Appetizers can be the most creative course of any meal, and Thanksgiving is no exception. The following recipes for Thanksgiving appetizers use seasonal fruits and vegetables along with some unique ingredients for a lineup of appetizers that will wow your guests from the first bite.

 

Chances are they won’t make it to the next course if you serve too many of these, so use portion control in both the appetizer and entrée of your meal. You don’t want guests feeling too heavy to help with clean up once the meal is over, or worse, falling asleep on your couch and expecting breakfast in the morning.

 

We’ve included some vegan and raw recipes for a culinary diversion. The holidays are a wonderful time to try your hand at cooking more healthful dishes – something highly appreciated amongst all the traditional, rich indulgences.

 

Mango Pepper Bruschetta: This vegan dish combines the flavors and textures of sweet mango, crunchy peppers, fresh basil, cracked pepper and crusty bread. The only catch is you can’t make this appetizer too early or it will get soggy. You can prepare the mango mixture and slice the Ciabatta loaf several hours before dinner, but plan on taking a few moments right before the guests arrive to complete the final assembly.

 

Faux turkey vegetable platter: This appetizer will be a hit with raw foodies, vegetarians and anyone who appreciates a whimsical dish. It features brightly-colored raw vegetables laid out on a background of your choice of creamy dip or salad. You can use the butternut squash or creamy veggie dip recipes that follow, or simply pick up your favorite from a local health food store to save time.

 

Butternut Squash Dip: Here’s a vegan dish that uses one of the season’s tastiest superfoods as a base for a very non-traditional pita or veggie dip. The ingredient list calls for fall favorites including maple and orange peel. A bit of sage and garlic take the flavor up a notch, while hummus adds a perfect dose of protein that’ll keep your guests satisfied until it’s time to sit down for dinner.

 

Creamy Veggie Dip: For this great appetizer, provided by Brenda Cobb of Living Foods Institute, you’ll want to combine two cups raw cashews, one cup each of red pepper, yellow squash and sliced carrots, two cloves garlic, two tablespoons lemon juice, one-half teaspoon cumin and two teaspoons Himalayan salt. Process in a blender until smooth and serve with crudités.

 

Blood Orange, Cranberry and Ricotta Muffins: This appetizer from Ciao Florentina is wonderful but use mini-muffin pans for portion control as they can be quite filling. Blood oranges may be hard to find, but ‘tis the season for them, so start your search early – they’ll stay fresh in the fridge for at least a week. This recipe has the extra step of creating an orange cranberry sauce from scratch. Double it and you can serve the sauce with sliced turkey later on.

 

Chances are you won’t have any leftovers, but if you do, these muffins will make a great breakfast for Black Friday that you can take with you to battle the crowds. They’re packed with antioxidants from the berries, vitamin C from the oranges and protein from the cheese, so they’ll give you all the energy you need to score some hot deals.

 

Hoisin-Ginger Beef Skewers: Here’s a seriously tasty appetizer. You’ll need to grill for this one, so if you’re in a cold climate it’s time to whip out the George Foreman or other counter top grill. The effort will be well worth it; these beef skewers are gourmet, gorgeous, and will add some hearty meat presence to your appetizer buffet. 

 

Got more ideas for Thanksgiving appetizers? Share them with us in the comments section below.

 

See also:

Thanksgiving desserts

Vegetarian-friendly Thanksgiving recipes

Thanksgiving songs: A guide

Thanksgiving games