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Dips & Spreads, Mostly Vegan

Pumpkin Dip

This simple to prepare, slightly sweet, chilled dip is delicious when spread on graham crackers or ginger snaps. It was shared with us by Maryland natives, Lorraine and Andrew Avanante, Parishioners who now live near Mission, Texas. Lorraine has brought this tasty dish to Church for after Liturgy coffee hour as well as to our home. It is always very much appreciated.


1 – 15 Oz. Can Pumpkin

1 – 12 Oz. Container Frozen Non-Dairy Dessert Whip

1 Large Box Vanilla Instant Pudding

Pumpkin Pie Spice, to taste


Mix all together well.  Chill. Serve with plain or cinnamon graham crackers, or spicy ginger snaps.   


Fasting Version Greek Pita Spread

This recipe can also be used for the Lebanese “Laban” sandwiches.  Besides being used for pita stuffed sandwiches or gyros, this is excellent used as a dip for raw vegetables.


1 Lb. Tofu, Creamy (not firm)

2 C. Cucumbers, Finely Chopped

2 Tsp. Fresh Mint Leaves, Minced

2 Tsp. Fresh Dill Leaves, Minced

6 Radishes, Finely Minced or Grated

½ C. Scallions, Finely Minced or Grated

1 Clove Fresh Garlic, Minced or Pressed

2 Tsp. Salt

Lemon Juice &/or Vinegar, to taste

Olive Oil, to taste


Mix all together, either by hand or briefly in a food processor.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Chill before using.  Refrigerated, this spread will keep for several days.


Hummus (Middle Eastern Garbanzo & Sesame Butter Spread) 

This is what we do when we need to make a quick bowl of hummus at home. Sometimes we remember to cook up a large pot of garbanzos at the beginning of a fasting period and freeze these in meal-sized packets for easy use.  If not, we’re left to using cans. Everyone makes hummus a bit differently. This is the way we usually create it at home:


2 Cans Cooked Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans

3+ Medium Cloves of Garlic (to taste)

3/4 C. Tahini - sesame seed butter (to taste)

1/4 C. Fresh Parsley, tightly packed, Optional

1/4 C. Fresh Scallions or Onion, Chopped

Juice from 2 Med. Lemons

1/4 C. Olive Oil (or eliminate, if fasting)

1 1/2 Tsp. Salt


Put garbanzos/chick peas into food processor.  Add Lemon Juice and Olive Oil and blend well.  Blend in Tahini.  Add Salt, Garlic, Parsley, Onion and/or Scallions and blend again.  Taste and adjust ingredients to your liking.  Best if allowed to sit for several hours or refrigerated overnight.  Serve on Pita Bread, Tortillas, Crackers or Bread.  Very good.


Another Hummus Recipe (Moroccan/Algerian Style)

Hummus is one of those fasting-legal dishes which have become a staple at our house. Its bean protein really sticks with you throughout the day, and also makes an excellent before Vespers snack. The following is a recipe from Orthodox and birding friend, Leslie Cusick, who is part of the OCA Parish of St. Anne’s, in Oakridge, Tennessee. 


2 Cans Garbanzo Beans, drained, liquid reserved

1/2 C. Tahini Pasted (roasted is best if you can find it)

1/3 C. Warm Water (or some of Garbanzo bean liquid)

6 Cloves Fresh Garlic, or to taste

Juice of 2 Lemons

1-1/2 Tsp. Salt

1 Tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper

3 Tsp. Ground Cumin

1/4 C. Good Olive Oil, optional if fasting


Put first 5 ingredients into food processor and process until smooth.  If adding oil, gradually add it next.  If not, blend in the remaining ingredients and process until well combined.  This recipe is more Moroccan/Algerian Mediterranean than the more Eastern or Northern Mediterranean one.  It is delicious!  Add more lemon juice for a looser consistency, if so desired.


Spanish Spinach Hummus

Okay, it may seem a bit of a stretch, but we came up with this one during Great Lent one year when, early in the afternoon on a day when Pre-Sanctified Liturgy was going to be held, someone gave us a large case box of fresh spinach.  We had been planning to make hummus for the Lenten meal which our Parish traditionally holds after services. Instead, we adapted to suite our revised situation an old recipe from Seville in España, one which was originally strongly influenced by the Moors. Actually much more “Moorish” than Spanish, as the recipe is a good outcome of the “necessity is the mother of invention” quandary, it is also to be considered an example of the concept, “Moor with less"...


2 Lbs. or More Fresh Spinach, Washed, Stemmed & Lightly Torn

1 Lg. Onion, Roughly Chopped

6+ Cloves Fresh Garlic, Peeled

¼ C. Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil

¼ C. Fresh Cilantro, Optional

2 Tsp. Cominos (Cumin), Ground

2 Tsp. Paprika

½ Tsp. Oregano

¼ Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes or Red Chile, or to taste, Optional

1 Tsp. Salt, or to taste

1 Tbsp. Tahini (Sesame Butter)

3 Cans Garbanzo Beans (Chick Peas), partially drained


2 Tbsps. Fresh Lemon or Lime Juice, Optional


Wash and lightly tear up the fresh spinach. In a heavy pan, heat olive or other oil. Add onion and garlic, stirring frequently until sautéed. Add fresh spinach, optional cilantro, and additional spices. Stir frequently and only lightly “stir-fry” the greens, removing them from the heat while still a bright green color. Place vegetables in a food processor and process until coarsely ground. Add Tahini, garbanzo beans and optional juice of lemon or lime. Process again until well blended and coarsely ground. Serve warm, room temperature or slightly chilled, along with pita bread, crackers or French bread.  Or, serve over rice, couscous or yellow split peas.


Eggplant Caviar (Russian style)

This recipe is excellent. It originally came from Eugene Kutyreff, via Jane Stephanovich, both who we met while at St. Dimitri of Rostov’s OCA Mission located in Los Alamos, NM.  Besides being “fasting friendly,” it keeps well for many days when refrigerated.


2 Medium Eggplants, peeled & sliced lengthwise

Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil

3 Roma Tomatoes, cut in half

1 Red Onion, peeled & cut in half

1 Bell Pepper, cut in half

2+ Fresh Garlic or Garlic Powder, to taste

Salt & Black Pepper, to taste


Brush eggplant slices with olive oil or vegetable oil and place on baking sheet.  Place the rest of the vegetables on a baking sheet.  The vegetables could also be placed on a BBQ grill and cooked there as well. Bake all at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until eggplant is brown.  Peel tomatoes & bell pepper.  Add salt, pepper, & fresh garlic or garlic powder, to taste, and run through grinder at a course setting or briefly blend in a food processor.  Serve with crackers or on French bread as a snack, side dish or as an appetizer.

Baba Ganooj - Lebanese or Middle-Eastern Eggplant-Tahini Dip or Spread


A wonderful family recipe shared by Antoinette Shwery. Antoinette was born in Lebanon and later married (the now departed) James Shwery, a Lebanese builder and developer.  She has lived here in the Valley for many years and is one of the most dedicated and faithful members which St. George’s has ever been blessed to have. Baba Ganooj can be eaten as an appetizer or as a side-dish. It is excellent when served with fresh pita, Greek olives and thinly-sliced cucumbers.


1 Lg. Eggplant (Or about 6 or more tiny ones)

¼ C. Tahini (Sesame Butter)

½ C. Lemon (or Lime) Juice

1 Tsp. Salt

1 Tsp. Onion Powder (or 1 small fresh onion)

3 Cloves Fresh Garlic, Optional

Olive Oil, Optional

Fresh Parsley, Optional


Options:  Use a small fresh onion (rather than powdered) and several cloves of fresh garlic, to your taste. Garnish the serving bowl with several minced sprigs of fresh parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.


Wash and remove the stem from the eggplant.  Prick it with a fork in four places to break the skin.  Place it on a piece of aluminum foil and bake on the center oven rack for ¾ - 1 hour.  The eggplant should be very soft.  (The eggplant can also be cooked on either the grill or in the microwave oven, on high setting).  When cooked, cut the eggplant in half. Cool it under cold, running water, rinsing it and removing some of the seeds. Peel off the skin and squeeze out extra water. Put the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt and onion or onion powder in a food processor or blender.  Blend until creamy.  Add chunks of the cooked eggplant and blend until the spread is the texture you wish.  It can be left rather coarse, or can be entirely blended. Serve on crackers or bread (especially fresh Pita!) or over fish. This recipe can easily be doubled.  Made ahead and allowed to chill so the flavors can blend or can be served when still warm.


Mexican Avocado-Garlic Sauce


A recipe found in our first cookbook, which was submitted by Magdalene Singer of Los Alamos, New Mexico.  If vegetable oil is used, this can be eaten as a fast day treat.


2 Lg. Very Soft Avocados

1 Tsp. Salt

6 Cloves Fresh Garlic

7 Slices White Homemade-style Bread

1/4 C. Olive Oil (or for fasting, use other oil)

¾ C. Fresh Lemon or Lime Juice


Pound the garlic and salt in a heavy mortar or in a food processor.  Add the avocado pulp and thoroughly mash these together.  Soak the bread in a bit of water. When the water has absorbed, squeeze out the excess moisure.  Add the bread to the avocado mixture. Blend again. With processor on, slowly add the oil and lemon or lime juice, alternating, until all has been added and a smooth paste has formed.  Makes about 3 C.  


Tofu & Tomato Dip or Sandwich Spread

1 Lb. Firm Tofu, Well-Drained

2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

1 Tbsp. Tomato Paste or Sun Dried Tomatoes

2 Scallions, Roughly Chopped (Or Fresh Chives)

2-3 Sprigs Fresh Parsley

½ Tsp. Fresh Thyme Leaves

½ Tsp. Fresh Oregano

½ Tsp. Fresh Rosemary

1 Small Clove Fresh Garlic, Peeled

1 Tsp. Salt

Drain, gently squeeze and dry off the tofu as much as possible. Remove any tough stems from the fresh herbs. Crumble the tofu into a food processor bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and blend well, until quite smooth. Chill in refrigerator. Best if one allows time for flavors to blend together before serving. Use either as a dip or as a protein-rich sandwich spread. 

Tomatillo Guacamole


Most of us have our own guacamole recipe.  This one is a little bit different and includes Tomatillos, or Mexican husk tomatoes, which grow very well in gardens here in South Texas. Our St. George’s Food Pantry was once given a huge supply of fresh tomitillos as a “freebie” to distribute or use. This was a nice way to use some of them.


2 – 3 Ripe Avocados, Seeded and Removed from Shells

2 – 3 Tbsp. Fresh Lime Juice

4 – 6 Tomatillos, Minced or Blended in a Food Processor*

2 Tbsp. Onion, Finely Chopped

2 Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro Leaves, Chopped

1 Fresh Jalapeño, Minced

1 Clove Fresh Garlic, Minced or Pressed

Salt & Pepper, to taste


Mash the avocados with a fork.  Add tomatillos to the lime juice. Then, stir in all of the remaining ingredients. Add the avocados last. Stir and chill for 30 minutes before serving.  Serve with chips or on top of tostados, chalupas or any other Mexican-type food. *Some people prefer to slightly cook tomatillos. They can be briefly cooked in a micro-wave oven or slightly blanched in boiling water.


¡Gloria a Dios por todo!
Direct your Questions, Comments or Feedback to (Por favor dirigir sus preguntas, dudas o comentarios al): 956-781-6114 or info@stgeorgepantry.org

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