Tired of making always the same dishes for the festivities ahead? In need of some fresh, quick and easy ideas to impress someone? Any last-minute non-carnivore guests? Well, I might just have what you’re looking for.
When you come from a multicultural family and/or you are so used to traveling the world, your dinner table becomes eclectic. And it is not only a potpourri of various dishes from different origins, but you end up with your own creations as well; fusions of the flavors and textures you like from all around. And that’s what I’m bringing to you today: three ideas for your Christmas appetizers that are a melange of Spanish, French and Italian cuisines.
If your family is anything like mine, you will end up having a hundred courses for your Christmas dinner. And, as long as you are not being wasteful, I think indulging during this season is not only okay, but therapeutic, even. However, there is no reason not to try and stay as healthy and eco-friendly as possible. So these recipes are not only original, also plant-based. Suprise your relatives and friends with a wholesome option to compensate for all the excesses!
Wait, you still need another reason to try and make them? Well, they are easy, quick, inexpensive and eye-catching. Now you have no excuse to come to the bright side!
I apologize in advance because I won’t be giving exact amounts this time, since these are dishes that I usually eyeball for my gatherings. But you’ll see there’s no mistery whatsoever.
Wash at least as many common or portobello mushrooms as guests at your table and remove their stems. Bake them until they are half cooked. At the same time, chop and stir-fry french onions, red and green peppers, the mushrooms’ stems, and some garlic. Add black pepper, salt and fresh rosemary. When all these ingredients are almost ready, pour some dry white wine and let it reduce. Lastly, add some tomato paste and fill the mushrooms’ cups with this mixture. Sometimes I also add roasted hazelnuts. Sprinkle with some bread crumbs and let it brown a little bit more in the oven.
For this dish I use the vegan shortcrust recipe from the strawberry tart post, minus the sugar. I add a little salt and pepper instead. I put the crust in muffin tins and spread their base with either onion confit or some leftover sauté from the mushrooms above. Then I slice some zucchini very finely and create a spiral shape until it resembles a flower. Then I add salt, pepper and some herbs de Provence, and put it in the ove, medium heat, until the crust is ready.
(I thank my friend Ian for the Italian recipe in which this one is based)
Dice a nice firm eggplant and cover it with salted water for at least half an hour. Rinse the dices and brown them with some olive oil, cinnamon, a spoon of sugar, some pine nuts, and some lemon zest, a couple of spoonfuls of cocoa, and a cup of half vinegar and half water. Boil over medium heat about half an hour. Meanwhile, cut squares of phyllo pastry. Once the eggplant is ready, put a small amount in the middle of your squares, and close them as to make little bags. I sometimes tie them with chives. Paint them with olive oil and bake them until brown.
Thanks to these three simple and cruelty-free amuse-bouches, I have received many compliments in several occasions; from vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike. Try them during these festivities and don’t hesitate in tagging me on Instagram or dropping a comment below to let me know your thoughts and improvements.