Not So Junk-Food Appetizer Dips
I know what it’s like: you have a family gathering, or you need to take something to a pot-luck at work, or your buddy throws a Super Bowl Party or March Madness get-together. You need to contribute a dish, but you also want to walk out of there with your ego intact (it just gets annoying when people murmur about your kale chips). You also have a long run planned for the morning, and can’t make this a cheat day.
Here are two simple dips to share–minus the fat, plus the complex carbs and protein (from beans). No one will guess they are vegan and gluten-free (and I don’t use those words lightly. Even if I love green juice, I know that most people think it tastes like freshly-mowed field). Each dip also contains a nutritional kick from added vegetables–without tasting vegetabley. And you can chow down knowing they won’t slow you down tomorrow.
Mexican Red Pepper Three-Bean Dip
Serves 12-18 as an appetizer. Leftovers can be re-purposed any number of ways–re-heated on top of brown rice or wrapped in a tortilla; as a layer of a quesadilla with finely chopped kale, spinach, cilantro, and cashew cheese; or, as my son likes it best, in a thermos in his lunchbox topped with cashew queso and served with more chips (pineapple on the side!)
Adapted from Lindsay S. Nixon’s The Happy Herbivore Cookbook.
- 1 15 ounce can Great Northern (or white or cannellini) beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- generous pinch of paprika (smoked is great here)
- juice of one lime
- 2/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 1/3 cup salsa (I used Kirkland Signature Organic Salsa)
- hot sauce or cayenne pepper to taste
- Grease 9 x 13 inch pan with coconut oil or vegan spread. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and red peppers; cook until onion is translucent and peppers are soft. Add garlic; cook for an additional two minutes.
- Add spices and salt to vegetables; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about two minutes. Remove pan from heat.
- In food processor, combine Great Northern and pinto beans (leave black beans for later), lime juice, nutritional yeast, salsa, and hot sauce or cayenne (if using). Blend until smooth.
- In large mixing bowl, combine vegetables and spices, bean mixture, and black beans, stirring until combined.
- Spread in 9 x 13 pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, until dip is warmed through and bubbling on the edges.
- Before baking, I stir about a cup of homemade cashew cheese into this. If you don’t have that in your freezer, you could also use Daiya or Teese. I prefer this recipe: http://www.realfood.com/blog/vegan-cashew-cheese-recipe.
- If you prefer a smoother dip, just add the vegetables to the bean mixture in the food processor and puree until smooth. Viola! No chunks. (I would suggest leaving the black beans whole. They add a nice bit of texture).
- Serve with healthy corn chips: Trader Joe’s has several great choices, including chips pumped up with quinoa and flax seeds. I also love Food Should Taste Good’s chips. Lately, we’ve been eating Mystic Harvest Purple Corn Chips. They are delicious, and one serving contains the same amount of antioxidants as a large handful of blueberries (not the same amount of calories, though!). These are NOT gluten free.
- Make a nacho bar with chopped grape tomatoes, diced avocados, cashew sour cream and more salsa.
Savory Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Serves 8-10 as an appetizer.
Adapted from Fettle Vegan (who adapted it from Oh She Glows, who adapted it from Yeah That Vegan Shit and Food.com)
- 1 slice whole wheat or gluten free bread
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter
- 1-15 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (I used Veganaise)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 large yellow onion (about 2 cups), chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cups packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a food processor, combine bread (torn into pieces) and vegan butter. Pulse to create bread crumbs. Set crumbs aside in small bowl.
- In food processor, combine white beans, nutritional yeast, water, vegan mayonnaise, sea salt, Herbs de Provence, and red pepper flakes. Process until smooth. Set aside.
- In a large, heat-proof skillet (I used a cast iron skillet), heat oil. Saute onion until translucent. Add garlic and saute for another two minutes.
- Add spinach and artichoke hearts, sauteing until spinach is wilted. Turn off heat.
- To skillet, add bean mixture and half of the breadcrumbs. Stir to combine and spread evenly in pan.
- Top with remaining breadcrumbs. Cover pan with aluminum foil.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until breadcrumbs are brown and mixture is bubbling along the sides of the pan.
- Serve with veggie sticks, pita chips, soft pita, or corn chips–anything that works with regular spinach dip works with this.
- You could substitute 1/4 cup vegan cheese for the mayonnaise, or even 1/4 cup of cashew sour cream.
What types of things do you enjoy snacking on without giving into junk food?