Updated by Melissa Rudy on 10/27/16Appetizers are a great way to start fall gatherings, which are marked by shorter days, cooler nights, and holiday fun. Not only will these starters provide your guests a warm welcome, but it will also gives you a chance to whet their appetite and increase their enjoyment of the full meal that's still to come. With an abundance of versatile and affordable fall produce, your food can impress on the palate without expanding the waist line.
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- Apple-Cheese Spread: This savory spread, complete with caramelized shallots in sherry, makes a great appetizer for Thanksgiving, or as a snack with whole-wheat crackers.
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- Cheese/Pear Appetizers: The smooth, creamy cheese perfectly complements the sweetness of the pears, topped with a sprinkling of brown sugar.
- Cinnamon Roasted Almonds: Warm, crunchy and lightly sweetened, these almonds are perfect for tiding over autumn appetites before the main course arrives.
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- Stepf's Spicy Maple Almonds: These party pleasers are an appetizing blend of sweet, salty, spicy and crunchy.
- Sweet Chicken Bacon Bites: You can't go wrong with bite-sized chicken, wrapped in bacon and rolled in brown sugar.
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- Chef Meg's Cranberry Relish: Served with Brie cheese and full of healthy fruit, this homemade version puts canned jelly to shame.
- Savory Pumpkin Dip with Rosemary Cashew Ricotta: It's hard to believe this delicious fall-themed appetizer is vegan and gluten-free.
- Chef Meg's Festive Polenta Rounds: These simple and delicious holiday appetizers double as festive tabletop decor.
- Ham-Wrapped Roasted Potatoes: Served with smoky honey mustard, these make a scrumptious fall appetizer or tailgating snack.
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- Roasted Sweet Potato Cubes: These hearty cubes are delicious with the companion piquant pistachio dressing, or simply add oil and salt.
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- Bruschetta-Stuffed Mushrooms (Chef Meg's Makeover): Enjoy all the flavor of bruschetta, served in mouth-watering portabello mushrooms.
- Sweet Potato Naan: What's not to love about fried bread? Whether you share that it's made with healthy sweet potatoes is up to you.
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- Bacon and Beer Simmered Beans: The ultimate fall comfort food, these Mexican beans (also known as "frijoles borrachos") are ready in just 30 minutes.
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- Chef Meg's Pumpkin Dip: Go beyond pie and serve this smooth, creamy pumpkin dip with apple slices, bagels, whole-grain crackers or carrots.
- Autumn Roasted Veggies: Instead of filling up on bread and crackers, reach for this healthy, flavor-packed medley of cauliflower, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, zucchini and squash.
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- Chef Meg's Super Speedy Sausage Rolls: For an easy, yet fortifying grab-and-go breakfast, make these rolls at night and warm them in the morning. They're great with fruit and a hard-boiled egg.
- Spicy Hummus Queso Dip: Perfect for tailgating, this creamy, cheesy and somewhat spicy dip pairs nicely with veggies or whole-wheat crackers.
- Chef Meg's Herb Roasted Garlic: Garlic lovers will appreciate the mellow flavor and creamy texture of this roasted delicacy.
- Chef Meg's No Added Sugar Pumpkin-Apple Butter: It's hard to believe this rich, creamy spread has no added sugar. Spread it over whole wheat roast or use it to thicken fall soups.
- Bruschetta: Made with cherry tomatoes, this fresh bruschetta is great served on warm crostinis.
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- Cranberry Baked Brie Bites: These adorably petite bites are a great way to use up leftover cranberry after holiday meals.
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- Chef Meg's Mini Stuffed Potatoes with Charred Corn and Red Pepper Hummus: This scrumptious side dish is a great way to sneak some extra veggies into your family's diet.
- Homemade Apple Chips: Made from apples, cinnamon and turbinado sugar, these are a healthy and delicious alternative to potato chips.
- World's Best Spinach and Artichoke Dip: A slimmed-down version of a timeless classic, this creamy dip is delicious with whole-wheat crackers, carrots or fruit.
- Sweet Potato Rounds with Goat Cheese and Roasted Cranberries: Equal parts fun, festive, healthy and scrumptious, these bite-sized appetizers provide the perfect pregame for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
What's your favorite autumn appetizer recipe?