Easy party fare: black bean hummus and curried cashews

It’s so easy to fall into a predictable vegetarian party appetizer rut, especially if you’re pressed for time. Veggies with hummus or ranch dip, cheese and crackers, fruit trays, etc, are tried and true, but sometimes I want something a bit more exciting, without sacrificing the fast and simple prep.

For our going away party last night, with only a few hours to grocery shop and prepare the snacks, I decided to try a couple of new recipes: black bean hummus (pretty much the only version of hummus I hadn’t made before) and curried cashews. I know, I know– black bean hummus is still hummus, and therefore, per my own definition, rote. In reality, though, this cousin of hummus looks and tastes unique– you wouldn’t guess that it falls under the hummus umbrella unless you spotted the extra garbanzo beans in your host’s fridge.

The curried cashews yield a deceptively complex flavor, considering how few ingredients are needed to create this unexpected snack. The prep is ridiculously easy, as you will see in the recipe below.

So next time you’re asked to bring an app to a potluck but don’t have much spare time to go wild in the kitchen, or are hosting an impromptu party yourself, why not broaden your horizons and stray just a few steps off the beaten path?

Black bean hummus
Black bean hummus

Ingredients: (adapted from What’s for Dinner? No Tahini Black Bean Hummus)

1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed

1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed

1-2 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro

2 tbsp + more to taste lime juice

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp cayenne pepper

pinch of salt (don’t overdo! I did, and had to add more black beans and some water to rectify)

Method:

Throw the garlic (peeled) into your food processor and process until diced.

Add the rest of the ingredients and process until desired consistency is reached. You may want to add some water or extra oil to achieve a silky smooth consistency.

That’s it! Serve with cruidites and toasted pita triangles.

Curried cashews
Curried cashews

Ingredients: (from Eating Well)

2 cups cashews (unsalted)

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp curry powder

1-2 tsp sea salt

Method:

Mix lemon juice, curry powder, and salt in a bowl

Add cashews and stir to coat

Bake at 250 for 45 minutes, shaking the pan every 15 minutes

Let cool before eating.

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