Smoky “Mozzarella” Dip

I know all of you are gearing up for New Year’s resolutions. Hell, now that the holidays are over you might already be hitting the treadmill and drinking those green smoothies (yum) but I’m here to burst your health-bubble. Because this Smoky “Mozzarella” dip is so cheesy, ooey-gooey, smoky and delicious that you aren’t going to be able to control yourself. Don’t even try. Give in to the amazing miracle that is this dip.

You seriously are not going to believe this is not real cheese. It was such a big hit at my Christmas party that there wasn’t any left by the end and half of them are die-hard carnivores. And it’s really perfect because pretty soon it will be New Years. I’m talking more parties. Lots of champagne and fireworks and oh yes, more Smoky “Mozzarella” Dip. I mean, why not?! And now all of us can share in the cheesy goodness without any animal cruelty involved. What’s not to love?

Vegan Mozzarella Dip

For this yummy appetizer, I used these crunchy little Italian toasts from Trader Joe’s, but if you can’t find something like that then grab a loaf of Italian bread, slice it up and toast it yourself. Pita chips would work great too. Or just eat it on whatever you can find, because it will be delicious no matter what you put it on! As a note, this recipe as I wrote it serves 2-4, so feel free to double or triple as needed for parties. Or just for yourself, I promise I won’t tell.

Smoky “Mozzarella” Dip

Serves 2-4

  • 2 oz Daiya Mozzarella style cheese, shredded
  • 2 oz Daiya brand smoked gouda, shredded
  • 2 Tbs vegan cream cheese
  • 2 Tbs vegan Parmesan
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp liquid smoke (adjust to taste for smoky flavor)
  • Chopped tomatoes and fresh basil or parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray an oven-safe dish with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a bowl, combine shredded cheeses, cream cheese, Parmesan, Italian seasoning and liquid smoke. Adjust seasonings as desired. Transfer cheese mixture to baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.

Garnish with tomatoes and fresh herbs and serve immediately.

Smoky Vegan Mozzarella Dip

This dip may be a wee bit rich and decadent for frequent eating (and I say that very sadly, trust me) but for special occasions you’ll be winning some awards for best vegan appetizer, I promise. Cross my heart. And if you don’t, well, you probably just didn’t make enough.

Smoky Mozzarella Dip

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Printable Version:

Smoky "Mozzarella" Dip
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 2-4
  • 2 oz Daiya Mozzarella style cheese, shredded
  • 2 oz Daiya brand smoked gouda, shredded
  • 2 Tbs vegan cream cheese
  • 2 Tbs vegan Parmesan
  • ¼ tsp Italian seasoning
  • ¼-1/2 tsp liquid smoke (adjust to taste for smoky flavor)
  • Chopped tomatoes and fresh basil or parsley, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray an oven-safe dish with non-stick spray and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine shredded cheeses, cream cheese, Parmesan, Italian seasoning and liquid smoke. Adjust seasonings as desired. Transfer cheese mixture to baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.
  3. Garnish with tomatoes and fresh herbs and serve immediately.

 –adapted from Center Cut Cook

Still Hungry? Keep the party going with these recipes!


Jalapeno Corn Dip with Quinoa


Baked Green Bean Fries with Spicy Aioli


Guacamole-Stuffed Mini Peppers


Tuscan Style Stuffed Mushrooms

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Mushroom Nut Pate

What’s a holiday party without a yummy spread for chopped veggies and crackers? Back in the days when I ate dairy, I usually indulged in a lot of cheesy spreads at Christmas parties. These days I’m getting more creative! Usually made from cooked meat and fat, pâté is normally very animal un-friendly, but this Mushroom Nut Pâté sure is! Made with heart-healthy walnuts and full of veggies, this spread has a rich, earthy flavor that is sure to be a big hit at any holiday gathering.

Mushroom Nut Pate

Mushroom Nut Pâté

  • 2 cups chopped brown crimini mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp light miso
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Prepare all vegetables: Stem and chop the mushrooms, peel and dice the carrots, chop the onion and mince the garlic cloves.

Over medium heat, warm the olive oil in a large pan. Add the carrots, onion and garlic. Sauté until carrots have begun to soften. Add mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, miso and thyme. Stir until fully incorporated and continue to sauté until mushrooms have darkened and begun to release juice, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and mix in the toasted walnuts. Transfer mixture, in batches if needed, to a food processor or high speed blender. Process until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Walnut Mushroom Pate

Holiday Mushroom Nut Pate

This creamy and rich Mushroom Nut Pâté is incredibly good spread on crackers or with veggies as a dip. Try leftovers on a sandwich! 

Mushroom Walnut Pate

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Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Ok, so I know what you’re thinking. You took one look at the featured image and thought, that can’t be garlic mashed sweet potatoes. It’s not orange! And the truth is I was hoping for a nice, lovely orange shade when I bought my sweet potatoes at the store. I was very surprised when I started peeling to discover that inside they were the same color as regular potatoes! I thought, are these yams? And then realized that I really don’t know the difference between a yam and a sweet potato.

So here are the facts for all you curious folk like me (or just skip down for the recipe!). Apparently, the truth is that what I’ve been calling yams are most likely sweet potatoes, since they come in many varieties and colors. The flesh of a sweet potato can be orange, white or even purple. True yams are generally imported from the Caribbean, and are rough and scaly with pale flesh that is very low in beta-carotene, unlike sweet potatoes. Although I wasn’t very careful when looking at what I was buying, after checking the skin of my root veggies (smooth and not scaly) I’m pretty sure I ended up with a sweet potato with white flesh. Now I’m wondering if I’ve ever even tasted a real yam before!

Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Knowing it was a sweet potato didn’t lessen my disappointment about the color, but at least the recipe still turned out delicious. Sweet potatoes are incredibly healthy. They are a good source of beta carotene, Vitamins A and C, and are full of manganese, calcium, potassium, fiber, Vitamin B6 and iron. They also have a lower glycemic index than regular potatoes, so they don’t affect blood sugar as much. I’ve always enjoyed these root veggies and they can be made savory or sweet. There’s nothing much more heavenly than a baked sweet potato with almond butter on it. This recipe, featuring savory garlic, is a perfect choice for a low-fat, healthy vegan option for the holidays.

Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 Tbs vegan buttery spread (I like Earth Balance)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 Tbs non-dairy sour cream (optional)
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Garlic

In a large pot, cover sweet potatoes in water and boil until tender, approximately 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Return the pot to the stove. Melt buttery spread and sauté garlic until golden. Remove from heat and return sweet potatoes to the pan. Add non-dairy milk and non-dairy sour cream if using. Mash until smooth and creamy and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Mashed Garlic Sweet Potatoes

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4th of July Recipe Roundup

It’s officially summer… Time for BBQ’s, sunbathing, sticky melty popsicles. And of course, cold beer. What’s the best way to bring a big crowd to your delicious backyard get-together? Having an awesome selection of vegan-friendly appetizers and snacks. (Ok, ok, maybe the carnivores can have some meat for themselves. More for us, right?!) 

Next week I’ll be fixing up some cool new recipes just for the occasion, but to get it started here’s a roundup of some easy ideas to get any party going.


Guacamole-Stuffed Mini Peppers


These dreamy little sweet peppers are full of guacamole for a light and delicious snack.

Guacamole-Stuffed Mini Peppers



Smoky-Spicy Black Bean Dip


This dip has the perfect kick of heat – chips or veggies both go well as dippers for this!

Smoky-Spicy Black Bean Dip Super Bowl



Vegan Deviled “Eggs”

A unique and delicious appetizer sure to turn heads in any crowd, these faux deviled eggs are made with new potatoes. 

Vegan Deviled Eggs with Potatoes



Carrot Slaw with Jicama & Raisins

A refreshing spin on traditional coleslaw, the carrot-based version has all the creamy crunch of the original with a burst of new flavors.

Carrot Slaw


Pineapple-Cilantro Mojito

I’m a firm believer that you can’t have a BBQ without some refreshing adult beverages. These pineapple-cilantro mojitos are the perfect solution.

Cilantro Pineapple Mojito



Hope these recipes get your juices flowing on ideas for your own BBQ. Feel free to steal and modify them as much as you want! More coming soon, so be sure to subscribe if you want all the newest vegan recipes.


Beet Melt

Ever gone to a restaurant and fallen instantly in love? Well that was my experience at Ecliptic Brewing here in Portland. Not only do they have craft beer (an instant winner in my book), they have several veggie options and play really cool oldies music. They even have a Spock Dry-Hopped beer in honor of Leonard Nimoy. Definitely a fall-in-love kind of place.

But the best part wasn’t even the beer, or the music, or the cool atmosphere. It was this incredibly gooey-melty, crunchy, creamy, delicious beet melt they had on the menu. Not vegan (the cheese was definitely real) but I knew instantly that I had to give it a try for all of you. I’ve never seen a beet melt before, which seems odd because it’s a perfect idea for a veggie melt. Roasted beets have such an earthy and deep flavor that it’s a great substitute for the meat. (I speak from inexperience here  – I’ve never actually had a real patty melt sandwich. I think I may have had a tuna melt with poor results back in middle school but I can’t be sure.) Take it from me though, this sandwich is amazing.

Vegan Melt Sandwich

Beet Melt

Serves 2

  • 4 slices whole grain bread
  • 1 beet, washed and peeled
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • dash salt and pepper
  • 1/2 granny smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1-2 Tbs grainy mustard
  • 4 slices vegan swiss or provolone (try Daiya slices)
  • 2-3 Tbs vegan buttery spread (try Earth Balance)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a baking pan lined with foil, toss halved beet with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap with foil and bake until tender, about 50-60 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool, then cut into 1/4 inch slices.

In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt 1 Tbs of the buttery spread. Spread the remaining 1-2 Tbs over the outsides of the bread slices. Spread grainy mustard on the inner side of one slice of each sandwich, then layer on sliced roasted beet, apple slices, and vegan cheese slices, dividing evenly between sandwiches.

Once sandwiches are assembled, cook them in the prepared skillet over medium-low heat until the bread is evenly browned and the vegan cheese is melty, flipping the sandwiches halfway through. (You may need to do them one at a time depending on the size of your skillet – don’t overcrowd!) Serve hot.

Vegan Beet Grilled Sandwich

Beet Melt

Vegan Beet Sandwich

Almost immediately after I made these, I read that the perfect grilled cheese comes from griddling both sides of the bread. I know these aren’t technically grilled cheese sandwiches, but I think there’s definitely something to that; it would give more flavor to the sandwiches and warm the insides of the sandwich to speed up melting of the vegan cheese. Mmm! So I’ll be trying that next time and if you decide to try that technique please let me know how it goes.

What’s Your Favorite Vegan Grilled Sandwich?

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