Low Carb, Finger-Food Appetizers: Filled Belgian Endive Leaves


Low carb finger-food appetizers start with the simple Belgian endive. A must-have recipe for fresh & healthy gourmet appetizers. Get creative with fillings.

Looking for a delicious, gourmet appetizer recipe that’s low carb, tasty and makes an elegant presentation? Start with Belgian endives and fill them with a variety of healthy food combinations. Shaped like mini boats, Belgian endives hold food easily, make a great finger food and are only one calorie per leaf.

Isn’t that just the perfect combination for a low carb appetizer? Crunch into their crisp leaf and see why their fresh flavor is perfect for any topping. Get artsy in arranging them; create a pinwheel pattern on a round plate or line them up like soldiers on a rectangle dish. Guests will come back for seconds and thirds, so make plenty.

Gourmet Finger Food

Let’s take a look at a very popular filling for Belgian endives that creates a light, gourmet finger food, so you get an idea of what ingredients are needed for this tasty and healthy appetizer. Suggestions for other fillings are included to get your creative juices flowing. Three heads of Belgian endives make approximately 24 appetizer boats, so use that as a guide when creating your appetizer.

Avocado Shrimp Salad

  • Clean, shell and devein 20 medium shrimp.
  • Toss shrimp with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.
  • Roast for 8 minutes in a 400 degree oven.
  • Cool shrimp and cut into 1/4″ pieces.
  • Mix shrimp together with 3 tablespoons of lime juice, 2 tablespoons of finely chopped scallions, 1 minced jalapeno chili pepper (remove stem, ribs and seeds), 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  • Just before serving, cut 1/2 of an avocado into 1/4″ cubes and mix into shrimp mixture.
  • Separate endive leaves, spoon 1 teaspoon of shrimp salad onto each leaf. Garnish with black sesame seeds, if desired.

Fillings for Finger Food

Here are some ideas to spark your imagination, but make sure to use some of your family’s own tried and true recipes, too. Place one teaspoon of filling at the bottom of each Belgian endive spear:

  • tuna salad
  • crab salad
  • foie de gras
  • diced apples, minced red onion, blue cheese crumbles mixed lightly with a vinaigrette
  • diced chicken, chopped walnuts, craisons, mayonnaise, S&P
  • diced pears and gorgonzola cheese mixed lightly with a vinaigrette
  • light cream cheese, smoked salmon, minced red onion and a few capers
  • poached and cooled salmon topped with an asparagus tip
  • layer a slice of avocado with an orange or grapefruit section
  • minced tomato, garlic, fresh basil (think bruschetta)

Stuffed Belgian endive provides a nice compliment to the cheese platters and heavy hors d’ouevres that many hostesses serve. All of these fillings would also work well on Parmesan, Black Pepper Biscotti as an alternative serving vessel.


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