Vegetarian

Mushroom Mac and Cheese

Mushroom Mac and Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

Today is Lemon & Mocha’s five year anniversary! Can you believe it? Five years ago today I published the first ever Lemon & Mocha blog post and here we are with another first – the first ever mac and cheese recipe on the site! Can you believe that? I can’t decide which thing shocks me more. I think, and anyone who knows me well will agree, that this being the first mac and cheese recipe is the most surprising part of today by far. I am OBSESSED with macaroni and cheese. I have been since I was a kid and I’m equally surprised I haven’t just turned into a big mac and cheese noodle so far. Although not for a lack of trying – check out my Halloween costume from last year!

Mushroom Mac and Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

When I was in middle school I would come home from school every day and eat an entire box of Kraft macaroni and cheese. I took my box mac and cheese very seriously, too. I remember one time being at my best friend’s house and telling her mom not to worry, that I would make the box of mac and cheese because I knew the secret way to make it taste best (more butter, less milk, is key!). Nowadays, I’m all about the Annie’s mac and cheese. But what I love most of all is a cheesy, gooey, flavor packed homemade macaroni and cheese.

Mushroom Mac and Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

The flavor packed part is really important because a quality mac and cheese needs to be more than just noodles and melted cheese sauce. It has to have depths to its flavors so each bite takes you on a flavor roller coaster. Not a huge upside down one, but like a medium curvy one so just when you think you’ve settled in another flavor curve hits your palate. I usually use multiple types of cheeses and a little dijon mustard in all my homemade mac and cheeses as a start for that extra depth of flavor.

Mushroom Mac and Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

This mushroom version is some next level mac and cheese though since it’s loaded with umami. If you aren’t familiar with the term, check out my Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms post! We’re sautéing both cremini and shiitake mushrooms in shallots and garlic before putting them in the dish so they’ve reached their peak deliciousness. We’re also using dried mushrooms, which get re-hydrated in some warm water before being sautéed. The reason we do this is so we create a rich mushroom liquid that we use right in the Mushroom Mac and Cheese. This lets rich mushroom flavor permeate every bite, even if you don’t get an actual piece of mushroom.

Mushroom Mac and Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’ve made this mac and cheese in the past, but this most recent time Matt and I couldn’t get enough of it. The minute I took my last photo I grabbed a fork and started eating it right from the serving bowl – smelling it while photographing had been tortuous! We didn’t want to eat it all over the weekend because it’s, you know, not the healthiest, so I froze a container of it. Needless to say, that container promptly got defrosted the next night!

Mushroom Mac and Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

I can’t believe this is the first macaroni and cheese recipe I’m posting on Lemon & Mocha, but I promise it won’t be my last. Also, how many times did I just type mac and cheese? It must be my favorite word combination. Thank you all so much for continuing to follow this journey with me! As much as I pour my heart into my cooking, I equally pour my heart into my writing each week and connecting with everyone in this tiny online space brings me so much joy. So thank you, thank you, thank you!

Mushroom Mac and Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

Mushroom Mac and Cheese
 
Yield: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 pound dried medium shell pasta
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 ounces whole cremini mushrooms, stems removed and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
  • 1½ cups shredded fontina cheese, divided
  • 1 cup shredded sharp or smoked cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Submerge the dried mushrooms in the hot water. Let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour. When they are done, remove them from the water, squeeze them out, then chop and place with the other chopped mushrooms. Make sure to reserve the mushroom stock.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9x13” baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta to al dente according to the box instructions. Drain.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the shallot and garlic for 1-2 minutes. Add the chopped cremini and shiitake mushrooms. Add the dried oregano and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the mushrooms have stopped releasing liquid and are browned. Set aside.
  5. In a large dutch oven or stock pot, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour and cook for about 3 minutes, whisking constantly. The roux should be slightly darkened. Add the white wine, whisk to combine and let cook for 1 minute. Add the milk and whisk. Once the milk has warmed, add 2 cups shredded gruyere, 1 cup shredded fontina and 1 cup shredded cheddar, whisking after each addition. Once smooth, add 3 tablespoons of the mushroom stock (the water the dried mushrooms were in), the mustard and the cooked mushroom mixture. Stir to combine. Add the cooked pasta and stir to completely coat. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  6. Pour the mac and cheese into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup shredded fontina cheese on top. Bake for 20 minutes.

 

Maple Apple Grilled Cheese

Maple Apple Grilled Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

Happy Friday, friends! It seems only right to celebrate the upcoming weekend with something ooey, gooey and cheesy. Since it’s already October we can’t forget the fall flavors either! This grilled cheese is loaded with tart granny smith apple slices, a sweet and spicy maple mustard and some maple smoked cheddar. I only have one other grilled cheese recipe on Lemon & Mocha and while the Hobo Egg Grilled Cheese is an epic sandwich, it’s about time I shared some more cheesy goodness.

Maple Apple Grilled Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

This grilled cheese has been in motion ever since I bought some spicy maple mustard and some maple smoked cheddar cheese. Pemberton Farms is a local market and nursery Matt and I like to go to and mid-summer we went on a Saturday to buy a bunch of flowers and bushes. We never have an issue parking there, but there was a line to get in the parking lot. We circled the block before finally finding a street spot and headed in to see that they were having a customer appreciation day complete with dozens of local vendors giving away samples of food, beer, wine and spirits. There was even free barbecue in the parking lot and a live band in the outdoor nursery! Needless to say, it was a bad day to try and buy flowers, but a perfect day to eat some free food and chat with local vendors.

Maple Apple Grilled Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

I tried this maple smoked cheddar from Grafton Village Cheese that was creamy with a little sweetness from the maple and had a nice smoky flavor. I commented that the cheese would be really good on a grilled cheese with apples and the woman at the vendor booth said she loves making them with April’s Maple spicy maple mustard. I knew she was onto something so we bought both the cheese and the mustard. I’ve been waiting a while to make this grilled cheese since I wanted to make it in the fall and it was definitely worth the wait. Although I most likely won’t be waiting weeks to have it again!

Maple Apple Grilled Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

Since April’s Maple is really local I wrote in the recipe for you to make your own maple mustard with equal parts spicy mustard and pure maple syrup, but if you spot April’s Maple products near you I definitely recommend trying them out! If you can’t find the Grafton Village maple smoked cheddar (although I noticed online that Wegman’s seems to carry it, even in some non-local towns), you can substitute with any smoked cheddar, smoked gouda or a sharp cheddar.

Maple Apple Grilled Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

Other than the outrageous fall flavors inside, the key to a perfect grilled cheese is how you cook the outside. My two biggest tips are 1) cook it low and slow so the cheese has plenty of time to melt and 2) spread mayonnaise on the outside of your bread. Yes, mayonnaise! I first learned this trick from Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, which is a Boston food truck. The mayo gets cooked off, but it creates a perfectly browned and crunchy outside to your grilled cheese. Every bit of that outside bread gets a very thin coat of the mayo making sure that the entire surface area of that bread will get browned in the pan. Definitely try this one!

Maple Apple Grilled Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

Maple Apple Grilled Cheese
 
Yield: 1 grilled cheese
Ingredients
  • 1½ teaspoons Dijon or spicy mustard
  • 1½ teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 3 ounces maple smoked cheddar, sliced
  • 6 thin slices of granny smith apple, about ¼ of a large apple
Directions
  1. In a small bowl, combine the mustard and maple syrup. Spread over the inside of one of the slices of sourdough bread.
  2. Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium-low heat. Spread 1 teaspoon of the mayonnaise on the other side of the bread you spread the maple mustard on. Place the bread in the frying pan, mayonnaise side down. Next evenly place the slices of cheese on top of the mustard then evenly place the slices of apple. Spread the other teaspoon of mayonnaise on the outside of the second slice of bread and place that slice of bread, mayonnaise side up, on top of the sandwich stack. Cover the grilled cheese with a pot lid big enough to cover it.
  3. Cook until the cheese melts then carefully flip. This will depend on how thin you sliced your cheese, but mine cooked on medium-low for 7 minutes. Once you flip the grilled cheese leave it uncovered. Turn up the heat to medium-high and cook just until the bottom bread gets browned and crispy, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from the pan, let cool for a minute or two, then cut and enjoy!
Notes
If you can’t find maple smoked cheddar, use smoked cheddar. If you can’t find smoked cheddar you can substitute with smoked gouda or sharp cheddar.

 

Barbecue Jackfruit Tacos

Barbecue Jackfruit Tacos  |  Lemon & Mocha

Before I dive into how I came up with this recipe or start describing what it tastes like I first need to address the obvious question: what is jackfruit? I did not know the answer to this until a couple months ago. Technically, jackfruit is a relative of figs and is indeed a fruit. However, the more relevant answer is that it has the texture of chicken and while the fruit is young it has a neutral taste letting it take on the flavor of whatever sauce you slather over it. For these two reasons, in the last year or so jackfruit has become increasingly popular as a meat alternative for vegans and vegetarians. Now, it is important to note that the flesh of the jackfruit does not have much protein at all so I would recommend serving it alongside something high in protein, such as this Three Bean and Roasted Cauliflower Salad.

Barbecue Jackfruit Tacos  |  Lemon & Mocha

Jackfruit is, however, low in calories, and I can definitely see why it is popular as a meat alternative. Once I shredded up this jackfruit and cooked it in some barbecue sauce, it looked exactly like pulled pork. Matt thought it was pulled pork when I served it and after he took a bite – and after me telling him it was jackfruit – he looked at me and said, “You’re sure this isn’t pork?” While it doesn’t have the richness of pork, the texture is almost identical to a pulled chicken or pork and smothered in barbecue sauce no one would ever be the wiser.

Barbecue Jackfruit Tacos  |  Lemon & Mocha

I had heard of jackfruit, but got the opportunity to try it a couple months ago at our Whole Foods. They had it in the burrito bar and let me try a sample. I loved the texture, but it was too spicy for me. I decided I needed to do more research and make my own version so I could enjoy it. Remember how the Elote Hot Dogs came to be? I think I’m noticing a pattern here with my inability to consume spicy foods…

Barbecue Jackfruit Tacos  |  Lemon & Mocha

Anyways, I discovered that you can buy jackfruit in a can. I got mine from Trader Joe’s. What you are looking for is green jackfruit. Make sure you do not buy the one that comes in syrup. The one from Trader Joe’s comes in a brine instead of water so I just made sure I rinsed them well before cutting. For cutting tips check out my little diagram below.

Barbecue Jackfruit Tacos  |  Lemon & Mocha

After it’s all cut up, the jackfruit gets cooked down with some onion, garlic and barbecue sauce before being shredded and loaded up onto tortillas. I made a quick and healthy slaw for the tacos with nonfat Greek yogurt to balance the flavors of the barbecue sauce. You can use any barbecue sauce you prefer, but I highly recommend my easy homemade barbecue sauce that is free of refined sugar.

Barbecue Jackfruit Tacos  |  Lemon & Mocha

Matt and I both really enjoyed these tacos and I’m looking forward to making them again soon! Have any of you tried jackfruit before?

Barbecue Jackfruit Tacos  |  Lemon & Mocha

Barbecue Jackfruit Tacos
 
Yield: 6 servings, 12 mini tacos
Ingredients
for the tacos
  • 2 20-ounce cans jackfruit
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ small red onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 12 6-inch tortillas, warmed
for the slaw
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage or slaw mix
  • ¼ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon onion powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon paprika
  • Ground black pepper
Directions
for the tacos
  1. Prepare the jackfruit. If your jackfruit is in brine instead of water make sure you rinse it well in a colander then dry completely before cutting. Cut following the diagram pictured above: place a wedge of the jackfruit on a cutting board so the narrow edge is closest to you. Slice from the wide curved edge down to the narrow edge so you have about 5 or so smaller wedges. This will make it easier for shredding later.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a rimmed skillet or medium stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onions start to turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium then add the jackfruit and the water. Stir and cook for a couple minutes. Add the barbecue sauce, stir, then turn down the heat to low, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve over the warmed tortillas topped with the slaw.
for the slaw
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Season with ground black pepper to taste.

 

Strawberry Peanut Butter Wraps

Strawberry Peanut Butter Wraps  |  Lemon & Mocha

Yes, this recipe literally is strawberries and peanut butter, or the nut butter of your choice, wrapped inside a tortilla. Yes, I realize you probably don’t need a recipe to create that. Yes, I did go ahead and post it anyways. The reason is that I’m always looking for new lunch ideas for Matt and I. I like switching up my meals a lot because a) there’s so many different meals out there to try and b) I get bored of having the same thing all the time. I figured other people on here might also be looking for some lunch or snack-time inspiration so here we are!

Strawberry Peanut Butter Wraps  |  Lemon & Mocha

Peanut butter and jelly is such a good classic combination, but sometimes I’m a little hesitant to use jelly because of all the added sugar and ingredients. That’s where the fresh strawberries come in. You still get the taste of a peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwich without all the additional ingredients. This simple Strawberry Peanut Butter Wrap is just a starting point – you can completely change yours up to whatever suits your preferences or mood. You all know I love a good recipe with the possibility for options!

Strawberry Peanut Butter Wraps  |  Lemon & Mocha

I think it’s safe to say that I currently have a butter addiction. I’m not talking about actual butter though; I’m talking about nut and seed butters. Right now in our kitchen cabinets we have creamy peanut butter, peanut butter with flax and chia seeds, crunchy almond butter and dark chocolate sunflower seed butter (my favorite!). There’s also cookie butter, but that’s for special occasions. This wrap could be made with whichever nut or seed butter you want. You could even combine a couple! Okay, mind blown. Anyways, you can also switch up the fruit, but I think berries like raspberries or blackberries would taste best in this wrap. If you want to get a little extra you could always add in a little granola.

Strawberry Peanut Butter Wraps  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you are a peanut butter and jelly fan then you are going to love the Food Network Magazine’s September muffins that I’ll be sharing next Friday!

Strawberry Peanut Butter Wraps  |  Lemon & Mocha

Strawberry Peanut Butter Wraps
 
Yield: 1 serving
Ingredients
  • 1 whole wheat tortilla
  • Nut or seed butter of choice
  • 5 small-medium quartered strawberries
Directions
  1. If your tortilla is going to be too stiff to roll without breaking, place it on a plate under a damp paper towel and microwave for 10 seconds.
  2. Spread some nut or seed butter on the tortilla to completely cover one side. Place your cut strawberries on the bottom edge of the tortilla then roll it up.

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Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Tahini Bowls

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Tahini Bowls  |  Lemon & Mocha

When I first bought tahini it was to make my Pumpkin Hummus. For those of you that aren’t familiar with tahini, it is made from ground sesame seeds and is one of the main components in hummus, along with chickpeas. After that first experiment with the Pumpkin Hummus, I used it purely to make homemade hummus and never ventured beyond that.

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Tahini Bowls  |  Lemon & Mocha

Then last year I was Googling healthy lunch ideas for Matt and I and came across a quinoa bowl that called for a tahini dressing. My version of the recipe is incredibly simple – tahini, lemon juice, water and garlic powder. I mixed it up completely skeptical, but as soon as I tried it poured over my bowl of roasted veggies and quinoa I was completely hooked.

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Tahini Bowls  |  Lemon & Mocha

It was tart, nutty and really creamy. The acidic punch complements the earthy vegetables really well. We have these Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Tahini Bowls all year round and I love that you can swap out the vegetables to your preferences or the season.

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Tahini Bowls  |  Lemon & Mocha

This version is my favorite, though, because I love the meatiness that the eggplant and mushrooms bring to the bowl. Matt and I are also mushroom obsessed if I haven’t mentioned that before. Then the zucchinis bring some brightness and the bell pepper adds some sweetness. Perfection in a bowl!

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Tahini Bowls  |  Lemon & Mocha

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Tahini Bowls
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 eggplant
  • 8 ounces whole cremini mushrooms
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a half sheet baking pan with nonstick aluminum foil or lightly spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Prep the veggies. Cut the ends off the zucchini then cut it into thick rounds. Slice the rounds in half. Remove the seeds and stem from the bell pepper then chop into a big dice. Remove the ends from the eggplant then cut into a small dice. The eggplant takes the longest to roast so you want the pieces smaller. Remove the stems from the mushrooms then quarter them.
  3. Place the vegetables on the prepared baking sheet then toss with just enough olive oil to lightly coat them. Sprinkle with the garlic powder, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 20 minutes, or until the veggies roasted and lightly browned.
  4. While the veggies are roasting, make the tahini dressing. In a bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, water and garlic powder until incorporated. Keep separate until ready to eat.
  5. To prepare the bowls, put ½ cup cooked quinoa in each bowl. Divide the roasted veggies between the 4 bowls then divide the dressing between each of the bowls.
Notes
Usually when I make this I will pack the tahini dressing in a separate container so I can shake it up and pour it on after I heat the quinoa and veggies in the microwave. I have tried it with the dressing poured on ahead of time and everything heated in the microwave and it was okay, but the dressing seemed to get absorbed by the other ingredients in the bowl and wasn’t as good as when I pour it on right before eating.
For the quinoa, I used a super grains mix that I picked up at my local Whole Foods. It is a mix of red quinoa, white quinoa, millet and buckwheat. It is actually cheaper than the bag of just quinoa and I like the variety for our quinoa bowls.

Dressing recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.