We start at 2pm every year and if I even thought about suggesting a different menu item I’d get the look. Last year I managed to sneak in a few variations of brussels sprouts and green beans, which were surprisingly welcomed…but still. Don’t mess with tradition.
Perhaps this is why I’m the exact opposite. I crave diversity in food, even at Thanksgiving. Variety is the spice of life, so why now mix it up? In fact, I envision a time with my own children where each year we have a new theme for Thanksgiving. One year we’ll have an Italian flare to each dish, the next we’ll go vegetarian (if I can live without the turkey) and then maybe even attempt deep-frying the bird. One idea that really gets me excited is the idea of a tapas and small plates-style Thanksgiving.
This is where I’d serve my recipe for Mini Goat Cheese Ball Skewers with Popped Amaranth, Rosemary and Sun-Dried Tomatoes. Not only are these goat cheese skewers mini and fun, but they pack a power food punch. They include the tiny ancient herb seed, amaranth. It’s high in protein and fiber, and also contains all of the essential amino acids.
Instead of cooking in water or adding it to a bread, I toasted the amaranth until it popped, much like popcorn. This is the best part of making the appetizer. So fun and incredibly fast and easy. Then the popped amaranth encrusts a creamy, tantalizing and tangy goat cheese that is skewered onto a toothpick with fresh arugula and sun-dried tomatoes for richness and balance.
Who knows, maybe these will make an appearance at my family’s Thanksgiving table this year. Don’t be surprised. Give these Mini Goat Cheese Ball Skewers a try, they’re a wonderful twist on a Thanksgiving appetizer.
by Becky of Project Domestication
- 8 oz. Goat Cheese (plain or garlic and herb)
- 1 Tbsp Bob’s Red Mill Organic Amaranth Grain
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary, minced
- 6.5 oz. jar of Sun-Dried Tomatoes packed in Oil
- 1 cup Baby Arugula
Using a half-tablespoon measuring spoon scoop goat cheese and fill till spoon is heaping and rounded. Take out of measuring spoon and roll with hands to form a cohesive ball. Place in dish and continue until all goat cheese is used up. Cover dish and let chill in refrigerator for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile open the jar of sun-dried tomatoes and pour into colander or sieve to drain. Heat a tall (this is crucial as the amaranth jumps when toasting) stockpot or saucepan to medium-high heat. While pan is heating mince fresh rosemary.
Add 1/2 TB of amaranth to pan and stir continually until most seeds become white and puffed. About a half to a fourth of seeds will remain un-puffed and will instead toast to a golden color. This process takes about 20-25 seconds so stay close and be read to pour seeds into a separate dish. Repeat with remaining amaranth seeds.
Let toasted and popped amaranth seeds cool. Then combine popped amaranth with rosemary. Rinse and dry baby arugula. Now it’s time to assemble. Roll a goat cheese ball in popped amaranth and rosemary. Keep ball in amaranth. Grab three leaves of arugula and fold them in half, grab one sun-dried tomato and place on top. Hold the two together with left hand and using the right hand pierce both with a toothpick. Gently place the amaranth-encrusted goat cheese ball at the end of toothpick and place on serving plate. Repeat with each cheese ball and serve.
*Alternately you can divide the tablespoon of rosemary in half, folding half in the plain goat cheese and half mixed with the popped amaranth.
Becky is a Utah native and proud of it. She authors Project Domestication, which chronicles her journey in cooking, travel, baking and all things domestic. She loves using high-quality ingredients, especially if it means learning something new and being able to enjoy a special treat with those she loves. You can connect with her on twitter at @DomesticBecky.