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
 
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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!


CREAMY JALAPEÑO AND CORN DIP

Jalapeno Corn Dip with Quinoa


GREEN BEAN FRIES WITH SPICY AIOLI

Baked Green Bean Fries with Spicy Aioli


GUACAMOLE-STUFFED MINI SWEET PEPPERS

Guacamole-Stuffed Mini Peppers


TUSCAN STUFFED MUSHROOMS

Tuscan Style Stuffed Mushrooms


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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?

Share in the Comments!

Vegan One-Pot Creamy Garlic Pasta

Today’s recipe is super simple and ultra-comfort food. Pasta loaded with garlic in a creamy sauce makes for a delicious and satisfying meal, while being quick and easy to get on the table on a busy night. This recipe may not have real cream in it but it’s sure to please even the fussiest eaters – I bet they won’t even know the difference! Inspired by this recipe, this Vegan One-Pot Creamy Garlic Pasta is easy and quick to prepare.

Garlic is today’s featured veggie for the veggie recipe challenge. Garlic is a superfood! Eat this pungent bulb for lots of health benefits including decreased bad cholesterol and the risk of some cancers, as well as for its intense anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. Garlic is also an excellent source of many minerals including potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium and selenium. This recipe features quite a bit of garlic but don’t worry, cooking mellows out the flavor so it isn’t too strong. Cheers!

Vegan One Pot Creamy Garlic Pasta

 

Vegan One-Pot

Creamy Garlic Pasta

  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk, or more as needed
  • 2 Tbs Earth Balance
  • 8 oz uncooked pasta noodles, any variety (I used gluten-free)
  • 1/4 cup vegan Parmesan
  • 1 tsp cornstarch, or more as needed
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Garlic

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring frequently, about 1-2 minutes.

Stir in broth, non-dairy milk, Earth balance and pasta noodles. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is cooked through (depends on the variety – gluten-free noodles take less time but generally anywhere between 10-20 minutes). Stir in vegan Parmesan and parsley. If the mixture is too thick, add a bit more non-dairy milk to thin it. If it’s too thin, add a bit of cornstarch mixed with non-dairy milk, cooking a few extra minutes, to thicken it.

Serve garnished with additional parsley.

Garlic Pasta

One Pot Garlic Pasta

Gluten-Free Vegan One Pot Creamy Garlic Pasta

Oh so creamy and delicious, this pasta was perfect comfort food after a busy day, with none of the guilt from high-fat cream or animal products! Plus only one pot to clean, which is a winner in my book.

Gluten-Free Vegan Creamy Garlic Pasta

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s recipe featuring a new veggie, and don’t forget to subscribe if you want to follow the whole 50-day “a different veggie a day” recipe challenge.

In case you missed the last 38 days of recipes, here they are:

Printable Version:

Vegan One-Pot Creamy Garlic Pasta
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk, or more as needed
  • 2 Tbs Earth Balance
  • 8 oz uncooked pasta noodles, any variety (I used gluten-free)
  • ¼ cup vegan Parmesan
  • 1 tsp cornstarch, or more as needed
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring frequently, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Stir in broth, non-dairy milk, Earth balance and pasta noodles. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is cooked through (depends on the variety - gluten-free noodles take less time but generally anywhere between 10-20 minutes). Stir in vegan Parmesan and parsley. If the mixture is too thick, add a bit more non-dairy milk to thin it. If it's too thin, add a bit of cornstarch mixed with non-dairy milk, cooking a few extra minutes, to thicken it.
  4. Serve garnished with additional parsley.

 

 

 

Gluten-Free Vegan Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Muffins

When it comes to comfort foods, there isn’t much better than carbs. Carbs and I do well together – even when I ate meat (sure was a long time ago) I could easily skip out on the meat and go for half a loaf of homemade bread. If my mom had made these yummy Gluten-Free Vegan Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Muffins I think I probably would have gone through half the batch before dinner time. Add spicy and cheezy to any recipe and I’m good to go.

In keeping with my “veggie recipe a day” challenge, today’s featured veg is the spicy jalapeño. Jalapeños are technically a fruit pod, but they’re used as vegetables in recipes so I’m including them in the recipe challenge. Capsaicin, the health-promoting compound in jalapeños, provides the spicy kick and has been found to have anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic, and anti-diabetic properties. These pungent peppers are also a rich source of Vitamin C. They also contain Vitamins A, E and K.

Note: Jalapeño peppers are notorious for varying greatly in the level of heat they provide. Be aware of this when you’re making these muffins! Removing the seeds and pith really tones down the heat while leaving them in makes them much spicier so adjust depending on how spicy you like your food.

Gluten-Free Vegan Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins

 

Gluten-Free Vegan Jalapeño

Cheddar Cornbread Muffins

  • 1-1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour (Bob’s Red Mill works well)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbs agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 2 cups non-dairy milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vegan cheddar shreds (Daiya works well)
  • 2 Jalapeño peppers, diced and seeded (optional, leave some or all seeds for more heat)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, whisk together non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

In another bowl, combine canola oil, agave nectar or maple syrup, and milk mixture. Whisk till bubbly and well combined, then add to dry ingredients, stirring until combined. Fold in vegan cheddar and jalapeños.

Spoon the batter evenly into an oiled muffin tray. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack before serving.

Gluten-Free Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Muffins

Gluten-Free Vegan Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Muffins

Gluten-Free Vegan Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

Gluten-Free Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins

 

A little agave sprinkled over the muffins is divine – it makes them spicy-sweet and delicious.

Gluten-Free Vegan Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s recipe featuring a different veggie, and don’t forget to subscribe if you want to follow the whole 50-day “a different veggie a day” recipe challenge.

In case you missed the last 37 days of recipes, here they are:

Printable Version:

4.0 from 1 reviews
Gluten-Free Vegan Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Muffins
 
Author:
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour (Bob's Red Mill works well)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbs agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 2 cups non-dairy milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup vegan cheddar shreds (Daiya works well)
  • 2 Jalapeño peppers, diced and seeded (optional, leave some or all seeds for more heat)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
  4. In another bowl, combine canola oil, agave nectar or maple syrup, and milk mixture. Whisk till bubbly and well combined, then add to dry ingredients, stirring until combined. Fold in vegan cheddar and jalapeños.
  5. Spoon the batter evenly into an oiled muffin tray. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack before serving.

 

Spaghetti Squash with Red Wine Mushrooms and Pearl Onions

Now that I’m getting closer to the end of my veggie recipe challenge, I’m having to get a bit more creative sometimes with my veggie selections. But when I was in the store and saw the spaghetti squash I realized I had forgotten one of the basics! Admittedly, I have not experimented much with this cool vegetable, so today’s recipe was totally new and different for me. Luckily it also turned out incredibly tasty. This recipe was reminiscent of risotto for me, both in taste and appearance.

Spaghetti Squash is today’s featured veggie. It’s a very cool veggie in that when it’s raw, the flesh looks firm and hard just like any squash, but when it’s cooked it comes apart in strands similar to spaghetti. This makes it a great option in recipes replacing noodles for something that’s lower in calories and carbohydrates (or just for a different flavor!) and more nutrient rich. Spaghetti Squash is rich in folic acid, potassium, Vitamin A and beta carotene.

Spaghetti Squash with Red Wine Mushrooms and Pearl Onions

 

Spaghetti Squash with Red Wine

Mushrooms and Pearl Onions

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 bag frozen pearl onions, thawed
  • 8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Vegan Parmesan (Go Veggie brand works well)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

On a baking sheet, bake spaghetti squash for an hour or until easily pierced with a fork. Remove from oven an let cool. Once cook, cut in half, scoop out seeds and use a fork to scrape the squash into strings.

In a small bowl, combine red wine, vinegar and agave nectar.

While the squash cools, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, bay leaf and rosemary, cooking until onions begin turning brown in spots, stirring occasionally. Add red wine mixture and reduce heat to medium-low, simmering until sauce reduces to a glaze, about 20-25 minutes. Add mushrooms and stir together, cooking a few more minutes until mushrooms are soft and flavors have melded. Remove bay leaf.

Add spaghetti squash into pan with mushrooms and onions, turn heat to high and quickly fry with the mushrooms. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with Vegan Parmesan.

Spaghetti Squash with Red Wine Mushrooms

Spaghetti Squash with Red Wine Mushrooms and Onions

Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms and Onions

Spaghetti Squash with Red Wine Mushrooms and Pearl Onions

This recipe tasted rich and filling without being high in fat. I hope you’ll try this yummy recipe and let me know what you think!

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s recipe featuring a new veggie, and don’t forget to subscribe if you want to follow the whole 50-day “a different veggie a day” recipe challenge.

In case you missed the last 36 days of recipes, here they are:

Printable Version:

Spaghetti Squash with Red Wine Mushrooms and Pearl Onions
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 bag frozen pearl onions, thawed
  • 8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
  • ¾ cup red wine
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Vegan Parmesan (Go Veggie brand works well)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. On a baking sheet, bake spaghetti squash for an hour or until easily pierced with a fork. Remove from oven an let cool. Once cook, cut in half, scoop out seeds and use a fork to scrape the squash into strings.
  3. In a small bowl, combine red wine, vinegar and agave nectar.
  4. While the squash cools, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, bay leaf and rosemary, cooking until onions begin turning brown in spots, stirring occasionally. Add red wine mixture and reduce heat to medium-low, simmering until sauce reduces to a glaze, about 20-25 minutes. Add mushrooms and stir together, cooking a few more minutes until mushrooms are soft and flavors have melded. Remove bay leaf.
  5. Add spaghetti squash into pan with mushrooms and onions, turn heat to high and quickly fry with the mushrooms. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with Vegan Parmesan.