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holiday veg platter and three dips

So obviously now that Halloween has passed and many of us have seen snow (or at least sub zero temps), that means it’s time to start thinking about the holidays! American Thanksgiving is here and Hanukkah and Christmas are not far behind. We are planning a Chrismukkah dinner this year, or rather TWO.. one for friends, and one for family. I’m getting all Seth Cohen about this and planning for the best Chrismukkah ever so that our house becomes an intermingling of candy canes and challah, stockings and sufganiyot, gelt and gingerbread, lights and latkes!

Luke’s family isn’t religious so we are approaching the Hanukkah portion as more of a cultural celebration, and encouraging his relatives to bring items and stories to share about Hanukkahs gone-by. I’m excited to make foods that evoke memories for his older relatives, and perhaps start a new tradition of Chrismukkah dinner celebrating a mix of holiday rituals with family!

Even though Christmas itself it still over a month away (barely), the holiday parties will soon start to happen, and you’ll be grateful to have a couple quick recipes up your sleeve when the time comes. It’s easy to get loaded up on heavy charcuterie and sweets while mingling before the big meal, and I don’t blame anyone! There is almost always an obligatory vegetable platter, likely with ranch dip in the centre, that gets passed over for the more enticing apps. Since I’m still hesitant to eat much meat and bear the burden of lactose intolerance, I want more interesting options on the table besides an after thought veg tray.

So, being the terribly indecisive person that I am, I made three dips and some homemade crackers!

These can all be made ahead of time, so you can focus on other things the day of your gathering. The dips all benefit from being made the day before because they will thicken after being chilled. The crackers will last at least 5-6 days in an airtight container at room temperature; I can’t advise how much longer, since we’ve been eating them up before they can get any older. I roasted everything at the same time and just took them out of the oven as they finished. You can make each dip one after the other and just give the bowl of your food processor a quick rinse in between. You could probably make all of these in a high speed blender if you have one, but I like the bit of texture in each of the dips.

vegan holiday platter dips and crackers      vegan holiday platter dips and crackers

vegan holiday platter dips and crackers

vegan holiday platter dips and crackers

vegan holiday platter dips and crackers

vegan holiday platter dips and crackers       vegan holiday platter dips and crackers

vegan holiday platter dips and crackers

vegan holiday platter dips and crackers

holiday veg platter with three dips (vegetarian, vegan, gluten free)

roasted red pepper and lentil dip (vegan, vegetarian, gluten free)

makes about 2 cups

2 large red peppers (335 g)
1/2 cup red lentils (87 g)
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 – 3 teaspoons harissa paste (depending on how spicy you like it)
1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
topping: pomegranate seeds

Turn on the broiler, and put the peppers in the oven on a baking tray. Rotate occasionally until fairly dark all over, then remove with tongs to a bowl and cover so they can steam. After 30 minutes you can peel the skins off and remove the seeds, then set aside. Rinse the red lentils, then add to a small pot with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil then simmer covered for 12-15 minutes until mushy (if there is extra liquid just continue cooking for a few minutes with the lid off). Allow to cool slightly, then blend in the food processor with peppers, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, harissa and tomato paste. Taste for additional salt and pepper.

creamy celery onion dip (vegetarian)

makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 medium celery root (195 g), quartered
1 small onion (114g), stem end cut off and halved
2 small cloves garlic, smashed (with skins on)
1/2 cup (120 g) soft goat cheese
1/2 cup (131 g) goat or sheep’s milk yogurt
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce (vegetarian if needed)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chives, minced

Preheat oven to 400F convection. Add the celery root and onion to a small baking dish, drizzle with oil and sprinkle on some salt. Cover and bake for 50-60 minutes until the celeriac is tender, adding the garlic halfway through. Allow to cool completely. Peel away the skin from the onion, garlic and celery root. Add to a food processor with the remaining ingredients, reserving some chives for garnish.

beet and walnut dip (vegan, vegetarian, gluten free)

makes about 2 cups

414 g beets, scrubbed but with skins on
1/2 cup (58 g) walnuts, soaked in water 4-6 hours
1 tablespoon orange zest (about 1 orange)
3 tablespoons orange juice (about half an orange)
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 – 4 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
topping: parsley, toasted walnuts

Preheat oven to 400F convection. Add beets to a small baking dish in a single layer. Drizzle with oil, add a pinch of salt, and a splash of water (a few tablespoons). Cover tightly and roast for 50-60 minutes until tender. Let cool slightly then peel and add to a food processor with the drained walnuts and remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth-ish, and top with parsley and walnuts.

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