Yield: 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.
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.
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
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).
Yield: 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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
Published 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.
After 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!
To the uninitiated, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas down South without a big globe of creamy deliciousness surrounded by crackers. All kinds of goodies, both vegan and not, are typically held together by a mixture of cream cheese and shredded harder cheeses. My version is made from tofu and, though I love tofu in all its guises, those who don’t will be none the wiser.
In early December of 2009, we were visited by our good friends Marc and Julianne Curvin on the same weekend we brought home our then 1 year old old Great Dane, Minnie, from the SPCA. They were the perfect house guests to calm our nerves as this new dog found her place in the pack, a fact that Huff the Great Dane was none to happy about and remained poised for attack for a good 36 hours. The Curvins had both had Schutzhund (“protection dog”) training with their glorious German Shepherds and were the perfect calming and commanding presence.
That Saturday night, we were all invited to a holiday gathering hosted by Becky Bump and Reese Lusk at their magical lakeside cabin. I was delighted to go for many reasons–mainly the great food and conversation–but also to be able to put dear Minnie in her big crate and take a break from dog monitoring, as it wasn’t until about mid-day on Sunday that Huff went down into the play position and all was well in our Peaceable Kingdom.
Though Becky and Reese provided every other course of a beautiful and delicious Asian-inspired meal, I brought this appetizer and it was all but devoured by carnivorous guests before we sat down to the feast.
I think you too will love my cheese ball as a starter course for your Christmas meal or holiday party.
This is the perfect little nibble to stave off I-don’t-think-I -can-wait-any-longer pre-Thanksgiving Feast hunger pains!
I recently created this dip or spread and love serving it as a “shooter” with tiny little spoons a friend brought me back from a trip to India. But any small spoon will do–or mini-spreader with a side of crostini. My serving secret? My “glasses” are actually votive holders!
Food just doesn’t get much more delectably fall-like than this simple spread, so it is perfect for Thanksgiving. You really can taste the contribution of each autumnal ingredient: fresh(!) pumpkin, pecans, white beans and sage. Be sure to cook the pumpkin ahead of time so it’s cooled and ready to go when you are. (See my easy microwave directions below.)
Bind it all together with your favorite vegan creaminess–sour cream, mayo, or unflavored cashew cream–and you have a fabulously flexible shooter, dip for raw veggies or crackers, spread for a bagel, or even a filling for non-traditional quesadillas, stuffed peppers, etc.
(Where’s Minnie? Can anyone spot our female brindle Dane who is never far away when food is out?)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup pecan pieces
1 cup diced onion
2 large cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoon dry rubbed sage
2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup diced cooked fresh pumpkin (see super simple microwave directions below)
4 to 5 tablespoons vegan sour cream, mayo, or cashew cream
Accompaniments: raw vegetable strips or slices or crackers
Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high. Add pecans and a pinch of salt, and toast, stirring continually, for a couple of minutes. Add onion and a pinch more salt, and continue sauteing and stirring for 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and sage and continue for another minute. Stir in beans, pumpkin and vegan sour cream or mayo and heat through, stirring continually. Serve warm with the accompaniment of your choice.
How to Microwave a Fresh Pumpkin (The Time-Pressed Woman’s Way)
1-2 pound pumpkin
Wash your pumpkin, pierce several times all-over with a sharp knife, place on a microwave-safe dish, and microwave on high for about 7 -10 minutes. Check for tenderness, by piercing with a knife. It if goes in easily, the pumpkin is ready. Allow to cool, then slip off the skin, ct in half, and remove seeds and pulp. If you prefer, you can halve and deseed the pumpkin first, but I find it puts up more resistance that way.