A fairly new tradition my family has started is to have a cheese, wine and appetizer party on Christmas eve. We have been doing this for about 5 or 6 years, and I love it. I also love trying new vegan options to have, that not only I fall in love with, but that also keeps the omnivores coming back for more. I love making different cheese balls with various nuts, coming up with flatbread pizza, tiny skewers of delicious bite sized appetizers, and last year, my husband made vegan carrot and tomato soup shooters with vegan grilled cheese dippers. This year though, I may have developed something that will top all other years. A crispy baguette sliced and perfectly toasted, topped with outstanding cashew ricotta, roasted grapes and fresh thyme.
Literally a flavor explosion, I don’t think I have tasted much better. This year, these beauties will be placed alongside regular cheese and bread and crackers, and I promise it will hold it’s own. Crispy, creamy, chewy, sweet, and salty. The ultimate handheld food. I like to peruse old Southern Living magazines and cookbooks, and a while ago I came across something similar, of course with regular ricotta. I though what a great appetizer to try to veganize, and what a perfect time to try. This would be great for any holiday party, and I am convinced it would be perfect for New Years Eve paired with crisp, bubbly champagne!
What are your beloved holiday family traditions? Or do you love to spend the holidays with friends? Either way, give this a try. Just casually incorporate it into any holiday potluck, and be the biggest hit at the party. For real.
This is a really easy recipe, it is just sightly time consuming and a bit involved. Just the cheese making process, the roasting of the grapes is a very quick and easy thing that you can do right before serving. The cheese though, I suggest making in the morning, or it would be very easy to make a day or two ahead of time and be kept in the fridge. Then you can just toast the bread, roast the grapes and take the cheese out when it is assembly time! The cashews also need to soak for at least 8 hours, but overnight would be better. So also something you can do a few days in advance. After the cashews soak though, all you have to do is throw everything in a blender. Easy peasy. Place in a cheesecloth and let drain. Ready to go!
I love bites of food I can have ready before guests arrive, so that I don’t have to spend time in the kitchen once friends and family are there. To me, the holidays are about remembering what and who are important to me. Make the best of my time with loved ones is the most important thing, and being ready at party time is a perfect way to do just that. These can be served room temperature, so you can do this when the time is best for you! I want a cocktail in my hand and my favorite people by my side!
I hope you enjoy! Happy holiday parties to you, and here’s to showing everyone you can happily make it through the holidays living an all plant based life.
- 2 C. Cashews, raw (soaked for 8-24 hours)
- 4 Tbsp. Apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. Lemon juice
- 4 Tbsp. Almond milk
- 3 tsp. Salt
- 2 tsp. Pepper
- 2 tsp. Garlic powder
- 2 C. Purple grapes
- 2 tsp. Olive oil or grape oil
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 2 Baguettes (make sure they are vegan, there are also some good gluten free baguette options of you want)
- 2 Tbsp. Fresh thyme
- Soak the cashews in water for at least 8 hours, I like to just leave mine over night.
- When the cashews are ready, drain and place in a blender with the remaining cheese ingredients.
- Blend on high for a few minutes until it starts to become creamy. You still want a little texture, so stop when it looks like there are no more cashew chunks, but not so creamy that it looks like sauce. This should only take a couple minutes.
- Pour into a cheesecloth and tighten, tie off and place in a colander over a bowl. Let drain at least three hours, but this can be done overnight as well.
- When the cheese has drained, you can squeeze a bit of liquid out yourself as well, it should look like a ricotta texture, place in the fridge.
- When you are ready to serve, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the grapes on a baking sheet and toss evenly with oil and salt.
- Bake for 7-9 minutes.
- Slice and toast the baguette while the grapes are roasting.
- When grapes are ready, they will burst a bit.
- To assemble, spread cashew ricotta on toast, place a few grapes on top and top that with thyme, serve when ready!
- Want this to be gluten free as well? There are some really great gluten free baguette options as well!