Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Antipasto Plate

I saw this recipe and couldn't wait to make it! Arrange a platter of red pepper dip, a caponata spread, crackers and imitation prosciutto, and you've got all the trappings for vegan antipasto. The dip and spread can both be made in the day ahead of time, and kept in the fridge. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

For the dip: bring 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to a quick boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, add 2 tablespoons of golden raisins and let stand ten minutes. (You could also do this step in the microwave if you have one, which I do not: combine the raisins and the vinegar in a small bowl, microwave for 45 seconds, then let stand for ten minutes). Drain, and transfer the raisins to a food processor.

To the food processor, add 3 tablespoons crumbled firm tofu (in place of ricotta cheese), 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, 2 tablespoons vegan cream cheese (such as Tofutti), 3/4 tsp. agave nectar (in place of honey), a dash of salt, and a 5.5 oz bottle of roasted red peppers, rinsed and drained.

Note: if you can't find that size bottle of peppers, simply measure out about 5 ounces from a larger jar. The smallest I could find at my grocer was a 7.25 ounce!

Now process it all until smooth. Spoon into a bowl and refrigerate until serving time.

For the spread: line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Onto the baking sheet, place 4 plum tomatoes (quartered and seeded; push out the seeds with your thumbs), 1/2 of a medium-sized onion, peeled and quartered, 2 garlic cloves (the recipe didn't say to peel them, but one would assume so?), and one (1-pound) eggplant, cubed. Drizzle the vegetables with a teaspoon of olive oil and a dash of salt, tossing to combine. Arrange in a single layer and bake in the oven at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Cool the vegetables slightly, then place in a food processor with 2 tablespoons chopped basil, 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and a 1/4 tsp. of sun-dried tomato paste (actually, the original recipe called for anchovy paste here, but sun-dried tomato paste imitates the saltiness and texture just fine). Process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until serving time.

Come time to serve, arrange 16 water crackers and 2 ounces of 'ham' on a plate, along with the dip and spread. The original recipe called for thinly sliced prosciutto, but I used the 'ham' from Smart Deli which is certified vegan - these slices make for great sandwiches too, if you find yourself craving an old deli-style concoction!

4 crackers, 3 tablespoons spread, 3 tablespoons dip and 1/2 an ounce of 'ham' is 230 calories.

firm tofu $1.69
parsley $1.99
basil $2.99
bottled red peppers $2.39
plum tomatoes $1.61
eggplant $1.31
onion $0.66
water crackers $3.19
'ham' $2.79

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy http://www.wholesoyco.com/
  • Vegan milk - Silk http://www.silksoymilk.com/
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia http://www.sunergiasoyfoods.com/
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods http://www.galaxyfoods.com/
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G http://www.ener-g.com/
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance http://www.earthbalance.net/product.html