I’ve always had a thing against “appetisers”… I suppose it comes from all those years my mother refused to give me a snack in the 2-hour window before dinner, no matter how much I begged. “No, dear” she would say… “you’ll ruin your dinner.” Her words ring in my ear to this day.
She’s right, you know. Appetisers actually DO ruin your appetite… funny that! It’s just that now we’re grown up and we can choose to do it if we want. I’m not saying this to spite my mother… turns out she was right about everything she ever said. So don’t worry, Ma, I’m not snacking before dinner!!
But I do make appetisers that are so hearty, filling, and healthy that they can just become dinner (or lunch, or breakfast!) and you never have to worry about upsetting your mother or ruining anything.
Case in point: this hot artichoke dip. Eating something similar at a restaurant as an appetiser will set you back about 1000 calories and 60 grams of (mostly saturated) fat. No thanks! This one is vegan, high in protein and fiber, and contains omega 3 fats- the healthy kind. The creaminess comes from blended cashews and silken tofu, and it’s topped with a mixture of almond meal & nutritional yeast- a kind of vegan “parmesan cheese.” It’s something your mother would be proud of. Mine would, anyway!
So go ahead, make this tonight- it’ll take you about half an hour start to finish. Whether you call it an appetiser, or the main dish, is up to you. I’ll never tell your mother!
Vegan Hot Artichoke Dip
- ¼ cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water 30 minutes & drained
- ½ pack soft (silken) tofu
- 2 T. lemon juice
- 2 T. nutritional yeast
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- ¼ c. walnuts, roughly chopped
- ½ small onion, minced
- 14-oz can artichoke hearts, drained (preferably canned in water) & stripped
- of oil or water
- 2 T. snipped fresh herbs (dill, parsley, or basil)
- ½ t. sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 T. vegan “parmesan cheese” (equal parts nutritional yeast & almond meal)
- Heat oven to 200 C. Spray a small baking dish with non-stick spray.
- In a food processor or blender, process soaked cashews, tofu, lemon juice, garlic & nutritional yeast until smooth.
- Add walnuts, onions, & artichoke hearts. Pulse to chop, then blend at low speed until it’s a rough paste but still has some texture.
- Stir in fresh herbs, salt & pepper.
- Scrape into prepared dish and sprinkle with vegan parmesan.
- Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until hot & bubbly, and topping is browned.
- Serve warm with crostini, pita crisps, or veggie sticks. Makes about 1½ cups or 8 servings.