I’ve often said that I can live a plant-based life during the week, but on weekends and holidays I want to indulge. As I continue to live into the Planetarian Life, however, I’m discovering that plant-based isn’t just about being “good” on weekdays. It’s celebratory and festive as well. This Festive Plant-Based Appetizer Board perfectly exemplifies the point.
What’s On The Board?
There was a time when cheeses and cured meats would have dominated our holiday boards. This year, we’re trying something different. For this Plant-Based Appetizer Board, we’ve developed colorful, seasonal dips, a cranberry-and walnut-encased Planetarian “Cheese” Ball, a Mushroom Paté you’d swear was made with chicken livers, Jumbo Homemade Crackers, and an old family favorite recipe for Rosemary Spiced Nuts. We’ve filled out the rest of the board with classic paté accompaniments—pickled onions and cornichons—crowd pleasing crudité, olives, peppadew peppers, and dried fruit.
How to Cut Down Cook Time
If you don’t have time to make all of the Planetarian Board goodies, improvise. From-scratch hummus doesn’t take long to make, but you can shave off some prep time. To simplify our gorgeous, crimson Beet Hummus, just blend store-bought hummus with already-cooked beets that are either packaged or located at just about any respectable salad bar. Though the homemade over-sized crackers make a splash, you could buy upscale crackers.
Our Smoky, Zesty Kale-White Bean Dip is incredibly quick and easy to assemble if you’ve got the Elements already made (shallow-cooked kale, pot of white beans, and quick “roasted” garlic).
The Special Touches Worth Making
Three things you should try to make: Mushroom Paté is very special and comes together quickly. Rosemary Spiced Nuts always attract attention, and they make enough to last for the entire holiday season. Finally, Planetarian “Cheese” Ball, made with plant-based cream cheese, screams the holiday. When my crowd tasted it, they swore it was Boursin.
As you prepare for the holidays this year, do something different. This groaning board of festive plant-based dips and spreads will impress your guests and help them see just how flavorful and satisfying a plant-based holiday can be.
Festive Beet Hummus
Smoky, Zesty Kale-White Bean Dip
Planetarian “Cheese” Ball with Cranberries and Walnuts
Union Square-Inspired Rosemary Spiced Nuts
Jumbo Homemade Crackers
Festive Plant-Based Appetizer Board
- 1 recipe Festive Beet Hummus
- 1 recipe Mushroom Paté
- 1 recipe Smoky, Zesty Kale-White Bean Dip
- 1 recipe Planetarian "Cheese" Ball with Cranberries and Walnuts
- 1 recipe Union Square-Insired Rosemary Spiced Nuts
- 1 recipe Jumbo Homemade Crackers
- 1 large broccoli crown, cut into bite-size florets and left raw or lightly steamed
- 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets and left raw or lightly steamed
- 2 red peppers, halved, cored, and cut into strips
- 1 jar cornichons
- 1 jar picked onions
- 1 container mixed olives
- 1 container peppadew peppers
- Dried figs and/or other dried fruit
- Make as many of the following as you are able: Festive Beet Hummus, Mushroom Paté, Smoky, Zesty Kale-White Bean Dip, Planetarian Cheese Ball with Cranberries and Walnuts, Union Square-Inspired Rosemary Spiced Nuts, and Homemade Jumbo Crackers. Spoon dips, spreads, nuts, and accompaniments into small serving bowls. Arrange attractively on a board or large surface and serve, refilling the board as needed.