrific party that everyone at your table will enjoy!

Lighten your load with a menu of apps, finger foods, desserts.

Not only are plant-based appetizers, finger foods, and desserts easier to make than a full-fledged holiday meal for a group, they’re perfect for delegating and potluck holiday parties. Even more, appetizers may be an easier plant-based “sell” for your guests who follow a standard diet as many of the dips and starters we grew up with were vegetarian or close to it.

Dazzle your guests with delicious whole food plant-based recipes.

Speaking of food, bring your whole food recipe A-game so you can show your guests just how amazing this lifestyle really is. While you can definitely have healthy salads on hand, now is the time to show your guests that whole food plant-based eating is about so much more than salads.

Have fun!

At the end of the day, the holidays are about enjoying the season with the people who matter most! Try not to overextend yourself and have fun!