• Gluten-free Thai chicken sausage rolls with sweet chilli dipping sauce (Loving Gluten Free)Source: Loving Gluten Free
Don't save these gems for party time. Break them out to celebrate... Tuesday?
26 Apr 2021 - 4:24 PM  UPDATED 27 Apr 2021 - 1:51 PM

--- The Cook Up with Adam Liaw airs weeknights on SBS Food from Monday April 19 at 7.00pm and 10.00pm, or stream it free on SBS On Demand. ---


What is it we love most about a party? Is it the company? The music? The decorations? Who are we kidding - we all know it's the food.

Party food is special. Not simply because most of it goes OTT on the requisite fat, sugar and salt combo. It's also because it's fun. Little sausage rolls for dipping; cheesy nachos for stretching; and don't get us started on those cute little quiches that come in a variety of flavours, all utterly divine.

In order to enjoy your party favourites more often, it helps to make healthier versions, or at least scale them down and add a giant green salad or plate otherwise laden with vegetables.

Here's how to do exactly that. Time to get your taste buds ready to dance!

Hot doggin'

Party staples

The humble sausage sanga comes in many forms, with mini hot dogs being the preferred party food. This is no doubt due to the celebration-red colour of the frankfurt (aka as various things across the country: including baby savs, cheerios, footy franks and, somewhat blushingly, little boys).

Serve your hot dogs with a pick-n-mix platter of veggies like carrots, baby tomatoes, lettuce gems and radishes o keep things squarely on the 'dinner' side of indulgence.

Kimchi hot dogs

The best thing about hot dogs is they can be reinvented over and over with simple swaps in sauces and toppings. This recipe combines a Korean kimchi salsa, grated cheese and spicy Sriracha for a delicious mix of old and new flavours.

Hot dog (pancho)

The pancho is really all about the toppings. These change depending on the region (and stall) you’re buying it from, but favourite additions include corn, cheese, mustard, onion and salsa golf, a mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise. The "dog" is also often longer than the bun.

Bean me up nachos

Nachos are the ultimate party food - it's made for sharing, it serves the masses and it has the added bonus of stretchy cheese competitions built right in. Why wouldn't we want to enjoy them as often as possible?

To lighten the load, make these black bean nachos, instead of  the standard meat-filledversion. This will cut down on saturated fat and increase your legume intake in one. Serve it up with a quinoa salad, or try this corn salad to further up your veggie intake.

Nacho bowls

This hands-on meal is great for kids, as not do they get to assemble their own nacho bowls—they get to eat the whole thing, bowl and all!

Chicken wing it

Once you get started with the chicken wings at the party buffet, it's goodbye self-restraint, hello sticky fingers. Make them for dinner and you get to maul into them without fear of anyone judging.

These babies are actually a pretty healthy party food when baked, so go for it on any night of the week.

Sweet and spicy chicken wings

Always a crowd-pleaser, spicy chicken wings are super simple to make and great for parties, because you can do all the prep work well in advance.

Honey-sambal chicken wings

If you love chicken wings, you’re going to LOVE these. And they’re so, so easy. Simply grab a jar of sambal oelek from the supermarket and you’re set. The baking powder helps the chicken cook to crisp, tasty perfection but do be sure to use non-aluminium based powder. It has none of the metallic taste you get with regular baking powder, something you definitely don’t want here. 

Sumac-roasted chicken wings with preserved lemon and coriander

This is a great example of how a few simple ingredients can really pack a punch. Chicken wings are inexpensive and great value, but this recipe would work equally well with any cut of chicken – simply adjust cooking times to suit.

Quick quiche

The beauty of a mini quiche is that the cooking time is barely noticeable. These bread-cup quiches take less than 20 minutes in the oven. Make them plain, or add flavours like tomato and basil or pumpkin and sage to really lift your party spirits.

Feta, pea and mint crustless quiche

This light and minty crustless quiche is lifted by the salty feta. Perfect for a packed lunch, it will also keep well in the fridge for up to two days. Serve warm or cold with a lightly dressed mixed salad.

Quinoa quiche

Quinoa is a kind of cereal that's been the core food of Andean countries in South America for hundreds of years. In the last 15 years, it was discovered that the nutrient composition of quinoa is better than common cereals. This is because the seeds contain essential amino acids like lysine, as well as acceptable quantities of calcium, phosphorus and iron. With its great texture, quinoa is the perfect healthy base for both savoury and sweet dishes, and the quinoa quiche is one of these inventions.

Pizzette party

Stale bread “pizzette”

Another winner from the 'make it mini' school of thought. Pizzettes are everything you love about pizza in bite-size form. The beauty of this is you can put a different topping on each pizzette for variety. Silvia Colloca's pizzettes use stale bread as the base, adding to their 'make it everyday' appeal.

Low-carb portobello 'pizzas'

With a wide Portobello mushroom as a base and a delicious tomato and mozzarella topping, it has all the flavour of a traditional pizza but only a fraction of the calories.

Tricolore vegan pizza

This pizza has flavor on top of flavor! Pesto, red sauce and a melty mozz sauce on top. Plus, cherry tomatoes that roast right into it (use multicolored ones if you can find them) and fresh basil leaves to complete your entire world.

Bulgogi beef pizza

Bulgogi pizza is a fun take on bulgogi beef, one of the most well-known Korean dishes. A pizza base gets topped with bulgogi beef mince, a tomato passata mixed with gochujang, and as well as mozzarella, kimchi and other seasonings.

Snag rollin'

Sausage rolls always hit the top 10 party food list for good reason. They're bloody delicious. Especially this gluten-free Thai chicken version, which manages to pack the equivalent flavour of a chicken curry into compact sausage roll format. If you're not gluten-intolerant, just stuff the glorious filling into some store-bought puff pastry instead.

Serve this recipe with some complementary veggies like a green papaya salad, banana blossom salad or green mango salad.

Turmeric sausage rolls

A little turmeric goes a long way. Especially when it is teamed with pepper, garlic, onion and salt. 

Lamb and haloumi sausage rolls

Any mince will work wonders in these haloumi rolls and yes, you'll find yourself going in for seconds and thirds, especially when they're hot out of the oven. 

Fritter away

Little fritter bites with plenty of sauce for dunking are all you need for a hearty dinner. Diana Chan's perkedel jagung are a good start, but don't stop there. Zucchini fritters. potato fritters, carrot fritters, pumpkin fritters and general veggie fritters are also calling your name. Top tip: any fritter, no matter where it originated, is made better by adding some haloumi to the mix.

Corn fritters

You know it will be a good day when you start it with these golden rays of fritter sunshine! Tailor them to your hunger levels with crispy bacon and an egg, or simply some fresh baby spinach and cherry tomatoes. 

Stick it to dinner

It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you stick food on a skewer it tastes better. No, really, it's science. No wonder stick food is such popular party food; and why you need to skewer tonight's dinner immediately. Start with this veggie and paneer recipe and maybe add a spicy beef stick to round out the meal?

Laotian grilled rice skewers (khao jee)

Skewers of pork or chicken mince might be more widely known, but these skewers wrapped with freshly cooked rice are just as soft and smoky-flavoured.

Grilled pork skewers with nahm jim jaew dipping sauce

Nahm jim jaew is a sweet and tangy dipping sauce served with a wide variety of grilled meat street food in Thailand, like these chargrilled pork skewers.

Grilled beef skewers with pepperberry sauce

Up your BBQ game with this pepperberry sauce, which brings a slightly sweet flavour before packing a peppery punch. 

Oh, go on then

While we'd never advocate for eating dessert for dinner every night of the week, sometimes it just feels right. If you're going to do it (and by 'if', we mean 'when'), then serve up something like this eggplant brownie recipe. The goodness of an entire eggplant is baked right in there. We are so here for party food for dinner!

Sweets for dinner
Choc avocado mousse with berries
Steamed banana cake

This banana-laced steamed cake has a deliciously spongy, moist texture, which is topped off with a creamy coconut sauce and crunchy toasted sesame seeds. 

Raw choc hemp seed brownies

Hemp seeds are the new superfood, and what better way to use its creamy texture and mild flavour than in these raw chocolate brownies!


Known as Noah’s Ark pudding to celebrate finding land after the flood, this is a dense, delicious, nutritious mix of grain, dried fruits, nuts and spices enjoyed since ancient days in Turkey.

Chocolate decadence cake

It has been a banner year for berries! Each week at the farmers' market I've come across a new berry I'm yet to try. The sweet little lady who I purchased my currants from last week had a few containers of gooseberries. I fell in love with the colours, shape and lines. The berry itself is not overly sweet, you could compare it to a blueberry. Gooseberries are full of vitamin C, fibre and potassium. So they add a healthy little kick to your day. This cake is gluten-free, sugar-free, soy-free and peanut-free, as well as vegan. Overall, it's one of the healthier desserts, let alone chocolate cakes, you could make.

Chamomile, manuka honey and raspberry jellies

The gelatin in these delicious jellies is great for gut health, and the chamomile and manuka honey in this recipe are also brilliant at soothing the digestive system and balancing gut bacteria. I just threw the raspberries in because they look pretty!

Lime, coconut and mint balls

"These lime, coconut and mint balls are the perfect healthy treat and great in the summer time because they're a little bit tropical and such a yummy, satisfying snack." Lola Berry

Healthy sweet congee

A classic Chinese breakfast, this sweet congee can be eaten warm or cold. It delivers a mix of rice, fungus and dried fruit and herbs – ingredients thought in Chinese traditional medicine to boost health and vitality.