It's easier than you think to prepare delicious and healthy vegan appetizers and snacks. Cut up carrots, celery, peppers, cucumbers, and other vegetables and dive right in to these vegan dips.
This recipe is adapted from Food for Life, by Dr. Neal Barnard.
One of my best friends is Armenian, and her mom makes the best hummus on the planet. This recipe is as close as I can get. Hummus is one of the best vegan appetizers because you can change the proportions around to suit your tastes. At the store I often see roasted red pepper hummus, greek hummus, and extra garlicy hummus. Once you know the basic recipe, you can make it your way for delicious vegan appetizers.
I've found that the very easiest way to make hummus is to throw the ingredients into my Vitamix because it immediately obliterates any chunks and makes it so fast and easy to prepare, but if you have another strong blender or food processor, those will work as well.
2 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15 ounce can
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp. tahini (sesame seed butter)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. paprika
Drain canned beans and keep liquid for later. If you have a blender, throw all the ingredients in it and blend, longer for a smoother dip. If you are doing it by hand, mash the chickpeas first and then add the rest of the ingredients. If the mixture seems dry, add some of the liquid from the chickpeas.
Makes about 2.5 cups of hummus.
You can make tasty variations by simply adding one of these ingredients: 2 carrots, 2 roasted red peppers, 2 beets, 2 artichoke hearts, handful of olives, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, more cloves of garlic, and herbs like oregano.
I made this white bean recipe up based on a dish I had at a restaurant, and Giada De Laurentiis has something similar in one of her cookbooks. As you can see below, there are many ways to vary the recipe to your tastes. I love this on a sandwich with greens or just as a dip with veggies and crackers.
2 cups cooked white beans (navy or canellini) or 1 15 ounce can
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1-2 Tbsp. herbes de provence (or thyme, rosemary, parsley)
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cloves roasted garlic (put garlic in oven for 20 minutes at 375 degrees)
Blend all ingredients together in a high-speed blender or mash with a fork.
Makes about 2.5 cups of dip.
You can sub out any herbs you like for the herbes de provence. I've had a great version of this with rosemary alone, but I've also seen recipes with red pepper flakes and savory.
My husband is a guacamole fanatic, and when we go to Mexico he eats it at every meal, including breakfast. You can actually make a decent guacamole by simply smashing an avocado and adding a little salt and lemon or lime juice. It's one of those dips that can get as complicated as you want it to be. I like to keep my vegan appetizers simple, but I will give you several variations below.
1-3 ripe avocados
juice of 1 lime (about 1 tsp.)
1/2 small red onion, minced
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
Cut the avocado in half, realizing that there is a large pit so your knife will not go all the way through. You can pop the flesh of the avocado out by turning the peel inside out, and the pit will fall out of one side. Add the remaining ingredients and mash with a fork until you get the consistency you like.
Serve immediately or store for a few hours in the fridge with the pit in the middle and plastic wrap over the top to prevent it from turning brown.
Makes about 2 cups of guacamole.
I have made guacamole with lemon juice instead of lime juice, depending on what I have at the time. You can also add in any or all of these ingredients: 2 tbsp cilantro, 1 ripe tomato chopped and deseeded, cumin, 1 jalapeno, 1 tsp chipotle chili, and 1 clove of garlic. Another fun way to change it up is to add 1 cup boiled edamame beans before mashing, as well as a little soy milk. This adds protein and a new depth to the flavor of the vegan appetizer.
Making dips with a butt-kicking blender like the Vitamix is really simple. If you don't have a great blender, I really recommend reading more about them to see if it's a good fit for you. I have a review page here if you want to see why I love mine.