The Blooming Platter of Vegan Recipes

Recipes for 'Vegan Appetizers'

Fresh Ginger, Anise, Golden Tomato, and Red Bell Pepper JamYield: approximately 1 1/2 cups

 

This savory jam shimmers like jewels. Enjoy it alone or with vegan cheese spread or cream cheese on toasted bread as a simple but striking crostini, inside a wrap for a burst of flavor, or dabbed atop all manner of cooked vegetables or proteins.  It is most beautiful, though, served in a glass dish where it can really sparkle.

 

1 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, slivered

1/2 of a large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 pint golden grape or pear tomatoes

1 teaspoon turbinado sugar

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon anise seed

1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

 

Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high.  Add onion, bell pepper, salt and pepper, and saute, stirring, for approximately 3 minutes or until softened.  Add garlic and saute for another 30 seconds.  Add tomatoes, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften and break down, about 5 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and cook, stirring frequently, another 5 or so minutes until tomatoes break down further, and most of moisture has cooked off, creating a thick, pulpy, very textured, and beautifully colored jam.  Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.  Reduce heat at any point if cooking too fast.

Fresh Ginger, Anise, Golden Tomato, and Red Bell Pepper Jam with Star Anise 2

 

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Middle Eastern Pomegranate and Eggplant Melange

I always love the opportunity to develop recipes for Tofutti, and you can find the original post here.

Yield: 6 servings

This versatile Middle Eastern-inspired mash-up is equally addicting as a creamy dip, stuffed in a pita or baked pepper, or piled atop a grilled flatbread.  Heck, it is delicious just heated and eaten with a spoon as I’ve done every day this week for my school lunches!

2 tablespoons olive oil

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

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 medium eggplant, stemmed and diced

1 large clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup red wine (a Merlot is nice)

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Optional: 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses or tamarind syrup (available at Middle Eastern/Mediterranean markets)

4 Roma tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese

1/4 cup Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream

Optional: 1 tablespoon tahini (sesame paste; available on the international aisle of grocery stores)

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon mild curry powder

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Zest of 1 large lemon

Optional garnish: olives, fruit (fresh or dried), fresh herbs, nuts, etc.

Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high.  Add onion and a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring frequently, until onion is softened, about 3 minutes.  Add eggplant, garlic, and another pinch of salt plus a pinch of pepper, and sauté, still stirring frequently, until some color develops, about 3 minutes.  Add wine, balsamic vinegar, and optional molasses or syrup, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes or until eggplant is fairly soft.  Mash firmly with a potato masher.  Stir in tomatoes and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes.  Mash the mixture again.  Add Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese , Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream, and optional tahini, and cook, stirring, until melted and completely combined.  Stir in all remaining ingredients until heated through and flavors are well-combined.  Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.  Serve as a dip, stuffed in a pita or baked pepper, or piled atop a grilled flatbread.  Garnish, if desired, with olives, fruit (fresh or dried), fresh herbs, nuts, etc.

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Roasted Pecan and Dried Apricot No-Chicken Salad 2Yield: 4 servings

I actually created this throw-it-all-in-the-food-processor-simple no-chicken salad recipe from ingredients I had in the house while I was “snowed in.”

But, now that the snow is melting and folks in many states will be headed back to school and work tomorrow, I wanted to post it as a delicious lunchbox option.  Also, though, with the Super Bowl tonight, it’s a delicious and nutritious spread for crackers and, as you can see in the photo, it dresses up nicely for a “fancier” cocktail party.

I have created many versions of no-chicken salad, some here on my blog and some in my cookbook.  This one is made with wholesome tempeh, roasted pecans, and dried apricots, and is delicious served as you would any chicken(less) salad: in a sandwich, on crackers, or on my low-calorie, highly nutritious preference: sliced cucumber.

1/2 cup pecan pieces

4 celery ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces

1/4 cup dried apricots, halved

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

8 ounces tempeh (any kind), coarsely crumbled

4-5-inch stems fresh dill, leaves stripped

4-5-inch stems fresh tarragon, leaves stripped

1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise

Accompaniments: bread for sandwiches, crackers or sliced cucumber

Optional garnish: fresh dill sprigs and/or pecan halves or pieces

Roast pecans for a few minutes with a pinch of salt in a dry skillet over medium-high heat; transfer to bowl of food processor.  Add celery, apricots, garlic and onion powder, and pulse a few times until coarsely chopped.  Add tempeh to skillet in which pecans were roasted and roast, stirring frequently, just until it begins to turn golden brown in spots; transfer to bowl of food processor.  Add dill and tarragon, and pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped.  Add mayonnaise and pulse a few more times until mixture comes together.  Serve in a sandwich, spread on crackers, or as canapes perched atop slices of fresh cucumber.

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I created this recipe in 2009 and have posted it for the Super Bowl each year since.  With their creamy blue “cheez” dressing and fresh, crunchy celery sticks, no one need miss out on this all-time sports bar favorite.  So roll up your sleeves, grab a stack of napkins, and enjoy the authentic taste of my spicy wings.

 

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Dill-Scented White Beans with Fig, Olive and Pine Nut Tapenade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For our 10th anniversary, my husband and I took a Mediterranean Cruise, one of a number of life-changing trips to that magnetic part of the world from where his family hails (specifically, the Abruzzo region of of Italy).  I fell in love repeatedly, including with Santorini.

My dish, created especially for the Yummy Food-Canarias Recipe Competition, is an ode to one of the most memorable and simplest “meals” I have ever eaten.  We had spent the morning touring an ancient archeological dig on the island and had stopped at a cliffside vineyard overlooking  the stunning atoll.  There, in the wind-whipped courtyard, we were served wine, of course, accompanied by crisp fresh cucumber, olives and tomatoes.  That was it. Simple perfection.

Since it is January and tomatoes are not in season, I chose instead to celebrate the cucumber and the olives, adding my beloved figs and pine nuts plus a little lemony brightness along with herby dill-scented cannelini beans for protein .  The result is a simple little Mediterranean-infused bite-size meal.

Yield: 24 canapes or 8 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 large garlic clove, minced

1-15.5 ounce can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup loosely packed finely chopped fresh dill

16 dried Calmyra or Mission figs, stems removed, halved (I like to use 8 of each)

1/4 cup brine-cured pitted black and green olives, drained (I like some that are a little spicy)

3 ounces toasted pine nuts

1 teaspoon tamarind syrup (you may substitute pomegranate syrup or agave nectar)

Zest of 1/2 large lemon

Garnish: fresh dill sprigs

Cucumber slices (or toasted bread rounds/crackers)

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high.  Add onion and a pinch of salt and pepper and saute, stirring frequently, until onion begins to turn golden, about 8 to 9 minutes.  Reduce heat if necessary to prevent scorching.  Add garlic and saute, stirring constantly, for another minute.  Stir in beans and remaining tablespoon of olive oil, partially mashing the beans with the back of the spoon.  Add dill and remove from heat.

Process figs in a food processor, pulsing until coarsely chopped.  Add olives, and continue pulsing until both are finely chopped.  Add pine nuts and pulse a few more times or until all ingredients are very finely chopped.  Add syrup, lemon zest, and additional salt and pepper if desired, and pulse just to combine.

Serve a spoonful of the beans topped with a spoonful of the tapenade on cucumber slices, toasted bread or crackers.  Garnish with sprigs of fresh dill.

Alternative serving suggestion: spread the beans into a 1/2-inch thick disk on a serving plate, spread the tapenade over the top, garnish, and serve with cucumber slices (or toasted bread/crackers).

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Curried Chickpea and Carrot CakesYield: 4 appetizer servings (easily doubles)

Not too long ago, I created and posted a recipe for Kale Kakes.  I loved them so much that I started searching about in my refrigerator and pantry for some other healthy ingredients with which I could concoct a different version.

I discovered some pre-shredded carrots in the fridge and was going to make savory “carrot cakes.”  But then a can of chickpeas caught my eye and that combination sounded delicious not to mention providing a little more protein.  But if two “Cs” are good then three are better, hence the addition of a hint of curry powder.  However, if you aren’t a fan, just leave it out.

They needed a contrasting topping and with this nod in the direction of India, one with a yogurt base seemed the most fitting, especially one with a hint of coconut like So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk.  A little lemon and ginger added simple layers of flavors for the perfect creamy accompaniment.

I was almost finished but when I realized my recipe wouldn’t require the whole can of chickpeas–and not liking to accumulate too many odds and ends in the fridge–it struck me that I could roast them and use them as a little garnish.  Voila!  A simple little app that could almost be a perfect mini-meal.

In fact, I thought it was so good, I entered it in the appetizer category of the So Delicious 3 Course Recipe Contest!  Do you think I have a winner?

So Delicious Dairy Free 3 Course Recipe Contest Badge

Vegan Savory Curried Carrot and Chickpea Cakes:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1-15.5 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup + 1 to 2 tablespoons So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer (“origina”l flavor)

1 cup very lightly packed grated raw carrot

Garnish: skillet roasted chick peas and a few shreds of fresh raw carrot

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high.  Set aside 1/2 cup chickpeas and add remaining ones to the pan.  Roast for 10 minutes or until lightly golden brown and slightly crunchy, stirring occasionally.  Remove to a small cup or bowl.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking powder and soda, and salt and pepper.  Make a well in the center and pour in 1/4 cup creamer.  Whisk to make a smooth batter.  Stir in the reserved 1/2 cup chickpeas and carrots, adding remaining 1 to 2 tablespoons creamer to loosen batter slightly.  It should still be fairly thick and spoonable, almost like a fritter batter.  Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet in which you roasted the chickpeas.  Divide the batter into 4 equal mounds and cook for a couple of minutes or until golden on each side.  Serve topped with a tablespoon of the Lemon-Ginger yogurt, a few of the roasted chick peas and a few carrot shreds.

Lemon-Ginger Yogurt:

1/4 cup So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk

1/4 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Whisk together all ingredients in a small cup or bowl.

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I am super-excited to share this recipe with you!  Excited because I found NOTHING like it online when I got the initial brainstorm AND excited because the good folks at Tofutti wanted to publish it.  Plus, my carnivorous husband and friends love it!

So, Savory Vegan Layered Hummus and Kale Cheesecake.  Sound weird?  It’s not!  It is utterly delicious, really easy, and beautiful to boot.  It is even quite festive.

A generous gift of way too much homemade hummus to consume while it was still fresh led to a brainstorming session about how to use up a good portion of it.  A pumpkin cheesecake came to mind, as the hummus is about the same texture.   And this particular variety–garlic-red pepper–was about the same color.  “So what about a savory hummus cheesecake?” I wondered.  As I mentioned, a little online research revealed no such thing, so I set out on my own, using my go-to cheesecake recipe as a starting point.

But a whole hummus cheesecake, while scrumptious-sounding, also sounded like perhaps too much of a good thing.  So, a huge bag of chopped kale, also needing used while still fresh, inspired the idea of layers: a kale and hummus batter on the bottom with just a hummus batter on the top.

Since pita chips are so tasty with hummus, I made a pita chip crumb crust, though a bagel chip–or even cracker–crumb crust would be equally as tasty.  I simply mixed finely processed crumbs with a little melted vegan butter and pressed the mixture into an 8-inch spring form pan.  Once baked and cooled, I “frosted” the whole thing with vegan sour cream and garnished it with sliced cucumbers and red bell pepper strips to echo the green and red color scheme of the cheesecake for a lovely presentation.  However, by all means, you should feel free to let your imagination be your guide.

Note that you can use any flavor of hummus you prefer, though one with a reddish hue contrasts handsomely with the kale layer.

DSCN2367

 

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Merry Christmas a day early everyone! 

This recipe is a three-fer and may require a quick nip into the grocery store, so I wanted you to have a time to procure the ingredients before Christmas arrives because this little nosh packs big flavor and is exactly how my family prefers to eat on Christmas Day.  Or you might even want to serve it tonight for Christmas Eve with your favorite beverage or imbibement.

Back in the day, my family loved a big feast.  Now we nosh.  But, regardless, this tri-level treat will be lovely alongside whatever else you serve.

My special Toasted Pumpkin Seeds don’t absolutely have to go on top, but I love nuts and seeds, so if a (wal)nut plus a (hazel) nut is good, a nut plus a seed is even better.  Therefore, you can just put out a bowl of the seeds for nibbling, then stand back and watch them disappear.

Along those lines, any one of the three parts of this stacked appetizer has a multitude of uses, so let your imagination and the rest of your menu be your guide.

May you have exactly the kind of holiday you need!

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Recipe: Baked Swiss Chard (or Kale) and Sweet Potato Spring Rolls with Anise-Scented Sage-Butter SaucePublished on One Green Planet, my recipe for spring rolls with a twist is perfect for the Christmas holidays.

Not Asian in flavor–except for the hint of anise–they are, however, a celebration of everything I love about fall and winter cooking and eating.

Kale, sweet potatoes, anise and sage combine in these cute little packages that could easily be served as an entree or an appetizer.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter years of a big Christmas feast, Katrina uprooted my family in MS for about a year and, that Christmas, living in a charming house “downtown” instead of in the ‘burbs, I suggested that the new setting called for a new tradition.

Increasingly unenthused about jumping up from opening gifts to hit the kitchen for hours of food preparation–even though I am a passionate cook–I suggested that maybe a special soup or two and some crusty breads was all we needed.  My family, who has always enjoyed noshing, wholeheartedly endorsed my idea and we’ve scarcely looked back, though occasionally we’ve gone a bit more traditional for nostalgic reasons.

So, this tasty pairing would be lovely alongside soup, salad or cocktails; as a stand-alone on your Christmas buffet; or atop a bagel for Christmas brunch.  But, if your menu is developing toward a more traditional sit-down affair, the chutney could be spooned into a bowl and served as an accompaniment.

It’s just too pretty and flavorful not to be invited to the party!

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