Friday, 9 December 2016

Vegetarian canapés

This year is my first Christmas as a vegetarian. I'm not fussed about no turkey on Christmas day, but what I will miss is the canapés. Vegetarian canapés are often overlooked, or limited to just one (cheesy) option. Now I like cheese as much as the next person, but there's only so many goats cheese and caramelised onion blinis a girl can eat. I think vegetarian canapés (and vegetarian food in general) are often seen as inferior, but if done right I genuinely think they're more delicious than their meatier friends. They also don't have to be overly complicated. I'm focusing exclusively on blinis, which you can buy from supermarkets, but honestly it's so worth spending the extra time to make your own. The difference is incomparable. I've used this recipe for years and it really can't be beaten! They're so versatile – so can be topped with anything, but here are 6 super simple veggie friendly blinis to try this festive season.

Beetroot and cashew "cheese" with capers and sprouted seeds
I used this recipe for the beetroot and cashew cheese, if you want to save time, you could easily substitute with a pre-made beetroot dip. Top with capers and sprouted seeds.

Houmous, dukkah and paprika
Simply top blini with houmous (homemade or store bought – I love this) and sprinkle with dukkah and paprika .

Coconut yoghurt, berry compote, seeds, quinoa and edible petals
Start by making your berry compote: slowly heat 200g of berries in a pan with a squeeze of honey/maple or a spoon of coconut sugar (or regular, whatever floats your boat). Once the berries have the consistency of jam take the pan off the heat and set aside to cool. Put a spoon of coconut yoghurt on the blini, top with compote and sprinkle with any toppings you fancy. I went for pumpkin seeds, quinoa pops and edible petals.

Sauteed garlic mushrooms with coconut yoghurt, truffle honey and thyme
Start by sautéing a packet of baby button mushrooms in a pan with oil/butter, 2 cloves of garlic and 2 sprigs of fresh thyme. Once the mushrooms are brown and crisp take them off the heat and set aside to cool. Top each blini with a spoonful of either coconut yoghurt or cream cheese/creme fraiche, a spoonful of the mushroom mix and a couple of bits of fresh thyme. If you have truffle honey or even truffle oil, I'd highly recommend a drizzle over each blini – it's next level!

Roasted butternut squash, red onion, tahini and parsley
For ease and aesthetics I used butternut squash noodles – or "boodles", but roasted chunks work just as well. Roughly chop a big red onion and spiralise or chop a small butternut squash, toss in oil, salt and pepper and roast at 180c until golden and browning. Chopped squash will take about an hour, boodles and onions around 25 minutes. Make a tahini sauce by mixing a tbsp of tahini with a squeeze of lemon, a splash of hot water and 1/2 tsp of garlic granules. Assemble red onion on top of your blini, top with squash, drizzle with tahini sauce and tear over fresh flat leaf parsley.

Pesto, fresh basil and cherry tomato
I love to make my own pesto, but there's a time and a place and when you're making a load of canapés, is not one of those times. Grab some good quality vegetarian pesto (most regular pesto contains parmesan, which is not vegetarian) this one is good, so is this. Top each blini with a fresh basil leaf, dollop on a spoonful pesto, followed by half a cherry tomato. 


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