Mushroom Larb (Thai Mushroom Lettuce Wraps)

Mushroom Larb

Lately…

I cannot stay awake in shavasana for.the.life.of.me.

I’m considering making a Warby Parker purchase and doing the glasses thing. (Thoughts???)

I can’t believe that I graduated from college 6 years ago this weekend.

It feels like summer and I am getting excited for summer travel plans!

I registered for a July half marathon and am hoping to PR by dropping some lbs. We’ll see!

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Cayenne Portobello Burgers with Herbed Goat Cheese Spread

 Cayenne Portobello Burgers with Herbed Goat Cheese Spread

Have you ever had a portobello burger before? Probably.

But have you ever had a cayenne portobello burger with herbed goat cheese?

 Cayenne Portobello Burgers with Herbed Goat Cheese Spread

Ohhh my goodness. There’s really nothing like it.

I have a lot of firsthand experience with portobello burgers and sandwiches that are pretty “meh.” Ordering one at a restaurant really seems to be a toss-up: it’s either mind-blowingly delicious or flavorless and underwhelming. Well, I have the antidote to flavorless and underwhelming: cayenne + goat cheese.

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Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake

Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake | coffeeandquinoa.com

Remember when I didn’t eat cheese for 6 months?

Hah.

Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake | coffeeandquinoa.com

Sorry, former vegan self. Sorry but I’m not sorry. I ate a lot of cheese this weekend, and it tasted reeeeally good.

I’ve actually been craving this dish for a few weeks, since a co-worker brought in some buffalo chicken casserole for lunch. As she warmed up her leftovers in the microwave and the smell wafted through the kitchen, it was alllll I wanted.

Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake | coffeeandquinoa.com

I had brought a salad.

Major food envy.

Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake | coffeeandquinoa.com

I knew I had to recreate it for you guys ASAP. My one hesitation to go out of town last weekend was that I’d have to wait an extra week to bring this dish to life! Such hardships :) Luckily, that gave me an extra week to fantasize and brainstorm… making the end result positively perfect.

Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake | coffeeandquinoa.com

Nate agrees. That’s him going back for seconds.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call this dish healthy, but it is vegetarian – come on, aren’t those synonymous?! It’s loaded with veggies, replacing 1/2 the pasta and all of the chicken that would be used in a regular buffalo chicken casserole. It’s just cheesy enough to be indulgent, but still loaded with nutrients.

Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake | coffeeandquinoa.com

It’s like a cross between buffalo chicken, mac and cheese, and veggie pasta dish. Also known as…the tastiest thing ever. For real. I don’t think I have to try too hard to convince you on this one.

Guess who’s going to have the jealousy-inducing leftovers for lunch this week?!

Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake | coffeeandquinoa.com

Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake

Serves 6

Ingredients:

For pasta:

1/2 lb whole wheat pasta

1/2 tsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 large yellow onion, chopped

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

sprinkle of ground black pepper

8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced

1 lb Brussels sprouts, sliced (about 5 cups sliced)

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups plain unsweetened almond milk (or other unsweetened milk of your choice)

2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided (4-5 oz.)

1/2 cup hot sauce such as Frank’s RedHot

To top:

3-4 green onions, thinly sliced

additional hot sauce

1 recipe lightened up blue cheese dressing

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Cook pasta in a large pot until slightly al dente. Drain and return to pot. Set aside.

Next, saute your vegetables. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add garlic, onion, and carrots, season with ground pepper, and saute until soft, 9-10 minutes. (The carrots will not soften up much in the oven, so you want to get them to your desired softness on the stovetop.) Add the mushrooms and saute 3 minutes more, then add the Brussels sprouts and saute another 2 minutes. Pour vegetables into the pot with the pasta and scrape pan clean.

Now prepare the roux. In the same pan, melt the butter. Stir in flour and let bubble 1-2 minutes. Stir in the milk. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 5-7 minutes. Add 1 cup of the grated cheese and stir to melt. Stir in hot sauce. Pour the mixture over the pasta and vegetables and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared baking dish and top with the remaining cup of cheddar cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbling. (If cheese starts to burn before 25 minutes, cover the top of the dish with tin foil and continue baking.)

Remove from oven and sprinkle with green onions. Serve in scoops, topped with additional hot sauce and blue cheese dressing.

Enjoy!

Time:

1 hour

Grilled Portobellos with Meyer Lemon Pesto and Spinach

Grilled Portobellos with Meyer Lemon Pesto and Spinach | coffeeandquinoa.com

Monday was all about cake. Not to give it away, but Friday is going to be all about cookies. And unlike Monday’s cake, Friday’s cookies contain absolutely zero vegetables. So let’s try to squeeze in some green stuff in the meantime, shall we?

Grilled Portobellos with Meyer Lemon Pesto and Spinach | coffeeandquinoa.com

Look at all that spinach! I feel healthier already.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to do a lot of baking on the weekends. It’s what Nate calls my “wake and bake” (hah) – scones, cakes, muffins, etc. If we haven’t destroyed all the sweets by the time Sunday night rolls around, I try to bring them into work and pawn them off on my unsuspecting co-workers on Monday morning. They think I’m being generous, but really I’m just trying to get all the butter and sugar out of my house before I go back for more. By mid-week, I’m (hopefully) back to my healthy weekday routine of veggies, gym, and yoga.

And that’s where these portobellos come in! Last summer I discovered the portobello/pesto combination and fell in love. And while I eagerly await summertime basil (like, reeeeally eagerly), I figured I’d make a different but equally tasty citrus pesto.

Grilled Portobellos with Meyer Lemon Pesto and Spinach | coffeeandquinoa.com

This was my first time using meyer lemons! My regular grocery store doesn’t have them, so I trudged out in a snowstorm the other day to pick some up from another nearby store. And I’ve have to say it was worth it! They are so pretty.

Grilled Portobellos with Meyer Lemon Pesto and Spinach | coffeeandquinoa.com

If you can’t find meyer lemons, you could use a regular lemon here. Because the rind is much thicker, though, I would probably suggest using only the juice and zest, instead of tossing whole chunks of regular lemon in.

For this dish, I spread a layer of lemon pesto on top of the grilled portobello, then topped with spinach and a sprinkling of parmesan and pine nuts. You could also add a quinoa layer (or combine it with the spinach) for a more filling dish. I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure it would be delicious!

Grilled Portobellos with Meyer Lemon Pesto and Spinach | coffeeandquinoa.com

Grilled Portobellos with Meyer Lemon Pesto and Spinach

Serves 2 as an entree or 4 as a side

Ingredients:

For the meyer lemon pesto:

1 meyer lemon

1 small clove garlic

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/2 tsp honey

sprinkle of salt and pepper

For the grilled portobellos:

4 portobello mushrooms

olive oil

salt and pepper

2 small cloves garlic

10 oz. fresh spinach leaves

handful of toasted pine nuts

sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375. Break the stems off the portobello caps, and clean each cap with a damp paper towel. I prefer to leave the gills in, but you can scrape them out if you wish. Brush both sides lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes with the gills facing up, then turn gills face down for another 5 minutes.

While the mushrooms are cooking, make the pesto. If using a meyer lemon, cut it into chunks and remove the seeds, then toss the entire chunks into the food processor. (If using a regular lemon, add only the zest and juice of the lemon to the food processor.) Blend with the rest of the pesto ingredients, scraping the sides with a spatula occasionally, until smooth.

Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add a tiny drizzle of olive oil. Once hot, saute the garlic for 30 seconds to a minute. Add the spinach, a few handfuls at a time, and saute until wilted and bright green.

To assemble, spread a layer of lemon pesto inside each mushroom. Pile 1/4 of the spinach into the mushroom cap and top with a sprinkle of extra parmesan and pine nuts.

Enjoy!

Time:

35 minutes

Mushroom & Mascarpone Crostini

mushroom & mascarpone crostini

I’m slightly obsessed with crostini. Is that normal?

I think so. Anyway, I assume that everyone you celebrate the holidays with will be obsessed with crostini, too, so you might as well serve them these.

Little toasts hot out of the oven, smeared with mascarpone, and topped with a savory mushroom mix. They might not be as festive-looking as those other Christmas crostini, but they can hold their own in the flavor department. The mascarpone gets a little melty and mixes with the juice dripping off the mushrooms… oh man, they are so good.

mushroom & mascarpone crostini

If you make these for friends or family, prepare to have zero leftovers. You may want to make a few extra. For Santa, maybe? He might be sick of cookies by the time he gets to your house, and prefer some hot melty mascarpone and mushrooms. I know I would. (But then I’ll have the cookies too, please.)

mushroom & mascarpone crostini

Mushroom & Mascarpone Crostini

Adapted from Small Bites by Jennifer Joyce

Makes about 24 crostini

Ingredients:

1 baguette, sliced (about 24 slices)

1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup mascarpone cheese

1 lb baby bella mushrooms, diced (stems included)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp sherry vinegar

small handful parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread baguette slices out on a baking sheet and lightly brush one side with olive oil. Toast at 400 for 6 minutes. (You may be tempted to toast them longer, but resist, or they will become too crunchy!)

Over medium heat, saute the garlic with a drizzle of olive oil until fragrant, about a minute. Add the diced mushrooms and sherry vinegar, and saute until mushrooms are soft. Stir in the chopped parsley and add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Spread a thin layer of mascarpone on each toast and top with a spoonful of the mushroom mixture. Serve hot!

Time:

20 minutes

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