Happy 2012! At the beginning of every Year, many of us make resolutions to begin and maintain healthier habits. And somehow, SOMEHOW, those habits tend to die hard. Nowadays, it is easier than ever before to incorporate healthier habits that jive with our busy lives and taste for delicious food and great vino.
Like YOU, we love to wine, dine and entertain. However, it’s also important for us keep up with healthy habits, even while we live it up. Nutritious food doesn’t equate to boring, flavorless food. Just like wine, you just have to figure out what works for YOU.
You can never go wrong with a few old standbys such as fresh fruits like grapes, berries, and pears, dried fruits such as dates and figs, an array of cheeses, nuts, shrimp cocktail (make your own cocktail sauce using ketchup that does not contain high fructose corn syrup and lots of fresh prepared horseradish!), olives, and fresh vegetables with hummus, tzatzik, or salsa. These are all inherently much healthier choices than processed, fried, fatty, or sugar loaded foods. But in addition to those regularly appearing dishes, ‘wow’ your guests with some fresh and impressive dishes that are easy and also healthy!
Here we have compiled delicious dishes with healthier twists from all over the Internet we think would be awesome (and even nutritious SHHHH!) at your next wine party!
And speaking of wine parties, if you need help planning your next wine bash and want us to do the work for you, we would LOVE to!!
Homemade Olive Oil Crackers
Katie from Yes, I Want Cake, created these melt in your mouth homemade crackers that call for oats and olive oil. These are easy to make, and are a fun, guiltless snack you can enjoy between sips of wine, topped with fig jam, or with bites of aged Cheddar cheese!
Spicy Rosemary Roasted Almonds
Spicy, salty, roasted almonds! Roasted almonds are an excellent choice to serve up and are always a crowd pleaser. This version that Gina from Running to the Kitchen has concocted would pair beautifully with a racy and slightly sweet Riesling.
Crostini with Young Pecorino, Grilled Figs, and Arugula & Mint Pesto
This crostini recipe from Michael of Herbivoracious, is packed with flavor and nutrition for vegetarians and carnivores alike. We definitely suggest a bubbly for this sweet and salty bite. Prosecco would be a fabulous choice! Our guests that take the North End Tour always rave about the Zonin Prosecco we pour at Aragosta Bar and Bistro to kick off the tour. Always a hit!
Carrie from Deliciously Organic shows you how to make this classic and hearty dish using fresh ingredients that will please every palate attending your next bash. Don’t be afraid to pair these with a red… and definitely go Italian with this one! Something like the 2008 Vietti Langhe Nebbiolo Perbacco, Baby Barolo from Piedmont, Italy we taste at Casablanca on the Harvard Square Tour.
Scallion Meatballs with Soy-Ginger Glaze
These meatballs from Deb of Smitten Kitchen, are PACKED with flavor and are made with ground turkey. A delicious, healthy alternative to pork/beef meatballs! We recommend pairing these with a Gewürztraminer. Hands down.
Prosciutto and Carrot Bundles
A friend of ours recently made these for a party and she had nothing but amazing things to say about them. They are salty and tangy, another dish that would be great with sparkling wine or a perhaps a Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley, France.
Avocado Deviled Eggs
This will 100% knock your socks off. They are a guaranteed hit. So much better for you than traditional devilled eggs, the avocado is loaded with healthy fats and tons of flavor. Add some chili powder and enjoy these with a California Red Zinfandel. Another great choice would be Malbec. We cannot get enough of the Ruta 22 Malbec at Sibling Rivalry on the South End Tour.
Shrimp Salad on Cucumber Slices
Tired of traditional shrimp cocktail? Your guests will adore these fresh bites from Gina of Skinny Taste and you will definitely be asked for the recipe! They call for Greek yogurt and just a little bit of light mayo (that you can choose to omit if you like). You could also serve this as a dip with those olive oil crackers or fresh vegetables! The mineral tones of Albariño wines would be a match made in heaven with these bites. We really have fallen in love with the Martin Codax Albariño from Rias Baixas, Spain that Nubar serves up on the Harvard Square tour.
Grilled Zucchini Rolls with Goat Cheese
These springtime roll-ups from Plumpest Peach scream to be served up as soon as the weather warms up and outdoor gatherings begin to get rolling once again! A French Chardonnay would really be a great match for these. Haven’t tried French Chardonnay? The 2009 Maison Jean Jacque Vincent Bourgogne Blanc from Burgundy, France Gaslight serves up on the South End Tour will forever change your mind about Chardonnay… you’ll be hooked!
Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Kebabs
These are classic and we love how they are served up here. Very easy to pick up and eat without a mess! A light, cool climate Pinot Noir would be delish with this. Everyone that has tasted the DeLoach ‘Block 1950′ Pinot Noir (Russian River Vally, CA), at Legal Seafoods Park Square on the Back Bay Tour agree that it is light enough to pair with fish and vegetarian dishes, but would also be an awesome match for creamier dishes such as this. This particular wine is exclusive to Legal Seafoods but you can find other Pinot Noirs from this wine maker that will do the trick!
Pan Seared Tuna with Rosemary Oil
Simple, healthy, beautiful, and incredibly delicious. This is a quick dish to make from The Italian Chef and while it would be an amazing pair with Champagne, you might want to try something different like Nero d’Avola with this. The 2010 Vigneti Zabu Nero d’Avola (Sicily, Italy) that we taste at Sel de la Terre on the saturday Back Bay tours always wows our guests.
Turkey Lettuce Wraps
These are so fun to make and even more fun to eat! Ree from The Pioneer Woman proves in this recipe that the food should be just as fun as the wine! because these are on the saltier side, have a ton of flavors, a spicy kick, and a dash of sweetness, we would be inclined to go with something just as flavorful, like a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, or another bright and mouth-watering wine such as the Francis Ford Coppola Bianco Pinot Grigio we have tasted at Maggiano’s on the Back Bay Tour.
Lighter Crab Cakes
An awesome recipe from one of Paula Deen’s sons, Bobby! While Paula’s recipes are always delicious crowd pleasers (what doesn’t taste good with tons of butter!?), they aren’t necessarily the healthiest. However, Her sons have adapted many of her high calorie recipes to create lighter versions that are still incredibly delicious! NO one will be able to tell! When you make these, be sure to pick up a bottle of the 2009 Trerè da Ra, Pagadebit di Romagna Frizzante at the Wine Bottega in the North End. If you take the North End Tour, you will get the opportunity to taste wine at the Wine Bottega, and we are sure it will become one of your favorite go-to wine shops!
Cherry Pistachio Goat Cheese Balls
The options are ENDLESS for these goat cheese balls from Xiaolu of 6 Bittersweets. Experiment with other toppings such as other types of nuts, herbs, candied ginger and maybe even chocolate shavings! You will love them with ANY wine you decide to serve up. We promise!
And finally, a sweet ending: Dates Stuffed SO many ways...
Our favorites are Medjool Dates simply stuffed with Almond or Cashew butter or stuffed with fresh Goat cheese and drizzled with honey. What to drink with these sweet treats? We think a port or an Ice wine would be a sure bet… but you may want to end the night on a surprising note that will once again make your guests think you slaved over the planning and preparation of your awesome wine party! Think about serving up a Banyuls (wich you can enjoy over at Sibling Rivalry) or Sauternes (Liquid heaven). A great way to find the perfect dessert wine for your party would be to check out the dessert wines served up at Finale on the Harvard Square Tour!
Cheers to a happy and healthy 2012!