The holidays are upon us, and many celebrate with rounds of drinks and good cheer. Following a plant-based diet this season can be a challenge, but this Rummy Hummus and Loaded Squash are sure to be a hit at your next gathering.
Carousing Cucumber Rounds with Rummy Hummus
(Makes 35 Hors D'oeuvres)
These little ditties can have you and your guests spinning round, round, round while the good times roll. The crunchy cucumbers cool down the assertive and spicy, lightly-rummy hummus, bringing balance and satisfaction to your tummy.
- 1 (14-oz.) can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained thoroughly
- 2 canned chipotle peppers, stemmed if necessary, with a teaspoon of the adobo sauce they were canned with (add more peppers if desired)
- 1 large garlic clove, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons tahini (mixed well before measuring)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white rum (or more to taste)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 large seedless cucumber (usually plastic-wrapped at the supermarket)
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted in a dry skillet until golden brown
1. In a medium bowl, place the chickpeas, chipotles, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, white rum, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
2. Puree with an immersion blender, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, about two minutes, until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Or use a standing blender. Don't be tempted to use a food processor to make this spread because you won't get that perfectly smooth texture.
3. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the cucumber skin lengthwise at 1/4-inch intervals to create a striped pattern around the circumference of the cucumber and slice it crosswise into 1/4-inch rounds. If the cucumber skin is tough, peel the entire cucumber. Arrange the cucumber discs on a platter.
4. To assemble, just before serving, lightly salt the cucumber rounds. Top each round with a generous teaspoon of hummus. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Baked & Loaded Acorn Squash
(Makes eight servings)
Sweeten your winter suppers with this loaded squash that can't help but warm you up from stem to stern when partnered with pears, granny smiths, nutmeg, cinnamon, and apple brandy.
- 4 acorn squash, halved, seeds and strings scooped out
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 pears, peeled, cored, and diced
- 8 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
- 1/4 cup Calvados brandy (apple brandy) or apple liqueur
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
- 4 teaspoons cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 400 Fahrenheit. Place the halved squash on a sheet pan, skin side down. If necessary, cut a slice from the rounded side to make the squash level.
2. Place 1 teaspoon (or so) of the margarine in each half, cover with foil, and bake until squash has softened, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven.
3. Meanwhile, combine the diced pears and apples, and drizzle with the Calvados and lemon juice to prevent browning. Add nutmeg and cinnamon and stir until well mixed.
4. Spoon the mixture into squash halves, dividing evenly. Cover with foil and return to the oven. Bake until fruit is warmed through, about 15 minutes. Uncover and bake watchfully until slightly browned, about five minutes.
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From the book The Tipsy Vegan by John Schlimm. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright ? 2011. www.dacapopresscookbooks.com
Vanessa Rodriguez is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, an ultra-endurance athlete, and an online editor for Active.com.