Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easy Vegetarian Mexican Recipes for Delicious Appetizers

It seems like whenever you walk into a grocery store, the aisles are stocked with a variety of already-made Mexican appetizers. Unfortunately, most of the time, they are not made with vegetarians in mind. Luckily, though, there is almost nothing easier than making your own easy vegetarian Mexican recipes at home. If you’re looking for some delicious and quick vegetarian appetizers you should look no further than these easy vegetarian Mexican recipes.

Chips and salsa are high on most people’s list of vegetarian appetizers, but on whole opening a jar of salsa and pairing with some chips isn’t very filling. One option to change this up a bit is to make your own salsa. If you have a food processor, it’s extremely fast, but it’s an easy project even without one. Roast some tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, chilies, and garlic in your oven until soft, chop them up in small pieces, and stir them all together for a smoky, spicy salsa. If you prefer a fresher, lighter taste, don’t roast anything, and chop up a bunch of the same ingredients and blend them together. To both of these options, add some fresh, chopped cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and you have some fresh, healthy salsa that tastes wonderful compared to what you find in your supermarket. You might never buy canned salsa again once you learn how to do this.

Of course, once you get the fresh salsa down, instead of serving just plain chips and salsa, you can make a big plate of nachos that will impress any audience. Layer the chips with salsa, vegetarian refried beans, some sliced jalapeno peppers, and top with shredded cheese. Stick the whole concoction under your broiler for a few minutes to melt the cheese (make sure you have the nachos in a broiler-safe pan!), and you have a crowd-pleasing dish of vegetarian nachos. Even better, if you have carnivores in your crowd, they’re not even going to notice that there is no meat in this dish.

If you want to take this one step further, though, you can also make a traditional, but vegetarian, seven-layer dip, which you can serve with a side of tortilla chips. Combine your fresh salsa with some vegetarian refried beans. Take a baking pan, and spread a layer of the beans and salsa on the bottom. Your next layer is sour cream, which you can flavor with taco seasoning if you desire. Next, spread one layer of each of shredded cheese, sliced black olives, shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, diced avocados, and chopped green onions. If you want to add another layer to this dip, you can top it with more shredded cheese. Put the whole thing in the refrigerator to set, and you have a ready-to-go, delicious, vegetarian Mexican appetizer. And, again, none of your meat-eating guests will even notice that you used vegetarian refried beans or left out any ground beef from the final dish. They’ll be way too busy licking their fingers and digging in for seconds.

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