• Hungry Pumpkin

Hungry Pumpkin Finger food

Updated: Jan 8

Now that December is here, we all know that the holiday season is just around the corner! No matter what holidays you may celebrate, this is a time for socialising and celebrating. And what are the two main ingredients for a good holiday season? good company and great food, of course!

If you have people over often or if you are planning to host a party, you may already be nervous about preparing food. Preparing for many people can be challenging, especially when you may have people with many different dietary requirements (vegan, gluten free, etc.).

Let's not even get started on the nightmare of running out of utensils at a party or trying to squeeze too many people at your table... we've all been there, and no one wants to be panicking extra at a party! Why not avoid this level of stress and provide foods that can be eaten without utensils and while standing around the punch bowl? For this, the saving grace of parties, we have finger food! Not only is finger food convenient to serve, but it also transforms your table into a great display of different dishes that is sure to impress your guests!

Our tables will surely be having many different vegan and gluten free snacks, and there is always room for some sweet treats here too!

Polenta canapés with tofu

Not only is polenta quick and easy to prepare, but it is also a good base for canapés! You can add different fresh or roasted vegetables to it, and all that needs to be done is to make the polenta firmer than usual. Cook your polenta in salted water and then pour into a baking dish.

When you have it a couple of centimetres thick, put to chill and then cut it into small blocks when it is firm. You can also use cookie cutters to get different shapes if you want to get really festive! Before you build your canapés, the blocks can be quickly pan fried to give them a nice, firm crust. We then piled on some smoked tofu, sundried tomato, and a dollop of vegan pesto to round out the flavour. If you end up with a tipsy mountain on top of your polenta, consider using toothpicks to hold it all together. For us though, this was not necessary.

Fennel with bean puree

Fennel is an interesting plant whose foliage forms a sort of bulb-like head above the ground at the base of the foliage. These make ideal finger food as they can be filled up with all sorts of yummy things! We chose to fill the fennel up with mashed beans, which were prepared by boiling and draining red beans and then blending them with a teaspoon of tahini, some salt, a clove of garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. We then added cherry tomatoes and olives on top to add more flavour and a decorative flair to our fennel dish!

If the fennel taste is too strong or if you are just not used to it, you can use Belgian endvine (also known as Belgian chicory) instead. This form of chicory is different from the normal weed you find growing as it forms similar bulb-like bases that can be used in the same manner.

Vegetables on zucchini

For this fresh snack, we needed a thick béchamel sauce that acted as the binding agent between our vegetables. We made this sauce by first frying buckwheat flour in olive oil and then adding in water, seasoning, and boiling to the desired thickness. We then added ground flaxseed to make it hold even better.

The choice of vegetables to add in is huge, but we chose to slice leeks and grate carrots into our mix after briefly having cooked them in olive oil. The mixture is then poured into a baking dish and cooked for 20 minutes. When cooked, cut it into small bites and put it on slices of zucchini (which we served fresh, but you could quickly cook it to take out some of the crunch). You could also use crackers in place of zucchini, but then it is harder to be gluten free. You could also add some other toppings to spice things up a bit, such as arugula, red pepper, or even radish.

Price of our snacks

Today, we ended up preparing our yummy snacks for six people rather than 4. With all of our finger foods, we ended up paying 3.3€. Of course, as you add more ingredients the price will increase. With a bit of imagination and some different combinations, it is very possible to make a range of yummy, healthy, and interesting finger foods that don't require you to break the bank! Why spend lots of money over the holidays when you can make healthy food for less and still impress your company? Whether it is just a weekend lunch or a full-blown holiday party, you don't need to spend a fortune to eat well.

Nutritional value

Since these foods are just snacks, we only gained about 9% of our daily caloric needs from these foods. It is difficult to know how much people will ingest with foods like this, but we calculated 2-3 items per person.

We used a range of ingredients in making these appetizers, and it shows in the nutritional value. We got 12% of our protein needs for the day, mainly coming from the beans and tofu. We also consumed lots of fibre, almost 23% of our daily need for iron, and 22% of our need for potassium. Almost all of our vitamin A came from only 2 foods: sweet potato and carrot. We also got lots of magnesium and other vitamins and minerals. Our intake of vitamins E, A, D, and B12 were all lower than our caloric intake, but for just a snack we did quite well!

If you have any questions about our tasty treats or have ideas for future foods, let us know! Write to us at hungry.pumpkin.blog@gmail.com!

Happy eating!

The Hungry Pumpkin Team.