(Almost) No Cook Vegan Grazing Platter

A vegan take on a classic grazing platter. Quick pickled carrots, marinated mushrooms and two easy-to-make dips (creamy roasted garlic hummus & an olive and sun dried tomato tapenade). Stores well in the fridge. Vegan & Gluten Free. <jump to recipe>

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Having people over for dinner is one of my favorite things. It's an excuse to try out new recipes and more often than not, a good bottle of wine (or two). For someone who loves cooking for others so much, you'd think I'd be a lot better at it. The issue is when it comes to the menu planning….I want to make everything. Something simple and easy? Nawh. Let's do falafel sliders, herby lentil salad, crispy squash "fries" and homemade dessert to boot. Oh, and let's go for a hike on the same day – because I feel like it. To Anguel's credit, he often tries to reign in my ambitious menu plans, but once my mind gets set on something, it's pretty hard to convince me otherwise. Safe to say there's definitely been a handful of times dinner runs a bit behind schedule. I try to seem chill about it on the outside, but on the inside…well, pour me a glass of wine, will you?

Thankfully, I've learned my lesson. Because as much as I like to wing it – entertaining is a whole lot easier when you plan ahead.  Like that time I tried to make experimental gluten free pancakes on the fly. It was perfect proof that even a simple pancake dinner, if left unplanned, can take a whole heck of a lot longer than anticipated. And no, pancake dinner was not a typo. Sometimes we do breakfast for dinner, because we keep is classy like that. The epic pancake fail – which my brother and his girlfriend had the pleasure of watching / eating – was all the proof I needed. The next time around, I vowed to do better.

And this vegan grazing platter delivers. It features crisp bursts of flavor from the quick pickled carrots and marinated mushrooms – paired with a bright olive and sundried tomato tapenade. And roasted garlic hummus, because yum. It's unique enough to feel like a special treat, but requires very little preparation (read: no cooking) on the day of. And, because grazing platters are some of the most flexible dishes out there, you can tailor them to fit your needs. If the crowd is hungry, pile up the dips and veggies high on individual serving boards. And be extra generous with the bread – a variety of your favorite loaves and crackers would be the way to go. It's a fun and casual way to serve dinner. And, minimal clean up! If you're feeling like a bit more greens, make a simple salad to serve on the side. Or, if the group is just feeling a bit peckish, make a single board for the whole group to nibble on as an appetizer.

And this dish isn't just for group events. When Anguel and I have a busy week ahead, we'll whip up this recipe so we have multiple meals and snacks on hand for the week. With these jars of delicious prepared veggies and dip on hand, making lunch or dinner at home can be done in just a few minutes. If you're in a rush or don't feel like spending much time in the kitchen, that's a life saver.

 (Almost) No Cook Vegan Grazing Platter // Natural Girl Modern World // Vegan &amp; Gluten Free
 (Almost) No Cook Vegan Grazing Platter // Natural Girl Modern World // Vegan &amp; Gluten Free

Preparing this dish is very simple. Don't get put off by the multiple components or seemingly long recipe. I've written up a separate recipe for each component (four total), because I find it easier to follow that way. Basically here's how it goes down. Make the Marinated Mushrooms and Quick Pickled Carrots first. They need to chill out in the fridge overnight to develop their flavors. Then, move on to the dips, because they can be made in advance or on the day of.

As the recipe name probably hinted, there's very little actual cooking involved. My marinated mushroom recipe includes quickly cooking off the shallots, mushrooms and white wine vinegar. I know some prepare marinated mushrooms without cooking them at all. Personally, I think the extra effort pays off in the flavor and texture department. The shallots and vinegar aren't as harsh either. And, well, I’ve yet to meet a raw mushroom that I fancied more than a cooked one! The only other cooking involved is roasting the garlic for the hummus. Roasted garlic has a sweeter, less sharp flavor, which I prefer in hummus (among most things!). But, if you'd rather put raw garlic in your hummus, by all means, go ahead. I'll never say no to garlic hummus.

When it comes time to serve, assemble the accompaniments on either individual serving boards or a single large platter. I also like to add some fresh vegetables for an extra pop of color. If you really want to go all out, you can layer up some of the bread slices with dip and toppings. But in our experience, people have the most fun making their own – loading up on their own unique combination of dips and toppings. And, that way, it means even less work for you!

 (Almost) No Cook Vegan Grazing Platter // Natural Girl Modern World // Vegan &amp; Gluten Free
 (Almost) No Cook Vegan Grazing Platter // Natural Girl Modern World // Vegan &amp; Gluten Free

(ALMOST) NO COOK VEGAN GRAZING PLATTER

SERVES 6-8 (VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE OPTION)

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Prepare marinated mushrooms and quick pickled carrots the day before. Dips can be made in advance or on the day of. Store accompaniments in the fridge. 
  2. Arrange the marinated mushrooms, quick picked carrots, roasted garlic hummus, and olive and sun dried tomato tapenade on a platter. Serve with a generous serving of sliced bread and any fresh vegetables you desire.

Notes:
-Marinated mushrooms should be brought up to room temperature before serving. Other accompaniments can be served cold or at room temperature.


 

MARINATED MUSHROOMS

(VEGAN & GLUTEN FREE)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb/340 g cremini mushrooms
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 5 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
  • For garnish (optional): 2-3 lemon wedges, Extra sprigs of thyme*

Directions

  1. Remove the stems of the mushrooms. Rub the mushroom caps clean (if needed) and set aside.
  2. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Saute shallots for 2 minutes, then add mushroom caps (whole). Saute for another 5 minutes until the mushroom caps are tender. 
  3. Add white wine vinegar and thyme. Saute for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour all the contents of the pan into a jar or container. Add remaining olive oil (4 tablespoons), lemon juice, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Stir to mix well. Add lemon wedges and extra sprigs of time, if using. 
  4. Seal container and store in the fridge overnight (or longer).

Notes:
*The lemon wedges and extra sprigs of thyme help make the jar look pretty. I do this when I plan to bring the entire jar to the table. This step is entirely optional.
-Olive oil tends to solidify in the fridge. For this reason, bring the mushrooms up to room temperature before serving.

 

QUICK PICKLED CARROTS

(VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE)

Ingredients

  • 8 oz/225 g carrots
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns

Directions

  1. Use a vegetable peeler to peel carrots into long strands. Place strips into a jar or container. 
  2. In a small bowl, mix warm water, coconut sugar and salt. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour mixture over carrots. Add apple cider vinegar and peppercorns. Seal the jar or container and give it a quick shake. Press the carrot stands down so that they are covered with the vinegar mixture.
  3. Seal container and store in the fridge overnight (or longer).

 

ROASTED GARLIC HUMMUS

(VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE)

Ingredients

  • 1 large clove of garlic (or 2 small cloves), with peel on
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas*
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap garlic clove(s), with the peel intact, in tinfoil. Bake for ~20 minutes until the garlic feels soft when you press down on it. Remove and set aside.
  2. In a food processor, add chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of tahini. Peel the garlic carefully (it will be warm) and discard the skin. Place the peeled garlic in the food processor. Pulse until mixture is ultra smooth and creamy. Add salt (1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon recommended) and up to 1 more tablespoon of tahini, to taste. Give the hummus one more good pulse to mix thoroughly. 

Notes:
*Either a 15 oz / 425 g can of chickpeas, or 1/2 cup dried chickpeas cooked from scratch. To cook your own chickpeas, soak dried chickpeas overnight. Rinse thoroughly. Add beans to a large pot and fill with water, until the waterline is 2-3 inches above the beans. Cook for ~1 1/2 hours until the beans are tender. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Rinse beans in cool water and strain until dry.

 

OLIVE & SUNDRIED TOMATO TAPENADE

(VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup kalamata olives, pits removed
  • 2/3 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. In a food processor, combine olives (no pits), sun dried tomatoes, parsley, lemon juice, capers and garlic. Stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the food processor, pulse until the mixture becomes a coarse paste.