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Vegetarians in Paradise
 Vegetarian Cooking with Zel

Warm weather stokes our party genes, and before you know it, we've invited a small gathering to dine on the patio. Because people often arrive hungry, count on your ever-ready kitchen elf, the food processor, to turn just a few ingredients into an almost instant appetizer that won't add inches to the waistline. The flavors in this party spread are pungent and perky and make a perfect canapé spooned onto slices of raw zucchini, cucumbers, jicama, turnip, or bell peppers. You can also use crackers or crisp pita wedges for dipping into the spread. See the suggestions below to add color to the canapés. This tasty spread also makes a welcome topping over bean burgers.

Artichoke Caper Party Spread


Yield: 5 to 6 servings

1 (15-ounce/424g) can cannellini or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 (13.5-ounce/382g) can of water-packed artichoke hearts, drained, liquid reserved
1/4 cup (60 ml) drained capers
3 tablespoons reserved artichoke liquid
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder

Cluster of parsley, for garnish
1 cherry or grape tomato, thinly sliced crosswise, for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl. Place the parsley at the edge of the bowl and arrange the tomato slices as desired.

This easy appetizer keeps so well in the refrigerator that you can make it the day before without fear of it losing flavor.

For garnishing canapés, top the with crosswise slices of cherry or grape tomatoes, black or Spanish olives, whole or coarsely chopped roasted peanuts, pieces of roasted red pepper, thin slices of red Thai chile, or maple-glazed walnuts or pecans. To keep it simple, chop fresh herbs like cilantro, chives, parsley, or dill and sprinkle on top.

Click here for past cookingwithzel@home.comeonin recipes

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