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20 Healthy, Easy-to-Make Snacks You Barely Need a Recipe For

Eat for pleasure and prosperity with these satisfying, easy-to-make nibbles.

11 min read
1/4/2024
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The trick to healthy snacking (hello, New Year's resolutions...) is simple: Just scroll through these 20 easy, wholesome ideas. Find the ones that speak to you (edamame hummus with veg chips, perhaps?), buy any ingredients you don’t already have, and follow the extremely low-effort directions. Snacking doesn’t need to be mindlessly grabbing junk food, and with these mini recipes, it can be a bit more intentional and a whole lot more enjoyable.

1. Hummus Ants on a Log

Grown-ups deserve cute snacks, too. Fill the concave side of a celery stick with hummus, top with bits of sliced black olive, and add an optional sprinkle of smoked or regular paprika for an ultra-savory version of the original. 

2. Tuna Lettuce Wrap

Instant protein and flavor here: Drain a can of tuna, then mix with just enough mayo to make everything stick together, about 4 teaspoons. Lay a generous spoonful into the center of a little gem, red-leaf, or other large, floppy lettuce leaf, then roll, eat, and repeat. Optional mix-ins include diced celery or red onion (or both), plus lemon juice, capers, relish, or pitted, chopped olives to taste. 

3. Manchego Cheese and Quince Paste

Spain’s preferred cheese and preserved fruit combo makes for an awesome (and effortless) nosh. Top a slice of manchego with a sliver of sweet quince paste — also known as membrillo — and that’s it! If you happen to have toasted almonds on hand, finely chop some and add a sprinkle for extra texture and flavor. 

4. Fast-Fancy Toasted Almonds and Olives

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This could also become your go-to cocktail hour partner: Toast 1 cup almonds in a 400℉ degree oven until they’re just starting to turn a deeper golden brown, about 15 minutes (don’t over or undercook). Transfer to a bowl, add enough olive oil to coat, then mix in about 1 cup Castelvetrano olives, ½ teaspoon fresh thyme (or in a pinch, ¼ teaspoon dried thyme), ⅛ teaspoon orange zest, and ¼ teaspoon flaky salt. 

5. Shrimp and Avocado Cup

Elegant snacking doesn’t come easier than this: Halve an avocado, remove the pit, fill and top the center with cooked bay shrimp or chopped larger shrimp (about ¼ cup), lightly drizzle with lemon juice or your favorite vinaigrette, sprinkle with salt, top with an optional tangle of store-bought fried onions, and eat with a spoon. 

6. Spicy Jicama Sticks

This crunchy, perky-fresh snack is ready in a handful of minutes: Peel and slice raw jicama into thick ¾-inch sticks. Dust with chili powder and a pinch each of cayenne and salt, and finish with fresh lime juice.

7. Deconstructed Caesar Salad 

Yes, salad can be finger food. Wash and dry a stack of romaine heart leaves, then prop them up in a tall cup. Serve with a side of store-bought or homemade Caesar salad dressing, then dip a leafy spear into the dressing. Take your salad snacking a step further by plopping your dressed salad spear in a small bowl of finely grated Parmesan.

8. Belgian Endive “Chips” with Chipotle-Flavored Bitchin’ Sauce Dip

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In this house, crisp bitter greens count as chips. And chips are only as good as their dipping counterpart. Enter Bitchin’ Sauce Chipotle, a flavor-packed vegan dip that’s  available from the refrigerated section of many grocers. Simply cut or tear the leaves from the root, quickly rinse and dry, and pop open the smoky, creamy sauce.

9. Kale and Parmesan Popcorn

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This combines the titans of healthy snacking — kale chips and popcorn — into one satisfying bowl. To make kale chips, take one bunch, cut and discard the ribs from the leaves, then rip the leaves into bite-size pieces. Toss them with olive oil and salt to very thinly coat. Bake at 300℉ until crisp, 20 to 30 minutes, and let cool. In a large bowl, combine store-bought or homemade popcorn and a handful of finely grated Parmesan. Crumble the kale over the popcorn, mix to combine, and eat by the fistful.

10. Seasoned Edamame

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Just salt + edamame (a.k.a. soybeans) = yum. But salt + edamame + a few sauces and seasonings you’ve got in the kitchen? *Chef’s kiss.* Boil frozen edamame in their pods following the package instructions and drain, then season with your favorite spices or sauces. A few combinations to start with and riff on: furikake and salt or straight-up garlic salt as well as Sriracha mixed with sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic paste, and red pepper flakes. 

11. Smoked Trout Cucumber Wheels

Turn your midday snack into a tea-party-chic bite: Peel a cucumber, slice into wheels, top with a dollop of cream cheese, and finish with a hearty crumble of smoked trout. Garnish with minced chives if you’re feeling extra fancy. 

12. Smoked Salmon and Avocado-Pea Puree Toast

Move over, regular ol’ avocado toast. Green peas are the secret star of this bright, avo-based snack. Mash or puree ½ an avocado with 2 tablespoons thawed frozen green peas. Season to taste with garlic powder, lemon, and salt. Spread on toast, layer with as much lox as you want, and finish with a tiny bit of lemon zest. 

13. Deviled Egg Salad with Cucumber Slices

Turn the iconic appetizer into an everyday snack. Peel 6 hard-boiled eggs, separating the yolks from the whites. Chop the whites into ½-inch pieces and set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the yolks with 3 to 4 tablespoons mayonnaise, ⅛ teaspoon hot dried mustard, and salt to taste. Fold in the chopped whites, sprinkle with paprika, and serve with cucumber slices for scooping. 

14. Edamame Hummus with Chips

If you love boiled edamame, you’ll definitely be into this smooth, bright green, and delicious hummus. In a food processor, combine 2 cloves roasted garlic, ¼ cup olive oil, ¾ pound of shelled and cooked edamame, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and ¾ teaspoon fresh lemon juice. Process until smooth, adding up to ¼ cup water to get the desired consistency (I like it a little stiffer, like a paste). Eat with whole-grain crackers or fresh or baked vegetable chips.

15. Japanese Cucumber Salad

This classic salad — sunomono — doesn’t just deliver irresistibly crunchy and fresh satisfaction, but it can sit in the fridge happily, which means snacks for days. Thinly slice 4 Japanese or Persian cucumbers (preferably extra thin with a mandolin, but a knife is fine), transfer to a bowl, and mix with 2 teaspoons salt. Let rest for 15 minutes to draw out the moisture, then rinse, and using your hands, squeeze out as much moisture as you can from the cucumbers. In a small bowl with a lid, mix 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, a pinch of salt, and a dash of soy sauce. Add the cucumbers, toss to coat, then cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight. Sprinkle with sesame seeds just before eating. 

16. Nut-Butter-Stuffed Dates

If you’re craving something sweet, plump Medjool dates are the answer. Packed with your daily recommended potassium, copper, and manganese, they’re good on their own and even better with a little experimentation. Remove the pit, then stuff the center with a nut butter of your choice mixed with a little instant coffee, cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt. 

17. Superfruit Smoothie

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A filling, nutritious drink can be the perfect snack, and a few bags of frozen fruit in the freezer means you can have a vitamin-rich snack drink anytime. For a delicious, healthy, straw-ready potion, combine a banana, ½ cup frozen acai or dragon fruit, and 1 cup frozen mixed berries with ½ cup water in a blender. Whir until smooth, adding more water if needed.

18. Persimmon-Ricotta Toast

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Persimmon season may be fleeting, but you can swap the fruit with the seasons for a tasty, wholesome treat: Toast a slice of whole-grain bread, let cool, then brush with olive oil and top with a layer of ricotta cheese, a few thin slices of ripe fuyu persimmon (or stone fruit in the summer), a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkle of salt and pomegranate seeds or toasted hazelnuts.

19. Peanut Butter Banana Toast with Honey and Cacao Nibs

It's an oldie but a goodie, leveled up: Smear some peanut butter on a piece of toast. Add a layer of thin, banana slices, then top with cocoa nibs and a drizzle of honey. Boom!

20. The Baller Bowl of Berries

Berries are good. But berries with mint and chopped toasted almonds are great. Next time you’ve got some strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries laying around, slice the strawberries into halves or quarters, toss them into a bowl with the other berries, and sprinkle with torn mint and chopped toasted almonds.

PHOTO CREDIT:

  • Photographer: Paul Quitoriano

  • Food Stylist: Cesar Aldrete

  • Art Direction: Sarah Ceniceros Gomez