Vegetarian Appetizers

FUUSM is having a fundraising event on Feb 24 – the Starry Night Band will be playing and we’ll have wonderful appetizers and drinks, before and after the lovely music. The Green Sanctuary committee is sponsoring the food and encouraging folks to make apps. that are low on the food chain. I’ll be posting appetizer recipes for those that aren’t used to making things without meat. Ideally, all food would be made without meat, or milk or egg based products, but of course food with those things isn’t banned. Here are some ideas to start everyone off – including some tips on cooking low on the food chain.

Milk and butter: Soy milk almost always works to replace cow’s milk without anyone being able to tell the difference. This is also the case with butter – there is soy butter that tastes just as yummy as milk-based butter. All soy milk seems to work the same for me – if you need something thicker, try soy creamer which is whiter and thicker ( I think the best soy butter is Earth Balance ( but there are other kinds that work well.

Appetizer ideas:

Baked Veggies

This is a simple but very yummy (and healthy) option. Get some asparagus, baby carrots, potatoes (ideally some yellow, some red, some sweet) chopped into 1/4 inch cubes, butternut squash cubes, mushrooms (if you like them – I don’t!), and some onions. Put aluminum foil down on a cookie sheet. Lay out all the veggies flat. You can season them separately – for instance, putting some oregano and basil on the regular potatoes, soy butter on the sweet potatoes, some rosemary on the asparagus, etc. – and then drizzle olive oil over them all. Bake until soft. These can be served with toothpicks or with forks on a small plate. If you make sure they are tender, they are actually very yummy at room temperature. No need to keep them hot/warm unless you just want to. You could include a balsamic vinegar sauce if you want to get very fancy.

Balsamic Vinegar Sauce

1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
1 onion, chopped finely
3 tablespoons of finely chopped rosemary (ideally fresh, but dried will do)
1 tablespoon of finely chopped parsley (ideally fresh, but dried is fine)
juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cook onion in cider vinegar until soft. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients, mixing well. Simmer. Depending on your preference, you can let sit overnight (so flavor soaks in) and then strain out the onions and spices, or you can leave them in. If you plan to keep the sauce heated with a little flame, you can use soy butter instead of olive oil. But if you aren’t going to keep it heated, the butter will congeal which isn’t so nice.

Creole Stuffed Mushrooms

1 serving olive oil cooking spray — (5 one-second sprays per serving)
1 pound button mushrooms — about 24 large mushrooms
1 tbsp. water
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
10 oz frozen chopped spinach — thawed and drained
2 1/2 slices whole-wheat bread — chopped into bread crumbs
1 tsp Creole seasoning — or Cajun seasoning
1/4 tsp ground turmeric

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly coat a jelly roll pan with cooking spray.

2. Remove mushroom stems from caps and finely chop stems; reserve caps and set aside.

3. Heat water in a large skillet over high heat. Sauté mushroom stems, onion, pepper and spinach until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and stir in remaining ingredients until well-combined.

4. Stuff each mushroom cap with 2 tablespoons of filling mixture. Place mushrooms, stuffed sides up, on jellyroll pan. Bake, uncovered, 15 minutes; serve warm.

(The mushrooms can be stuffed in advance, covered, refrigerated and then baked later in the day to save on last minute preparation time.)

Endive, Pear and Walnut Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

For appetizers, serve these in cupcake holders and forks available.

This salad calls for Asian pears, also known as Chinese or apple pears. If you can’t find those, Bartlett or Anjou pears will do just fine.

(Double if you want to make a lot.)

4 medium-size heads of Belgian endive, leaves separated and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 bunch of watercress, rinsed and torn into small pieces (I think you can also get canned watercress which is fine too)
1 large Asian pear, peeled, cored and sliced (not too thin)
2 oz. of chopped walnuts

Mix all together, toss with vinaigrette. Makes six regular servings. 12-14 app. size servings.

Topenade Cucumber Pedestals

3 cucumbers, peeled and sliced down the middle, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups sundried black olives, pitted and minced
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1/4 cup cucumber, minced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, minced
1 teaspoon thyme minced (fresh is ideal but not needed)
1/2 tablespoon oregano, minced (fresh is ideal but not needed)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Using a small teaspoon, scoop half of the seedbed out of each cucumber round forming small cups. Set aside. Using mortar and pestle (or something else you can mush it all together with) mix the remaining ingredients until a slightly formed paste. With each cucumber cup scoop about a tablespoon of topenade into each cup. Garnish with oregano leaf (if you have one) and chill before serving. (Serves 6 to 8 so if this is for the fundraiser, you might want to double or triple this)


Roasted Artichoke with Chipotle Aioli

1 large artichoke
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup aioli sauce
½ cup soy milk
¼ teaspoon of mustard
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
dash of salt
¼ teaspoon of paprika
6 teaspoons of vegetable oil
1/2 tsp hot sauce (optional)
1/4 cup enchilada sauce
juice of one lime (about 2 tbsp)
dash cayenne (optional)
1/2 tsp chipotle powder

In a medium sized pot, place artichoke in water and bring water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat slightly and allow to steam for 15 minutes. Remove artichoke from pot, place in baking pan and drizzle with olive oil, garlic and salt.

To make the aioli sauce, combine 1/2 cup of soy milk, 1/4 teaspoon mustard,
2 teaspoons of lemon juice, dash of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of paprika. Use a low setting and do not over mix. Slowly add the oil, a few drops at a time. This will cause the mixture to thicken. Once all the ingredients have been added, mix until a smooth texture is achieved. Keep it refrigerated.

Bake artichoke in 400 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, until soft. Meanwhile, blend together white sauce, hot sauce, enchilada sauce, lime, cayenne and chipotle until well mixed. When artichoke is done cooking, allow to cool slightly. To eat, pull leaves from the artichoke, dip in chipotle sauce. For apps – artichoke leaves can be separated and people can pick them up individually, and dip into sauce that they put on their plate – or they can be put on plates with a dollop of sauce to start with and people can just pick up the plates with 2-3 leaves and sauce.


More to come!

7 Responses to Vegetarian Appetizers

  1. says:

    Elizabeth, I don’t think I realized that there was such a thing as soy butter. I’m not a big butter user and hate to spend the calories on something that grosses me out so badly (melted butter doesn’t gross me out, but solid butter does). I’ll look for some soy butter the next time I’m at the grocery store. I’m assuming it’s in the butter section, yes?

    The artichoke recipe sounds really good, but has lots of ingredients. I’m also not so sure that I’m competent to cook an artichoke.

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