Bright bites of sweet-and-salty goodness will beckon hungry party-goers to pick these up from your holiday platter–and then return for more. The green pesto spread features spinach, walnuts, and pecans, but skips the typical fresh basil or cilantro since they are not in season. Happily, I discovered that adding a few artichoke hearts to the mix rounds out the pesto’s taste perfectly. And the sparkling ruby pomegranate arils provide a pop of colour and fruity sweetness.
To save time, spread your pesto and cream cheese on round wheat or gluten-free crackers from your local grocery shelves. Or pick up a package of mini-pitas. For even fresher results, homemade crackers (like my Swedish hard tack) or miniature naan breads are ideal as the base. This time I used my Dairy-Free Naan Bread recipe, but made the rounds tiny, about the size of round tortilla chips. They puffed up like pitas in the oven, and I buttered them and pressed them down a bit before spreading the pesto on top. I daresay the flavour was unbeatable.
The pomegranate and green pesto bites are right at home with their creamy white and red counterparts. I indulged in dairy cream cheese and sheep’s milk cheese when I made my first tray. But vegan cream cheese and vegan Parmesan cheese will taste fabulous as well in these colourful canapés. May your days ahead be merry and bright ones!
- base layer of miniature naan breads, mini-pitas, Swedish Hard Tack or other crackers
- green pesto (see pesto ingredients below)
- fresh pomegranate arils, or chopped fresh strawberries as a substitute
- cream cheese (vegan or dairy-based), softened, optional
- finely grated Parmesan cheese (vegan or dairy-based; I used Pecorino Romano), optional
Dairy-Free Green Pesto Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup walnut and pecan pieces
- juice from 1/2 a lemon, added to taste
- 1/4 cup or more extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
- sea salt, to taste
- 3 to 4 artichoke hearts marinated in oil, drained and chopped, optional
- To make the green pesto, place nuts, juice, olive oil, spinach leaves, and about 1/4 teaspoon sea salt in a blender or food processor and blend until spinach leaves and nuts are well incorporated. Pause to scrape the sides to make sure thorough blending occurs. Adjust salt to taste and blend again to distribute the flavours. Add in artichoke hearts and blend or pulse to incorporate the texture and taste of all ingredients. The pesto can be stored separately in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or may frozen for several weeks.
- To assemble the pomegranate and pesto bites, spread pesto on the base layer (such as a cracker) and top with pomegranate arils. Sprinkle grated cheese over pesto if using. As an alternate combination, spread cream cheese on the base layer and top with pomegranate arils. Serve within an hour of assembly for best results.
Looking for more savoury party platter and appetizer ideas?
Try these paleo-friendly options: