Nutritious appetizers: Quick and easy pairings

Whether you’re planning a huge party or a few friends just dropped by, you can serve delicious appetizers that are easy to make and nutritious too.

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Cheeses

Canadian cheese can be paired with crackers, fruit, vegetables, shimp and more to create tasty appetizers.

Cheese appetizers

Cheese is often thought of as unhealthy, but it doesn’t have to be. Wholesome Canadian cheese is packed with calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin D and other nutrients, so pick a flavourful Canadian cheese, and incorporate it into your appetizer selection.

  • On a stick: Appetizers don’t have to be fancy to be enjoyed. Your guests will rave about your fruit-and-cheese kebabs. Just place diced Canadian cheddar cheese and chopped melon on skewers, and you’re done!
  • Stuff it: Stuff cherry tomatoes with cheesy goodness. Mix cream cheese with herbs and spices, and loosely stuff it into cherry tomatoes for a quick and easy appetizer your guests will love.
  • With crackers: When unexpected guests arrive and you need appetizers in a flash, grab a box of whole-wheat crackers and a chunk of Canadian cheese. Sliced cheese and crackers is a simple, old-fashioned appetizer suited for any occasion.

Wine pairing tip: When serving sharp Canadian cheddar cheese, select a bold cabernet, Rioja or sauvignon blanc. For mild cheddar, pick a chardonnary or serve Champagne.

Veggie appetizers

Vegetables are full of nutritious vitamins, antioxidants and other nutrients. Try to use veggies in your appetizers whenever you can.

  • In the raw: Raw veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, celery and cucumbers can be served with dip for an easy, nutritious appetizer. Serve raw vegetables with homemade hummus or salsa. They are both very nutritious and delicious.
  • On the grill: Grilled veggies are also simple options and perfect when you’re having an outdoor barbecue or party. You can throw almost any vegetable on the grill, from whole peppers to corn on the cob.
  • From the cupboard: Make a big batch of healthy antipasto, and store it in the cupboard to have on hand whenever you need it. Try this amazing vegetable antipasto recipe that can be scooped onto chips or crackers.

Wine pairing tip: With veggie appetizers, try a pinot blanc or pinot noir. The noir is best with bold flavours.

Shrimp appetizers

Shrimp isn’t just nutritious; it’s also easy to prepare. Of course you can serve cold shrimp on ice with cocktail sauce and lemon, but you can also make grilled shrimp appetizers in a flash. Since shrimp takes only a few minutes to cook, it will be on your serving platter in no time. Try this recipe for simple garlic lemon shrimp.

Another easy idea is to butterfly and stuff large shrimp with a tasty cheese mixture. Simply cut a 1/2-inch-deep incision down each side of the shrimp. (Scrape out the dark vein if necessary.) Stuff the shrimp with a mixture of Canadian cheese and roasted garlic. You can use shredded Canadian cheddar, havarti, cream cheese or any combination of cheeses you like. Wrap each shrimp with a piece of lean turkey bacon, and cook in a cast iron skillet until the bacon is crisp.

Wine pairing tip: With this shrimp appetizer, especially if you use a mixture of cheeses, try a Beaujolais or even a dry lambrusco.

More on healthy eating

Creative ways to add veggies to your diet
Thai scallops in coconut sauce
Veggie chip recipes

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