Monday, January 31, 2011

Vegan Munchies

Ever get tired of the usual chip and dip routine? A bowl of peanuts or pretzels? I know I do. Ugh. I like those things just fine, but sometimes an occasion calls for something more thrilling to the taste buds. For me, that's actually just about any occasion where snack and finger foods are on the menu.

The last family party we went to the offerings consisted of cheese, cheese, cheese, oh, and cheese, and bacon wrapped something. Did I mention there was cheese? Not much there for the conscientious vegan to nosh on. Luckily, I did bring a couple of things, knowing all too well the likelihood of yummy snack availability was low.

Fortunately, I like to entertain. Low key, come as you are, no frills. I much prefer enjoyable, chatty visits than full scale parties where I barely get to see much less talk to anyone. Those have there place, don't get me wrong, and hey, I'm planning one such in a few months to celebrate my birthday. But mostly I like things on a smaller scale.

Take New Years Eve, for example. Hubby and I make up a batch of munchies, the kids invite friends over. Small, yes, but a big way to bring in the new year!  A childhood friend of my son was so enamored of my snacks, he said he could almost convert to veganism. Hey, it's at least a step in the right direction. Winning converts through their stomach!

Cajun Crunchies

Extra firm tofu, frozen in container, boiled to thaw, drained, pressed and cut into 1/4" slices
2 T. olive oil
1 t. Cajun seasoning
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper

Toss the tofu strips with the remaining ingredients. Arrange in a single layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, turning over once. When done, let cool before serving.

Make sure you don't cut these slices too thin or they get more crunchy than you want!


1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/4 c. minced green onions
1 minced garlic clove
3 T. vital wheat gluten
3 T. unseasoned bread crumbs
4 T. Tabasco
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. cayenne
1/4 c. vegan butter

Press beans to remove any excess liquid. Put beans in food processor with pecans, green onions, garlic, vital wheat gluten, bread crumbs, 2 T. Tabasco, salt and cayenne. Pulse until mix well, but leaving some texture. Roll the mixture into 1 inch balls. Place the balls on a lightly oiled baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350, turning about half way through.
In a small saucepan, combine 2 T. Tabasco with the vegan butter and melt over low. Pour over the fireballs and bake 10 minutes longer. Serve.


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