Easy Vegan Appetizer Ideas

Easy Vegan Appetizer Ideas

raw eggplant jerky, lemon hummus with fresh salsa, raw no-wheat thins, and roma tomatoes.

here in minneapolis, we are lucky to be having pretty decent weather right now. it’s warming up, but we still have cool nights, and the humidity hasn’t gotten nasty. still, i appreciate breaks from using the oven whenever i can, living in the attic level of an old house.

this makes dehydrator life very appealing! while it still emits some heat, 105 degrees is far preferable to, say, 400. i have just started learning how to plan for dehydrating more than one thing at a time (though i still only made two simultaneous creations for today’s post), which is a better use of energy, of course. besides the cookies and cereal, i made one sheet of strawberry-lemon fruit leather (devoured promptly on saturday at midnight, hence the lack of photo). so on monday, my day off, i got up early and sliced some eggplants on the mandoline and made a “jerky” marinade for them. then i soaked some almonds for making a fresh batch of milk, the pulp of which formed the base of some “no-wheat thins” made later in the day. that’s one things i really like about making raw food (which, i’m sure, could be adapted in several ways to non-raw food): getting to re-use leftovers from recipes (like nut or vegetable pulp from milk or juice) to make all-new recipes (like cookies or carrot cake!). maybe i should say that i know that i and many people use cooked leftovers in creative ways, but you seem to be left with a lot more unadulterated base ingredients when preparing raw food. or maybe i’m just really excited about doing this cleanse, and i want it to sound more exciting than it really is? anyway, onto the recipes.

if you don’t want to experiment with turning your oven on and off to recreate a dehydrator, or the sun and humidity isn’t cooperating, or you’re into diy projects, you can go here to learn how to build your own solar food dehydrator. hooray!

i adapted this recipe for eggplant jerky to suit and set my own quantities. the texture becomes very jerky-like, but the flavor isn’t very much in that vein because, of course, nothing gets smoked in raw food. the flavor is still really amazing though – rich, tangy and spicy. i did discover that i do not like chewing through a slice of eggplant peel, so i would recommend discarding the outer peel slices (but the peel-edged slices were great!). i needed two large containers to marinate the eggplant slices in, but in the end they shriveled up into one medium-sized quantity.

Easy Vegan Appetizer

raw eggplant jerky (makes about 1 quart):

2 medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 lbs.), sliced thinly (halved if large)
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 c balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic
1/2-1 red chili pepper, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons of raw agave
1 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, sliced
1-2 tsp salt, or to taste

cut the eggplant into quarters lengthwise, and cut off the stem end. slice thinly using a mandoline, vegetable peeler, handheld cheese slicer, or with a knife. place into one or two large airtight containers, with enough room for some shaking. in a blender or food processor, process the garlic, chili pepper, and ginger until fine. add the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and agave and blend until emulsified. pour the marinade over the eggplant, cover, and shake to saturate all the pieces. marinate in the fridge for at least 8 hours (i cheated the original recipe) or up to 24 hours. place on lined dehydrator trays and dehydrate for 12-24 hours, flipping once, until jerky-like. (my slices were pretty thin, so it only took about 12 for me).

**alternately, if you don’t care about keeping it raw or necessarily having a super-chewy texture, you could bake these in the oven at 350F for 15-20 minutes or until crispy.**

Easy Vegan Appetizers

for the no-wheat thins, i’m going to point you in this direction, since i followed it pretty faithfully. i used wet almond pulp so i reduced the amount of water a little bit, and had to pre-grind my flax seeds in a spice grinder because my food processor isn’t that powerful. also, i added some cracked pepper and nutritional yeast for extra fun times (sprinkled on top of the spread cracker “dough”). these were really light and tasty, and i am excited to experiment with adding buckwheat or other seeds for more texture and flavor. if you omit the pepper and nooch, they could be a great base for sweet toppings too!

ps – if you’re wondering about the title of this post, my ladyfriend asked me to change it from simply “afternoon appetizers” to its current incarnation as a nod to maya deren’s film.  she’s cute, eh?