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10 Easy Holiday Appetizers, Salads, & Desserts

  • From Roasted Chestnuts to warm Brussels Sprouts with Bacon to Coconut Macarons, here are some delicious recipes to make your holiday cooking easy.

    Cheese Tarts on plates and a glass of wine on a table.

    The start of the holiday season also means the busiest time of the year. While I look forward to sharing the festive moments with friends and family, I know how daunting it can be for those who are hosting a holiday party.

    To keep the holiday cooking enjoyable, I’ve put together a selection of 10 Easy Holiday Appetizers, Salads & Desserts for you. There is a mix of classic American dishes and some holiday recipes with Japanese flavors that I hope you’d enjoy.

    10 Easy Holiday Appetizers, Salads, & Desserts


    Cheese Tart on plates and a glass of wine.

    1. Cheese Tarts

    You only need 4 ingredients to make these elegant cheese tarts. Filled with melted brie cheese with sweet and tart fruit preserves, they are my favorite to serve at the holiday appetizer table.

    Roasted Chestnuts on a wooden table.

    2. Roast Chestnuts 焼き栗

    Who can resist the aroma of roasting chestnuts on an open fire? Not only roasted chestnuts (kuri 栗 in Japanese) is a holiday staple in the western culture, it is also enjoyed in places like Japan and Taiwan in the Fall. My family loves to roast the chestnuts over charcoal grill, but you can also roast them over oven or stove top.

    Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Thyme on a plate.

    3. Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

    For a warm vegetable side dish, this Brussels Sprouts with Bacon is a delicious choice. Simply sautéed them stove-top in a hot frying pan or cast iron skillet.

    Kabocha Salad in a small bowl.

    4. Kabocha Salad かぼちゃサラダ

    Kabocha squash (Japanese pumpkin) is ubiquitous to the cold-weather season in Japan. The addition of crispy bacon adds another dimension to the salad. You can serve this Kabocha Salad warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

    Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons on a white plate.

    5. Caesar Salad

    You can never go wrong with a classic Caesar Salad at a holiday table. The anchovy-infused dressing and garlic croutons make this homemade salad even more special. And the secret of making a very creamy dressing? Japanese mayonnaise.

    Apple Walnut Salad in a small bowl.

    6. Apple Walnut Salad

    Want to get your kids’ help in the kitchen for the holiday? They will have fun putting this easy Apple Walnut Salad together.

    Arugula, Fennel, and Navel Orange Salad on a plate.

    7. Arugula Salad with Fennel and Navel Orange

    Accompanied by a delightful champagne vinegar dressing, this healthy Arugula Salad with Fennel and Navel Orange is the perfect light entrée to celebrate the season.

    Easy Apple Pie on a baking sheet.

    8. Easy Apple Pie

    Instead of making an apple pie from scratch, this recipe uses ready-made frozen puff pastry to make Easy Apple Pie. When you have a small crowd to serve, you can quickly put together a homemade treat that is truly ‘easy as pie’.

    Coconut Macaroons on a plate, a glass of milk, and eggs on the table.

    9. Coconut Macarons

    With all the holiday baking and cooking, you may encounter the extra egg whites situation. Not only these addictive, chocolate covered Coconut Macarons will solve your leftover problem, they are perfect to bring along as a thoughtful, homemade gift for the hostess.

    Earl Grey Chiffon Cake on a plate and a cup of tea.

    10. Earl Grey Chiffon Cake

    This spongy and airy Earl Grey Chiffon Cake is impressive for an afternoon get-together. Serve with tea or coffee, along with a few more simple snacks, and call it a tea-time party.


    I hope you enjoy making these easy holiday appetizer, salad, & dessert recipes! If you make one of these recipes, snap a picture and hashtag it #JustOneCookbook. I love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter! Thank you so much for reading and till next time!

    Don’t want to miss a recipe? Sign up for the FREE Just One Cookbook newsletter delivered to your inbox! And stay in touch with me on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram for all the latest updates.

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