Crowd-Pleasing Crudité Platters, Charcuterie Boards, and More for Your Holiday Parties

Crowd-Pleasing Crudité Platters, Charcuterie Boards, and More for Your Holiday Parties

The holiday season is all about gift-giving, party-planning, and eating—lots of eating. And if you’re trying to be mindful of your blood sugar, weight, or even your cholesterol, it can be tricky to find foods that balance your nutritional needs with real flavor and zest. Thankfully, we’ve got you covered with a few crowd-pleasing holiday party recipes for crudité platters, charcuterie boards, and more.

When you’re whipping up holiday party food recipes like crudité platters and charcuterie boards, you can be as imaginative as you want, so feel free to customize and add any of your favorite heart-healthy dips and snacks to the spread. You can also mix and match between healthy homemade items and quick, store-bought ones if you’re pressed for time. Whatever your approach to crudité and charcuterie boards, you’re sure to be prepared with a healthy and delicious go-to if you try the ideas below.

First up on our list: a classic crudité platter.

Fresh veggies not only provide beautiful pops of color for your holiday spread, but they also ensure that you have plenty of nutritious options to balance out the abundance of proteins and carbs at most holiday parties, says One Drop coach, Jackie, a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) and certified diabetes care and education specialist (CDCES).

“Many vegetables are packed with fiber,” which can help you feel full and satisfied, she explains. “This can be important at social gatherings when there are many food choices that don’t align with your health goals.”

While our recipe features carrots, celery, radishes, mini bell peppers, cauliflower, and cherry tomatoes, the best part about any crudité platter is making it your own. Not a radish fan? Try jicama instead. Want to add more flavor to your veggies? Marinate them in red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and seasonings of your choice, then toss them on the grill or a cast-iron pan for a few minutes on each side.

Regardless of which veggies you choose, they’re sure to pair well with a simple dipping sauce of dijon mustard, extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, water, and black pepper. Follow the steps below to recreate the dish yourself for a crudité platter that’s sure to get guests asking for more. 

Crudité Platter

Serves 8

Serving size: ~1 ¼ cup + 1 tbsp dressing

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Estimated Nutrition Analysis (per serving)

Carbs: 10g

Fiber: 3g

Fat: 6g

Saturated Fat: 0.5g

Protein: 2g

Sodium: 140mg

Ingredients

  • 8 small carrots with stem and greens attached
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 8 radishes
  • 2 cups tricolor mini bell peppers
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp light oil (i.e. extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp water
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and mustard. Slowly drizzle the olive oil in while mixing, so the sauce gets nice and creamy. Add pepper and water. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  2. Wash and prepare all the produce. Cut the mini peppers lengthwise. Leave the stem, so it can be used as a handle. Peel (or scrub the skin well and keep on) the carrots, keeping tops on, and allow to dry well. Cut celery stalks into thirds and then cut each piece lengthwise into smaller strips. Put the tops aside as a garnish for the platter. Slice the radishes thinly and set aside in a bowl. Cut the stem off the cauliflower and chop into bite-size florets.
  3. Arrange the vegetables around the dip on a tray. The tomatoes may be easier to manage if placed in a decorative bowl.

If you want something a little more flavorful to dip your veggies into, look no further than our creamy kale artichoke dip.

The recipe includes the comforting ingredients you know and love in artichoke dips—parmesan cheese, milk, artichoke hearts, onion, leafy greens—but we also sneak in some white beans for added protein and fiber.

“You can also make this recipe dairy-free by using almond or soy milk instead of 2% milk, and nutritional yeast instead of parmesan cheese,” adds One Drop coach, Danica Crouse, RDN, noting that you may want to add a small pinch of salt if you decide to nix the cheese to maintain flavor.

Our artichoke dip features kale, but “fresh spinach or any dark leafy green can be used instead,” says Crouse. Kale is rich in calcium and magnesium (two nutrients that help with blood pressure management), while spinach is an excellent source of iron. No matter which greens you choose, Crouse suggests using bagged, shredded veggies to save on prep time.

“You can also use canned artichokes if you’re not able to find frozen artichoke hearts,” she adds. “This will increase sodium, but you can drain and rinse thoroughly to reduce it.”

If you want to make your dip ahead of time, follow the steps below until you’re ready to bake. Before serving, place the dip in a baking dish and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until heated through (about 20-30 minutes). Enjoy!

Creamy Kale Artichoke Dip

Serves 18

Serving size: ~½ cup

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Estimated Nutrition Analysis (per serving)

Carbs: 11g

Fiber: 4g

Fat: 3g

Saturated Fat: 1g

Protein: 5g

Sodium: 105mg

Ingredients

  • 1- 15 oz can no-salt-added white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 ½ cups 2% milk
  • ¾ cup reduced-fat grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 6 cups kale, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2- 12 oz bags of frozen artichoke hearts
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash and prepare produce. Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and finely chop the kale. Allow artichoke hearts to thaw before chopping. Speed up the process by running under room temperature water for about a minute.
  2. Add the beans and milk to a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large oven-safe metal or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, onion, and garlic. Saute until translucent and fragrant. Add the kale and stir frequently until the kale is wilted. Season with pepper and smoked paprika.
  4. Turn off the heat and stir in the artichoke hearts, pureed beans, parmesan cheese, and lemon juice. Mix until combined.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until bubbly and completely warmed through. Serve hot with your favorite dippers such as veggies, crackers, or toasted baguette.

Want something a little less heavy, yet still creamy, for your veggie dip? Try our pomegranate guacamole.

While traditional guac is made with avocados, onion, cilantro, lime, salt, and pepper, our version adds tart pomegranate seeds—which may be associated with improvements in blood sugar for people living with type 2 diabetes—plus a serrano pepper for extra spice.

“Fun fact: Guacamole dates back to the time of the Aztecs,” says One Drop coach, Sandra, RDN, CDCES. “It was the primary source of fat in their diet, and they believed it had aphrodisiac properties.”

Whether you’re in it for guacamole’s healthy fats or its rumored aphrodisiac nature, try Sandra’s heart-healthy take on guacamole below.

Pomegranate Guacamole

Serves 6

Serving size: ~⅓ cup

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Estimated Nutrition Analysis (per serving)

Carbs: 12g

Fiber: 6g

Fat: 10g

Saturated Fat: 2g

Protein: 3g

Sodium: 100mg

Ingredients

  • 2 large avocados, pitted and diced
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 serrano pepper, chopped
  • ⅓ cup pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

Directions

  1. Wash and prepare all produce. In a bowl, mash the avocado using a fork or potato masher.
  2. Add garlic, red onion, serrano pepper, cilantro, lime juice, and salt and pepper. Mix well.
  3. Fold in pomegranate seeds and garnish with cilantro.

Next up on our list of holiday party foods: a decadent charcuterie board.

Much like crudité platters, charcuterie boards can easily be customized to fit your palate. Our version calls for a spread of turkey pepperoni (which has less fat than regular pepperoni), prosciutto, goat cheese, cheddar cheese, olives, multigrain seeded crackers (a more fiber-rich alternative to regular crackers), strawberries, grapes, and dip.

“Feel free to get creative with this board by using different cheeses, fruits, vegetables, and condiments,” suggests Jackie. “Figs and fennel can be a festive and seasonal alternative, for example.”

If you’re worried about the saturated fat and sodium content on your board, try reducing the serving size of your cheeses and meats and including more veggies. “The cheddar cheese and prosciutto have the highest amounts of sodium,” notes Jackie. “They could be replaced with low-sodium ham, turkey, or Swiss cheese.”

For your dip, you could pick up a simple hummus at the store, or you can try your hand at our roasted beet dip. Made with red beets (which are packed with heart-healthy potassium), garlic, fiber-rich chickpeas, tahini (a.k.a. sesame paste, which can help with managing cholesterol), olive oil, lemon juice, and warm spices like cumin and paprika, this dish not only works as a dip but also as a great topping on grain or veggie bowls and salads. Check out the full recipe below.

Charcuterie Board

Serves 12

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Estimated Nutrition Analysis (per serving)

Carbs: 15g

Fiber: 4g

Fat: 13g

Saturated Fat: 3g

Protein: 9g

Sodium: 330mg

Ingredients

  • 14 slices turkey pepperoni
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 4 oz cheddar cheese
  • 2 oz prosciutto (4 thin slices)
  • 6 green olives
  • 6 kalamata olives
  • 2 cups, or ~48 multigrain seeded crackers
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup green grapes, small bunch
  • 10 oz roasted beet dip (*see recipe below*) or hummus

Directions

  1. Add the green and kalamata olives to small serving dishes with toothpicks and set on the serving tray.
  2. Add hummus to another serving dish and place toward the center of the tray.
  3. Wash and prepare the fruit. Slice strawberries into quarters and lay grapes on the vine. If you prefer, separate grapes into small bunches. Arrange on a platter from the center and work toward the outer edges. Leave room on the perimeter for the crackers.
  4. Slice the cheddar cheese and add to the platter. Do the same with the turkey pepperoni and a block of goat cheese.
  5. Add crackers around the perimeter of the tray. Serve with small cheese knives, napkins, and toothpicks.

Roasted Beet Dip

Serves 4

Serving size: ¼ cup

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes

Estimated Nutrition Analysis (per serving)

Carbs: 24g

Fiber: 10g

Fat: 10g

Saturated Fat: 1g

Protein: 7g

Sodium: 65mg

Ingredients

  • 2 red beets, whole, or pre-cooked and ready-to-eat
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 15-oz canned chickpeas, rinsed
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp warm water
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. (Skip this step if using pre-cooked, ready-to-eat beets.)
  2. Drizzle beets with olive oil and wrap beets and garlic together in foil.
  3. Place on baking sheet and roast for about 35 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork.
  4. Once beets cool, peel beet skins under running water.
  5. Place roasted beets into a blender (you may have to cut them to fit depending on the size of the blender).
  6. Add garlic, cumin, paprika, chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and water. Blend until smooth.
  7. Optional: garnish with parsley, sesame seeds, or chopped nuts. Serve or store in the refrigerator.

Lastly, we have a mini pizza popper recipe that’s sure to be a hit at any holiday party.

Made with a base of mini bell peppers and a delicious filling of mozzarella and parmesan cheese, tomato sauce, ground beef, breadcrumbs, and all of your favorite Italian seasonings, these poppers are all but guaranteed to be a crowd favorite.

Worried about the recipe’s sodium content? Try reducing or even eliminating the parmesan cheese, suggests Jackie. And, if you’re looking to cut down on red meat, try ground turkey or chicken instead of beef, or perhaps plant-based meat crumbles if that’s your jam. You can even use beans as a healthy alternative; just mash them with your hands until you get that “ground” texture, explains Jackie.

“This is great for large gatherings,” she adds. Just double or triple the recipe, and you’re good to go.

Mini Pizza Poppers

Serves 6

Serving size: 4 pepper halves

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Estimated Nutrition Analysis (per serving)

Carbs: 7g

Fiber: 2g

Fat: 6g

Saturated Fat: 2.5g

Protein: 6g

Sodium: 170mg

Ingredients

  • 12 mini bell peppers
  • ½ cup part-skim mozzarella
  • ½ cup no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 cup or about ¼ lb. 90% lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning or any combination of parsley, oregano, and/or basil
  • ¼ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper, optional
  • 2 tbsp sliced olives, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Or, grease the sheet with oil using a paper towel.
  2. Add the beef, sauce, egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and spices to a large mixing bowl. Combine well.
  3. Wash and slice bell peppers lengthwise, removing the seeds and white membrane. Leave the stem intact if you want a built-in pepper holder.
  4. Fill each half of the peppers with 2 tablespoons of the mixture. Then place them on a plate. Top with mozzarella cheese and optional olives.
  5. Transfer the peppers to the baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is well melted and the internal temperature of the mixture reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Garnish with fresh basil or cracked black pepper (optional).
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Allie Strickler
Dec 22, 2021

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