Appetizers & Snacks

Tomatillo Guacamole

Tomatillo Guacamole  |  Lemon & Mocha

Tomatillo Guacamole is about to become your latest summer obsession. This is a recipe I pulled from my Food Network Magazine binder archives and next to the recipe they wrote, “I always make a double batch because we go through this so quickly!” They are not kidding around, this Tomatillo Guacamole is addictive.

Tomatillo Guacamole  |  Lemon & Mocha

Right after I made it I could barely stop shoving it in my face long enough to get the photos. I also completely admit to rushing this photo set just so I could get back to the shoving-my-face action.

Tomatillo Guacamole  |  Lemon & Mocha

I determined that I am in love with the flavor of tomatillos because I couldn’t get enough of this dip in the same way I pine for a roasted tomatillo salsa I made for Matt’s birthday a couple years ago. Tomatillos may look like little green tomatoes wrapped in husks, but they are fruity, tart and loaded with fragrant flavor.

Tomatillo Guacamole  |  Lemon & Mocha

Like most guacamole recipes there is no cooking involved so you can have this in a bowl with chips on standby in under ten minutes. Tomatillos, avocado, onion, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, jalapeño, ground cumin and salt get pulsed together in a blender or food processor. If you are like me and not a fan of spice then remove the seeds and pith from the jalapeño. By removing the seeds and pith you get all the flavor with the heat. If you like spicy food just chuck it all in.

Tomatillo Guacamole  |  Lemon & Mocha

Even though the recipe is called a guacamole, to me the texture and taste is a cross between a guacamole and a salsa. If you prefer it thicker and chunkier like a guacamole then mash in another avocado at the end. You could always make it as is with an additional avocado or two at your disposal in case you decide you want that thicker guacamole consistency. I personally love the salsa-guacamole crossover because it is just the right balance of flavors while still being thick enough to scoop onto your tortilla chip of choice. Enjoy, friends!

Tomatillo Guacamole  |  Lemon & Mocha

Tomatillo Guacamole
 
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 tomatillos, husked, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • ¾ cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
  • ½ onion, coarsely chopped
  • ½ jalapeño pepper, see note
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Directions
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Serve in a bowl with chips and veggies.
Notes
If you don’t want it spicy, remove the seeds and pith. If you want it spicy, leave the seeds.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral if you purchase something. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Strawberry Caprese Bites with Basil Vinaigrette

Strawberry Caprese Bites with Basil Vinaigrette  |  Lemon & Mocha

I know, another appetizer bite! I told you I’m all about them so here we are with another one that’s just right for both caprese and strawberry season. There’s nothing like a classic caprese salad with ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, a drizzle of olive oil and some salt.

Strawberry Caprese Bites with Basil Vinaigrette  |  Lemon & Mocha

Sometimes, though, I like switching it up and one of my favorite ways is by adding fruit. The sweetness of fruit pairs so well with the saltiness of the cheese and the acidity of the tomatoes. Last summer I posted my Melon Prosciutto Mozzarella Skewers and the Watermelon Caprese Salad. These bites are simple recipes like those except we have mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and strawberries.

Strawberry Caprese Bites with Basil Vinaigrette  |  Lemon & Mocha

This was my first time having strawberries as part of a caprese salad. Unlike the cantaloupe and the watermelon, which I’ve had before at restaurants, I’ve never ordered a caprese salad with strawberries, although I’m sure there’s some places out there with it on their menus. I wasn’t sure how the flavors would all work together, but I was hooked after one bite. In fact, Matt and I downed this whole platter in about ten minutes immediately after I took these photos.

Strawberry Caprese Bites with Basil Vinaigrette  |  Lemon & Mocha

The sweetness of the ripe strawberries was exactly what I wanted with the mozzarella and tomato. What really ties it all together is the fresh and bright basil vinaigrette. I love basil in dishes, but sometimes I find myself wishing I could have the flavor of basil without all the big hunks of basil leaves. This easy vinaigrette can be whipped together in your blender or food processor and is concentrated with so much delicious basil flavor.

Strawberry Caprese Bites with Basil Vinaigrette  |  Lemon & Mocha

You will have leftover vinaigrette, unless you make more Strawberry Caprese Skewers, which is perfect for drizzling over chicken or topping salads. Or you could be like Matt and just dip some toasty bread in it – yum! Enjoy!

Strawberry Caprese Bites with Basil Vinaigrette  |  Lemon & Mocha

Strawberry Caprese Bites with Basil Vinaigrette
 
Yield: 24 bites
Ingredients
  • 12 strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 24 bocconcini mozzarella balls
  • 24 grape or small cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves
  • ½ small shallot
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 24 toothpicks
Directions
  1. Make the caprese bites by first skewering a strawberry halve, a mozzarella ball then a tomato with a toothpick. Repeat for the remaining caprese bites.
  2. In a high-speed blender, add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, basil leaves, shallot, garlic and salt. Blend until smooth. Drizzle over the caprese bites.

 

Elote Wonton Bites

Elote Wonton Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

There’s something so fun about bite-sized appetizer food. They’re great for parties and big crowds, but don’t discount appetizers for everyday either. When I have a few friends over I love serving just a bunch of appetizers we can all pick at until we’re bursting at the seams – of course always with leaving room for dessert. Sometimes they’re a nice casual dinner for Matt and I, too.

Elote Wonton Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

These Elote Wonton Bites would be perfect for a big outdoor bash or to just feel those summer Friday vibes. If you aren’t familiar with my elote obsession, elote is also known as Mexican street corn. Usually served grilled on the cob, it’s slathered with lime, salt, chili powder, cotija cheese (a crumbly Mexican cheese) and mayo or crema fresca. Elote instantly makes me feel like it’s summer and last year I turned it into a bunch of fun dishes, including Elote Hot Dogs, Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad and Elote Pizza.

Elote Wonton Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

Of course this summer I had to keep it going with some more exciting ways to get your cheesy, creamy corn fix. Crispy wonton cups are filled with corn, scallions and all the elote flavorings then topped with salty cotija cheese and a lime mayo drizzle. Make sure you don’t skimp on the cotija cheese or the mayo! Both are what help transport you to a beach-side happy hour sipping on a margarita.

Elote Wonton Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

I have been able to find cotija cheese in every grocery store I go to near me, but if you can’t find it you can substitute queso fresco, which is another crumbly Mexican cheese. If you can’t find either of those then you can use feta cheese, although the taste won’t be quite the same. As many of you know, I do not like spicy foods so I use smoked paprika in these to get the smokiness without the heat, but if you like spice then season with chili powder to your preference.

Elote Wonton Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

The one thing I didn’t do was char the corn because I wanted to keep things a little more simple, but next time I might go the extra step and sear the corn in a sauté pan or grill some ears of corn to fully get the Mexican street corn experience. I hope you like these little bites and get excited for another Elote twist dish I have coming up later this summer!

Elote Wonton Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

Elote Wonton Bites
 
Yield: 24 bites
Ingredients
  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • 1 15-ounce can corn, no salt added (about 1½ cups corn kernels), drained
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and sliced
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  • Zest from 1 lime
  • ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch chili powder
  • Cotija cheese, for topping
  • Cooking spray
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray a mini muffin pan then place the wrappers into the cavities so they create little wonton bowls. Lightly spray the wonton wrappers in the pan then bake for 6 minutes. Set aside.
  3. While the wrappers are in the oven, combine the corn, scallions, mozzarella, cilantro, lime zest, ½ teaspoon of the smoked paprika and salt in a mixing bowl.
  4. After the wontons have baked on their own, spoon the corn mixture into the wontons in the mini muffin pan, evenly dividing between them. Bake for 5 more minutes. While the wontons are finishing baking, make the lime mayo by combining the mayonnaise, lime juice, remaining ¼ teaspoon of smoked paprika, ground cumin and chili powder in a small bowl. Pour into a squeeze bottle if you have one. When the wontons come out of the oven, serve them hot topped with plenty of crumbled cotija cheese and a generous drizzle of the lime mayo.
Notes
If you can’t find cotija cheese, you can substitute queso fresco. If you can’t find either of those Mexican cheeses you can use feta cheese, but the taste won’t quite be the same.

 

Cheesy Barbecue Chicken Puff Pastry Bites

Cheesy Barbecue Chicken Puff Pastry Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

Hi, friends! I know it has been a bit since I posted, but I was determined to share these Cheesy Barbecue Chicken Puff Pastry Bites before Memorial Day weekend! Is there a more perfect party appetizer than something cheesy stuffed into a flaky puff pastry cup? The Antipasto Puff Pastry Bites and the Crab Dip Puffs are always such a hit that I decided I needed to come up with another version of puff pastry bites. Since Memorial Day is coming up I wanted an appetizer that would fit well on a BBQ menu. It’s hard to go wrong with sweet tender chicken smothered in gooey cheese, especially when it’s in crispy and buttery puff pastry.

Cheesy Barbecue Chicken Puff Pastry Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

I know I talked about this in my Antipasto Puff Pastry Bites post, but I just want to reiterate how easy these little bites are to make. I know, I know, they look so fancy, but that’s just the store-bought puff pastry doing all the hard work for you. Roll out the thawed sheet of puff pastry until it’s a little thinner and larger then cut it into squares. I use my pizza cutter; I definitely don’t make the straightest cuts, but it doesn’t really matter. The little squares of puff pastry get pressed into the cups of a mini muffin pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.

Cheesy Barbecue Chicken Puff Pastry Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

After baking just the puff pastry cups for ten minutes you use a spoon to deflate a little cavity into the center of each puff pastry cup then fill with some shredded barbecue chicken and cheddar cheese before baking for another ten minutes. The reason I split up the baking time is by letting the puff pastry bake a little on its own you’re making sure the bottoms will be crispy and completely cooked.

Cheesy Barbecue Chicken Puff Pastry Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

When I made these for some friends a couple weeks ago I rolled and cut the puff pastry sheet, placed it into the sprayed muffin pan, then covered the whole thing with plastic wrap and placed it in the fridge. That way when everyone arrived I was able to go right to the baking part and it took no time at all to spoon the chicken into the little cups in between the two ten-minute bakes.

Cheesy Barbecue Chicken Puff Pastry Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

These Cheesy Barbecue Chicken Puff Pastry Bites taste awesome as is, but you can also get creative with different toppings to change the taste a little. My friends and I tried some with chopped pineapple on top and when I made them again for the photo shoot I tried them with a small dollop of guacamole. All three ways tasted really good! You could leave out some topping bowls and let guests choose their own different variations. I hope you all love these as much as we do!

Cheesy Barbecue Chicken Puff Pastry Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

Cheesy Barbecue Chicken Puff Pastry Bites
 
Yield: 24 bites
Ingredients
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted, but still cold (mine is usually just right when thawed at room temperature for 35 minutes)
  • 1 cup shredded barbecue chicken, see note
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon finely shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
  • Finely chopped pineapple for serving, optional
  • Guacamole for serving, optional
  • Cooking spray
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. On a lightly floured surface unfold the puff pastry sheet. Roll into a rectangle about 10” by 15”. Cut the rectangle of puff pastry into 24 squares. Press each square into a cup of the prepared mini muffin pan. Return to the fridge for 10 minutes to chill or cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge until ready to serve. When ready, bake for 10 minutes then remove from the oven.
  3. When the puff pastry comes out of the oven, gently press a spoon into the middle of each bite to lightly deflate the middle and make room for the chicken. Spoon the shredded chicken into the puff pastry bites. Sprinkle the top of each bite with some of the shredded cheese. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Serve hot as is or with pineapple and guacamole on top.
Notes
1 cup of shredded barbecue chicken is roughly the equivalent of a 5¼ ounce cooked chicken breast shredded and mixed with barbecue sauce until fully coated. However, shredded barbecue chicken freezes really well so this is what I normally do: Put 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts in your slow cooker. Add almost a whole bottle of original Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce and ½ chopped small onion. Let slow cook on low for 6-8 hours. Shred the chicken right in the slow cooker and let cook for 15-30 more minutes. If I make this the day before these puff pastry bites I put what I need in the fridge then freeze the rest. I like to freeze the shredded barbecue chicken in quart freezer bags (flattened after sealing) because they defrost really quickly.

 

Hummus and Roasted Veggie Flatbread Pizza

Hummus and Roasted Veggie Flatbread Pizza  |  Lemon & Mocha

Now this, my friends, is how to truly enjoy hummus. I thought I had a love for hummus, but this Hummus and Roasted Veggie Flatbread Pizza just deepened my love ten-fold. Pita chips dipped into hummus is great. Warm, soft pita wedges dipped into hummus is even better. But a toasted pizza crust topped with warm hummus, roasted vegetables and slightly melted goat cheese is the hands-down winner.

Hummus and Roasted Veggie Flatbread Pizza  |  Lemon & Mocha

I used Monday’s Caramelized Onion Hummus to make this flatbread pizza and the rich flavor balanced with the roasted zucchini and broccoli was perfect. The beauty of this dish is you can really customize it any way you would like. Swap out the hummus flavor, your favorite veggies or even add some additional protein, like some grilled chicken.

Hummus and Roasted Veggie Flatbread Pizza  |  Lemon & Mocha

Or just make it with whatever is in your fridge because once you get the thought of a hummus pizza in your head nothing will matter until you are blissfully taking bites of the warm and crispy hummus-slathered flatbread.

Hummus and Roasted Veggie Flatbread Pizza  |  Lemon & Mocha

I found these new pre-made rectangular pizza crusts at Trader Joe’s. They were giving out samples of them covered in pesto and gooey mozzarella so of course I got a few to stock up. They were super long so I cut them in half and popped them in my freezer. I would definitely recommend them, although naan bread, pita bread or any other type of pre-made flatbread would work well for this hummus pizza.

Hummus and Roasted Veggie Flatbread Pizza  |  Lemon & Mocha

One key recipe step that I want to point out is that you have to spread the hummus on the pizza before putting the flatbread in the oven. Hummus spread on a warm pita is one thing, but hummus baked on a pizza crust is an entirely different experience. The hummus gets warm and bakes onto the crust. So good! Have you ever had a hummus pizza?

Hummus and Roasted Veggie Flatbread Pizza  |  Lemon & Mocha

Hummus and Roasted Veggie Flatbread Pizza
 
Yield: 2 personal sized flatbreads
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into rounds then halved
  • Cooking spray
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning
  • 2 flatbreads, about 8” by 6” each
  • ½ cup hummus
  • ¼ cup shredded raw beets
  • 2 ounces goat cheese crumbles
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil or parchment paper. Place the broccoli florets and zucchini pieces in a single layer on the baking sheet. Lightly spray with cooking spray. Season the veggies with salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Roast for 20 minutes, or until tender and lightly charred.
  2. Divide the hummus between the 2 flatbreads and spread in an even layer. Divide the roasted veggies, raw beets and goat cheese crumbles between the flatbreads. Bake at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes, or toast in your toaster oven, until the flatbread is warm and the goat cheese is slightly melted.