10 Irresistible Valentine's Day Appetizers

As a Registered Dietitian who has a love for new recipes, I am excited to share with you some irresistible, healthy appetizer recipes I have found. Below are some hand-picked recipes from my favorite recipe websites. These recipes are sure to please! (None of the recipe sites are affiliates).

10 Irresistible Valentine's Day Appetizers

The key to delicious AND healthy is to find recipes that contain a fruit or vegetable. Also, recipes that contain nuts and lean meats, as well as poultry and fish, are good choices because they are sources of protein.

1. Blue Cheese-Stuffed Strawberries

Taste of Home has simple, delicious, and oftentimes healthy recipes. Plus, they utilize everyday ingredients you're more likely to already have in your kitchen pantry. I receive regular emails from Taste of Home. I pick and choose recipes, depending on my needs and my mood. Though I haven't tried this recipe, I can imagine it in my mouth, and I have no doubt that I would like it.

If you like strawberries and cheese this is a no miss. Click to see the recipe here.

Of course, you don't have to use the same cheese that is in the recipe.

For example, I might switch out the blue cheese for feta cheese because I like feta cheese much more. Plus, feta cheese is likely to be less expensive. Not only that, but feta cheese can be used in other recipes you like.

For example, one of my favorite salad recipes includes black olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice dressings (with some basil, garlic and parsley) mixed with feta cheese.* YUMMY!

*By the way, you don't really need a recipe for this salad. Just mix equal amounts cucumbers and tomatoes, and add black olives to taste. For the dressing, just mix about 1/4 cup olive oil, 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 to 1 garlic clove, 1 teaspoon fresh or dried parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon dried (or 1/2 teaspoon fresh) basil, stir and mix with the vegetables. Add 4 ounces of feta cheese (plain or herbed or tomato basil are all delicious), mix again. Chill and serve.

One of the things I like the most about this “Greek Salad” recipe is that it has no lettuce, and thus doesn't wilt. So, it can keep in the refrigerator for several days and it will still taste good.

You also don't need to use the exact nut mentioned. Personally, I prefer pecans, which is what the recipe calls for. However, you can use walnuts or even remove the nuts completely, if you are concerned about allergies.

Some nut substitutions you could try are:

Pumpkin (unshelled are known as “pepitas”) or sunflower seeds; dried fruit such as apricots (amazing source of potassium) or mangos, cut up into little bits.

Be creative! 🙂

2. Artichoke Hearts Gratin

I found this recipe on allrecipes.com. If you like marinated artichoke hearts, you're going to love this one! And it's ridiculously simple!

This one calls for Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese which is one of my absolute favorites! (Can you tell I love cheese)?! However, if you are concerned about the cost, or you can't find this type of cheese in your local store, you can always use basic Parmesan or Romano cheese.

It is true that cheese is high in saturated fat and calories. 🙁

However, when you use strong flavored cheeses, such as blue cheese, feta cheese, and hard cheeses, such as Parmesan, Asiago, Parmigiano-Reggiano, or Romano Pecorino (another one of my favorites),  a little goes a long way. For example, it usually only takes about 1/2 as much to give the cheesy flavor usually sought after when using cheese in a recipe.

As the saying goes, if you are able to tolerate dairy, then you can have your cheese and eat it too–or was that cake–oh well, you know what I mean! 😉

By the way, if you have a problem with dairy products or are casein-intolerant, you can use a casein free cheese such as the one here.

Click to take a look at this recipe here.

3. Chocolate Sea Salt Crostini

This one looks absolutely delicious as well! And dark chocolate, which is the type of chocolate recommended in the recipe, is good for you! Click here to read about the benefits of dark chocolate.

This is another recipe from AllRecipes.com. I find so many good recipes on this site! Anyway, what I like about this recipe, health-wise, is that it is made with dark chocolate.

Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and is lower in sugar than milk chocolate.

What I also like about this recipe is that it is simple and only requires 4 ingredients. It is also kid-friendly. Get the full recipe here.

4. 100-Calorie Italian Soda Floats for Two

This recipe is from Cooking Light.com, one of my all-time favorite recipe sites. One of the things I like about Cooking Light is that the recipes are lightened–but not enough to ruin the taste–usually. Also, Cooking Light employees Registered Dietitians and has tons of sound nutrition advice to offer. The only thing I don't like about Cooking Light.com's recipes is that oftentimes they call for odd or uncommon ingredients such as cherry extract (see Recipe 5 below). These types of ingredients are often hard to find. However, it is a great way to learn about new ingredients you may not have heard of before, which is a big plus!

Click to see the “100-Calorie Italian Soda Floats for Two” recipe here.

5. Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes for Two

Also from CookingLight.com. Ladies, this is a perfect romantic dessert that you can share with your hubbies!

I bet they will just love these! (And you can be confident that you're not offering a dessert that's too high fat and calories). The only downside of this recipe is that it calls for cherry extract. I did a quick search on Amazon because I've never actually purchased cherry extract before. The good new is that Amazon has cherry extract for sale at a reasonable price.

We use Amazon.com all of the time in our house. It is so convenient, prices are often lower than our local stores, and if you have Amazon Prime,  you get two-day FREE shipping with most orders!

So, from the convenience of your own home, you can order what you need, save money, time AND energy!

Of course, you can always check your local grocery store as well. But I think this recipe just might be worth the extra effort (and possibly cost) for a unique dessert for two for Valentine's Day. What do you think???? =)

By the way, you can also double, triple, or quadruple the recipe for a larger group, if you prefer! And forego the cherries, if no fresh cherries are available in your area, and you don't want to use maraschino cherries.

Click here for the “Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes” for Two recipe.

6. Tuscan Steak Salad

Okay, so these aren't all appetizers per se. But, let's face it, Valentine's Day is meant to be romantic. So, if you are feeling romantic and want to bless your other half, this salad will fit the bill just fine. This recipe also came from MyRecipes.com.

By the way, one of the REALLY COOL things about MyRecipes.com is that you can add your own ingredients and then do a search and to find recipes that match the ingredients you want to use.

I love simple, easy recipes, especially when they are healthy too! And this is exactly what I was looking for when I started searching for these 10 irresistible appetizers for Valentine's Day.

This delicious Tuscan Steak Salad recipe is just that too–simple, easy, and healthy!

All you need is strip steak (or another steak you prefer), a little fresh garlic and rosemary, Balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and Parmesan cheese. (Some of the other cheeses I mentioned above will work too)! Oh, and of course, your favorite salad greens. 

Click here for the recipe.

One of the areas I often adjust when following recipes for salads is the type of salad greens I use. For example, I prefer baby spring greens. This recipe calls for Italian-Blend salad greens. And they might be just fine for you. However, pretty much any kind of greens will work for a recipe like this. So, even if your family prefers iceberg lettuce (hopefully not, because it's not high in nutrients), then you can even use that.

If you make separate salads for everyone, you can put different types of greens on each plate as well.

The point I'm trying to make is this: Salad recipes can easily be adjusted for amounts of ingredients without sacrificing taste. So, like I said before–be creative!!! 

Click here for the Tuscan Steak Salad recipe.

7. Seared Salmon with Wilted Spinach

I just adore salmon! Unfortunately, my hubby doesn't like it at all. So when we do serve fish, we usually serve a couple different kinds. Hubby prefers halibut. However, he also likes cod, which is significantly less expensive, so we usually cook both cod and salmon.

And the good news is that Nathan, our son, also likes fish! (In fact he likes octopus and squid, clams, crab, and pretty much any seafood he can get his hands on)! Did I mention that he's a picky eater?

Back to the recipe. This is a super simple recipe, and also only requires a few ingredients: spinach (fresh preferred but not absolutely necessary because it will be cooked), grape or cherry tomatoes (or cut-up Roma, or or even canned tomatoes will work), fresh garlic (again you can substitute garlic powder or jarred minced garlic, if you don't have fresh available), a little oil, salt and pepper, and voila!

As far as buying salmon goes. We prefer to buy our salmon vacuum-packed (click here to find out why frozen fish is oftentimes better than fresh). Also, if at all possible, I recommend that you buy Wild-Caught Salmon, as opposed to farm-raised. I know on the surface it may sound like the latter is more healthy, but the Wild-Caught is significantly better for you.

Unfortunately, wild-caught salmon is significantly more expensive as well. So you will have to decide based on your budget and family needs. We buy our salmon at Costco. And one thing is for sure, it is WAY cheaper than going to a restaurant to eat it!

Get the Salmon with Wilted Spinach recipe here.

8. Tomato Pesto Appetizers

These look so delicious! And they utilize already made biscuit dough, which can be found in the refrigerator section of your grocery store. This makes them low-stress, since the pastry part of appetizers tends to be the most difficult. I don't make a habit of recommending this sort of thing because I prefer homemade and natural over processed foods due to all of the additives in processed food.

However, if you know me, you know that I like to be balanced when it comes to diet. I'm not an “all or nothing” kind of girl. So, I think that for the special occasion of Valentine's Day, having the shortcut will make creating the appetizers much more fun and much less time consuming.

Did I mention that there are only five ingredients?

  1. Tomatoes
  2. Mozzarella Cheese
  3. Basil Pesto
  4. Refrigerated Tender Layer or Buttermilk Biscuit Dough
  5. Parmesan Cheese
  6. By the way, if you'd rather make the dough from scratch, go for it!!

Check out the Tomato Pesto Appetizers recipe here.

9. Heart Shaped Pizzas

This is TOTAL Kid and Family Project waiting to happen! And I think you might be a little bit surprised to find out that a heart shaped pizza is way easier to make than you think!

I just checked out this website and discovered that all you have to do is buy a round Boboli shell and cut the circle with kitchen shears to create the heart shaped pizza. SO EASY!!!

And then you and your kids can pick your favorite ingredients and have a blast!

This would be a great way to use up some of the leftovers from the other recipes on this list as well. For example, the cheeses, tomatoes, and artichokes (artichokes are yummy on pizza)! Also, spinach and garlic are tasty on pizza as well. The garlic, in particular, will add a lot of flavor to the sauce you choose (which can be marinara or white or no sauce at all).

Check out this “How to Make Heart Shaped Pizzas” article for some other ideas.

10. Chicken Enchilada Hearts

I just HAD to include a Mexican dish to this list because besides Italian/Mediterranean food, my favorite is Mexican food. I did a quick search and came up with this adorable and original idea. And I think this is an awesome way to end my list of 10 Irresistible Valentine's Day Appetizers.

The only thing that will be truly challenging about making this recipe is finding the 4 inch springform pans that the Chicken Enchilada Hearts recipe calls for. However, I was able to find some on Amazon. And the really cool thing is that once you buy them, you can use them again and again!

Check out the springform pans here.

So, there you are: 10 Irresistible Valentine's Day Appetizers. I hope you enjoy them and that they inspire you to try some new and unique recipes of your own!

Whatever you do this Valentine's day, whether it's eating out or staying in, I hope that you have an awesome time. And I also hope that you will let me know what you think by emailing me at: debbiesuerd@homeschoolingdietititianmom.com or commenting below.

Thanks for reading and Happy Valentine's Day!!! 

Check out these adorable coloring valentines here.

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