I don’t want to alarm anyone, but the holidays are upon us. It’s about time to put our pencils down and snuggle up with family and friends, wonder and awe, and tidings and joy.
And you may just need a potluck item in the next six weeks – call it a hunch. So I bring you my go-to appetizer plate addition, hummus! Dairy-free, gluten-free, nutrient-rich, tasty and filling, this work-horse of a dip can sustain you for mega-mingling and hustle-bustle.
- 1/4 Cup of Tahini
- 1-2 Cloves of Garlic
- Juice from a Lemon (2-4T) plus 1t Lemon Zest (zest is optional)
- 1/2 – 1T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 -1t Cumin
- 1/2t Sea Salt
- 1/4t Pepper (freshly ground is best)
- 15oz Canned Garbanzo Beans, drained but save the liquid (I recommend Eden Organic, they use BPA free lined cans)
- A few crackers, corn chips or carrots for tasting for seasonings
- Optional add ins (choose one): 1 Piece of Roasted Red Bell Pepper, 1T Pesto, 3 Roasted Garlic Cloves
- Put the tahini, 1 garlic clove, 2T of the lemon juice, lemon zest, 1/2T EVOO, 1/2t cumin, sea salt, pepper and the garbanzo beans in a high quality blender (or food processor).
- Blend until smooth. Add a little of the liquid from the garbanzo bean can if needed to make it your desired consistency. I like it to be just barely pourable.
- Toss in the optional add-in and blend again to smooth.
- Using your crackers, chips or carrots give it a taste. Now is your chance to play with your food! If it needs more “zing” add more lemon juice. Needs more flavor, add more cumin. Needs velvety texture, add a dash of EVOO. Needs more garlic, add another garlic clove. Needs more sparkle, add more salt.
- Serve with veggies, corn chips, crackers, pitas or flat bread. Or use as a spread on a sandwich or a wrap.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 12
Let’s talk crackers real quick. Make attempts to find high quality crackers with minimal ingredients, all of which you can identify. I like Mary’s Gone Crackers (gluten-free, organic, multiple flavors) and Ak Mak 100% Whole Wheat crackers. I’ve also heard that you can find whole wheat Matzo crackers that are made with just whole wheat flour and water. You can make your own crackers, but something tells me most of the Lean.Green.Kitchen community is going to be a little busy over the next few weeks for cracker making. Here’s two recipes I want to try for those of you with some extra time. From Mommypotamus. From Elana’s Pantry. Please report back.
Now let’s talk appetizer trays. There is no better assignment for a real fooder than the appetizer tray. We can use beautiful, local, seasonal produce, accommodate all kinds of eating preferences and pack in the nutrients for the guests before they even get to the main meal. It is always shocking how much “rabbit food” (as my uncle once called it) that people (especially kids) will eat if it is just on the table as they walk by.
A five-star winning appetizer tray has the following, in my humble opinion:
- 3-4 seasonal veggies (carrots, celery, roasted or boiled red potatoes, cooked beets, blanched green beans, radishes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, etc)
- 1 dairy free dip (hummus, anyone?!)
- 1-3 cheese selections (cheese ball, cheese chunks, baked brie, cream cheese with home-made jelly on top)
- 1-3 crackers or baguette slices options
- 1 hot appetizer (stuffed mushrooms, mini-quiches, bruschetta, etc)
- 1 seasonal fruit (strawberries in the spring, cherries in the summer, apple slices with squeeze of lemon in the fall, orange slices in the winter)
Here’s my platter from a family dinner last spring, so it’s extra spring-y. Please don’t bring asparagus and strawberries to Thanksgiving, if you have a farmers market within 20 minutes of your house. There is just too much glorious autumn food begging to be on your table!
There are a bunch of veggie options hiding behind the crackers basket. That’s a warm artichoke cheese dip in the bowl. There’s the humus trio in the background.
Can’t wait to post pics of my Thanksgiving platter!
Enjoy that hummus…