By Lindsay Geller
Well 2013 is well on its way- Happy New Year! The other night I hosted a Christmas party for both veg heads and omnivores and debuted some vegan cuisine. I had no idea how these plant-based dishes were going to be received, so I witheld ingredient information. My friends loved all the food and were surprised and impressed (and okay, a little weirded out) when I divulged my secret recipes. So, in the spirit of giving, I’m passing on all these recipes as well as some personal tips so that you can have a healthy and seriously delicious New Years.
The First Course: Appetizers
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus with Carrots and Cucumbers: Okay, so I actually didn’t lie to my guests about this one. Hummus is obviously vegan, but I wanted to spice up this simple vegan dip by opting for an especially flavorful version. I even roasted the red
peppers myself! The task sounds daunting, but I just plopped them in the oven for thirty minutes at 450 degrees. It was so simple, as was the rest of the recipe. I paired the hummus with carrots and cucumbers because that’s what I had on hand, however an other fresh veggies would work just as well.
“Cheese” and Vegan Crackers: My friends went nuts for this cheese. See what I did there? I didn’t tell any of them this, but the “cheese” spread they were inhaling was actual made of almonds. I was pressed for ingredients when I made the cheese, so I used a super simple recipe. However, I enhanced the basic garlic flavor of the cheese by adding some fresh basil leaves and rosemary. Of course, you can add whatever herb strikes your fancy. I also think that sun dried tomatoes might make an interesting
addition…but that’s for next time. I must say that this dish was a huge hit among my friends. They wiped the platter clean (which was great because I hate doing the dishes)!
The Second Course: Dinner
As they say: you win some, you lose some. I won them all over at appetizer time, but I conceded to the omnivores for dinner. I ordered pizza to satisfy their refined pallets (hey, we’re college kids so we can’t really complain). However, for the more adventurous of my friends, I did offer an alternative option.
Vegan Eggplant Lasagna with (Optional) Bruschetta Sauce: This dish didn’t look pretty once I cut into it, but day-um did it taste good. If the only thing I am remembered for in this world is this dish, I will be perfectly okay with that. The recipe in itself is delicious, but I think that my addition of a bruschetta style sauce was a stroke of genius. (I’m not biased or anything.) Seriously though, this lasagna is now one of my favorite foods, and I can’t wait to make it again.
Bruschetta Sauce Recipe:
12 roma tomatoes (or any other type; I simply prefer roma)
1 cup olive oil
4 tbsp. minced fresh garlic
12 basil leaves chopped (or 4 tbsp. dried basil leaves)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
The Third Course: Dessert
Vegan Chocolate Silk Pie: Confession time: I’m a chocoholic. So if I’m going to serve dessert, it’s going to involve chocolate. However, it’s also going to involve some healthy plant-based protein in the form of silken tofu. Seriously, those are the two main ingredients for the filling of this pie. The recipe could not be simpler. I substituted one cup of Enjoy Life chocolate chips for the unsweetened chocolate and maple syrup, with
delectable results. This pie was such a hit that no one believed that it was vegan. One of my friends asked me what was in it, and I said that I would tell her after she had taken a bite. She loved it, but her full mouth dropped open when I told her she was having tofu for dessert. I served some sweet cashew cream alongside this pie, and it was a match made in vegan dessert heaven. At least, I think that’s where I went as I was eating it.
The World’s Healthiest Chocolate Truffles: Don’t worry, you read that correctly. These truffles are filled with natural, fruit-derived sweetness (and black beans?!), which makes for some perfect guilt-free indulgence. Seriously, you can’t have just one. As I was making them, I wanted to try one just to make sure they would please the “normals.” I inhaled three before stopping myself. The only
part of this recipe that I caution you about is the banana. Personally, I love banana, and my friends all thought it was a nice flavor addition. However, if you’re not a fan, or know someone who isn’t, I would recommend using an unripe banana in the recipe to minimize the banana flavor. Applesauce might also be worth a try, although I cannot personally attest to its effectiveness. At any rate, these truffles went flying off the platter without sticking to anyone’s waistline. They’re definitely going to show up at more of my events, that’s for sure.
So it is not only possible, but pretty easy, to please both vegans and non-vegans at holiday parties. This is the season of togetherness after all, and nothing spreads good cheer like some satisfied stomachs. Happy Holidays everyone!