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Thanksgiving Appetizers

10 Delicious Appetizers for Thanksgiving

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Appetizers are a tricky lot on Thanksgiving. People are hungry – they've often skipped meals in preparation for the feast. Yet a lot of food tends to be on-deck. I like to keep the appetizers simple and, of course, seasonal.

Looking for something to serve after the appetizers? Check out these seasonal Thanksgiving Recipes.

1. Baked Cauliflower Pakora

Photo © Molly Watson
These Cauliflower Pakora are an easy, baked version of the Indian classic fritter. They are made with a simple chickpea flour batter and are at their very most delicious when served with Cilantro Mint Chutney.

2. Beet Chips

Photo © Molly Watson
Thinly cut beets are sweet, earthy, and crisp when fried like potato chips. Serve them the same day they are made, sprinkled with coarse sea salt or fleur de sel.

3. Fried Okra

Photo © Molly Watson
Fried okra is one of the tastiest, most crave-able treats I know. Just coat okra with beaten egg and then seasoned corn meal, corn flour, or semolina. I like to fry the pods whole, but there's nothing wrong with cutting the okra into bite-size pieces first to fry up popcorn-like snacks.

4. Homemade Potato Chips

Photo © Molly Watson
Delicious, fresh, homemade potato chips are easy to make! You can salt them to taste, and even add black pepper and other spices.

5. Oven-Fried Eggplant Sticks

Photo © Molly Watson
These oven-fried eggplant sticks ("oven-fried" is a fancy word for "baked"!) were inspired by the deep-fried versions served at Galatoire's restaurant in New Orleans where are they served with powdered sugar for dipping or sprinkling. Sound odd? It may be, but it's also delicious. A dash or two of Tabasco sauce isn't out of order either. Perfect for a Thanksgiving gathering with a little non-traditional twist!

6. Pickled Green Beans

Photo © Molly Watson
These easy, slightly spicy pickled green beans take only two days to "cure" in the fridge - just pack the beans into jars, cover with the vinegar mixture, and let sit between two days and six months. They're a great addition to bloody marys served before the big feast, or simply alongside crudites and dip or as part of a relish tray at the Thanksgiving table.

7. Pomegranate Pepper Walnut Dip

Pomegranate Red Pepper Walnut Dip
Photo © Molly Watson
The brilliant color from this brightly flavored dip comes from in-season peppers and pomegranates. It's great with chips, crackers, pita toasts, or veggies and a delicious way to start a casual Thanksgiving gathering.

8. Popped Wild Rice

Photo © Molly Watson

It's true - you can make pop wild rice much like popcorn. Note that different wild rice will pop differently and more or less successfully. Wild rice that has been stored for a very long time will pop less that fresher wild rice, since more of its moisture will already have evaporated (just like popcorn, the moisture inside turns to steam and makes the seed "pop" when it gets hot enough). It's a delightfully fun treat for Thanksgiving, when the deep, nutty flavor of wild rice is so at home.

9. Roasted Pumpkin or Squash Seeds

Photo © Molly Watson
If you're serving roasted squash or squash soup or pumpkin pie made with real pumpkin, you may well have some winter squash seeds on hand. Roast them up with a bit of salt and serve them with drinks before everyone sits down.

10. Sweet Potato Chips

Photo © Molly Watson

Thinly sliced sweet potatoes fried until crisp are a bright and fun take on "potato chips." A bit sweet, and very orange, their flavor is perfected with just a sprinkle of salt - or chili powder for those who like things spicy.

Or, try Sweet Potato French Fries made with sweet potatoes. They are golden, tender, and, yes, sweet. They're tasty with drinks and a delicious way to welcome people to the Thanksgiving fun. Want to keep it even more simple? Try Baked Sweet Potato Fries instead.

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