Eggplant Jam

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No typos here, this jam is out of this world and so worth the effort it takes to make it happen. The cloves lend a peppery note and gives this eggplant jam a distinct and delicious flavour! Plus you’re consuming your veggies…that has to count for something right?

The type of eggplant used for this recipe is baby (or italian) eggplant, because they have a less bitter taste to them. Serving this at your next gathering or party will surely turn a few heads, and you will be reigned queen of the kitchen ;)

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Eggplant Jam     Yields: ~4 Cups

8C baby eggplant, washed and peeled (counted around 80 pieces)

3C sugar

1Tsp ground cloves

Juice of 1 lemon

3Tbsp rose water (available at your Middle-Eastern market or you may also find it at your local superstore in the international aisle)

1 1/2C pecan (optional/omit if you have a nut allergy)

———————–

1. Remove tops and peel the eggplants.

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2. Using a small knife, score an ‘x’  either at the top or the bottom of the eggplant as shown. This prevents the eggplants from exploding! My reasoning may be slightly askew but still make that ‘x’ so your eggplants don’t burst…

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3. Add to pot with sugar and let cook on high heat at first until mixture boils.

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4. At this point, add lemon juice, cloves, rose water and let simmer on medium-low heat until the sugar melts and the eggplants soften.

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The aroma from the cloves is amazing!

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5. You’ll need to be careful not to ruin the integrity of the eggplant when you stir the jam. Therefore, stir from the outside in to ensure that the eggplant stays as intact as possible.

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5. You will need to let it simmer for approximately 3 1/2 hours, until a slightly loose jam consistency forms.

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6. Add pecans and gently stir to incorporate into the jam. Omit this step if you have an allergy to nuts.

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7. Let cool slightly before adding to mason jars or lidded container(s).

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This jam does not need to be refrigerated but you may wish to do so if you like a thicker jam consistency.

Enjoy on toast, or on top of muffins, scones, what have you. Absolutely delicious!

Bon appétit! xo

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Vegan Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes

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These salted caramel chocolate mousse cupcakes are so light and tasty yet decadent and sinful at the same time. There’s an explosion of flavours that happens in your mouth with the combination of the salted caramel, the airiness of the chocolate mousse, and the fluffiness of the chocolate cupcake. Delicious and quite simple to make. Just beautiful!

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Vegan Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes     Yields: ~24 cupcakes

2C flour, sifted

1C sugar

3/4C packed brown sugar

1/2C cocoa powder, sifted

1Tsp baking soda

1Tsp baking powder

1/2Tsp salt

1C coconut milk

1/2C coconut oil, melted

2Tbsp ground flaxseed

1/4C plus 2Tbsp water

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Vegan Caramel Sauce

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1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Mix all the sifted dry ingredients in a stand mixer or hand mixer on low speed until combined.

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3. In a separate bowl, combine sugars, milk, and oil.

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4. In a small bowl, whisk together the flax and water until frothy. Then add to the wet mixture and whisk until combined.

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5. Add the wet mixed ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined.

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6. Pour into cupcake liners as shown. You’ll want to fill the liners to about 1/2 way for a cupcake or 3/4 way full for more of a muffin top. Your choice…I prefer the look of a cupcake personally :)

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Tip: Alternatively, you can make this into a cake. This recipe should make enough batter for 2 – 8″ or 9″ cake pans. Cook time will be longer. Tack on another 10 minutes or so until toothpick inserted comes out nice and clean.

7. Place in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely before adding the mousse.

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8. Using a pipe tip or a spoon, add a nice dollop of chocolate mousse.

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9. Next, drizzle that deliciously sinful caramel sauce over top the mousse. Crush some sea salt (or pink Himalayan sea salt if you happen to have it in your pantry) and please, go ahead and dive in!

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Tip: Feel free to enjoy these cupcakes warm. If you don’t want to add the mousse then you can just drizzle the caramel sauce with some sea salt and enjoy!

Bon appétit! xo

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Creamy Chicken Bites

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I made these after I’d picked up Munsur from school. Let me tell you they disappeared within minutes when it was time to eat! They were super easy to make but the best part was eating them – very light, crunchy, and packed with layers of delicious flavour. They’re a lot of fun to make and even more fun to consume! :)

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Creamy Chicken Bites     Yields: 24

1 recipe Mini Phyllo Bowls

3Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 leek stalk, finely chopped

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1C previously Roasted Chicken, finely chopped (for my Vegans and Vegetarians, replace with equal amounts of Seitan)

3/4C Chicken Broth (replace with equal amount water and add 2Tbsp extra virgin olive oil for vegan/vegetarian)

1C Daiya Chives and Onion cream cheese

1/2C-2/3C Daiya Mozzarella cheese shreds

Salt and pepper to taste

———————

1. Have phyllo bowls ready. Set aside.

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2. In a medium pan, add chopped leeks and onion with the olive oil, and stir on medium heat until wilted, about 3-5 minutes.

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3. Next,  add chicken and cream cheese and stir to incorporate. Let cook for a couple of minutes.

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4. Add broth, stir, then let cook for a few minutes more. Approximately 4 minutes, until broth has just started to absorb into the cream cheese – making it smoother and easier to work with.

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When you’re ready to eat, assemble.

5. Drop a heaping tablespoonful of the chicken mixture into each bowl as shown.

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6. Then, add the shredded cheese over bowls and place in the oven under Lo broil. Make sure to pay close attention to them as you don’t want to burn the bowls!

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All you need is about 1 1/2 minutes tops – until cheese shreds have just begun to melt.

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Remove from oven, place sliced grapes on top and enjoy!

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The grapes add that sweetness which compliments the saltiness of the chicken and cheeses beautifully.

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These will surely be a hit in your household. :)

Bon appétit! xo

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Chicken Coconut Soup

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This soup was inspired by a dish I recently had at one of my favourite restaurants. I’ve infused mine with lemongrass and ginger to give it that extra bit of kick! And I don’t need to mention that mine is dairy-free, egg-free, etc free either (even though I just did)!

Quite simple and super delicious, give this recipe a try today!

Chicken Coconut Soup      Yields: 6-8 servings

4C Chicken broth (for my Vegans, substitute with equal amounts vegetable stalk)

2C water

1C previously boiled chicken (Vegans: substitute with equal amounts of Seitan)

2 stalks lemongrass

1 1/4C coconut milk

3Tbsp fresh ginger, minced

Juice of 1 lime

Salt and pepper  to taste

1C grape tomatoes

Handful cilantro, finely chopped

Pinch cayenne pepper

Chives to garnish

——————-

In a dutch/french oven, add chicken broth and water and bring to a boil on high heat.

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Working with lemongrass is easy. Simply trim bottom and peel the stalk until you reach the nice inner light green layers.

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Next, taking the side of your knife blade, press down firmly onto the stalk to break down the fibres and release its tantalizing aroma. If you find it’s hard to do that, use the butt end of the knife and bang on the stalk. Alternatively, if you have a meat tenderizer, feel free to use that – lightly pound on the stalk to release its flavours.

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Add to boiling pot. Then, turn to medium low heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes.

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Next, an easy way to peel ginger is to simply use the tip of the spoon and scrape the skin off as shown. Then, mice ginger using a microplane or the thinnest blades on your grater.

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Add coconut milk and ginger to soup. Stir until incorporated. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.

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Using a fork, strain lemongrass and discard.

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Finally, add the chopped cilantro leaves and stir.

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Smells incredible and tastes phenomenal!

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Just before serving, drop a few grape tomatoes and chives to each bowl and enjoy!

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Bon appétit! xo

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Vegan Coconut Pancakes

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I made these on a whim one night for Munsur when he said he was “sooo hungry”!  But instead of making my Vegan Vanilla recipe, I opted to make coconut pancakes. I fiddled with the ingredients and a couple of tries later, I had it! I wasn’t sure how he’d receive them but to my surprise, he devoured the entire batch! So because he loved them so much, I thought I need to post the recipe for the rest of you to enjoy :)

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Vegan Coconut Pancakes     Yields: 18-20 pancakes

1 3/4C coconut milk (plus 1/4C for a thinner batter)

2Tbsp veggie oil

1/2 ripe banana, mashed

2Tbsp sugar/honey/agave syrup

2Tsp vanilla extract

1/2C coconut flour

1C flour

2Tsp baking powder

1/2Tsp sea salt

1Tbsp coconut oil

————————

In a large bowl, whisk together milk, oil, banana, sugar, and vanilla extract.

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Add sifted flours, baking powder, and salt into the wet ingredients. Whisk until fully combined.

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Check for thickness of batter. If you like it a bit more runny, add the extra 1/4C of coconut milk.

Using a non-stick pan, add the coconut oil and then wipe with a napkin just to get the pan to glisten and add a touch of flavour.

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Drop the pancake batter into the pan and cook on medium high heat until edges begin to dry, between 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip pancakes and cook a further 30 seconds before removing onto a serving plate.

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Tip:

1. You really need a good non-stick pan for this recipe. I’ve tried using my Green ceramic pan and the results were appalling - the pancakes stuck to the pan and it was a disaster..tasted great but looked awful. I bought mine at Costco for $30 for a set of 3! Can’t beat that. When I made the pancakes using the non-stick pan, they were so easy to handle and it was practically effortless.

2. You can have the oven preheated at 200°F or by pressing the warming option if you have that setting to keep your pancakes warm while you prepare the rest of your meal.

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Serve with shredded unsweetened coconut and pure maple syrup..and some daiya shredded cheese..yum! Enjoy!

Bon appétit! xo

Orange Ginger Cupcakes with Sucre Brûlée

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These cupcakes are perfection! The orange and ginger combination works so well here. You have that hint of spice from the fresh ginger and the sweet fragrance of the orange…spectacular! Give this recipe a try!

This post is dedicated to one of my Instagram followers, Kornelija, who’d requested this recipe in time for Christmas. For you beautiful :)

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Orange Ginger Cupcakes with Sucre Brûlée     Yields: 30 Cupcakes

3/4C Earth Balance vegan spread

2C sugar

2Tbsp ground flaxseed

1/4C plus 2Tbsp water

3Tbsp finely grated orange zest

2Tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2C flour, sifted

1Tbsp baking powder

1/2 Tsp salt

2Tbsp fresh orange juice

1Tbsp lemon juice

1C coconut milk

1Tbsp minced fresh ginger (see note in step 5)

—————————-

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine lemon juice with coconut milk. This helps to sour the milk and mimic the taste and consistency of buttermilk. Set aside.

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3. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or a hand mixer, beat vegan spread and sugar until light and creamy in texture, around 3 minutes.

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4. In a small bowl, whisk together ground flax with water until frothy. Add to sugar mix.

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5. Add vanilla extract, ginger, and orange zest, and combine until fully incorporated. Scrape down bowl if needed.

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Note: Using fresh ginger vs ground ginger will yield different taste results – the taste isn’t interchangeable. Fresh ginger gives the cupcakes a more full-bodied, almost sweet flavour, whereas the ground ginger lends a more spicy note, reminiscent of gingerbread cookies and the like. So if you don’t have fresh ginger on hand, you may substitute with 1 teaspoon ground ginger and combine with the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt).

6. Next, in a medium bowl, combine sifted flour, baking powder, and salt.

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7. Turn mixer speed to low and add half of the flour mixture into bowl. Mix until just combined. Then add all of the soured milk and orange juice and combine. Finally, finish with the other half of the flour and mix on low speed until fully combined then increase to medium speed and beat for 30 seconds more, scrape sides once if needed.

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8. Drop batter into cupcake liners and fill halfway to the top.

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9. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

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10. Let cool slightly before enjoying. Dust with some icing sugar if you want to skip the burnt sugar topping.

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My brother bought me a torch and we had so much fun burning the sugar!

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To make the burnt sugar:

11. Add 1 cup sugar onto a non-stick pan and cook on medium high heat until it begins to melt and turn into a light amber colour.

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Be sure to remove promptly because the sugar will continue to cook and darken.

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You can either pour right out of the pan onto each cupcake, or if using a spoon is desired, scoop about a tablespoon worth on top of each cupcake to give it that burnt look and taste we’re after.

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The sugar will harden and turn into a crunchy candy coating!

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Smells absolutely incredible, tastes delicious, and is quite perfect for this time of year.

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Bon appetit! xo

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World’s First: Vegan Knafeh!

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This is unofficially the first and only vegan Knafeh ever made in the world!! (Can someone verify that for me?) I’m freaking out a bit…ok a lot!

I can’t believe I made this happen! Middle-Eastern sweets are to die for, but having allergies to dairy and egg pretty much guarantees you don’t get to enjoy any of it…until now!

This Knafeh is not only amazingly good, it’s vegan! That’s right, free from dairy, egg, soy, peanut, and nut! It’s healthier too because of the ingredients used to make it. Munsur and Sofia went crazy for this dessert – Hope you enjoy making it and eating it as much as my family has :)

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Vegan Knafeh     Yields: ~ 20 pieces/servings

1 package shredded dough (available at your local middle-eastern store)

3/4C coconut oil, softened

Ishta (creamy filling):

3C coconut milk

1/4C plus 2Tsp Cornstarch

1/4C plus 2Tsp durum wheat semolina

2Tbsp rose water (available at your local middle-eastern store)

4C Daiya Mozzarella cheese shreds

Syrup:

3C sugar

1 1/2C water

1Tsp lemon juice

1Tbsp rose water

Ground pistachios to garnish (omit if you have an allergy to nuts)

————————

1. Preheat oven to 380°F. Have an un-greased cookie sheet (size 11” x 17″ {standard size I believe}) handy.

2. Remove shredded dough from package and place in a large bowl. Working with the oil, take a bit at a time and massage the dough thoroughly while shredding it at the same time using both hands, as shown. (I’m one-handed in the pictures because my other hand was busy snapping the pics ;) ).

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Continue this step until you’ve shredded  and massaged all of the dough. Set aside.

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3. Spread 1/3 of the prepared dough onto the cookie sheet as shown. Gently pat dough as you spread it. Once finished, set aside and prepare ishta (creamy filling).

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4. In a medium bowl to start, add milk, cornstarch, and semolina. whisk together until cornstarch has completely dissolved.

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5. Add to large pan and cook on high heat, continuously stirring, until mixture starts to boil.

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6. Once it starts to boil, add rose water, reduce heat to medium, and continue to stir until mixture becomes a nice creamy texture. Turn heat off. Your ishta is ready.

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7. Working with the warm ishta, and using an offset spatula (recommended) or the back of a spoon, spread entire content of ishta in a back-and-forth motion onto the base layer as shown.

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8. Next, sprinkle cheese shreds all over ishta, ensuring you cover entire surface.

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9. Take remaining 2/3 of shredded dough and spread evenly on top of cheese shreds as shown. Gently pat dough as you spread it.

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10. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until golden in colour.

11. While the Knafeh is baking, prepare syrup.

a) In a medium pot, combine sugar and water and cook unstirred on high heat until it comes to a boil.

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b) Once boiling, add lemon juice and rose water, stir to combine.

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c) Turn heat to medium and cook for approximately 5 minute, until syrup has slightly thickened. Turn stove off and set aside.

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12. Once Knafeh has finished baking, remove from oven and pour about 1/3 to 1/2 of the syrup over it.

Reserve the remaining syrup for serving. You may pour syrup content into a nice bottle or any serving bowl (like a gravy boat or something handy like that).

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13. Score and cut desired size for serving. Garnish with ground pistachios.

Tip: If you’re allergic to nuts or don’t have any on hand, feel free to garnish with some fresh fruit, raspberries for example.

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Taste that goodness and tell me it isn’t the best you’ve ever had ;)

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Bon appétit! xo

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Mini Phyllo Bowls

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These bowls are quite effortless to make and their use is very versatile. Think dessert or savoury recipes…I’ve dreamt up at least 4 recipes just now! I’ll share them with you soon..you know, once I make them ;)

Wow your family tonight with these fun bowls!

Mini Phyllo Bowls     Yields: 24

4 phyllo sheets (I buy the PC brand from Loblaws/Superstore)

1-2Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

——————-

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and have un-greased muffin tins handy.

2. Place first sheet on your kitchen counter/working surface and using either your hand or a pastry brush, spread some oil all over it.

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3. Next, add second sheet as shown. Repeat with the olive oil.

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4. Cut phyllo in even squares (as best as you can get them to be even).

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5. You should end up with 12 squares.

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6. Place in muffin tins as shown.

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7. Place in the oven for 10 minutes, until golden in colour.

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8. Fill with desired filling!

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Easy, fun, and will surely bring the entire family to the dinner…or dessert table!

Bon appétit! xo

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Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

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These delectable Vegan Cinnamon Rolls came out perfectly! I’ve had to fiddle around with the ingredients a few times to get it just right…and based on the number of rolls that were left over from the get-together last night (none), I`d say I pulled it off :)

Delicious. Simple. Vegan. Give this recipe a go today!

This post is dedicated to my Instagram follower, Hanu S., who’d requested this recipe. Enjoy beautiful!

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Vegan Cinnamon Rolls     Yields: ~ 15 regular sized rolls or ~ 30 mini rolls

For the roll:

1/4C sugar

2Tsp ground cinnamon

4C flour, sifted twice

2Tbsp baking powder

1Tbsp cornstarch

1/2Tsp salt

1 1/4C water

3/4C vegan spread (available at your local superstore in the natural aisle – refrigerated section), softened/melted

Filling:

1C Packed Brown sugar

2Tbsp ground cinnamon

Icing:

3/4C Daiya Cream Cheese in plain

1 1/2C icing sugar, sifted

pinch of salt

1/2Tsp ground cinnamon

1Tsp vanilla extract

—————————-

In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

In another small bowl, combine the filling ingredients (brown sugar and cinnamon) and set aside.

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Start by spreading some melted vegan spread all over parchment paper on baking sheet.

Tip: You could also make these rolls using tempered glass pan (like a Pyrex) and omit the parchment paper in this case.

Spread cinnamon sugar (on top of the vegan spread) all over parchment paper or glass pan. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine sifted flour, baking powder, cornstarch, and salt.

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Add water. Start with 3/4 cup first and increase as needed, until you achieve a nice dough. You’ll need to kneed very well in order to get the dough to form. It’s important you don’t skip this step!

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Next, add melted spread and kneed very well until dough comes together again, is no longer sticky, and is perfectly pliable.

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Using a rolling pin, roll the dough on a lightly floured surface (only if you notice it`s sticking to the surface, but if not then omit the flour) until you get dough to about an 1/8″ thick. You’ll want to get a nice rectangular shape.

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Trim any excess and repeat process of rolling dough, reshaping, and trimming, until all dough is used up.

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Next, spread a generous amount of the filling and cover entire dough including edges.

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Then, taking your rolling pin, ‘massage’ the filling into the dough. Basically, you’ll want to roll the dough again with the filling in it to get it to adhere and this will help you spread the dough out and get more rolls out of it! See pic.

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Roll dough, nice and tight at the start.

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Cut dough about an inch (1″) for each piece. Place in the desired pan.

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Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until cinnamon`s bubbling and the dough`s perfectly baked.

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While the rolls are baking, prepare the icing. I can`t find the pics for the icing but once I do I will uplaod them to this post. In the meantime:

Using the whisk attachment, start by whisking the cream cheese first until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Add sifted sugar, salt, and cinnamon, and whisk on low speed at first but gradually increase speed to high and whisk for approximately 3 minutes.

Add vanilla extract. Whisk for another minute until all is incorporated.

Remove pans from oven and spread the prepared cream cheese icing onto the hot cinnamon rolls.

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Deliciously sweet and amazing!

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Bon appétit! xo

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Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms

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These mushrooms turned out better than expected. When I experiment in the kitchen, I’m always nervous about the result – but it’s a great feeling when you realize that it not only turned out ok but it was very well received by some of the harshest food critics (i.e. my kids)!

Here’s an easy, delicious, and healthy recipe for your family to enjoy!

This post is dedicated to one of my talented Instagram followers, Jack “500under500″ who’d requested this recipe. Hope you like it!

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Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms     Yields: many

4C white and/or cremini mushrooms, cleaned (~70)

1 leek stalk, washed well and finely chopped

1Tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1/4C Daiya plain cream cheese

2Tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2C Daiya mozzarella cheese shreds

 —————

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Taking each mushroom, pop the stem off but don’t discard! You’ll be using them for the stuffing.

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Place them on the baking sheet as shown.

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Thinly chop the stems and toss in a heated pan with olive oil on medium high heat.

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You will inevitably ruin one or few mushroom caps (as in my case), so finely chop and add to the stems.

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Thinly chop leek stalk and add it to stems. Stir until leek is wilted and stems are soft about 4 minutes or so.

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Add cream cheese and stir to incorporate. Then add your nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and cayenne. You won’t taste the heat but it will give it a nice kick.

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Taste to ensure it’s seasoned to your liking with the salt and pepper.

Being careful while handling the stuffing because it will be hot, take a teaspoonful and add to mushroom caps as shown.

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Sprinkle cheese shreds all over mushrooms.

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Insert into the oven for 15 minutes, until you notice some juice emanate from the bottom of the mushrooms – this let’s you know they’re soft and cooked through.

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Remove and enjoy!

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So good!

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Enjoy as a side dish to compliment your main meal, or serve as an hors d’oeuvre at your next gathering.

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Bon appétit! xo

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