Cookbook author Mindy Toomay's blog about eating for health, cooking with spirit, and celebrating life in northern California. Here she dishes up food rants and raves, recipes, and plenty of kitchen wisdom.

By your own efforts, waken yourself, watch yourself, and live joyfully.
-- The Dhammapada

Why not make a daily pleasure out of a daily necessity?
-- Peter Mayle


Vegan appetizers

When it's party season, it's helpful to have a few festive appetizers in one's repertoire that are simple to make and never fail to please. Here are three of mine.

Carrot/Garbanzo hummus: I often make a lightened up version of hummus by steaming carrots and combining them with cooked and drained garbanzos in equal parts by volume. The other ingredients are tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt, cumin, and cayenne to taste.

Dried tomato/artichoke spread: My favorite festive red spread is made by combining oil-packed dried tomatoes (well-drained) with drained artichoke bottoms (sometimes called crowns), garlic, Herbes de Provence, pepper, and salt if needed.

I generally serve these spreads together, with slices of baquette alongside, and include raw cucumber slices as a fresh and crunchy counterpoint.

Now for something more "composed" and quite suitable for an elegant meal. It serves well as an appetizer, but has a gentle sweetness so could also make a light and lovely dessert.

Start by blending tofutti (or light cream cheese for non-vegans) with enough honey or maple syrup to achieve a slightly sweet flavor. Add a good pinch of allspice and mix well. Mound small portions of this "cheese" on whole dried apricots and top each one with a walnut half. Sweet, creamy, chewy, crunchy -- these are complex in texture and really yummy. My party guests always ask for the recipe.

Holiday blessings and bon appetit!


At 7:51 AM, Blogger Vanessa (of vanesscipes) said...

Hey Mindy - I agree that vegan appetizers can be tricky. Cheese seems to be such a common app ingrediant! My fave is this Chipotle Black Bean dip - so easy and everyone loves it!


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