These vegetable and vegan cheese stuffed mushrooms make a perfect plant based appetizer to share with friends and family over the holidays. Red pepper and spinach in the filling feel festive. They are cheesy and crusted with buttery panko crumbs.
I developed the recipe for Fresh Start Fauxmage, a plant based cheese company that makes a range of delicious flavours. I used their "creamy pesto" and "baked feta style" cheeses in the filling. The creamy pesto lends flavours of basil lemon and garlic. If you don't live in Atlantic Canada or Ontario where this product is sold, I would just substitute your favourite creamy/spreadable plant based cheese instead. Cream cheese with extra flavouring added or plant based boursin....something along those lines should work great.
I used smaller mushrooms to make these bite sized to nibble on, but I think it would be really fun to stuff larger mushrooms and serve them as a main course. Salad and crusty bread would my sides of choice.
Creamy Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms
Yield: 30 stuffed mushrooms
Raspberry thumbprint cookies have to be one of the most lovely classic cookies you can make. This is just my classic shortbread cookie recipe, but instead of just vanilla extract I use a bit of almond extract as well. The dough gets formed into balls, pressed with your thumb to make an indent and then filled with raspberry jam before being baked in the oven. The result is perfect buttery shortbread with a delicious sweet fruit burst. These were a favourite cookie offering amongst family and friends over the winter holiday. It's kind of funny because it is such a ubiquitous cookie, yet they never cease to be impressive.
Yield : 25 cookies (just depends how big you make them)
I teamed up with my friends at Fresh Start Fauxmage to bring you a couple of holiday recipes, starting with this French Onion Soup. This soup would be a gorgeous cozy addition to any holiday meal. When I set out to make a veganized French Onion Soup, I wasn't really sure where I would end up. It's a soup that I ate growing up many times. I have especially high standards when trying to create a recipe that tastes as good as or better than the one that exists in my memory. (I have a terrible memory for some things, but food memory is a completely different thing, and mine is on point!) It is safe to say, that I would be proud to serve this soup to anyone....
The broth has so much richness, depth and flavour from the onions, red wine, herbs........
For the cheese I used a combination of Everything Bagel Style Fauxmage, and a shredded vegan mozza. While testing the recipe, I tried the fauxmage alone, then various other combinations along with the fauxmage. This is where I landed. The fauxmage gives the topping complexity, it's really falvourful, then the mozza somehow softenes the flavour of the fauxmage JUST enough, which somehow enhances and brings balance to the dish for me. It's not really that the combination of the vegan fauxmage and mozza cheeses taste like Gruyere cheese ( which I would use here if I wasn't a vegan) but it mimics something about the overall experience and flavour profile for me. My taste buds are just like YES, this is it...perfection.
If you don't live in Atlantic Canada, or where you are able to buy Fauxmage, just find your favourite plant based cheeses. Perhaps something artisnal is available that I can't get where I am. There's a lot of products out there.
French Onion Soup with Everything Bagel Fauxmage
Perfect lemon shortbread cookies. I love shortbread in general but there's definitely something about lemon that I adore. I made these for the holiday season but really there's no reason you can't make them any time of the year. Perfect with a cup of tea for a bright sweet treat. I use my standard shortbread recipe with the addition of lemon zest and lemon extract. Then I make a royal icing by mixing icing sugar with a splash of lemon extract and lemon juice. While I try to make treats that use whole food ingredients and unrefined sugar most of the time, I like to just forget all that once in awhile for something classic like this cookie.
Yield : I got about 25 cookies (depends on the size of your cutters)
This dish is SPECIAL. I saw it in a cookbook I recently picked up called Vegan Recipes from Spain by Gonzalo Baro. I didn't follow the recipe exactly, but I think it's probably pretty close. I didn't have the variety of peppers (piquillo) used in his recipe, I used tinned tomatoes instead of ripe...and I think I probably have different ratios of ingredients. So, a bit different, but I think at least my version is a close adaptation. Not authentic, but still delicious and besides veganizing something can often mean deviating from an authentic version of a dish anyway. Ajoarrierro is a style of cooking in Northern Spain and is typically a dish of salt cod with tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and piquillo peppers. Sometimes potatoes are added and also different seafood can be used.
What I REALLY want to convey before moving onto the recipe, is that this is the most delicious yet simple preparation for eggplant I have ever had the pleasure of eating. A crispy crumb coating, fried until golden brown. The result...heaven. Crispy exterior, and the creamiest interior. I'm not sure you'd even be able to quite tell it was eggplant if someone didn't tell you. I think recipes like this are worth bookmarking. Quick to prepare, yet impressive and incredibly delicious.
The stew or sauce is simple. Onion, garlic, red bell pepper, tomatoes, flavoured with smoked paprika and a couple pinches of saffron. I simmer it until it's rich and thick. Then simply serve the crispy fried eggplant on top of it. I almost think of the stew as more of a condiment to the eggplant. I don't want a lot of extra bites of the stew alone. Maybe if I had some bread on the side I would pile any extra onto that...but the components really compliment each other when eaten in the same mouthful. I could see blitzing the stew into a sauce, and then serving it in a bowl with smaller crispy eggplant bites for dipping. The way I'm sharing is more of a main dish to serve with other sides. If I was planning for nibbles I would do it the other way. Toothpicks for grabbing the eggplant and dunking into sauce. It's just an idea...I haven't tried it yet.
Crispy Eggplant with Smoky Tomato & Pepper Stew
Smoky Pepper and Tomato Stew
The next time I make this I will measure the below breading ingredients...but I didn't...I just mixed up more as needed...I'll give rough estimates.
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