Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year vegan style!

Happy New Year! Our family tradition is to forgo a heavy dinner for a night of appetizers and cocktails with family and friends. So tonight I prepared and bought a bunch of tasty vegan appetizers, most of which are very simple. Family get togethers are an excellent opportunity to show others that vegans eat normal, tasty food.

Tonight's appetizer spread included store bought hummus, chips and salsa, homemade summer rolls with a spicy mango dipping sauce (recipe below), carrots with a silken tofu-veggie dip, waldorf salad in lettuce cups and cold spicy peanut noodles. My family liked everything and dug in with gusto.

As a vegan you should have already made friends with hummus. If you haven't allow me to introduce you: meet hummus, otherwise known as fancy mashed up chickpea dip! Here is why you should know all about hummus, it is full of protein and is delicious by itself. You can also get it seasoned with lots of great spices like roasted red pepper, garlic, chipotle peppers or sun dried tomatoes. If you are any kind of cook at all, you should eventually learn to make it from scratch because hummus is also incredibly cheap to make.

The summer rolls take a little more work but are also incredibly healthful, delicious and impressive. You can put any selection of crunchy vegetables in them. I like: lettuce, basil, thinly sliced carrots, cucumber, red bell peppers, scallions and bean sprouts with a dressing made of rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, minced garlic and ginger. The dipping sauce recipe is below.

Silken tofu is the most useful and versatile thing in a vegan's pantry and tonight I used it in place of sour cream with a vegetable dip spice packet (just check to be sure that its vegan!). To make a simple dip, all you have to do is combine the two in a blender and then whip it to a light and creamy consistency.

The waldorf salad was a choice designed to cool off everyone's tongues after all of the spicy food. Putting it in lettuce cups made it easier to eat.

The cold peanut noodles were the biggest hit of the night and the bowl was scraped clean. I have included the recipe below.

Here are a few recipes:

Spicy Mango Dipping Sauce
Besides summer rolls, this would also be good with store bought soy nuggets or thinned into a spicy salad dressing.

Place the following into a blender and blend until smooth:
  • 1 ripe mango, cubed
  • 1 small ripe orange or tangerine, peeled and seeded
  • Sriracha hot sauce, to taste
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

Cold Spicy Peanut Noodles


1/2 package thin Rice Noodles
4 TBS peanut butter
3-4 TBS Sriracha hot sauce
1 TBS sesame oil
Dry Roasted Peanuts, Crushed (for garnish)


  1. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil on the stove.
  2. Once the water is boiling, throw in noodles and turn off the burner. Let sit until done (follow package directions)
  3. Drain and cut into shorter lengths, if desired.
  4. In the same pot, heat the sesame oil.
  5. After 30 seconds add the peanut butter stirring constantly.
  6. Once peanut butter is heated through and thins out, add hot sauce and stir to combine.
  7. Toss noodles in sauce.
  8. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and serve topped with the peanuts.

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