Healthy Holiday Appetizers

‘Tis the season for family, friends, and most of all, food!  The winter season brings about beautiful produce, such as apples, squash and winter greens, but typical holiday fare tends to favor a decadent, rather than light, preparation of these ingredients.  Luckily, there are a few simple substitutes that can reduce your holiday season calorie intake without diminishing any of its deliciousness!

Because endive, unlike most other forms of lettuce, has a strength and rigidity to it, the leaves can be used to hold a variety of dips and salads.  Switching out chips and crackers for leaves of endive not only reduces calorie consumption, but it boosts your nutritional intake as well! Take for example, a serving of crackers.  An average serving contains 130 calories, 4.5 grams of fat and 21 grams of carbs (not to mention, who really eats only the 15 recommended crackers?). On the other hand, an entire head of endive contains only 15 calories, a multitude of vitamins and nearly as much potassium as a whole banana!  These health benefits are simply an added plus to the refreshing crunch endive can contribute to a dish.

One recipe that will have even picky eaters exulting praises is our classic “Original Blue” Endive Boats.  The ratio between effort and reward is definitely in your favor with this one—simply sprinkle blue cheese and walnuts in each endive leaf and top them with a drizzle of honey. Voila! An impressively delicious appetizer for your holiday gathering!

The Red Quinoa Salad in Endive Boats is another tasty and super nutritious option, not to mention the recipe can easily be prepared for a dinner party of six or sixty!


And if you’re feeling ambitious, try topping endive with the classic pairing of Herbed Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon.  The little bit of extra effort is well worth the delicious bite you and your guests will experience!


So pick up some California-grown endive as you make your last minute grocery runs for the holidays, and when the holidays are over, don’t forget to continue to use endive as a chip and cracker substitute!  An anonymous food blogger may even admit to plopping down on the couch with a head of endive in one hand and a tub of hummus in the other… a lazy snack that provides great taste and nutrition.  Of course, you don’t have to settle for finger food—you can always get your daily dose of endive with a simple salad!