HOLIDAY HORS D’OEUVRES

VEGAN ALMOND CHEESE DIP

Anyone that knows me, knows that I normally like the appetizers more than a main meal. I think I deep down like the idea of smaller bite size pieces of yummies, so that I can be adventurous with my choices and not commit to one thing. I have been known to make a full meal out of appetizers and eat tapas style quite a bit. I also find that it is much easier to find grub at holiday parties that are vegan friendly on the appetizer stations, instead of the main course.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been testing out some new holiday recipes for work….ok fine I’ll admit it, it might have been for my own use as well, but if I do like a recipe I incorporate it into my catering packages as well! Like the watermelon mint salad and the apple ginger coleslaw that are now staples on my menus. SHHHH don’t tell anyone that those yummy foods are actually VEGAN! They may not like them then! HEHE.

I have fond memories of my mom serving her homemade cheese ball with those buttery Ritz crackers around it every year. So tasty and good and I wanted to see if I can recreate something like this. I have tried all of the vegan almond “cheese” products out there and I’m not a big fan. They leave a weird taste in my mouth, but when I ran across a homemade almond cheese spread recipe, in this months Vegetarian Times, I had to try it. And it was GOOD!!!

ingredients (True to the simply style I prefer of 5 or less ingredients):

2 cups raw unsalted almonds (Soaked in water for 24 hours, rinsed and drained)

2 tbsp of nutritional yeast

1 tbsp of lemon juice

4 cloves of garlic

2 tsp of white balsamic vinegar

Directions:

1. Put almonds into food processor (like the Ninja, or Vitamix) and pulse into almonds almost form a paste.

2. Add all other ingredients and blend for 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Refrigerate to thicken and serve chilled.

4. I spread this on thick beefsteak tomato slices, but here is another creative way to serve.

This simple recipe can also be adjusted to fit your needs. Mix in sun dried tomatoes, or dried fruit! I also blended this with fresh basil, oregano and thyme from my dwindling summer herb garden and made more of a herb cheese spread that I again put on tomatoes.

Enjoy!!!

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