Now it’s December and officially okay to start posting Christmas recipes!!! The recipes I have planned for the coming month might not be like your typical Christmas food, but to me they are classical. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was nineteen (also a brief period between 14-15something), so for pretty much my entire teenage and adult life I’ve eaten “alternative” food on all holiday occations. In our home, and as I suspect in many of your homes too, on Christmas Eve we have a huge dinner with like a zillion things to chose from. Cheese, charkuterie, meatballs, sausages, salads (well…), gravy, ham, mustard, paté, crisp bread, soft bread, salmon, pickled herring, potato gratin, you name it! Followed by equal variations of Christmas candy… Over the years I’ve had a lot of practice on how to create an equally magnificent vegetarian Christmas dinner for myself, and many of the dishes have become staples at our Christmas table.
So this year, instead of posting recipe after recipe with gingerbread spices and saffron until we get sick to death of those holiday flavors, I thought I would share with you a couple of those staple recipes my family make each year, as well as some new one’s! Simple, served-in-a-bowl kind of food, and not necessarily “Christmasy” but perfect for the eclectic, “wabi-sabi” holiday gathering. You know, the kind where everything goes with everything? Deep fried falafel with pickled herring? Sure! Vegan sausages dipped in aioli? Bring it on! Old dry bread soaked in pig’s fat? Err maybe not.
First up is this raw beetroot…thingy, which I actually don’t know what to call. It’s sort of like a pesto, but also like hummus, and a bit like salad dressing. Hmmm. Anyway,
This lovely little sauce came into existence when I for some reason came up with the idea of pairing my favorite parsley pesto (which I make from either cashews or sunflower seeds) with my favorite dressing from Vibeke Amdisen’s book Raw Food (the dressing for her Russian Mushroom Salad is to die for!). A pinch of cumin and voila! Pesto/Hummus/Dressing-Thingy was born.
I’ve tried this recipe on various dinner guests. Once as a dipping sauce for Top With Cinnamon’s Pitta Chips from her debut book (success!) and another time on gluten-free seed crackers (recipe coming in a later post).
My brother cracked the brilliant idea that we should use the pesto/hummus in falafel rolls! Omg totally!!!
BUT, to reconnect to the Christmas theme, I would probably spread it on a piece of spiced bread (“julvört”) or pair it with sautéed kale and potato gratin. Or make a classical (vegetarian) meatball sandwich with both beetroot pesto and pickled beetroot! Whoaa crazy I know…
I hope these recipes will inspire you to eat a liiiittle greener this Christmas, and maybe, just maybe, skip the ham this year and go with some delicious and energizing vegetarian food instead. I promise you won’t regret it!
So, this is one of the newer recipes, and I haven’t actually tried on Christmas Eve before, but I’m sure it will taste the same then ; )
Did I mention it’s completely raw and vegan?!
Raw Beetroot Pesto/Hummus-Thingy
makes around 3 dl / 1 heaping cup
1 1/2 dl / 0,65 cup cashew nuts, soaked for 1-2 hours
1 small beetroot
2 dl / 0,85 cup flat leaf parsley, loosely packed
1 tbsp tahini
1 clove garlic
1 lemon, juice
1/2 tbsp agave syrup
1/2 tbsp tamari (japanese soy sauce is fine)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2/3 tsp ground cumin
1/5 tsp black pepper
a couple of pinches cayenne pepper
season to taste with herbal salt
1 tbsp water (can be omitted if you want a thicker pesto)
Notes on this recipe: I use a high speed blender, which means I can without problem use the parsley with stems and everything. But I would recommend you to only use the leaves if you’re sportin’ a regular blender.
Prepare by soaking cashew nuts for at least 30 min, but no longer than 2 hours.
Peel and cube beetroot (if you don’t think your blender can handle it – grate it). Rinse and coarsely chop parsley. Finely chop garlic. Discard soaking water for cashews, rinse thoroughly. Put all ingredients except water in a blender and mix until completely smooth. If too thick for your preferences, add a tbsp or two of water. Season to taste with herbal salt. Perhaps you want a little more cumin? Go for it! Or a little tangier? Add an extra dash of vinegar! Store in a glass jar in the fridge. The pesto-thingy will be even more full of flavors and with a nice, creamy consistency the day after. Lasts for up to a week.
Put a dollop of pesto on you lunch salad, spread it on your favorite bread, serve as dipping sauce with carrot sticks or as a side dish on your Christmas menu.
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