Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Pita Bites

This Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Pita Bite appetizer is everything!  There is a textural depth to these appetizers not to mention an incredible flavor!

The hummus is heavenly and creamy, which is the perfect contrast to the crunchy pita chips.  The feta adds a touch of saltiness while the lentils add the perfect bits of crunch!  Top it off with some pomegranate seeds and you have yourself an awesome appetizer for your next get-together!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Pita Bites

This appetizer stirred up memories about how Robby and I first got together.  I don’t think I have told this story yet!  I came back to L.A. In October 2007 from Oregon and Robby came back in 2008 from Massachusetts.  We hadn’t seen each other since we were teenagers and we both showed up to our mutual good friend Christine’s house for dinner.  In the next few weeks Robby and I had gone on a few bike rides and the last time he came up to my tiny studio apartment for some water.  We started looking through old photos and he says he felt something, a spark all of a sudden, which he told me years later.  I felt it too but I ignored it thinking we were just old friends.  I called him a few times but never heard back.  It turned out that his mom had passed away and he needed to be alone.

Roasted-Red-Pepper-Hummus-Pita-Bites

A year went by and unfortunately our good friend George’s mom had just passed.  Robby and our friend Antonia drove down from Santa Cruz.  They had a conversation about relationships and Robby told her he was fine being by himself.  We all showed up to Saint Sophia’s Greek Orthodox church at the same time.  After the ceremony, everyone went across the street to a Greek restaurant Called “Papa Cristo’s Greek Grill and Catering”  We started off with Greek appetizers including hummus. Everything was phenomenal!  After everyone headed to the cemetery but me, I had to do some work and I met up with them later at the Moose Lodge.  I had a couple glasses of wine when our friend Christine said ” Steph, why don’t you and Robby get together? And I said, “because I didn’t consider it was an option since he never returned my phone calls.”

After a few cocktails, we all went to George’s house.  Antonia was going to be flying back to San Jose but everyone was guilt tripping her so she left to see if she could stay another night.  When she returned I was sitting on Robby’s lap.  It was pretty funny, Antonia was all “wait? what? I left for thirty minutes, what happened?  Well, as you can see the rest is history!

_Red-Pepper-Hummus-Bites

These cuties pair well with a light Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo, Albariño

or a White Rioja.

Hummus-Bites

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Bites Recipe:
48 Bites
  • 1/2 Cup or as needed Roasted Red Pepper Hummus – recipe below
  • 1/4 Cup Crispy Black Lentils – recipe below
  • 48 Pita Chips – recipe below
  • 1/4 Cup Feta Cheese – crumbled
  • 1/4 Cup Pomegranate seeds – or to taste
  • 1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar – reduced – optional
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus – makes about 1 cup – for the whole recipe click here
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Garbanzo Beans – 3/4 Cups Cooked
  • 1 Small Red Bell Pepper – roasted – deseeded – destemmed
  • 1/4 Cup Roasted Tahini
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoons Chili Olive Oil – homemade or store-bought – can sub regular olive oil
  • 1 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Hot Paprika (can sub for regular paprika)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt

Crispy Black Lentils – adapted from Life and Health – for the whole recipe click here

  • 1/4 Cup Black Lentils – cooked
  • 1 Teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Pinch Sea Salt
 Pita Triangles
  • 8 Pita – cut into 6 wedges each
  • Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano – minced – optional
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste

Balsamic Reduction

  • 1/2 Cup High-Quality Balsamic Vinegar
Instructions:
 Prepare garbanzo beans for the hummus
 You can cook the garbanzo beans two different ways: one is the quick way, the other is by soaking the beans overnight which is better for your digestion.  This is how I prepare them, plus if you are going to make falafels this is the way to go.

Place them in a large bowl and cover with filtered water, they will expand to over double their size, make sure you cover by several inches of water to allow for expansion.  Soak overnight for at least 12 hours then drain.

*
Quick method

Place the beans in a pot and cover with at least 2 inches of water above the beans and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let the beans soak in the warm water for 1 hour then drain the water and rinse.

*
Cooking the beans

If you want extra smooth hummus you can do as Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi do from their cookbook “Jerusalem”  and remove the skins from the garbanzo beans.

Just add chickpeas and 1 teaspoons of baking soda to a large saucepan over high heat.  Stirring constantly for about 2 – 3 minutes.  Covers the chickpeas by about 2 inches of water and bring to a boil and reduce to simmer on medium heat for about 30 minutes to 1 hours or until soft, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer.  Skim off the foam and skins that float to the surface.  They should be very fairly tender pressing between your fingers but not too mushy.

or

Put the beans back in the pot and cover with several inches of filtered water.

Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer on medium heat for about an hour to an hour and a half, or until tender.  They should be very fairly tender pressing between your fingers but not too mushy.

When the garbanzo beans are cooked and cooled, measure everything and put in a food processor or blender and puree until the desired texture.

*
 Peppers

Roast peppers on the stovetop on medium-high heat.  A gas stove works the best but it will work fine on an electric stove. Char the peppers on all sides turning with a pair of tongs.  When good and charred, steam them for 10 minutes in a covered dish or a paper bag rolled shut to hold in the steam.

Take a paper towel and rub off the char.  It’s ok to leave a little of the char.  Slice in half and remove the seeds and stems then dice them.

*
Crispy Black Lentils

Preheat oven to 400°F

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a bowl toss the lentils, oil and salt together then spread out on the parchment.
Roast lentils for 25 – 30 minutes, stir in between.  Roast until crunchy.  Watch them closely at the end so they don’t burn.  Let cool.
 *
Hummus
When the garbanzo beans are cooked and cooled, measure everything for the hummus and put in a food processor or blender and puree until the desired texture.
 *
Balsamic Reduction

Pour balsamic vinegar into a small pan and turn heat to medium-high then bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes.  Stir occasionally until it coats the back of your spoon.  Keep an eye on it because it can happen fast and burn.

*
Baked Pita Chips
 Turn down the oven to 350 degrees

Cut each pita into 8 triangles and place on one side of a parchment lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and salt and gently toss.  Sprinkle on the oregano and bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until crispy.

*
Assemble
Spoon a dollop of hummus onto each pita triangle then top with a little feta, pomegranate seeds and lentils.  Serve with a side dish of balsamic to let your guest drizzle over the top of each pita.  You will have about 1/2 cup of hummus leftover.  I usually make the whole recipe and extra pita chips for serving or for my snacking purposes.
*
Health Benefits:

Garbanzo beans are super high in protein and extremely high in fiber, just one cup provides 50% of the Daily Value.  Because of the fiber, they are great for your heart, lowering blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart attack as well as help prevent constipation and digestive disorders.  Just one cup provides 84.5% of the daily value of manganese, which is an antioxidant that acts as a monitor of the free radicals in the body.  If you are low in energy the high iron content will help and will transport oxygen from the lungs to all the cells in the body.  They also help to balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy. Garbanzo beans are helpful for weight loss as they keep you full longer.

Red Bell Peppers are matured green bell peppers and have more nutrition as they mature.  They are super high in vitamin A which helps to support healthy eyesight, especially night vision and are extremely high in vitamin C, so much so they have twice as much as an orange which makes it really good for the skin.  Red peppers are one of the highest veggies in lycopene and have been successfully tested in the prevention of many cancers.  They have a good source of the antioxidant mineral manganese and B-complex and vitamin E.  They help reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol, helps controls diabetes and helps reduce pain.  They are also a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin K, molybdenum and manganese.

Maple Roasted Fig Brie Crostini

These Fig Brie Crostini are a delectable treat that will surely impress your taste buds!  The savoriness of the brie adds the perfect balance to the sweetness from the roasted figs, pesto and walnuts.  You can prepare the roasted figs, pesto and walnuts a day ahead.  Then, all you have to do is toast the bread, assemble and pop them in the oven just as your guests arrive.  You will want 3 to 4 crostini per serving.

Fig Brie Crostini

It’s fig season and I have been on a major fig kick lately.  I am on a mission to redo photos from my old blog posts.  I don’t know if other bloggers do this, but I think each recipe deserves to have great photos.  I have been redoing fig photos over the past 2 weeks including my Roasted Figs in a Maple Wine Sauce,  Maple Roasted Fig Feta and Walnut Crostini,  Fresh Fig Pesto,  Fresh Figs topped with Fig Pesto and Caramelized Walnuts.  I really love creating new appetizers like these crostini that were born from a few of the above recipes.

Fig-Brie-Crostini

Serve these with some sparkling wine like a Prosecco, Cava, Rose’ or Txakoli.

Maple-Roasted-Fig-Brie-Crostini

Fig Brie Crostini Recipe:
3 to 4 servings
  • 12 Maple Roasted Figs Halves
  • 3/4 Cup Fresh Fig Pesto
  • 1/2 Cup Maple Caramelized Walnuts
  • 12 Slices of French Baguette
  • 1 Brie Cheese Wedge – 12 – 1/4 inch slices
Roasted Figs in a Maple Wine Sauce – (whole recipe)
  • 12 Medium Figs – cut off stems – cut in half
  • 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoons Dry White Wine
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla (optional)
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Sea Salt

Fresh Fig Pesto – (whole recipe)

  • 1/4 Cup Bucherondin de Chevre Cheese (Rind optional)
  • 1 1/4 Cups (about 7 to 8) Whole Fresh Black Mission Figs – stems removed – quartered
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Walnuts
  • 2 Tablespoons Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
Maple Caramelized Walnuts – (whole recipe)
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Walnuts – roughly chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Pure Maple Syrup (Mildly sweet)
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
Crostini
  • 12 Slices of Italian Ciabatta or French Bread – 1/2 inch slices
  • Approx. 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instructions:

Roasted Figs in a Maple Wine Sauce

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the stems off the figs and slice them in half.  In a 9×13″ baking dish, place the figs along the bottom..  In a small bowl mix the syrup, wine, oil, vanilla and salt together then drizzle the syrup mix over all the figs.

Put in oven on the middle shelf for 25 minutes.

Fresh Fig Pesto

 Cut the stems off the figs and add everything to a food processor or blender and puree.

Maple Caramelized Walnuts

Add everything in a saute pan and turn on stove to medium heat.

Stir the whole time.

In about 3 minutes they will start to get sticky. When all moisture is gone, turn off the heat.

Spread onto parchment paper or a baking sheet.  Don’t worry about them sticking together, when cooled you can separate them. Wait a until they are completely cooled.  They will hardened and become crystallized.

Crostini

Slice the bread into 1/2 inch slices.

Place slices on to a baking sheet and coat both sides with olive oil.

Place on the top shelf of the oven and broil for 1 – 2 minutes then flip them over and broil for about 1 more minute.  Make sure and watch close, they can burn fast.

I usually put the timer on for 1 minute and check then put on for 1 more while watching.  They cook faster on the 2nd side because they are already hot.

Assemble

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Spread about a tablespoon of pesto onto each crostini, top with a fig half and top with a piece of brie.  Put in the oven on the middle shelf for about 6 minutes.  Top them with the walnuts and serve.

*You can also drizzle a little the sauce from the figs over each crostini.

Maple-Roasted-Fig-with-Brie-Crostini

Health benefits:

Figs are high in potassium, which helps control high blood pressure. They have a high concentration of fiber that is helpful in digestion, weight management, constipation; helps prevent colon cancer, post-menopausal breast cancer, hypertension, and diabetes. The soluble fiber pectin, helps pull out excess cholesterol. They are also high in calcium that strengthens bones and help reduce macular degeneration. They are very high in antioxidants that are excellent for the liver.

Purple Basil Pesto Crostini with Apples and Mozzarella

These Purple Basil Pesto Crostini appetizers are the perfect balance between sweet and savory.  Purple opal basil is a bit milder but more savory than its cousin sweet basil and combines well with the flavor of sheep Gouda.  The crostini and apple gives a crunchy texture while the fresh mozzarella and pesto adds a wonderful creaminess.  All the flavors combined make for the perfect bite!

Purple Basil Pesto Crostini

This Friday, we attended one of Robby’s work barbeques. It was a lot of fun and great to meet some of Robby’s co-workers I haven’t met before.  One of them was a guy named Val, he asked me what I did and I said I had a food blog.  He got excited and said, “my wife also has a food blog” and proceeded to show me on his phone.  I was impressed to say the least!  I briefly met her towards the end of the party.  Her name is Elena and her blog is “Urban Kitchen Affairs“, check it out!  For the barbeque, I made a large Greek salad and some crostini very similar to these purple basil and sheep Gouda pesto crostini, which were devoured in minutes.  I plan to share the recipe with you in the near future.

Purple-Opal-Basil-and-Sheep-Gouda-Pesto-

This appetizer goes perfect with a nice Rosé, Rueda or a Prosecco.

Purple-Opal-Basil-and-Sheep-Gouda-Pesto-Crostini

Purple Basil Pesto Crostini Recipe:
 About 24 crostini
  • Purple Basil and Sheep Gouda Pesto
  • 2 1/2 Cups Purple Opal Basil
  • 3/4 Cup Sheep Gouda – shredded and packed
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Walnuts
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste
Crostini
  • 1 French Baguette – 1/2 inch sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil – or as needed
  • 2 Container Fresh Mozzarella – small balls – sliced in half
  • 1 – 2 Fuji Apples – cored – sliced
  • 1 Recipe Purple Basil and Sheep Gouda Pesto
  • Fresh Basil Leaf – garnish

Instructions:

Pesto

Wash and thoroughly dry the basil.  Measure all ingredients and add to a food processor or blender and puree.  Set aside.

Crostini

Place slices on to a baking sheet and coat both sides with olive oil.

Place on the top shelf of the oven and broil for 1 – 2 minutes then flip them over and broil for about 1 more minute.  Make sure and watch close, they can burn fast.

I usually put the timer on for 1 minute and check then put on for 1 more while watching.  They cook faster on the 2nd side because they are already hot.

Assemble

Spread the pesto onto each crostini, add a slice of apple, top with 3 or more halfs of mozzerella and a fresh basil leaf.

  Purple-Basil-Pesto-Crostini

Health benefits:

Apples are so incredibly healthy, they fight the effects of aging on the brain and they contain the antioxidants therein, which is helpful in protecting you from Parkinson’s. Eating apples have been linked to a decreased risk of strokes. Apples rich in flavonol could help reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 23%.  Soluble fiber found in apples lowers cholesterol and the skins also prevents the cholesterol from solidifying on your artery walls.  The fiber also helps to prevent gallstones and they even help reduce tooth decay. They regulate blood sugar levels by increasing the uptake of glucose from your blood that stimulates insulin receptors.

Fresh Basil has anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.  The herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin A and is rich in zea-xanthin an anti-oxidant that helps protect age-related macular disease.  It has a good amount of Iron and also helps to detoxify the liver.  It contains phytochemicals that may lower cortisol, a hormone secreted when you’re stressed that causes weight gain, so add some fresh basil to you water or tea.

Blueberry Chevre Crostini with Champagne Vinegar Hibiscus Flowers

This is a very unique  Blueberry Chevre Crostini appetizer!  The champagne vinegar soaked hibiscus flowers adds the perfect tang to the soft flavors of the chevre and the subtle sweetness of the blueberries.  Add all that onto a crunchy crostini and it’s outstanding!

 Blueberry Chevre Crostini

The 4th of July was always a big deal growing up in L.A.  A bunch of us would walk the beach from Santa Monica to Venice, from party to party, trying not to get hit by bottle rockets.  I remember the skies flooded with them.  It was kinda scary!  They don’t allow that anymore.

Blueberry-and-Hibiscus-Crostini

When I moved back to Venice for a few years in 2007, I did the 4th with at least 20 of our friends that all grew up together.  We were all on bikes crusin the boardwalk.  We rode to the Venice canals before the fireworks started and watched them from the top of a bridge with the best view.  It was always a lot of fun!

Blueberry-Vinegar-Hibiscus-Crostini

Tis the season for appetizers and with the 4th of July coming up, I can’t think of a better appetizer than this red, white and blue crostini.

Blueberry-Hibiscus-Flower-Crostini

For a festive wine, I would pair these crostini with a Prosecco or a Cava.

Vinegar Hibiscus Flowers

Blueberry Chevre Crostini Recipe:

12 Crostini

  • 12 Slices French Baguette
  • Approx. 5 oz. Chevre Goat Cheese – or to taste – room temperature
  • 1 Container Blueberries – 5 to 10 per crostini
  • 1/4 Cup Champagne Vinegar Soaked Hibiscus Flowers – or to taste 

Instructions:

Hibiscus Flowers

You will need to soak the hibiscus flowers in the vinegar for 4 days to a week. (I did a week) Follow this recipe.

 *You will have leftover hibiscus vinegar.  You could use the leftovers for salad dressings like this one.  You could also half the recipe.  Other uses for the leftover vinegar flowers would be as a topping on a sandwich, on a salad, or anywhere you would use any pickled vegetable.

Crostini

Slice the bread into 1/2 inch slices.

Place slices on to a baking sheet and coat both sides with olive oil.

Place on the top shelf of the oven and broil for 1 – 2 minutes then flip them over and broil for about 1 more minute.  Make sure and watch close, they can burn fast.

I usually put the timer on for 1 minute and check then put on for 1 more while watching.  They cook faster on the 2nd side because they are already hot.

Let cool.

 Assemble

Spread the chevre on to the crostini and top with the blueberries and vinegar flowers.  Serve as is or drizzle with maple syrup.   I sometimes put them in the toaster oven for a minute or so, which is also really good!

 

_Hibiscus-Blueberry-Crostini

Health benefits:

Hibiscus Flowers is a simple way to increase your antioxidant intake due to the high vitamin C content.  The antioxidant properties can help reverse the inflammatory process in your body and has the ability to lower high blood pressure.  It protects against chronic disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and cancer.  It helps lower “bad” LDL cholesterol from the body, therefore it helps protect against heart disease and blood vessels from damage.

Blueberries are high in Vitamin C. They are a super food and are one of the highest in antioxidants compared to most fruits. They are a great source of fiber. The fiber helps reduce abdominal fat, lower cholesterol and helps lower glucose. They are great for brain health, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and they are known to heal damaged brain cells. So they help you keep your memory intact.

 

Fennel Radish Crostini with Fresh Pea Cheve Pesto

I love a good appetizer and this Fennel Radish Crostini is no exception!  The combination of pea pesto, crunchy vegetables and Manchego cheese is out of this world.  To top it off, the scallions add a nice spicy touch.  It is the perfect addition to a summer soiree.

Fennel Radish Crostini

Of course, crostinis have been made a number of ways. However, this combination is truly unique which makes me happy!  Plus, how pretty are these with the pink and green?!  As with anything, the higher quality of the ingredients, the better the crostinis will be.  So, make sure to get a fresh baked French Baguette!  There is one problem though, you won’t be able to stop eating them!

Fennel Radish Crostini

Serve these with a nice summer salad and a sparkling wine, like a Cava or Prosecco.

Fennel Radish Crostini

Recipe: Fennel Radish Crostini
Approx. 20 Crostini
 
Pea Chevre Pesto
  • 3/4 Pound (1/2 cup shelled peas) Fresh Pea Pods
  • 1/4 Cup Raw Walnuts
  • 1/4 Cup Chevre Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Salad
  • 1 Fennel Bulb Cut in half cut out core and cut in 8 segments
  • 1/2 Cup Fennel Stalks – thinly sliced
  • 3/4 Cup French Breakfast Radishes – thinly sliced or regular – thinly sliced and quartered
  • 3/4 Cup Pea Chevre Pesto
  • 1 Wedge Manchego – shavings
  • 1 French Baguette – 20 slices
  • 1/4 Extra Virgin Olive Oil – or as needed
  • Scallion Micro Sprouts or Scallion Onions (thinly sliced) – to taste
Instructions:
Pesto
Start by making the pesto.
Remove peas from the pods and measure.
In a food processor or blender; add the peas, measure and add all other ingredients, puree until smooth and set aside.
Salad
Cut the stalks off the fennel bulb, then cut the bulb in half and cut out the core.  Cut the fennel bulb into 8 wedges, thinly slice and add to a medium size bowl.
Slice the fennel stalks into thin slices, measure and add to the bowl.
Thinly slice the radish and add to bowl. (If using regular radishes, thinly slice and quarter).
Add the pesto to the fennel and mix well.
Crostini

Slice the bread into 1/2 inch slices.

Place on to baking sheet and with a pastry brush, coat both sides with olive oil. (or use your fingers)

Put on the top shelf of your oven and broil for 1 minute on each side.  Make sure to watch them closely, they can burn fast.

I usually put the timer on but still check on them.  You want them just golden.

Turn oven to 350 degrees.

Scoop up a tablespoon of the salad and spread onto the crostinis and place them on a baking sheet.  Using a vegetable peeler, shave the manchego into slices, two for each crostini and put into the oven for 3 – 4 minutes to melt the cheese.  I check on them every minute.

Top them with the micro scallion sprouts or scallion slices.

Fennel Radish Crostini

Health benefits:

Fennel is a very good source of fiber that helps limit cholesterol build-up and helps to maintain healthy levels of cholesterol in the blood.  The fiber also helps remove carcinogens from the colon and it can eliminate constipation.  It contains the phytonutrient anethole, the main part of its volatile oil that has been shown to reduce inflammation and also helping prevent the occurrence of cancer. It is also an excellent source of vitamin C, which is helpful for eye inflammation, and reduces premature aging and macular degeneration.  There are high levels of potassium in the fennel bulbs and seeds and can help increase brain function and cognitive abilities and it also increases the reach of oxygen to the brain.  The fronds above the fennel bulbs contain important vitamins, like pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin.

Radishes help eliminate excess mucus in the body and are great for respiratory disorders, bronchitis and asthma. They are cleansing for the digestive system helping to break down and eliminate stagnant food and toxins that have built up over time as well as eliminate cancer-causing free radicals in the body. They are very high in vitamin C, which improves your immune system.  They have a low glycemic index and helps to regulate the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream, which is great for diabetics. Radishes water content keep your body and skin keep hydrated and with their high fiber content they increase regular bowel movements, relieve bloating and help indigestion. They are a powerful detoxifier of the liver and stomach. They are also great for reducing blood pressure with the high potassium content.