There’s that one part of Thanksgiving day when you’ve got the turkey cooking, and are an hour + away from starting the sides when your tummy gets a little rumbly. Me? I could eat cheese and gluten-free crackers all day, every day. But some people like a little variety in their noshing. Bring on the Snackens!
After trying a variety of gluten-free appetizers because hey, it’s my job, I decided on these three super delish munchies that don’t compete with your turkey and variety of ‘taters. The maple pecan popcorn was already gone before dinner, and the spiced nuts would have been had I not hidden them from myself. (Spiced nut tip: Use blanched almonds for a more intense flavor.) These three yummerific treats are going to be very popular amongst the gluten-loving and the gluten-hating. Heck, you can throw these holiday-friendly snacks out anytime between now and the new year and feel totally like a gluten-free bad ass. Which is what I feel like right now as I finish off my gluten-free crostini with pesto. Bad. Ass.
Try ‘em, you’ll like ‘em!
Gluten-Free Crostini with Pesto
Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes
1 roll pre-cooked gluten-free polenta
Olive oil spray
2 cups fresh basil
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice roll of gluten-free pre-cooked polenta into 1 1/2 inch rounds.
2. Spray baking sheet with olive oil and place polenta rounds on sheet, evenly spaced. Spray the tops of the polenta rounds with olive oil spray and bake for 15 minutes.
3. While polenta is baking, place basil, garlic, parmesan, olive oil, salt, pepper, and pine nuts in a blender or food processor and pulse until thoroughly combined, and a bit thicker than a sauce.
4. Remove polenta rounds from the oven and place one spoonful of pesto on each round. Return to oven and cook for five more minutes.
5. Remove polenta from oven, and transfer rounds to serving dish. Grate fresh parmesan over the tops and serve.
Makes: 8 servings
Mexican Spiced Nuts
Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes
2 cups almonds
1 egg white
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Beat egg white in a medium bowl. Add lime juice, then add spices to mix thoroughly. Add almonds to mixture and coat evenly.
3. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool and break apart.
Makes: 6 servings
Maple Pecan Popcorn
adapted from Gourmet
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes
8 cups plain popcorn, popped
1 cup pecans, toasted
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Combine toasted pecans and popped popcorn in a large bowl and set aside.
2. Line a large baking sheet with foil, then spray oil on top of foil. Spray oil on top of mixing spoon as well.
3. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add maple syrup and salt without stirring, and insert candy thermometer into mixture. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until thermometer reaches 300.
4. When thermometer reaches 300 degrees, remove mixture from heat and pour over popcorn and pecan mixture. USe oiled spoon to stir, then transfer onto baking sheet. Allow to cool, then break apart and serve.
Makes: 10 servings