This fun Christmas Pinwheels appetizer uses a mix of white beans and feta cheese, instead of cream cheese, for a lower fat, but still deliciously creamy version of a classic. We add bright red roasted pepper pieces inside to contrast the white and green, and a star cut from a yellow pepper is the crowning glory!
Who says fun Christmas appetizers can't be healthy?!
Not me! Not everything this time of year has to be covered in, or filled with, sugar, fat, and alcohol. These little Christmas tree pinwheels prove that fun and healthy aren't mutually exclusive.
Typically filled with high fat cream cheese, Christmas tortilla roll ups aren't usually very good for your heart.
We switch that up by using a lovely mix of white beans and fat free feta cheese. The little bit of feta gives the filling just enough saltiness, while the two ingredients blend up into an ultra creamy, luscious spread that works perfectly in this healthy pinwheel recipe.
We kept the classic spinach wraps, even though they aren't whole grain, and they're pretty high in sodium. They have the perfect color, and the change-up of the other ingredients allows us a little leeway here.
Then we add minced roasted red peppers for a pop of color inside our little Christmas trees. So beautiful and delicious!
And the crowing glory - we top our Christmas tree appetizers with a bright yellow star, cut from a yellow pepper! Oooooohhhh. Ahhhhhh.
If you don't have a tiny star cookie cutter, you can cut the stars with a knife freehand, or simply cut little squares or whatever shape you like. My general rule is to not make things overly complicated if they don't have to be! Seriously, the holidays are stressful enough! (Speaking of stress - discover 6 ways to beat holiday stress.)
How to shape and cut Christmas pinwheels
Probably the most difficult part of this otherwise easy holiday appetizer recipe, is shaping and cutting the tortilla roll ups into Christmas trees.
When they're first made, the roll ups will be soft, and they won't hold a triangular shape for anything.
So. First, place the uncut tortilla roll on a large piece of plastic wrap, and roll it tightly up. Gently press down on the roll by placing your hands in an upside down "V" shape, lengthwise down the roll. This will flatten the bottom, and create a triangular shape.
If needed, continue doing the same thing around the roll, until you have 3 relatively flat sides, creating a triangular prism shape.
Now pop those rolls in the freezer for about 30 minutes. They'll start to stiffen up, and will harden just enough to cut them.
Once the Christmas pinwheel appetizers are harder, but not frozen solid, remove them from the freezer, and from the plastic wrap.
Place the roll on a cutting board and very gently, with a straight edge knife (NOT serrated), slice into ½ inch slices. Use a gentle sawing motion to avoid crushing them. If they have flattened a little from cutting, reshaping them will now be easy.
Now you can thread them onto a toothpick and top with your star!
More Healthy Christmas Appetizers
For more healthy holiday party recipes, try these:
- Christmas Fruit Tray with Cinnamon Yogurt Dip
- Spinach and Feta Stuffed Mushrooms
- Pecan Cranberry Bread
- Crispy Zucchini Fritters
- Instant Pot Smoky Tomato Jam
- Brownie Batter Dip
If you try these fun and healthy Christmas Pinwheels, I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!
- 56 Long toothpicks (at least 2-3 inches long)
- Very small star-shaped cookie cutter (optional)
- 1 can No Added Salt Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup Fat Free Feta Cheese, crumbled
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
- ½ cup drained, minced Roasted Red Peppers
- 2-3 Large Yellow Peppers
- 4 Large Spinach Wraps/Tortillas
- Blend beans, feta cheese, garlic, and oil until very smooth. This may take a few minutes; be patient.
- Lay the 4 spinach wraps flat on the counter, and spread ¼ of the bean mixture over each one, spreading completely to the edges.
- Sprinkle 2 tablespoon minced red peppers on each tortilla, and gently press them into the filling.
- Roll each tortilla tightly, and roll in plastic wrap tightly.
- Shape each roll into a triangular shape, making sure there are 3 long, flat edges.
- Place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour. You don’t want them to freeze solid, but you want to be able to slice them without crushing them.
- Meanwhile, core the yellow peppers and remove the seeds.
- If you have a small star cookie cutter, cut stars out of the pepper: place the skin side down on a cutting board, and cut through the flesh side of the pepper to make a clean cut.
- If you don’t have a star cookie cutter: cut the pepper into small squares, or any other shape you like for the tops of the trees.
- Once the rolls come out of the freezer, unwrap them, and gently slice, ½ inch thick, using a smooth blade knife. Slowly “saw” with the knife to cut through with less chance of crushing the roll.
- Reshape the trees into triangles if needed.
- Insert a toothpick into each tree, and top with a yellow pepper star/square.
- Best served immediately, or can be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.