Are you on a frantic search for a few last minute, quick and easy, vegan party snacks to serve at your next holiday gathering? Well, look no further. Whether it’s an easy cream cheese spread topped with your favorite pepper jelly or chutney, an “everything” white bean hummus, some curry-spiced mixed nuts, or just some “fancy” canned veggies elegantly poured into a festive thrifted bowl, these four effortlessly delicious treats will surely put you at the top of everyone’s “nice” list this holiday season.
Oh, and unless you need to turn the oven on to stay warm at night, you can leave that sucker off because all four of these party foods are no bake, no fry, and no cook!
It’s that wonderful time of year again when our hearts are full of holiday spirit, and our calendars are full of social obligations. From Friendsgivings and Christmas feasts, to office parties and Tuesday night Uno tournaments, regardless of what gets you out of the house, or brings others into yours, there’s gotta be food. And most likely, unless your culinary ineptitude precedes you, you’re going to be responsible for providing at least some of it.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a finalist on The Great British Bake Off, or someone who’s idea of cooking is setting the microwave for three minutes to rehydrate a square of ramen, it’s always nice to have a few quick and easy dishes in your repertoire that require require zero cooking, and just a few minutes to throw together.
These four, super simple and totally customizable snacks and “pickies” require little more than the opening of a can, and a whirl in the food processor. You’re literally minutes away from a delicious spread of holiday snacks that are sure to impress even the most critical of hostesses or houseguests.
Check out the video to see me make all four of these delicious snacks, and then scroll down for the full recipes and inspiration on how you can customize these treats for your next get together.
So, let’s go from the most involved, to the most “phoned-in”:
What’s a party without a cheese ball? And no, I’m not referring to your Uncle Bob, or your cubicle neighbor, Carl, I’m talking about an actual cheese ball. Well, maybe not actual cheese ball, because this one is not actually made out of cheese, and it doesn’t’ have to be in a ball… but you get the picture.
After making a few flavorful cheeses using baked tofu (check out the recipes here), I decided to simplify things a bit, and make a basic cream cheese recipe that can easily be rolled into a ball, spooned into a ramekin, or formed into a wheel, and then topped with your favorite nuts, herbs, or fruit spreads.
The recipe for the cheese is super simple; you just dump the ingredients into a food processor, and blitz until creamy. But it’s not the amount of effort you put into a dish that makes it special, it’s what you do with it that makes all the difference.
I like to top mine with a spicy jalapeno jelly, or a tangy mango chutney. Literally, the possibilities are endless with this cheese. Just think about what you would do with a block of cream cheese, and you can do that with this spread.
- 8 ounces super firm high protein tofu – half of 1 package
- 1/2 cup blanched almonds or raw cashews, soaked overnight (or quick soaked)
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup coconut cream, only the cream part, not the liquid
- 3 to 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
Cut the tofu into 1 inch cubes. Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until until it all looks like wet sand. Scrape down the lid and sides. Continue to process for about 2 minutes, until the consistency is creamy, and no longer clinging together in a large ball. Stop occasionally to scrape the sides, lid, and bottom. If it's not creamy enough, or seems too gritty, keep processing.
Using a rubber scraper, transfer the cheese into ramekins, or a parchment lined spring-form mold.
If you use the mold, allow the cheese to chill in the refrigerator for about 4 to 6 hours before removing.
Serve chilled or room temperature with crackers, chips, or toasted slices of baguette.
Next, requiring just slightly less effort than the cream cheese, is my favorite hummus in the world. It’s so easy, you just dump a few ingredients into a food processor and let it go. You don’t need to add water, or even any olive oil to the actually “hummus” mixture. White beans, they’ve got your back.
If you’ve never made your own hummus at home, or if you have, but didn’t think it tasted as good as store bought, then you owe it to yourself to make this white bean hummus. For some reason, their flavor and texture is so much better than chickpeas when making hummus from canned beans, that you’ll swear that’s how restaurants and stores have been doing all along.
Once you have the basic hummus made, then it’s up to you how you want to serve it. I love topping mine with Everything but the Bagel seasoning, and a drizzle of good olive oil, or to spice things up a bit, I like to add a bit of paprika and harissa paste to a bit of olive oil, and top my hummus with the vibrant and fiery result.
It’s up to you what you want to do with it, and you can serve it with anything from toasted bagel chips, to tortilla chips, to fresh veggies and crudite.
- 1 1/2 cup cooked white beans (1 can, drained)
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 2 cloves garlic
- salt to taste
Add all of the ingredients to a food processor. Blend until very creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stop occasionally to scrape the sides and bottom.
Serve immediately, or chill for a few hours before serving.
To serve, top with a flavorful olive oil, and seasoning of choice.
If using a food processor is still too much effort for you, then why don’t you just grab a bowl, clean out your spice rack, and make these super easy spiced nuts. The ratio is simple, so you probably don’t even need to read the recipe below, but just add about a quarter teaspoon of oil to a cup of roasted, unsalted mixed nuts, and then starts spicing.
You could even mix your own if you’re feeling ambitions, or just serve your friends some spicy peanuts is the fancier nuts are out of your price range. Just toss the nuts in the oil, add about a quarter teaspoon (collectively) of curry powder, or garlic powder, or paprika, or cayenne, or masala, or tajin, and then add a bit of salt to taste.
Oil. Toss. Spice. Salt. Toss. Taste. Maybe spice and salt and toss again. Serve. That’s it.
- 1 cup unsalted, roasted mix nuts
- 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon curry powder, or seasoning of choice (or more to taste)
- pinch cayenne pepper
- salt to taste
Add the nuts to a mixing bowl. Toss with sesame oil. Add seasoning, and toss to coat.
Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container until ready to serve.
I know this video probably looked like a sponsored ad for Trader Joe’s, which it wasn’t, which I wish it was because I spend so much money there, but regardless of who’s paying for it, I’ve been buying a ton of their very fancy and imported canned… appetizers?
I don’t really know what the term is, but I’m personally very fond of their “Grecian Style Eggplant with Tomatoes & Onions” (quite a mouthful), their “Giant Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce”, and of course, their dolmas.
It’s nice to just be able to open up a can of something, dump it into a fancy bowl, serve it alongside some toast points or crackers, and call it a meal. And that’s exactly what this last “recipe” is.
If you can’t find these particular items at Trader Joe’s, or you don’t have a TJ’s near you, then check out stores like World Market, or international markets, and look for things that are obviously free from animal ingredients, but that also look like they could be dressed up a bit, and served as part of a collection of other similar items. Get creative.