Two-Cheese Veggie Nachos
Being vegetarian doesn't mean you have to miss out on tailgating snacks. With a bit of creativity (and a few Cooking Light recipes in your repertoire) it's quite easy to make a football party menu that serves veggie and meat eaters alike.
We love the double-cheese contrast in this nacho recipe: Shredded cheese melts into a bubbly blanket over the tortillas, while crumbly queso fresco covers the veggies with a salty kick. It's an impressive dish for coffee table dining—it's fun to keep it all on the baking pan and serve as a shared platter.
Butternut Squash Queso Fundido
Butternut squash adds distinct flavor (and color) to this satisfyingly cheesy dip. To make it vegetarian, sub vegetable stock for the chicken stock. If you prefer, you can roast a halved, seeded butternut squash at 350° for 45 minutes or until soft. Scoop 10 ounces of flesh, and use in place of the puree.
Beet and Brown Rice Sliders
This bite-size veggie burger will leave you satisfied and craving another. Good news: a serving size is two sliders.
Charred Shishito Peppers
Charring refers to singeing and blistering the outermost layer of a food over extremely hot heat. This makes for a bolder flavor and adds a smoky nuance. Be aware: This type of high-heat cooking creates a lot of smoke, so be sure to ventilate the kitchen, or cook (in the pan) over an outdoor grill. Shishito peppers are tender, usually mild, and enjoyed whole. Serve with our spicy sauce or squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
A good veggie chili is really all about the texture. Overcooked vegetables simply won't do. Here, we combine crisp peppers, carrots, mushrooms, and beans with nutty wheat berries—a hearty whole grain that adds a desirable chewiness to this plant-packed pot, and won't break down after a long, slow-simmer. Liquid aminos help boost umami, but you can sub low-sodium soy sauce instead.
Lemon-Caper Parmesan Potato Salad Bites
Turn "jacket potatoes" into irresistible potato salad bites. Capers offer a twist on traditional relish; they're actually pickled flower buds and add bright, briny flavor to this appetizer.
We thought we had explored every way to enjoy the buttery-rich yumminess of avocados. But then we swooned over a photo of the breaded avocado fries in chef Hans Röckenwagner‘s latest cookbook, Das Cookbook. Inspired by the photo, we created our own lighter version, and the results were even more delicious than we’d imagined: When you coat creamy avocado wedges with a crisp breadcrumb crust, that contrast of textures makes the avocado seem doubly silky-rich.
Cheesy Masa Pancakes with Pico de Gallo
Masa harina adds delicate corn flavor to these pancakes. Look for it on the baking aisle. Not just for tortillas or our pancakes, masa harina (a fine corn flour) also adds grit-free body to sauces and a crisp, crusty coating to sautéed fish or chicken.
Crunchy Zucchini Chips
Besides the savory seasoning, the crispy zucchini rounds have a secret whole-grain weapon: amaranth in the breading. It makes them amazingly crunchy without overpowering the vegetable.
Baked Mozzarella Bites
A healthier alternative to traditional fried cheesesticks, these bite-size snacks are perfect for dipping.
This recipe has been a staff favorite since we first tried it 13 years ago. It's rich, savory, and super creamy, with a nice hit of garlic. We made a few small tweaks—increased the amount of spinach and decreased the mozzarella to lower the sat fat to an acceptable level.
There’s no credible way to lighten guacamole since the main ingredient–avocado–is high in fat. But it’s heart-healthy and a worth-while splurge occasionally!
Black Bean and Mushroom Sliders
Enjoy the ease of off-the-cuff cooking with this dish that's so simple to prepare that you'll actually feel relaxed when you sit down to dig in. You'll love our genius microwave trick that creates the meatiest meatless mini-burgers in less than a third of the time.
"Fried" Green Tomatoes
Fried green tomatoes are a classic Southern summer treat often cooked in bacon grease and dunked in a mayo-based sauce. They are wonderfully delicious, with their combination of tart, juicy tomato slices and crisp, seasoned breading. Our makeover of this dish saves you 420 calories, 37 grams of fat, and 502 milligrams of sodium.
Chipotle Black Bean Dip with Corn Chips
A common craving among CookingLight.com users is chips; our homemade tortilla chips keep fat and sodium in check. This snack quells an oft-cited yearn for Mexican fare and has protein, complex carbs, and fiber.
Save 167 calories, 3.6g sat fat, and 393mg sodium per serving over traditional spinach-artichoke dip. Frozen artichoke hearts contain no added salt, unlike the canned variety, which may contain more than 300mg per half cup.
Crispy Parmesan Chickpeas
Dry your chickpeas as thoroughly as possible before cooking to ensure a satisfyingly crisp result. If you're planning to pack these flavor-coated, fiber-filled poppers as a to-go-snack, be sure to allow them to cool completely on a flat surface first.
Warm Spiced Cashews
Chinese five-spice powder lends a distinct toastiness to these sweet and savory nuts. They're perfect to whip-up as a quick make-ahead, crowd-pleasing appetizer for holiday entertaining.
This Middle Eastern dip is traditionally made with chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil; it lends itself to several variations. Prepare and refrigerate it a day ahead; let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving at your gathering. Garnish with a lemon wedge and fresh parsley sprig, and serve with Spicy Baked Pita Chips. Feeling adventurous? Try these variations on Traditional Hummus: White Bean and Roasted Garlic Hummus, Spicy Red Pepper Hummus, Feta-Baked Hummus