In search of the perfect appetizer, I came up with this little dandy, the Vegan Bacon Ricotta Crostini. If you like the flavor and texture combinations of crusty toasted bread, creamy cashew ricotta, vegan crispy bacon drizzled in maple syrup, you’re in luck! I happen to have a thing for vegan appetizers.
We went to a couple of holiday parties recently and I realized that having a good appetizer recipe handy is imperative. Because if you’re the lone vegan at your party, well, don’t expect much to eat. There usually will be a veggie tray. And if you bring some Vegan Ranch Dip with you, you’ll be just fine! And usually, someone will bring some hummus. That’s always a great score for vegans!
But sometimes, or maybe all the time, I like to show off a little. Like, oh, you think only the omnivores get all the fancy foods?
There’s a competitive streak in me, for sure.
So that’s why I came up with this Vegan Bacon Ricotta Crostini.
That’s a mouthful. Literally!
We are in the new year and Shawn and I are in “let’s get healthy” mode. So, I’m begrudgingly packing up the overly sweet desserts in favor of healthier recipes.
This morning I started my annual January Spin Cycle class too. Let’s just say, tomorrow I’m going to be pretty, pretty sore.
However, even though there was a frigid wind outside, we were riding our bikes through the tropical streets of Costa Rica (via video, obviously). I’ll take what I can get at this point.
Vegan Bacon Ricotta Crostini
I know you can look at a recipe like this one and think it looks kinda complicated. It’s not. It’s a very simple cashew ricotta cheese, topped with Sweet Earth Vegan Bacon and drizzled with maple syrup.
I have to confess, the combination of maple syrup and that toasted, crusty bread? It’s pretty fabulous.
If that’s not enough to love, then just take a moment to think about that Sweet Earth Vegan Bacon. Not only is it a healthier alternative to meat-based bacon, it’s also convenient and flavorful! It works perfectly with your (and our) New Year’s resolutions!
Each piece comes smothered in a smoked hickory sage sauce. How perfect does that sound?
Also, one of my new year’s resolutions is to take my commitment to environmentalism to the next level. Eating plant-based is one of the best things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.
I figure we can lead by example. Right? Be the change we want to see. All of it!
And if you can be the change while eating Vegan Bacon Ricotta Crostini drizzled with maple syrup? Well, that’s not too shabby!
Change This Recipe To Achieve Your Goals
Confession time. Following a recipe word-for-word gives me anxiety. I don’t know why, but it does. I just like making things my own way. Or maybe I’m just a control enthusiast. (I substituted “enthusiast” for “freak” because of, well, you know, creative license).
So here’s the deal. This Vegan Bacon Ricotta Crostini is fabulous. I even bought whole wheat crusty bread which adds even more nutty delicious flavor to the whole bite profile. But the thing is, cooking at home becomes even MORE enticing when you follow your own passions. And the more you cook at home, the healthier you will be. I’m not just making that up. There are studies that show eating at home makes people healthier. In fact, this study from Johns Hopkins shows that cooking at home is THE healthiest thing you can do to achieve your goals.
See? I told you!
So, get in that kitchen and give me twenty! Wait. That’s not right. Get in that kitchen and start getting creative with this recipe. If you need some ideas to get things rolling, here are some ways I would love to play around with this recipe:
- Rather than Italian seasonings in the ricotta, use dill and sage instead
- Add some extra bacon to the cashew ricotta for even more bacon-infused flavor
- Sprinkle the top with chopped fresh basil
- Sprinkle a few pieces of yellow raisins with the bacon
You can serve this Vegan Bacon Ricotta Crostini on a platter with the maple syrup just waiting to be drizzled. Or, you can go ahead and drizzle it yourself. The good news about doing it that way is the toasty bread soaks up some of the maple flavor. It’s simply divine!
- 1 clove garlic peeled and chopped
- 1 cup raw cashews soaked and drained*
- ½ cup plant-based milk not vanilla, plain
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon mild miso paste
- 1 baguette (we used a whole wheat one)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 7 to 8 slices veggie bacon (see notes)
- Maple Syrup
For the Cashew Ricotta:
- Add olive oil and chopped garlic to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Then microwave in 15-second increments until the garlic becomes aromatic and tender. Set aside for a few minutes to cool. Add the garlic and oil to the bowl of a food processor.
- Add soaked cashews, chopped garlic, plant-based milk, nutritional yeast flakes, basil, and miso paste. Pulse a few seconds. Use a spatula to scrape the sides. Repeat this process until it's smooth. Cover and set aside.
For the Vegan Crostini:
- Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the baguette into 24 slices and place on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until bread is toasted. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Cook the vegan bacon for 2 to 3 minutes per side, turning only once. Turn and repeat for the remaining side.
- Remove from skillet and set aside to cool. Vegan bacon will become crispier as it dries/cools. Break into pieces.
- Top each piece of toasted crostini with a dollop of cashew ricotta, vegan bacon pieces, and drizzled maple syrup.
(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)
Soaking Raw CashewsYou can do a long or quick soak to get the cashews tender.
- Long soak cashews: Place cashews in a lidded container. Add water until the cashews are covered. Place the lid on and refrigerate at least two hours, up to overnight.
- Quick coach cashews: Place raw cashews in a saucepan, add water until cashews are covered, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until cashews are tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Either process: drain the water.
Ricotta Seasoning optionsFeel free to add additional seasonings to the ricotta, like dried oregano, basil, and/or salt and pepper to taste.
The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Whatever crusty bread you’re crunching on, enjoy!