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Top 10 nutritious & delicious appetizers for spring

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Appetizers don’t have to be wrapped in bacon or submerged in some fatty dip to be finger-licking good. Add some nutrition and subtract some fat from your usual assortment of hors d’oeuvres this Easter, or for any other springtime soiree. We found the most flavorful finger foods out there that spare the grease and offer the vitamins and minerals you need. Your taste buds and your body will thank you.

Cucumber bites with garlic herb filling

Cucumber bites with garlic herb filling

Photo: Annies-Eats.com

The beauty of these cucumber bites from Annie’s Eats: Instead of in a bowl of dip, the creamy cheese is already placed on the cucumber, which means you won’t be able to hover over the bowl uncontrollably dipping and re-dipping. (Don’t even try to pretend you never double-dip.) They’re so easy to make that your 5-year-old kid could make them (though they might not look as pretty). Click here for the recipe.

Grilled zucchini rolls with goat cheese and olives

Grilled zucchini rolls with goat cheese and olives

Photo: CookinCanuck.com

Is it too early to break out the grill? We think not. These zucchini rolls from Cookin’ Canuck — yes, that’s the actual blog name — are stuffed with herbed goat cheese and kalamata olives, but you can substitute the goat cheese with part-skim ricotta if you want to cut out some of the fat. Click here for the recipe.

Caprese tomato bites

Caprese tomato bites

Photo: Williams Dickey; Styling: Rose Nguyen — MyRecipes.com

If your kitchen expertise doesn’t advance far past knowing how to cook Ramen but you still need to contribute a party hors d’oeuvre, this recipe for mini caprese bites from MyRecipes.com has you covered. Everything you love about a caprese salad just got compressed onto a skewer. Click here for the recipe.

Steamed artichokes with creamy walnut dip

Steamed artichokes with creamy walnut dip

Photo: Whole Foods Market

Think of these steamed artichokes from Whole Foods as a much lighter, much easier version of stuffed artichokes. Instead of baking the artichokes with a mixture of cheese, breadcrumbs and a lot of oil, this recipe steams the artichokes and lets you peel off leaves and individually use them to scoop up some of the creamy walnut dip. Instead of cheese or cream, the dip uses just walnuts, sherry vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and herbs. Click here for the recipe.

Stuffed baby bellas

Stuffed baby bellas

Photo: Food Network

These yummy stuffed portabella mushrooms from Rachael Ray are filled with a mixture of ground chicken (or turkey), fennel seed, lemon zest, asiago cheese, spinach and breadcrumbs. Drooling yet? Click here for the recipe.

Sherry mushrooms with pine nuts

Sherry mushrooms with pine nuts

Photo: VeryCulinary.com

Ah, crostinis — they’re like the blank canvas of appetizers. So many wonderful things you can cover them with! This recipe from VeryCulinary.com brilliantly chooses to use sautéed cremini and button mushrooms and pine nuts with sherry. Click here for the recipe.

Fava bean crostini

Fava bean crostini

Photo: Happyolks.com

Add some fava flava to a multigrain baguette by spreading it with pureed fava beans, arugula, avocados, mint and some seasoning. If you’re a fish fanatic, this recipe from Happyolks.com also suggests adding salmon, which packs even more protein into each bite. Click here for the recipe.

Strawberry bruschetta

Strawberry bruschetta

Photo: Annies-Eats.com

Who says bruschetta requires tomatoes? Reinvent the traditional Italian antipasto with this recipe from Annie’s Eats. Goat cheese and balsamic vinegar gives the appetizer a tangy twist that balances the sweetness from the strawberries. Click here for the recipe.

Antipasto sausage skewers

Antipasto sausage skewers

Photo: Food Network

This recipe from the Food Network takes the array of foods from an antipasto plate and conveniently sticks them right onto a bite-sized skewer. Roasted red pepper, sundried tomatoes, artichokes, basil and Italian sausage all in one bite? Yes please! Click here for the recipe.

Shrimp shooters

Shrimp shooters

Photo: Ralph Anderson; Styling: Marian Cooper Cairns — MyRecipes.com

Hors d’oeuvres just aren’t complete without shrimp cocktail — or, even better, these shrimp shooters from MyRecipes.com. Chilled for eight to 24 hours in a flavorful vinaigrette and then presented with a few lettuce leaves in small glasses, these shrimp make for a pretty, as well as delectable, appetizer. Click here for the recipe.

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