I love entertaining, and there is nothing better than an amazing appetizer to kick off your dinner party or serve as the star at a cocktail hour.
I have a few go-to recipes that are super simple. Of course, they are healthy, they do not require any cooking, and you can make them in under five minutes. Both recipes combine fruit, cheese, herbs and a topping. Here we go!
My first fave is my Figs and Feta. If you are lucky enough to have a fig tree, this is a great way to enjoy your figs fresh rather than preserved. If you are like me and do not have a fig tree, you should be able to find them in your local produce section. Or ask a friend who has a fig tree to give you some! This recipe has six easy ingredients: four-six figs, 2-3 tablespoons feta, six basil leaves, 2 tablespoons agave nectar and salt and pepper. The recipe serves two-four people.
Start by cutting the stem off your figs, then slicing them in half, lengthwise. Pick your favorite serving dish and lay the figs on the plate with the center side up. The beautiful pink centers add great color to the presentation and will serve as the foundation of this sweet treat.
Next, layer on top a quarter-sized piece of feta cheese. I like to buy mine in large blocks and crumble it on top myself, but you can also purchase feta crumbles.
Harvest some basil leaves from your herb garden or buy a package at the grocery store. I like to layer my basil leaves and roll them up into a cylinder and then cut them into 1/8-inch slices. Layer two or three basil slices on each fig on top of your feta crumbles.
Then you can grind or sprinkle a little fresh salt and pepper on top for flavor and finish with a generous pour of agave nectar. I like to use a diagonal pattern for my agave pour to step up the presentation. I find it helps if you say “Voila” at the end!
A very close second is my Mango Mozzarella Caprese. I stole this idea from the traditional tomato and mozzarella caprese and added a little sweetness, tang and pizzazz. This sweet treat can serve as an appetizer, salad, main dish or even dessert. This recipe also has six easy ingredients: All you need is a one or two mangoes, 8 ounces of freshwater mozzarella cheese, eight basil leaves, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of lemon oil. The recipe serves two-four people.
Start off by removing the mango skin. I find the easiest way to do this is with a peeler. Once you have your mango peeled, slice it lengthwise to avoid the pesky seed in the middle. Slice on one side of the mango seed then the other to get the most fruit that you can in full pieces. You will want to make these a little less than one-fourth of an inch thick.
Find your favorite serving dish and place the mango slices on your dish. Up next, slice your freshwater mozzarella and try to slice your mozzarella the same thickness as your mango. Layer your mozzarella on top of the mango. Sprinkle or grind your salt and pepper on top of the cheese. Follow the same process as we did with our figs and feta for harvesting and slicing your basil and add three or four slices of basil on top of each piece of cheese. Then, finish with your favorite lemon oil and Voila! -- you’ll be everyone’s favorite chef.
I hope you enjoy these sweet treats and remember you can use this process for any fruit, cheese and herb combination. Another favorite of mine is watermelon, feta and mint skewers with a balsamic glaze. So, get creative, have fun and take the time to take care of you. You deserve it!
Learn more about healthy eating from Ochsner Eat Fit.