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NUTRITION COLUMN: Try a few healthier holiday appetizers

Double-Smoked Salmon and Sweet Pea Yorkies.
Double-Smoked Salmon and Sweet Pea Yorkies.

By Courtney Masey

Holiday gatherings are here, which means so are all the gorgeous-looking delicious appetizers! It can be really easy to indulge in all the tasty goodies throughout the holidays, so challenge yourself to savour the holiday favourites you only get this time of year, and then try and mix in healthy, yet still tasty choices to round out your array of party nibbles. Choices that have some protein and fibre will help to fill you up, which will help to limit overeating.

Sometimes simple substitutions can make traditional appetizers healthier. If you are making a cheeseball, try using light cream cheese and add spinach to increase the nutrients (it will also turn the cheeseball green for Christmas!) Top it with walnuts and PC Frozen pomegranate arils.

Serve dips or salsas with whole wheat pita triangles, flatbread, naan, melba toast or whole grain crackers as delicious alternatives to chips and some snack crackers that can be salty and high in fat.

Always try to have vegetables available, and when possible, add them to appetizers. Try serving veggies with hummus, tzatziki yogurt dip, plain Greek yogurt with fresh herbs like dill with some lemon and pepper.

No-recipe-needed appetizers are sometimes the best. Try some of these this month when you’re short on time but want a healthier option available:

  • Stuffed Dates: Medjool Dates + herbed goat cheese + fresh chopped basil, wrapped with prosciutto
  • Cucumber slices + PC Greek yogurt French onion dip, topped with chives and sun-dried tomato
  • PC Blue Menu lentil and bean bites served in whole wheat mini pitas with hummus or tzatziki and tomatoes and spinach
  • Smoked salmon bites – Pumpernickel bread + spreadable herbed goat cheese + smoked salmon
  • Clementines dipped  in dark chocolate
  • Grinch Fruit Kabobs (green grape on bottom, slice of banana, then a strawberry topped with a mini marshmallow)
  • PC Greek Yogurt (plain and/or vanilla) topped with diced and spiced pears and pomegranate (add fresh lemon juice, dash of cinnamon and nutmeg)


If you are looking for some new ideas to try this holiday season that are not only healthier but also delicious, drop by my dietitian booth in-store to pick up some holiday recipes, or contact me for help with recipe inspiration. A few customer favourites include Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles, Pear and Pomegranate Salsa, No Bake Gingerbread Bites (a spinoff of the traditional no bake energy bite), Mediterranean Asparagus and Tomato Salad and Guacamole with Pomegranate arils.

If you want to impress your crowd with an upscale-looking appetizer on Christmas Eve or New Year’s, try the recipe below. The extra-long slices of smoked salmon can be rolled into elegant rosettes for an impressive finishing touch.


Double-Smoked Salmon and Sweet Pea Yorkies


Ingredients:                                                                                                                                                                            1 cup (250 mL) frozen PC® Small Sweet Peas                                                                                                                1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh mint

1/2 cup (125 mL) PC® Ricotta Whey Cheese

1 tbsp (15 mL) PC® Creamy Horseradish Sauce

1 tbsp (15 mL) each grated lemon zest and fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

1 pkg (185 g) PC® Yorkshire Pudding

Half pkg (300 g pkg) frozen PC® Double Smoked Oak-Smoked Long-Sliced Scottish Atlantic Salmon (about 6 slices), thawed and halved lengthwise



1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

2. Bring small saucepan of water to a boil. Add frozen peas; reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water until chilled. Drain well.

3. Combine peas, mint, ricotta, horseradish sauce, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt in food processor. Pulse, stopping to scrape down bowl if necessary, until smooth. Transfer to small bowl; cover and refrigerate until needed.

4. Arrange frozen puddings in single layer on baking sheet. Bake 4 minutes. Transfer puddings directly to rack to cool completely.

5. Spoon pea mixture into cooled puddings, dividing evenly. Beginning at 1 short end, loosely roll up each piece of salmon to make 12 rosettes. Arrange 1 rosette in centre of each pudding.


Chef’s Tip Garnish with pea shoots and sprinkle with cracked black pepper (look for GoodLeaf Farms pea shoots that are grown in Truro!)


Makes 12 servings


Per serving: 100 calories, fat 5 g (2 g of which is saturated), sodium 270 mg, carbohydrate 9 g, fibre 1 g, sugars 2 g, protein 6 g


Recipe source:


Have a nutrition question? Want to book an appointment or educational store tour for yourself or your community group or business? Contact me by phone at (902) 921-0700 or by email at


Courtney Masey is a Registered Dietitian with Atlantic Superstore in Truro.



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