Crostini (“little toasts” in Italian)

I found this recipe in the June 2011 edition of VegNews magazine – if you haven’t read this magazine, do it now! It’s awesome! Crostini are a nifty way to transform all the bits and pieces in your fridge into elegant little appetizers. Try other combinations like cannellini beans and avocado or yellow/red tomatoes with arugula and balsamic reduction.

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of ciabatta bread, thinly sliced  on a diagonal
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cups packed baby spinach or arugula
  • 1 6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained (the original recipe used these, but I didn’t have them)
  • ¼ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • ½ cup basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Toppings:

Fennel Gremolata (optional)

Sundried tomatoes (optional)

Garlic Toasted breadcrumbs (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F. On a baking sheet, arrange bread in a single layer and brush with oil. Bake until golden, about 5 minutes – don’t over bake them, the bread slices get crisper once they cool.
  2. In a food processor, add olive oil, add garlic, chickpeas, spinach, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Add water if the mixture is too dry.
  3. Spread the mix onto the slices of bread.
  4.  Top with fennel gremolata, extra sun-dried tomatoes and garlic toasted bread crumbs.

To make Fennel Gremolata:

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons minced fennel leaves
  • 1 ½ tablespoons pine nuts, finely chopped and toasted
  • tablespoon lemon or orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • Pinch salt

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients into a small bowl. Serve immediately or store in the fridge.
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