The Blooming Platter of Vegan Recipes

Recipes for 'Vegan Appetizers'

Curried Figs Brulee with PestoYield: 8 bruleed fig halves

As everyone probably knows now, when the rhythm of my life changed on July 30, so did my approach to cooking and eating.

For a week after my husband passsed away, I ate almost nothing.  But I have now segued to slightly more than nothing or what I call mini-meals.  They are gorgeous and nutritious, but they are tiny and, for folks eating normally, are perfect sides.  (These figs were today’s lunch with a peanut butter rice cake.)

Whereas, in days of old, communities rallied round those who had lost loved ones with heavy comfort foods.  In contrast, my tribe surrounded me, as I may have mentioned, with a bounty of fruits–figs and more figs–vegetables, salads, prepared vegan dishes, and vegan bakery treats that went into goodie bags for out-of-towners booked at the Westin for Joe’s (amazing) Celebration of Life.

My artist friend, Sheila Gioliti brought the biggest and the firmest figs which inspired this glorius oh-so-simple recipe.

4 large slightly firm fresh figs, stemmed and halved

2 teaspoons granualted or brown sugar (I use demerara)

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1/8 teaspoon curry powder (mild or “warm”)

1/8th teaspoon smoked paprika

Optional: 1/2 teaspoon vegan pesto or chimichurri (or more to suit your taste)

Garnish: fresh basil or cilantro and pine nuts, roasted or not

Prheat broiler.  Arrange figs, cut side up, on a baking sheet.  In a small cup, whisk together sugar, salt, and curry powder.  Sprinkle on figs, dividing evenly among them.  Broil for 3 minutes or until surface of figs is slightly caramelized, but figs still hold their shape.  Top, if desired, with pesto or chimichurri and serve with fresh sprigs of basil or cilantro, and pine nuts.

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Vegan Coconut Red Curry-Basil Biscuit Stack

Yield: 8-2 inch biscuits (recipe easily doubles)

Woa!  I’m not one to brag, but these may be a “best ever” here on The Blooming Platter…

To celebrate the release of the FREE Snackable eBook, the good folks at Go Dairy Free and So Delicious Dairy Free have teamed up again to sponsor the ultimate Snackable Recipe Contest!

Contestants may enter two recipes in the Savory, Sweet, or Sippable categories and this is my second and final Savory entry.

I have to say, myy Vegan Bangkok Biscuit Stacks are every bit as irresistible as I thought they might be when the idea popped into my head yesterday (after an unmitigated disaster of an attempt with another idea the day before!).

Winner, winner, vegan dinner?  (Er, I mean snack.)

Quick recipe note: avoid omitting the teaspoon of vinegar or vegan fish sauce as it is necessary to interact with the baking soda for proper rise…and, boy do they rise!

Vegan Bangkok Biscuit Stack

3 tablespoons vegan butter, divided

1 cup all-purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon shortening (preferably frozen)

1 tablespoon prepared Thai red curry paste

1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar or vegan fish sauce (sold as “vegetarian” in Asian markets)

Approximately 6 to 8-1 1/2 inch fresh basil or Thai basil leaves

1/3 cup So Delicious Original Coconut Milk Creamer

Pickled Veggies (recipe follows; make while biscuits bake)

Garlic Aioli (recipe follows)

1/3 cup caramelized onions or 8-2 inch grilled tofu squares, etc.

Garnish: 8 sprigs fresh basil

Preheat oven to 45o degrees.  Melt 1 tablespoon vegan butter in a 6-inch (or larger) cast iron skillet placed in oven.  Remove and set aside.  In bowl of food processor, place flour, baking soda, salt, remaining 2 tablespoons of vegan butter and shortening.  Pulse a few times until vegan butter and shortening are well-distributed throughout and dough looks like damp sand.  Add curry paste, vinegar or fish sauce, and basil leaves and pulse until basil is finely chopped.  Drizzle with coconut creamer and pulse until dough comes together in a ball and basil is minced, but still visible.   Note: you may cut the butter and shortening into flour mixture by hand, mince the basil, and mix all ingredients together with a fork if you prefer.  

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a 3/4 inch disk.  Working quickly, fold in sides like you are folding a business envelope, pat into a 3/4 inch disk, turn a quarter turn and repeat 4 more times.  Cut with a 2 inch biscuit or cookie cutter or sturdy glass.  Place each biscuit into the prepared skillet, right side down, and then flip right side up to coat both sides with butter.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove from oven and, when cool enough to handle, spread each biscuit with 1/8th of the Garlic Aioli,  1/8th of the caramelized onions or a slice of tofu, and 1/8th of the Pickled Veggies.  Serve immediately, garnished with fresh basil sprigs.

Pickled Veggies:

8 thin slices cucumber

1/3 cup shredded carrots (I purchase pre-shredded)

2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar or vegan fish sauce (sold as “vegetarian” in Asian markets)

Toss together in a small non-reactive bowl or carton and set aside.

Garlic Aioli:

3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

In a small cup, whisk together mayonnaise and garlic powder until well combined.


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Black Bean and Corncake Snack StacksYield: 8 Black Bean and Corn Cake Snack Stacks (plus extra black bean filling)


To celebrate the release of the FREE Snackable eBook, the good folks at Go Dairy Free and So Delicious Dairy Free have teamed up again to sponsor the ultimate Snackable Recipe Contest!

My entry is the perfect little 3-bite snack that you can pick up to enjoy.  And they are simple to prepare.

Corncakes made with luscious So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk are the tasty foundation for these Snack Stacks.  A dab of mock Garlic Aioli–garlic powder whisked together with vegan mayo (raw garlic is a little too much of a good thing here)–anchors a mound of black beans, kale, onion, garlic, and spices cooked into a creamy mélange with So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk.

You can your stacks however you choose.  I like carrot shreds, cucumber slices, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a dusting of smoked paprika.  But avocado (to which I am, sadly, highly allergic) and grape tomato halves would be delicious, healthy and colorful too.

1/2 cup yellow corn meal

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 cup plus So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk

2 tablespoons creamed corn (a canned vegan product available at virtually all grocery stores) or 2 additional tablespoons So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk

2 teaspoons vegetable oil divided

2 teaspoons vegan butter, divided

Creamy Black Bean, Kale, and Coconut Milk Filling (recipe follows)

Garlic Aioli (Recipe Follows)

Optional garnishes: carrot shreds; thin cucumber or avocado slices, halved; cherry tomato halves; lime wedges for squeezing; and a sprinkling of smoked paprika

In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, sea salt, baking powder, cumin, smoked paprika, coconut milk, and creamed corn.  Spray a large cast iron skillet with nonstick spray, place over medium-high, and heat 1 teaspoon each of oil and vegan butter.  As the butter melts, swirl to coat bottom of skillet.  Scoop batter, 1 level tablespoon at a time, into skillet and spread to about 2 1/2 inches in diameter.  Repeat to make 4 corncakes, cooking approximately 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Remove to a serving plate and repeat with remaining batter, beginning with heating the remaining oil and butter.  To serve, spread each corncake with about 1 teaspoon of Garlic Aioli, top with a heaping tablespoonful of the bean and kale filling, garnish as desired, and serve immediately.  Note: corncakes may be prepared ahead and kept well-covered until serving time.   

Creamy Black Bean, Kale, and Coconut Milk Filling:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion (half a medium), diced

Sea salt

1 cup coarsely chopped kale with thick stems removed

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1-15.5 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

Freshly ground black pepper

In the same skillet as you made the corncakes, heat olive oil over medium-high.  Add onion and a pinch of sea salt and sauté, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes or until softened.  Add kale and garlic and continue to sauté and stir for about 3 minutes or until kale is softened, but still bright green. Add all remaining ingredients and cook, stirring, for another 2 to 3 minutes or until ingredients reduce down and come together into a thick, fragrant, and creamy mixture. Season to taste with pepper and additional sea salt, if desired.

Garlic Aioli:

3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

In a small cup, whisk together mayonnaise and garlic powder until well combined.



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Baked Bean CrostiniYield: 12 crostini

My parents have a nack for making any simple run-of-the-mill meal or activity seem special.

When I was a kid, a favorite sandwich that my mom would whip up with leftover baked beans was simply cooled beans mixed with mayo and pickle relish served between slices of toasted white bread, with or without butter lettuce.

Make this delicacy yourself in minutes and watch it disappear!

Because I love to nosh, my modern twist on her tradition is simply to serve the filling openface on small pieces of grilled crostini.  I made these yesterday for an evening beach picnic with a good friend.  Bean-filled bliss!


Approximately 1 1/2 cups thick baked beans, chilled (I used a 15.5 ounce can of Bush’s vegan “Steakhouse” variety that I baked for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees to thicken and concentrate flavors)

2 to 3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise

1 tablespoon sweet or dill pickle relish

Optional: 2 sliced scallions, both white and green part (stir in or use as garnish)

12 thin slices lightly oiled and grilled or toasted bread (Italian, French, etc.)

Optional garnish: tiny sprigs of fresh basil

Stir together beans, mayo, relish, and opitonal scallions until combined.  Pile on top of grilled bread and garnish with basil.  Serve immediately.

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Beet BruschettaYield: 4 servings (8 bruschetta)

As I’ve mentioned, the newly formed Starlight Supper Club consisting of three couples–a vegan (me), 2 vegetarians, 1 pescetarian and, yes, my husband the carnivore–celebrated our inaugural dinner last Saturday night at the home of Becky Bump and Reese Lusk.  The setting–their tiny log cabin with an exquisitely designed interior and a furnished deck on Chubb Lake–was outdone only by the food and company.

The appetizer alone set me off on a several day-binge of Beet Bruschetta.  I can’t believe I never thought of it before, but it has quickly become a staple.  Becky and Reese made theirs on Reese’s delicious sourdough bread, but I just used bread from the bakery section of the grocery store and it was tasty.

Be sure to roast the beet a little over an hour before serving time.  And keep the bruschetta on the smaller side or it is too difficult to pick up and enjoy.

1 fist-size beet (which will shrink slightly while roasting), rubbed with olive oil, sprinkled lightly with salt, wrapped in foil over a pan to catch drips, roasted at 375 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes or until tender, and slightly cooled

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large clove garlic

Sea salt

8-1/3 to 1/2″ thick slices ciabatta bread (or something similar), about 2 1/2″ in diameter

Approximately 7 ounces extra firm tofu, crumbled (half of a 14 ounce box, as is available here) or Homemade Vegan Ricotta

Freshly ground black pepper

8 large basil leaves


While beet roasts, mince garlic into olive oil, add a tiny pinch of sea salt, stir to combine, and set aside.  While beet is cooling, brush bread very lightly with garlic oil and grill in an indoor grill pan over medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until lightly toasted.  (If you don’t have a grill pan, broil, watching carefully).  Lightly mash tofu with about 1 teaspoon garlic oil and a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Cut beet into 8 slices, crosswise.  Divide tofu among bread slices and place a basil leaf on top of each, followed by a beet slice.  Drizzle with garlic oil and finish with a few grains of sea salt.

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Lemony Agean Artichoke and Chickpea SpreadLast week, I was in Mississippi, aka the ‘Sip, visiting my family when we suddenly realized that we had three guests joining us for happy hour and nothing to serve them.  My parents–children of the depression, the canned food-centric ’50s and ’60s, and survivors of Hurricane Katrina–always have a well-stocked pantry with overflow in two remote locations that I know of.

So, I quickly surveyed the shelves, selected a can of chickpeas and of artichoke hearts, and moments later–thanks to a food processor and a little olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, Greek seasoning, salt and pepper–this crowd-pleasing appetizer was born.

Though each is a little different, commercial preparations of Greek seasoning–at least the two the I have taste-tested–are perfectly compatible with the other ingredients.  But feel free to flavor it with your favorite herbs and spices, fresh or dried.  In particular, I am eager to try this recipe with beau monde seasoning.

1-15 ounce can artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained

1-15 ounce can chick peas, rinsed and drained

2 large cloves garlic

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 rounded teaspoon Greek seasoning

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Optional garnish: fresh lemon slices/wedges and sprigs of fresh herbs

Accompaniments: crackers, crostini, toasted bagels/mini bagels

Place all ingredients, except sea salt, in a food processor and pulse until a creamy, but textured, consistency is reached, scraping down the sides of the bowl, as necessary.  Check for salt, season accordingly, and pulse again, just to combine. Chill, covered, and bring to room temperature before serving, or serve immediately with crackers, crostini, or toasted bagels, garnished as desired with fresh lemon slices/wedges and fresh herbs.  (In the photo, I used thyme.)

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Cheesy Artichoke Dip with Greens, Mushrooms and Water ChestuntsYield: approximately 6 cups

Baby, it’s cold outside!  At least it is here in Eastern VA where we are expected to experience the southern edge of the winter storm headed for New England.  A warning is scheduled from 7 p.m. this evening until 4 p.m. tomorrow.  Yippee….Snow Day!

When snow is on it’s way, there is only one thing to do: make sure there is delcious, nutritious, body-and-soul warming food ind the house.  And this dip (which is darn tasty in a baked potato) fits that bill.

Inspired by the Super Bowl–you have to have dip during that game of games, no?–and by a bountiful box of GO Veggie! vegan cheeses kindly sent to me to test, I incorporated three kinds of cheesiness to achieve the flavor and texture I was after.

I am a new fan of GO Veggie! cheeses, having only discovered that the company makes vegan products (look for the purple label) when they contacted me recently, as the Kroger where I shop only stocks the vegetarian varieties.  With nice mild flavor, texture, and meltability, all they lack is “stretch,” and I can live with that.  Find a store near you.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small yellow onion, diced (or 1/2 medium onion)

Sea salt

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1-8 ounce carton GO Veggie! Dairy-Free Chive and Garlic  Cream Cheese

1/2  to 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or dried oregano)

2-14 ounce cans artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained well, and chopped

3 cups coarsely chopped and lightly packed fresh mustard greens (feel free to use the greens of your choice, e.g. kale, spinach, Swiss Chard, etc.)

1-7 to 8 ounce cansliced  mushrooms, drained (I almost always use fresh everything, but canned are perfect for this)

1-8 ounce can sliced water chestnuts, rinsed and drained

1-8 ounce package GO Veggie! Dairy-Free Mozzarella Shreds

1/2 cup GO Veggie! Dairy-Free Parmesan Grated Topping, divided

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup sliced almonds

Garnish: smoked or plain paprika

Accompaniments: chips  or crackers of your choice (I bought the beet tortilla chips in the photograph in T. J. Maxx–tasty and such a pretty contrast with the green dip!)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large cast iron skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high.  Add onion and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring frequently for about 3 minutes or until onion is tender.  Add, garlic and saute, stirring, for about 30 seconds.  Add the cream cheese and Italian seasoning and stir until melted,lowering heat at any point if necessary.  Stir in artichoke hearts followed by greens, one cup at a time, allowing each cup to wilt before adding next cup.  Then stir in mushrooms, water chustnuts, mozzarella shreds, and 1/4 cup parmesan topping, stirring until mozzarella is completely melted.  Season to taste with additional sea salt, if needed, and freshly ground black pepper.  At this point, you may transfer into a greased casserole dish if you like, but I baked it right in the skillet.  Sprinkle the top with remaining parmesan and sliced almonds.   Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with smoked or plan paprika and serve hot with chips or crackers.

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Today seemed like the perfect day to repost  a recipe I recently developed for Tofutti even if Super Bowl Sunday finds you sitting on your sofa rather than your tailgate: Vegan Tailgate Taters–Game On!

Vegan Tailgate Taters

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(Vegan) Buffalo Wings and the Super Bowl go together like Katy Perry and Lenny Kravitz!

I wouldn’t touch chicken wings many years ago when I ate chicken, but my vegan version is a slam dunk…hmmm, wrong metaphor. But you know what I mean.

Find my delicious recipe here and may the Seattle Seahawks, er, I mean, may the best team win.


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Go Veggie Smoky Cheddar SpreadI haven’t used Go Veggie products in years, ever since I discovered that the Go Veggie products sold at the Kroger where I shop are not vegan.

So, I had no idea that the brand produces quite a selection of vegan products, including slices, shreds, and cream cheese in a variety of flavors plus parmesan style sprinkles until they contacted me and asked if I would like to sample some of them.  Yes, please!

A big box arrived last week and today, a holiday in honor of MLK Day, I am home from school with a little extra time to experiment.  So I did.  A girl’s ‘gotta eat, right?

Having seen a couple of different preparations for Mac-n-Cheese on the Food Network this weekend–both made with a broth-based veloute style sauce and only a little dairy–I decided that I would use the Go Veggie Mexican Flavor and Mozzarella-style Shreds for my own rendition using veggie broth and soymilk.  That left the Cheddar Flavor Vegan Rice Slices for the Smoky Cheddar Spread I had in mind.  I could have used the shreds in my spread and the slices melted into my sauce this evening, but I wanted to see if the slices would shred since I really don’t make sandwiches or other recipes that call for slices of cheese.  And they shred nicely…keep reading!

First, I broke off a strip of one of the slices to taste.  The mild flavor was very pleasant and the texture quite nice.  The slightly damp and slippery exterior was a tiny bit off-putting, but not a big drawback.  With the rest of the strip, I performed a quick melt test, simply laying it on a plate and microwaving it.  It was beautifully melted in less than 10 seconds.  Brilliant!

Next, I fitted my food processor with the grater attachment, stacked the eight unwrapped slices together, folded them in half, fit them down into the feeder tube, flipped the switch, and pressed them down with the plunger.  In seconds, I had lovely shreds.  The cheese is quite soft, but it didn’t “mash” except at the very end as the last little bit went through the chute.  No problem.

I made my Vegan Smoky Cheddar Spread by adding chopped smoked almonds, a little bit of vegan mayo, a pinch of garlic and onion powder, and a hint of smoked paprika.  But the grated slices would make a beautiful pimento cheese spread as well.

Go Veggie is not paying me to endorse their products(!), but I would definitely purchase and use these Cheddar Flavor Vegan Rice Slices again.  Very low in calories and fat, but high in calcium, they are a keeper.

For the vegan versions of Go Veggie products, look for the purple packaging.  To find them at a store near you, click HERE.

Stay tuned for more Go Veggie taste tests and recipes.  And thanks Go Veggie for enlightening me!


Vegan Smoky Cheddar Spread

Yield: 1 1/2 cups spread

8 ounces Go Veggie Cheddar Flavor Vegan Rice Slices, unwrapped, stacked, and grated (I used a food processor with grater attachment)

1/2 cup smoked almonds, finely chopped

Optional: 2 green onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/8 teaspoon sea salt or to taste

Optional Garnish:  whole smoked almonds and a sprinkling of smoked paprika

Lightly combine all ingredients in a medium bowl until completely combined.  Serve immediately with crackers or celery sticks or refrigerate in an airtight container until serving time.  Garnish if desired with whole smoked almonds and a sprinkling of smoked paprika.

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