Yummy and healthy are not mutually exclusive. I personally do not like using the word “healthy”. Even when a recipe that is really tasty, also happens to be good for me, using the “h” word  to describe it immediately makes me think that all the fun is gone.  The good news is that it can be super easy to combine ingredients that have health benefits to create delicious recipes.

Here are three great appetizer ideas, all featuring sourdough crostini,  using prebiotic and probiotics foods that makes these good for the gut as well as being loaded with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. They can be served to guests when entertaining or just consumed everyday as snacks. More importantly they are quick to make.

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Crostini is easy to make. You just have to do this ahead of time and store it to use as needed. This recipe uses sourdough bread. Most grocery stores are selling sourdough and if your favourite store does not, then source a good sourdough bakery in your area which should  make a baguette, and if not, then you can choose a regular loaf and cut the slices into smaller pieces.

Sourdough, even if it made with white flour, stabilizes blood sugar, has plenty of B vitamins that were produces during the fermentation process and there is research that indicates that good bacteria still helps support the immune system, despite being dead (since you bake the bread and kill it),

Sourdough Crostini

1 whole wheat or white sourdough baguette

1/3 cup melted butter or olive oil (more if needed)

1 tbsp oregano or basil or parsley

Sea salt and pepper

Slice the baguette into 1/4-1/2 inch thick pieces. Spread the pieces of bread out onto a tray lined with parchment and preferably use a rack on the tray. They bake better on a rack but this still works even if you just pay them on the parchment paper. Lightly brush each side of the bread slices with either the butter or olive oil. Lightly sprinkle one side with sea salt, pepper and the herb you are using such as oregano. Bake in the oven at 300 degrees for 7-10 minutes (depending on how thick it is) Flip over the slice and bake another 7-10 minutes. It will slightly colour around the edge but stay chewy in the middle.  Remove from the oven and let cool. Use as desired or transfer to a container with a lid and put in the freezer until you wish to use them. They will keep nicely at room temperature for at least three days in a container but if storing for longer, then it is better to freeze them.

Red Pepper Hummus on Sourdough Crostini

This is really good if you can take the time to ferment the chickpeas and make your own hummus (Check out the method for Fermented Hummus) for some extra probiotic punch. However, buying the hummus is fine as chickpeas are a good prebiotic and the sauerkraut will provide a source of probiotic.

Makes 8-10Hummus Crostini

1 cup hummus (fermented hummus is a good option)

1/2 cup roasted red peppers

1/4 cup sauerkraut, rinsed and chopped fine

1-2 tbsp parsley, chopped

Seas salt and pepper to taste

Put the hummus in a bowl. Add the roasted red peppers, sauerkraut and 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Mix. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Lay out the sourdough pieces on platter or tray. Put about 1/2 – 3/4 of a tablespoon of the mixture onto each sourdough crostini and spread. Top each one with a sprinkle of the remaining parsley. Serve.

Cream Cheese Yogurt with Sauerkraut and Dates on Sourdough Crostini

There are two sources of probiotics here with the yogurt cream cheese (see recipe below) and the sauerkraut. The onions, the sauerkraut and the dates are all prebiotics.

Makes 8-10Sauerkraut and Date Crostini 2

1 cup yogurt cream cheese, seasoned with sea salt and pepper

1-2 tbsp red onion, chopped fine

1-2 tbsp sauerkraut, rinsed and chopped fine

1-2 tbsp soft dates*, chopped fine

1-2 tbsp fresh cucumber, chopped fine

1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Put the cream cheese yogurt in a bowl. Add the red onion, sauerkraut, dates, cucumber and 1 tsp of the dill and mix well. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Lay out the sourdough pieces on a platter or tray. Put about 1/2 – 3/4 of a tablespoon of the mixture onto each sourdough crostini and spread. Top each one with a sprinkle of the remaining dill. Serve.

*Fresh dates or soft dried dates are best. If the dates you are using are to dry, then soak them in hot water for about 30 minutes and drain before chopping.

Tomato Olive Appetizer on Sourdough Crostini

This recipe has two probiotics foods, with the yogurt cream cheese and the olives plus three prebiotics with the tomatoes, garlic and onions. They can be served warm or cold.

Makes  8-10Tomato Olive Crostini

1-2 tsp olive oil

2 tbsp white onion

1 clove garlic, chopped fine

1/2 cup chopped cherry tomatoes

2 tbsp black olives, pitted and chopped fine

1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped fine

1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 cup yogurt cream cheese, seasoned with sea salt and pepper

Place the onion and olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Lightly saute the onions until slightly translucent. Add the chop garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes until almost all of the liquid is cooked out. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl. Add the olives, 1 tsp of the parsley and the apple cider vinegar. Mix well. Lay out the sourdough crostini. Spread a thin layer of the yogurt cream cheese on each piece of the crostini. Add about 1/2 a tablespoon of the tomato olive mixture on top. Sprinkle a bit of parsley on top of each piece. Serve warm if desired or can be served cold as well.

To Make Yogurt Cream Cheese

You can adjust the texture to your liking. It gets thicker the longer you let the whey drain out. This is an amazing cream cheese.

1 tub full-fat natural yogurt*, store bought on one that you make yourself

Container for draining the yogurt into such as an empty yogurt container

Small bowl

Tight mesh cloth

Elastic Band

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Place the tight mesh cloth loosely on onto the empty container, securing it with an elastic band. Place the container into a bowl and tuck in the sides of the cloth so they are also in the bowl. Scoop some of yogurt onto the cloth and let it drain. As it drains and there is more room, add more yogurt. Let it drain for 6-8 hours. Remove the cream cheese from the cloth and put it into a container with a lid. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. It will stay good for up to two weeks. You may want to season the cheese with sea salt and pepper.

*Coconut yogurt can be used but it is not as easy to drain because of the gums that are often added.

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