Unique Holiday Appetizer Recipes

By Kait Schuster

Hosting a Thanksgiving feast is no small feat. Much planning goes into preparing, cooking, and serving the perfect dinner. By the time your family and friends arrive at your house, they are hungry, yet do not want to spoil their appetite. Here are some delicious, light appetizers to enjoy before the festive feast is served. These small bites pack a flavorful punch while waiting for the main course. Enjoy!

Cranberry Brie Bites


  • 8-ounce tube of crescent dough
  • Cooking spray, for pan
  • Flour, for surface
  • 8-ounce wheel of brie
  • ½ cup whole berry cranberry sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • 6 sprigs of rosemary, cut into 1" pieces


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a mini muffin tin with cooking spray. On a lightly floured surface, roll out crescent dough, and pinch together seams. Cut into 24 squares. Place squares into muffin tin slots.
  2. Cut brie into small pieces and place inside the crescent dough. Top with a spoonful of cranberry sauce, some chopped pecans, and one little sprig of rosemary.
  3. Bake until the crescent pastry is golden, about 15 minutes.

Source: Delish.com

Kait’s Sweet Potato Nibbles


  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4" thick rounds
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • Kosher salt
  • 10-ounce bag of marshmallows
  • ½ cup pecan halves


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a large baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes with melted butter and maple syrup and arrange in an even layer. Season with salt.
  2. Bake until tender, flipping halfway through, about 20 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and switch oven to broil.
  3. Top each sweet potato round with a marshmallow and broil until puffed and golden. Immediately top each marshmallow with a pecan half and serve.

Cranberry Turkey Meatballs


For the Meatballs:
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • ½ cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 1 cup shredded tart apple (Cortland, Braeburn, McIntosh, or Empire)
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)
For the Cranberry Sauce:
  • 1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice


  1. Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the turkey, breadcrumbs, olive oil, egg, apple, sage, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. With your hands or two forks, lightly mix to combine, being careful not to compact the meat.
  3. Roll the mixture into 1½ to 2-inch balls, using a small scoop to help portion as desired.
  4. Arrange the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 12-14 minutes, just until cooked through.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. In a saucepan large enough to hold the meatballs, combine the cranberries, applesauce, maple syrup, orange zest, and orange juice. Heat over medium to warm through.
  6. Add the cooked meatballs to the sauce, then spoon the sauce over gently to coat. Transfer to a serving platter to enjoy immediately or place in a slow cooker set to the lowest heat to keep warm. Garnish with fresh parsley as desired and serve.

Source: Wellplated.com

Pumpkin Hummus


  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (keep canned water)
  • 3 tablespoons reserved canned water
  • ⅔ cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup tahini sesame paste
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Toppings: chickpeas, sesame seeds, fresh herbs (try rosemary or thyme), olive oil


  1. Add all ingredients into a food processor or heavy duty blender. Pulse mix until fully combined and creamy. You may want to reserve a few of the chickpeas to add on top. 
  2. Transfer to a dipping bowl. Add some chickpeas, sesame seeds, and fresh herbs on top, and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with crackers, pita bread, naan flatbread, fruit or veggies.

How to store: Store creamy pumpkin hummus in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 7-10 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To serve, let it thaw in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Source: AheadofThyme.com

About Kait Schuster

Kaitlin (Kait) Schuster is a student at Cornell University who loves the great outdoors and cooking in her spare time.

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