Our healthy appetizer is loaded with goodness. From the creamy pea pesto to tumbled toppings, its eye-candy appeal will lure the fussiest of eaters. Fresh spring herbs coupled with mouth-puckering lemon juice pop with flavour. We’ve suggested scooping into endive leaves, but you can also spread it on crispy baguette toasts for a quick and easy first bite. Dig in and enjoy!
Pea pesto 1 cup (250 mL) shelled fresh or frozen and thawed sweet peas (see tip)
1 cup (250 mL) cannellini beans
1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh parsley, plus extra 1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh mint 2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced 2 Tbsp (30 mL) nutritional yeast 2 Tbsp (30 mL) fresh lemon juice 1/2 tsp (2 mL) maple syrup
1/4 tsp (1 mL) sea salt, plus extra
Generous pinch of cayenne pepper 1/4 cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
Toppings 1/2 cup (125 mL) grape tomatoes, halved 1/3 cup (80 mL) toasted pine nuts 1/4 cup (60 mL) Kalamata olives, pitted 1/4 cup (60 mL) Castelvetrano olives, pitted
1/4 cup (60 mL) crumbled feta or dairy-free alternative
Fruity extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling (optional)
6 Belgian endives, red and/or green, separated into leaves
In high-speed blender or food processor, combine all pesto ingredients except oil. Pulse, stopping to scrape sides of bowl with spatula, until combined and beginning to break into a chunky paste. Gradually add oil and continue to pulse until pesto is very smooth. Add a splash of water, if needed, to make mixture smooth and creamy enough for scooping. Add more seasonings to taste, if you wish. Mixture can be stored in tightly covered container in refrigerator for a couple of days. To serve, spread pesto onto large serving platter. Scatter with tomatoes, pine nuts, olives, and feta. Alternatively, smear a generous dollop of pesto onto individual serving plates and scatter with equal amounts of toppings and fresh parsley sprigs. Drizzle with fruity olive oil. Spoon pea pesto and toppings with endive leaves for scooping. Tips:
In this plant-based stuffing, fresh herbs and dried fruit replace the depth of flavour usually infused by chicken juices, so use fresh thyme and rosemary if possible to maximize the flavour return. By baking the stuffing in a shallow dish, the bottom stays wonderfully soft and moist while the top becomes addictively crunchy, as opposed to an in-bird stuffing that ends up monotonously mushy. Sweet and not-too-salty For a more exotic flavour, skip garlic and add small pieces of dark chocolate. To keep sodium levels down, be careful that you don’t add too much salt. If your bread already contains a decent amount of sodium, you might not need to add extra, but taste stuffing before baking to make sure it won’t be bland. And err on the side of under-seasoned if you plan to eat it with a salty gravy or sauce.
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this roasted vegetable appetizer platter. High quality ingredients, a variety of textures and colours, fresh herbs, and a flash of lemon make it shine. Not all olive oils and balsamics are created equal Use your good, fruity, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil to accompany this appetizer platter, since the quality and flavour will shine through. You can use a more neutral and affordable olive oil for roasting the vegetables, if you prefer. As for the balsamic vinegar, use either an aged one that’s thick and sweet, or reduce a young balsamic in a small saucepan until thick, optionally adding a pinch of sugar to sweeten it (see the oyster mushrooms with caramelized parsnips recipe for helpful directions). A store-bought balsamic glaze that’s already been thickened works as well, but check the ingredients for unwanted preservatives and sweeteners.
Spooned over hearty fall greens such as kale or chard, this delicious side dish can also double as a main meal; its flavours absolutely pop with our zesty herb topping. The beets are packed with amazing nutrients, plus they’re delicious served hot, at room temperature, or cold. Add some crunch This dish is a meal in itself. Scatter toasted pine nuts or pecans overtop for some added crunch.