Category Archives: Finger Foods and Appetizers

Seven Layer Mexican Dip


This seven layer dip is always a huge hit at parties. Your guests will love you after this one.

It can be made in advance and refrigerated, making it the perfect dish if you have to bring something to a family gathering or party.

Similarly, we have a Homemade Salsa Recipe that is another party hit: Fresh & Mild Salsa

Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

2 Can Jalapeño Bean Dip
1 Container Sour Cream
1 Container Avocado Dip
Small Bunch Scallions, washed & cut
3 Large Tomatoes, chopped
1 Can Black Olives
1 Bottle Salsa
1 Cup Cheese, grated
1 Packet Taco Seasoning
 

Directions:

  1. Spread out the beans in a flat pan.
  2. Add taco seasoning to the sour cream. Spread the mixture gently on top of the beans.
  3. Spread either a homemade or store-bought avocado dip on top of the sour cream.
  4. Spread salsa to taste.
  5. Sprinkle cheese on top of the salsa.
  6. Now garnish with black cut olives and green onions.
  • Health Benefits: Avocados are an excellent source of the healthy monounsaturated fat oleic acid, which helps lower cholesterol and can help protect against breast cancer. They also contain the highest amount of the carotenoid lutein among commonly eaten fruits, along with high amounts of other carotenoids and vitamin E, which together have been found to inhibit different types of cancer growth.
    Additionally, because healthy carotenoids are fat-soluble, consuming avocados, which are naturally rich in monounsaturated fat helps to enhance your body’s ability to absorb these healthy nutrients from other vegetables.
    Cilantro, sometimes referred to as Mexican or Chinese parsley, has a strong flavor that people usually either love or hate. In Mexican cuisine, it’s a popular herb used in guacamole, salsas, and sauces.
  • Health Benefits: Cilantro is rich in beneficial phytonutrients, flavonoids and active phenolic acid compounds, which may be responsible for many of its health benefits. Cilantro and its seeds have been found to help control blood sugar, lower cholesterol and fight inflammation and free radicals. Cilantro may also have antimicrobial properties.
    Fresh and dried chili peppers are what give Mexican dishes their characteristic spice, though specific peppers are used for flavor while others are used for heat. Some popular varieties include jalapeno, poblano, serrano, guajillo, chipotle, pasilla, habanero, ancho, Mulato, and cascabel.
  • Health Benefits: Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili peppers, giving them not only their spice but also their health benefits. In fact, the hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. This spicy compound has been found to Fight cancer, prevent sinusitis and relieve congestion, fight inflammation also helping burn fat, provide pain relief and a major factor in protecting the heart by a reduction in cholesterol, triglycerides, and platelet protection
    Beans are yet another staple ingredient in Mexican cuisine, perhaps second only to corn. While a variety of beans, like pinto, lentils, kidney beans and fava beans, are used in Mexican cooking, the focus is on pinto and black beans because they’re far more common in Mexican cooking and they offer many nutritional benefits — loads of antioxidants. Normally Mexican beans are served boiled or fried.
  • Health Benefits: Pinto and black beans are rich in antioxidants, beans are high in dietary fiber, which is an excellent cholesterol fighter, and the complex carbohydrates they contain help keep your blood sugar levels balanced throughout the day — essential for staying alert and feeling energized.
Let me know what you think by leaving a comment! I love to hear from my readers!
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Sabudana Na Vada

Sabudana Na Vada
Sabudana is the Indian term for tapioca. Sabudana Na Vada is a dish traditionally eaten on days when a person is fasting from grains, since it uses potatoes and rice flour instead of wheat flour. However, it has been one of my favorite foods since childhood. They may have a high starch content, but they’re so incredibly tasty, it’s worth it.
Recently, I read an article in The New York Times about a famous place for Sabudana Na Vada near Mumbai, India. One small, local shopkeeper has perfected the recipe to the point that, so far, no one can duplicate it. I recently received some sabudana as a treat from my cousin’s mother and I loved them so much that I had to share the recipe with my readers.
For the most authentic experience, you can make this dish with Sago, a starch extracted from palm stems and most frequently sold in the form of pearls. In Africa, sago is eaten almost every day and in Brazil, I have tasted sago pancakes for breakfast.
If sago proves difficult to find, you can easily use tapioca, which is easy to find in any American grocery store.

Sabudana Na Vada

Cooking Difficulty Level: Medium
Cooking Time: One Hour

Ingredients:

1 Cup Sabudana or Sago Pearls
2 Medium Potatoes
1 Tsp Green Chili Paste
1 Tsp Grated Ginger
1 Tsp Sugar
1 Tsp Lemon Juice
1 Cup Ground Peanuts
1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
3 TBsp Rice Flour
Salt to taste
Frying Oil
Soaked Sabudana
Ready For Frying

How to Prepare:

  1. Cover Sabudana with water in a bowl and soak for one hour.
  2. After an hour, spread it on a towel so any excess water will drain.
  3. Boil potatoes and then mash them.
  4. Mix boiled potatoes, sabudana, ground peanuts, and spices.
  5. If the consistency is right, it will form a dough.  It should make almost 10-12 balls.  If it does not form into balls, pieces of bread can be added (but then it is not gluten free). You can also add a little rice flour.
  6. Roll the balls into rice flour and deep fry them in vegetable oil at medium heat.
  7. Enjoy!!!
Delicious with Green and Red Chutney

Click here for cilantro chutney recipe

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

I’m not usually a big fan of cold appetizers or soups, but once I tasted these cold spring rolls in a new Thai restaurant, I instantly became a fan. So I invited my fellow foodie, Phung Li, to try this recipe with me. This recipe originally came from Chow.com’s Vietnamese-Style Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce.  I modified it to be Vegan/Vegetarian friendly by switching the shrimp to tofu, so you’re still getting plenty of protein.

With summer coming, these are sure to be a major hit at summer cook outs. This dish would go especially well with my delicious Yellow Thai Curry recipe, so be sure to check that out.

Most of the ingredients are available in the Asian aisle of the grocery store.

Vegan

Time: 30 minutes

Makes: 8 rolls

Peanut sauce

The peanut sauce.

Peanut Sauce (Whisk  all ingredients together and set aside)

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp chili garlic paste (with rooster picture)
  • 1/2 tsp oil
  • 2 Tbsp crushed peanuts

_________________________________________________________

INGREDIENTS: Spring Rolls

  • 1 packet extra firm tofu
  • 1 packet 8 round rice paper wrappers. They are clear by nature. (I have used Red Rose brand)
  • Rice noodles
  • 16 pieces of basil
  • 1 cup sprouted mung beans
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 8 leaves of bibb lettuce, cut into halves
  • Fresh scallions cut cross wise
  • Garden English seedless cucumber
  • Serrano or jalapeno chilis (cored, seeded, and thinly sliced) – optional

PREPARATION:

1. To store the wrapper, place a wet paper towel or wet cheese cloth at the base. Then cover with saran wrap so it does not dry out.

2. Drain tofu. Cut into cubes. In a wok, lightly season with soy and ginger paste. Set aside.

Tofu cubes

Seasoning the tofu

 

3. Clear an area on a cutting board or flat surface to roll spring rolls.

4. Wet the rice paper and lay flat on a cutting board.

5. On top of the rice paper, layer a half lettuce leaf, mint, basil, sprouts, tofu, cucumber, and chili. End with a second half leaf of lettuce.

Spring roll filling

Ready to roll!

6. Try to roll on one side. Fold in sides.

Wrapping Spring Rolls

Wrapping up the spring rolls

6. Roll in a way so it is firmly tucked in and shows green lettuce on the top.

Finished spring roll

Ta da! This is what your finished roll should look like.

 

For more inspiration, join our newsletter (you can find the form in the right hand column). Also, I love to hear from my readers, so leave your comments below and tell me how this recipe turned out for YOU! Let me know what I should try next.

Split Chick Pea With Coconut Chutney

Split Chick pea with coconut chutney

Originally this recipe is from south India. This chutney is popular with dosa, idli and mendu vada and many more dishes. In South India  where coconut is very easily available and very refreshing to taste.

I am huge fan of this special chutney because it incorporates fiber, nutrition and protein. It has all the key ingredients to make this perfect healthy recipe!

 Prep time : 15 minutes       Serves :4         Very easy    Vegan,  Gluten free

Ingredients:

1/2 cup channa dal or ready roasted channa dal /Dalia
1 cup grated coconut
1 teaspoon salt
1 fresh piece ginger
1 fresh chili
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 small bunch cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds

www.thevegfusion.com

split chickpea/coconut chutney

  • For tempering;
  • 1/2 tsp. udad dal
  • 1/2 mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. oil for garnish
  • Red whole chili optional
  • Few curry leaves

How to make:

1.Roast dal over medium heat for about 4 minutes till golden brown. Add 2 cup water. Soak for 2 hours.

IMG_433961938 (3)

Roasting channa dal

2. Mix the entire ingredient in a blender. Add water if needed. Blend it for 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer into a bowl.

 For Tempering:

  1.  Heat the oil in a small pan. Add mustard seeds and urad dal in hot oil. It will start to pop up. Add chili and curry leaves.(optional)
  2. Garnish the mixture with hot oil.
  3. Enjoy with your dosa and Idli!
  4. How do you like the taste? Let me know in your comments!

Sugar Free Date Rolls

 

www.thevegfusion.com

Date Bars

Yummy Sugar Free Date Rolls

It is always a challenge to eat well-balanced snacks all the time.  This snack provides a great way to incorporate fiber high in protein and it is sugar-free.

Variations can be numerous and good thing about this recipe that you can never go wrong!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup mixed nut finely chopped unsalted
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

How to prepare:

1. Place dates in a heavy-duty pan on a medium heat let dates melt.  Dates will turn like soft paste. OR this step can be done in food processor.

2. Chop nuts finely in food processor. Add dates and coconut flakes.

3. For variations chocolate chips, cranberries, raisins, peanut butter can be added according to your choice. Almond and cashew butter is also a good choice!

4. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.  Take teaspoon dough into hands and roll them into balls or logs.  Roll them into flaky coconuts.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

 

Enjoy as treat guilt free or as dessert!  This can be done in advance and it stays fresh for upto two weeks in airtight container.

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coconut flakes on date roll

 

Vegetable Cutlets

Vegetable cutlets are popular everywhere.  As a child I always savored cutlets and look froward having it on the weekends.  My mother used to make it and I learned watching her as i grew up. Cutlets can be used in so many different ways. Here I tried basic method the way I learnt.
I use left over cutlet as a patties for veggie burgers. Sometime I use as  veggie balls with spaghetti. If you have not tried  it is must and you will sure enjoy making it and eating it.

Cooking Time: 50 minutes
Cooking Level: Medium with effort

Receipe Types
DF = Dairy Free, GF = Gluten Free
LS = Low Sugar, V = Vegan

Ingredients:

6 medium potatoes, boiled and smashed lump free
1 cup boiled and drained peas
1 cup boiled and drained cut french green beans small pieces
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup beets boiled and grated optional  i did not add
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp green chili paste
1 tsp ginger paste 
1 cup chopped cilantro leaves 
1 tsp amchur powder 
1/2 tsp garam masala optional
Oil for deep or shallow frying
1-2 cups of bread crumbs
1/2 cup of all purpose flour

Preparation: 
1. Boil and smash the potatoes with out any lumps
2. Boil peas, french cut green beans and drain the excess water and keep it to side.
3. Add peas, carrots, french cut green beans and onion and all spices (salt, green chili, cilantro, amchur powder)
4. Mix all the contents and make a oblong shape potato mix.
5. In a small bowl, add all purpose flour and 1/2 a cup of water to make a thick batter
6. Dip the oblong cutlets into the batter and bread crumbs

7. Fry the cutlets according to your choice (deep or shallow).

Deep Frying
Heat 3 cups of oil in a pan and fry the cutlets turn golden brown in color on both the sides

Shallow frying
On a medium high heat, add 1/2 a cup of oil and fry the cutlets until they turn golden brown in color on both sides

Put the cutlets on a paper towel to absorb the excess of oil. Cutlets can be enjoyed with various chutneys such as cilantro or sweet chutney and ketchup. 



Various Chutneys



Low Calorie sandwhich

Sandwiches are staple lunch food all over States.This low calorie sandwich is one of my favorites. Its quick,easy and so loaded with fresh veggies -every one will love it. You may use variety of produce, spices and sauces. So. one can enjoy it all year and any time.

Cooking Time:  10 Minutes
Cooking Level:  Very Easy

AO = Anti-Oxidant, 

DF = Dairy Free

HF = High Fiber, J = Jain
LS = Low Sugar

Ingredients:
1.Multi grain Thins
2. Avacado, Onion, Tomato, Cucumber, Lettuce
3.Cilantro Chutney
4. Pesto sauce

Preparation:
1. Take 2 multigrain thins toasted
2. Spread thin layer of butter or cream cheese or sun dried red pepper hummus or pepper jack cheese or pesto sauce or cilantro chutney
3. Add two or three lettuce leaves, tomato slices and avocado slices.
4. You may sprinkle with sandwich masala or salt/pepper

Tips: you can vary the sandwich with use of sprouts, different spreads and vegetables

Enjoy!!

Arnold 12-oz. Multi-grain Sandwich Thins


Finger Sandwich

Finger Sandwich

Recently, I had party and came up with the idea of finger sandwiches. It was big hit among adults and children. It is very easy, simple, and fun to make!!

Cooking Level: Very Easy
Cooking Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients:
1. Regular white soft bread
2. Cream cheese- pineapple or plain
3. Chutney- Cilantro chutney or Pesto sauce

Preparation:

1. Cut the edges of the bread.
2. Spread with cream cheese on the bread at room temperature.
3. Cut diagonally into 4 triangle pieces
4. You may use even number of bread slices with cream cheese and pesto sauce/ cilantro chutney
5. Spread pesto sauce or cilantro chutney on the bread
6. Cut diagonally into 4 triangle pieces
7. You can arrange the slices in color sequence as you like!!

Tips: For variations white  bread can be substituted with wheat bread. Nutella can be substituted for cream cheese.  Please watch our blog for recipes on red chutney and Pesto sauce.

Rice Krispies Treats @ home

Me and my kids enjoy eating rice krispies. I was wondering the other day to make rice krispies at home without using marshmallows. Here is the fun and easy recipe for the rice krispies at home using available ingredients.

Cooking level: Very easy
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

7 cups of rice krispies

2 cups of oats

few Reese pieces

8 oz creamy almond butter

1/2 cup of dried cranberries

1/2 cup of dark raisins

2 cups of brown sugar

1 1/2 cup of shredded coconut

2 cups of roasted peanuts/ almonds

4 tbsp butter

16 oz fluid light corn syrup with real vanilla or you may use agave nectar for corn syrup

Preparation

1. In a sauce pan and low heat  , add butter, creamy almond butter.

2. Add, corn syrup and brown sugar mix well.

3. When it liquefies, add the other ingredients to the mixture.

4. Add rice krispies and  mix real well.

5. In a 9 x 12 baking pan, spray with cooking oil and put all the mixture in the pan with spatula to flatten it    and let it cool down for 30- 45 minutes

6. Now you may cut into desired pieces

Aloo Batata/Potato Wada

Potato Wada

Potato Wada is the fried potato dumplings. It is one of the yummy snacks enjoyed with ketchup or pickle on holidays in Gujarat, India. When I moved to USA in 1970s’ Italian, Mexican, American, pizza were all new to me and I used to make these wada it home for my family.

DF = Dairy Free GF = Gluten Free V= Vegan



Preparation time: 10 Minutes

Peeled and mashed potatoes

Cooking time: 25 Minutes
Cooking level:  Easy

Ingredients for Potato
5 medium Idaho potatoes
Salt to taste
1 tsp of grated ginger
 2 tsp of grated garlic
1 tsp of cumin powder
2 tsp of lemon juice
1 tsp of green chilli paste

Ingredients for Tampering

Ready to fry wada

2 tbsp of oil
2 tsp of mate pa beans/ Urad dal
Finely chopped full curry leaves
1/2cup of chopped cilantro
Garlic
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder

Ingredients for Batter
8 tbsp of besan or chick pea flour
(sifted)
1 tsp of red chili powder
salt to taste
1/4 tsp of turmeric
Pinch of baking soda
water to make batter
1 and 1/2 cup of oil for deep frying

Preparation
1Boil the potatoes and mash without any lumps in order to make smooth dough balls.

Batter for Wada
Deep frying potato wada

2. Add ginger, cumin powder, lemon juice, salt, green chilli to the mashed potatoes
3. In a small pan,  add 2 tbsp of oil on medium heat,  add mate pa beans/ urad dal until it turns golden brown
4. add garlic, cilantro, finely chopped curry leaves
5. add the tamper to the mashed potatoes
6. mix the tamper and mashed potatoes and make 20-25 medium size balls as shown in the picture above
 7. For the batter, In a mixing bowl add chickpea flour, red chili powder, salt, baking soda, turmeric and water so that the it makes a correct consistency which is neither  thick or watery. 
8. In a frying pan, add oil and heat it for deep frying. Add the potato balls/wada into the batter and deep fry the dumplings.
9. Turn the dumplings in order to cook it evenly
10. Place them on the paper towel in order to absorb the extra oil
11. Serve with your favorite cilantro, Mint, Tamarind, or ketchup.


Tips:

Dry mango powder/ amchur powder can be substituted for lemon juice