Plant-based New Years Eve Appetizers

We can’t believe 2017 is almost over! What will you be doing when the clock strikes 12? Maybe you’re having a relaxing night in by the warm fire, or perhaps you’re heading out for a night on the town, whatever your plans may be you’ll need to figure out what your going to be eating on the last night of the year! How about your spice up your night with delicious plant-based recipes by Naomi Seifter owner of Picnik Austin! She has pulled together two absolutely amazing dishes just for you and your nearest and dearest to enjoy- Butternut Squash Soup and a Holiday Platter full of incredible flavours with each bite!

Holiday Platter

We played around with using yummy ingredients as the ‘bread.’  We used steamed butternut squash, steamed sweet potato, apple, red bell pepper, jicama and cucumber slices.  We also went the traditional route, using bread rounds for the crust.  We wanted to give loose instructions so that you to make this at home with your favorite fillings.  Take ours as a guide, but have fun and make it your own!

‘Crust’ Ingredients:

• 1 large sweet potato

• 1 butternut squash

• 1 jicama

• 1 red bell cucumber

• 1 cucumber

• 1 apple

• Optional: gluten-free bread


Step 1: Prepare “crust”

Crust options are: cucumber rounds, gluten-free bread, steamed sweet potato rounds, apple rounds, jicama rounds, and red bell pepper. Mix and match to your heart’s desire! (see image below)

1. Using a mandolin (or very sharp knife) cut the sweet potato and butternut squash into 1/8 inch thick slices length-wise (see below for reference).

2.  Steam sweet potato for 5-7 minutes (dependent on how many you put in the steamer at once). You want the potato to be soft but not mushy. You want it to still hold it’s shape.

3. Steam butternut squash for 5-10 minutes (dependent on how many you put in the steamer at once). You want the squash to be soft but not mushy. You want it to still hold it’s shape.

4. Place both squash and sweet potato in fridge to cool.

5. Using a 2 inch round cutter, make your “crust” rounds.

*Repeat using 2 inch round cutter with other crust materials but do not steam apple, jicama, red bell pepper, or cucumber. These are best served raw! The bread can be toasted to make it crunchy.

Step 2: Make Fillings

Curried Chickpea “Chicken” Salad


• 1 15 oz. canned organic chickpeas

• 1 shallot bulb, minced

• 1 celery stalk, small dice

• 2/3 cup apple juice sweetened cranberries, rough chop

• 1 tablespoon dijon mustard

• 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)

• 1 tsp. Himalayan sea salt

• 1.5 cups avocado oil

• 2 tsp. curry powder

• 2 tbsp. pecans, finely chopped

• 1 pinch cayenne

• 2 pinches paprika

• himalayan sea salt and pepper to taste


1. Strain can of chickpeas. Place brine in Vitamix and chickpeas in a large mixing bowl.

2. To the bowl, add minced shallot, chopped celery, cranberries

3. To the blender, add mustard, apple cider vinegar, and sea salt. Turn Vitamix on low and slowly drizzle in avocado oil to create your homemade vegan mayonnaise (you can skip this blending step entirely by using the pre-made mayo of your choice).

4. Add ¾ cup of blended mayo to the bowl.

5. Using a wood spoon, fork, or potato masher, mash the chickpeas for several minutes until the chickpeas break apart and are well incorporated with the other ingredients. *If you prefer, you can use a food processor to speed the process up, although we did not demo this method.

6. Add curry powder, cayenne, paprika, optional honey, and pecans.

7. Add salt and pepper to taste.

8. Place in fridge until ready to plate sandwiches.

Other filling examples:


Mix a 8 oz. container of hummus with ¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper and ¼ cup finely chopped cucumber (reference photo) or other vegetables you prefer. Place on crust rounds of your choice.

Nut Butter & Jelly 

Combine equal parts almond butter (or peanut butter) with jelly. Mix together in a bowl. Try with apple or sweet potato crusts.

Step 3: Arrange Tea Sandwiches

Arrange tea sandwiches on a plate of your choice and top with any of the following:

• Black sesame seeds

• Hemp Seeds

• Paprika

• Flavored Salt

• Garnish of choice

Add fruit, herbs or decor to plate for extra color and sparkle!


Butternut Squash Soup

Before Naomi had a team to support her, she did all of the cooking out of her and Kevin’s house. This was a crucial time in our history because not only was Naomi creating the dishes, but she would then be at the trailer all day receiving feedback directly from our customers. That time laid a solid foundation of our food philosophy and helped us to discover exactly what kinds of food our regulars loved. This soup, was created during that precious time.  

The coconut milk makes for a creamy and dairy-free base, while the spice mixture creates a unique, yet subtle, flavor profile; the ideal balance of sweet and spicy. Choose a veggie broth to make the soup vegan or a chicken broth if that is more your style. We hope you and your loved ones enjoy it as much as we do! Let’s get started…



• 3 delicata squash

• 3 apples

• 3 cloves of garlic

• 1 yellow onion

• Olive Oil

• Himalayan Sea Salt


• 1/2 cup coconut milk

• 1 cup apple cider

• 3 tbsp maple syrup

• 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (we made a shiitake mushroom broth*, recipe below)


• 1/2 tsp turmeric

• 1/2 tsp paprika

• 1/2 tsp cayenne

• 1/2 tsp ginger

• 2 tsp cinnamon

• 4 tsp himalayan sea salt

• 2 tsp black pepper


1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cut squash in half and remove the seeds.  Thick slice the delicata squash and large/rough chop apple and onion.  Peel garlic, and lay squash, apple, onion and garlic in a single layer on 2 baking sheets. Liberally apply olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Place in oven to roast for 1 hour at 400 degrees.

3. When roasting is complete, add produce from your 1st baking sheet to your high-powered blender (Vitamix/Blendtec) with 1/2 of the liquid and 1/2 of the spices (everything except salt and pepper – this will be added at the end). Blend and transfer to a large stock pot.  Repeat the blend process for the second batch of produce, liquid and spices.  Transfer to the same pot.  

4. At this point, soup can either be placed in fridge for later or it can be transferred to the stovetop and heated immediately.  I like to season this soup to taste with salt and pepper when I’m ready to serve it.  As the soup is thick, it can “pop” and make a mess as your heat it up, so it is recommended you use a lid.  An additional note:  If soup is too thick for your liking, feel free to add additional stock.

5. Enjoy!

Stock Recipe

1. To make your own shiitake mushroom broth, add 1 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms to 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, turn down heat and let simmer for 45-60 minutes.  Final yield is about 6 cups of stock.

By Naomi Seifter

Follow Naomi on instagram at @picnikaustin 

Discover more scrumptious plant based recipes on Omstars

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