Gin Basil Smash

Here’s the perfect summer cocktail for when herbs abound: the Gin Basil Smash! Use your basil plant for this refreshing…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Here’s the perfect summer cocktail for when herbs abound: the Gin Basil Smash! Use your basil plant for this refreshing and herbaceous drink.

Gin basil smash

Got basil? Love gin? Here’s the ideal drink for you: the Gin Basil Smash! This modern spin on the Whiskey Smash is light and herbaceous, pairing peppery basil with botanical gin. If there’s summer in a cocktail glass, this is it! We love drinking our herbs all season long, and this new addition to our summer cocktails perfectly captures that feeling of fresh cut grass between your toes and sticky melted popsicle fingers. (At least, we think so!)

What’s in a Gin Basil Smash?

The Gin Basil Smash is a cocktail made with gin, basil and fresh lemon juice, a riff on the popular Whiskey Smash. First published as a recipe in 1887, the Whiskey Smash pairs lemon, mint, sugar and crushed ice as a refreshing summer cocktail. Substitute in basil and gin, and you’ve got this drink.

This gin variation was invented in 2008 by a man named Jörg Meyer, owner of the Germany bar Bar Le Lion, who posted the recipe on his website. It became an international success and is now made around the world. (Read more about the origin story.) Here’s what you need to make a Gin Basil Smash:

  • Gin
  • Basil leaves
  • Lemon juice
  • Simple syrup
Gin basil smash

How to muddle basil

The best time to make a Gin Basil Smash? The summer, when you have a big pot of bright green basil! You’ll need 8 to 10 basil leaves per drink, so it’s more economical to go the home-grown route. The cocktail skill we’ll use to extract that delicious, peppery flavor is called muddling. Muddling is gently mashing herbs to release their juices, which helps the flavors incorporate into drinks.

When it comes to herbs, you’ll want to have a gentle touch when muddling. Here’s how to muddle herbs, including basil:

  • Place the basil leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. If you don’t have one, you can use a large metal cup or bowl.
  • With a wooden cocktail muddler or unfinished wooden spoon, gently mash the mint a few times to release the juices. Do not mash the basil with lots of force! The key to muddling is a light touch.

Basil is so easy to grow at home! Go to How to Grow Basil and How to Harvest Basil for more.

Best gin to use

Any type of gin works for a Gin Basil Smash! Try to find a mid-priced bottle, since price is usually indicative of quality when it comes to spirits. Here are a few tips for buying gin:

  • Every brand is different. There’s a wide range of botanical flavors in different brands of gin. Experiment to find your favorite!
  • Malfy gin is a good option: it has a nice balance of flavors.
  • Steer away from Tanqueray gin: in our opinion, it’s a little too floral.
Gin basil smash

More basil cocktails & mint cocktails

There are so many ways to use fresh herbs in cocktails in the summer! Here are a few more ideas:

When to serve a Gin Basil Smash

This refreshing cocktail is perfect for summer when basil abounds, but of course it works year round. Try it as a:

  • Summer cocktail
  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Late night drinks drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
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Gin basil smash

Gin Basil Smash


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Here’s the perfect summer cocktail for when herbs abound: the Gin Basil Smash! Use your basil plant for this refreshing and herbaceous drink.


Ingredients

  • 8 to 10 large basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 2 ½ ounces* gin
  • ¾ ounce lemon juice
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • Ice, for serving (try clear ice)

Instructions

  1. Place the basil leaves in a cocktail shaker and muddle them (gently mash).
  2. Add the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup to the cocktail shaker. Add 2 handfuls ice and shake until cold.
  3. Strain the drink into an ice-filled lowball glass. If desired, top with splash of soda water. Garnish with additional basil leaves.

Notes

*To convert to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons. 

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Gin basil smash

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Creamy Coconut Margarita

This coconut margarita recipe is the cocktail you didn’t know you were missing! It’s zingy and creamy, pairing lime and tequila with coconut. Here’s a drink that’s creamy, cool, refreshing and an absolute must for any margarita lover: this Coconut Margarita recipe! After trying 30+ margarita variations, this one rose to the top because it’s not like any other margarita variation you’ve tried! Tropical coconut pairs perfectly with the zing of lime and bite of tequila. The best part? The toasted coconut drink rim gives you a crunchy, tropical infusion to each sip. We love all our margarita recipes, but this one…this one is special. Ingredients in a coconut margarita The margarita was invented in Mexico in the 1930’s, and today remains one of the most popular classic cocktails of all time. The Classic Margarita has just 3 ingredients: tequila, triple sec and lime juice. For the coconut spin, add cremHere are the ingredients you’ll need for a raspberry margarita: Tequila Triple Sec (or Cointreau) Lime juice Cream of coconut (not coconut cream) Sweetened shredded coconut, for the rim Buy cream of coconut, not coconut cream The most important thing about this coconut margarita is making sure to buy the right coconut product. Buy […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This coconut margarita recipe is the cocktail you didn’t know you were missing! It’s zingy and creamy, pairing lime and tequila with coconut.

Coconut margarita

Here’s a drink that’s creamy, cool, refreshing and an absolute must for any margarita lover: this Coconut Margarita recipe! After trying 30+ margarita variations, this one rose to the top because it’s not like any other margarita variation you’ve tried! Tropical coconut pairs perfectly with the zing of lime and bite of tequila. The best part? The toasted coconut drink rim gives you a crunchy, tropical infusion to each sip. We love all our margarita recipes, but this one…this one is special.

Ingredients in a coconut margarita

The margarita was invented in Mexico in the 1930’s, and today remains one of the most popular classic cocktails of all time. The Classic Margarita has just 3 ingredients: tequila, triple sec and lime juice. For the coconut spin, add cremHere are the ingredients you’ll need for a raspberry margarita:

Buy cream of coconut, not coconut cream

The most important thing about this coconut margarita is making sure to buy the right coconut product. Buy cream of coconut, not coconut cream! A good rule of thumb? Opt for the squeeze bottle, not the can. Here’s more about what to know:

  • Cream of coconut is a sweetened syrup used for cocktails. It’s made with coconut cream and sugar. It’s sold in handy squeeze bottles to make it easy to add to drinks. Cream of coconut is easy to find online or at your local liquor store. A popular brand is Coco Real.
  • Coconut cream is unsweetened! It’s thick with a strong coconut flavor and sold in cans next to the coconut milk. Coconut cream is made from chilling coconut milk and then skimming off the layer of cream that floats to the top.

Want help using up the cream of coconut bottle? Try the Piña Colada, Painkiller or Bushwacker.

Coconut margarita recipe

What if you accidentally buy coconut cream?

You can save your coconut margarita if you buy the wrong one. Here’s what to do: Use 1/2 ounce coconut cream and 1/2 ounce simple syrup in place of the 1 ounces cream of coconut.

How to make a toasted coconut rim!

The best part of this coconut margarita recipe? The toasted coconut rim! Drink rims are not just fun visually: they add a textural element and pop of flavor to each sip. Here’s what to know about making this drink rim:

  • Toast the coconut. Here’s how to toast coconut — we used the stovetop instructions which takes just a few minutes. Just make sure to keep an eye on it: coconut can go from raw to burned in a flash!
  • Use the cream of coconut to adhere the coconut. Alex had a stroke of genius with this drink: he used the cream of coconut to stick the coconut to the glass. It works like a charm!
  • Dip the rim in cream of coconut, then a plate of toasted coconut. You’ll just want the outer edge of the glass to be covered. It takes a little time, but it’s worth it for the flavor!
Coconut margarita

Make a coconut margarita pitcher (8 servings)

Serving a crowd? Mix up a coconut margarita pitcher instead! A pitcher is more efficient because it makes 8 servings in just 5 minutes! Here’s what to mix:

  • 2 cups tequila
  • 1/2 cup triple sec
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 cup cream of coconut
  • 3 handfuls ice

Throw them in a pitcher, mix, and enjoy! Let us know what you think of this tasty drink in the comments below.

More unique margarita recipes

Coconut margarita

When to serve a coconut margarita

The coconut margarita is creamy and impressive! It works as a:

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Coconut margarita

Creamy Coconut Margarita


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This coconut margarita recipe is the cocktail you didn’t know you were missing! It’s zingy and creamy, pairing lime and tequila with coconut. 


Ingredients

  • Sweetened shredded coconut, for the rim
  • 2 ounces tequila blanco
  • 1/2 ounce triple sec (or Cointreau)
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 ounce cream of coconut (not coconut cream)
  • Ice, for serving (try clear ice)

Instructions

  1. Toast the coconut. Remove it from the heat and place it in a single layer on a plate. 
  2. Add a bit of extra cream of coconut to a separate plate and dip the edge of the rim of the glass into it. Then dip the rim into the plate of toasted coconut.
  3. Place the tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and cream of coconut in a cocktail shaker and add one handful ice. Shake until cold. Strain the margarita into the glass with the coconut rim. Fill the glass with ice and serve.
  4. For a pitcher: add 2 cups tequila, 1/2 cup triple sec, 1/2 cup lime juice, and 1 cup cream of coconut to a pitcher. Add 3 handfuls ice and stir. 
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Coconut margarita, coconut margarita recipe

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Strawberry Mimosa

What’s more festive than a strawberry mimosa? This berry spin on the classic stars fresh strawberries, orange juice and Prosecco. When it comes to classic cocktails, usually the original is the best. But when it comes to mimosas… well, this Strawberry Mimosa might be even better! The classic mimosa stars orange juice and champagne: but why not add bright red strawberries to the mix? Pureeing fresh strawberries with the orange juice adds fruity berry notes to the flavor palate. Even better, the color is vibrantly rosy! It’s a stunning brunch cocktail that makes any occasion more festive…even if it’s just a celebration for yourself! Ingredients in a strawberry mimosa The mimosa couldn’t be a simpler drink to put together, starring the classic combination of citrus and bubbles. The Classic Mimosa was invented in the 1920’s, supposedly in Paris. It’s gone on to be one of the most famous cocktails of all time, and it’s made the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails. The strawberry mimosa is a fun spin-off on the classic drink, adding fresh berries to the mix. The ingredients for a strawberry mimosa are: Orange juice: Any store-bought brand will work: you don’t need fresh squeezed […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

What’s more festive than a strawberry mimosa? This berry spin on the classic stars fresh strawberries, orange juice and Prosecco.

Strawberry mimosa

When it comes to classic cocktails, usually the original is the best. But when it comes to mimosas… well, this Strawberry Mimosa might be even better! The classic mimosa stars orange juice and champagne: but why not add bright red strawberries to the mix? Pureeing fresh strawberries with the orange juice adds fruity berry notes to the flavor palate. Even better, the color is vibrantly rosy! It’s a stunning brunch cocktail that makes any occasion more festive…even if it’s just a celebration for yourself!

Ingredients in a strawberry mimosa

The mimosa couldn’t be a simpler drink to put together, starring the classic combination of citrus and bubbles. The Classic Mimosa was invented in the 1920’s, supposedly in Paris. It’s gone on to be one of the most famous cocktails of all time, and it’s made the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails. The strawberry mimosa is a fun spin-off on the classic drink, adding fresh berries to the mix. The ingredients for a strawberry mimosa are:

  • Orange juice: Any store-bought brand will work: you don’t need fresh squeezed here
  • Fresh strawberries: It’s best with fresh berries, but you can use frozen strawberries if desired
  • Sparkling wine: use champagne, Prosecco, or your favorite sparkling wine (see below)
Strawberry mimosa

Use champagne, Prosecco, or any sparkling wine

The classic for a mimosa is champagne, but we like it even better with Italian Prosecco! You can really use any type of sparkling wine. Prosecco is generally a little cheaper champagne: you can find a great Prosecco for $15 per bottle. Because champagne is more tricky to produce, it’s more expensive: a good bottle starts at $30 to $40. (Here’s a little more about Prosecco vs Champagne.) Whatever sparkling wine you buy, make sure it’s “brut” which means dry. Here’s a little more about the various types:

  • Champagne: French sparkling wine (most expensive choice). It tastes bubbly and fruity, with undertones of almond and orange.
  • Prosecco: Italian sparkling wine. It’s a little sweeter than champagne: fruity and flowery, with notes of apple, pear and lemon.
  • Cava: Spanish sparkling wine. It has more citrus notes, and is a little more savory and less fruity.

How to make a strawberry mimosa: a few tips

This strawberry mimosa is so easy to make: simply pour all the ingredients in a champagne flute! There are just a few things to keep in mind here:

  • Puree the strawberries and orange juice. Nothing special there: just whiz it up in a blender until it forms a strawberry puree.
  • Add the sparkling wine first (to contain the mess) or last (for fizz). There are two ways to add the champagne in a mimosa. Add it first and it contains the mess and there’s less bubbling. But if you like those beautiful bubbles, add the sparkling wine last! It makes a frothy bubble fountain.
  • Garnish with strawberries, if you’d like. Fresh strawberries are a lovey way to add pizzazz. Add slices of berries or whole berries. Use a cocktail skewer to get them to balance the top of the glass like you see here.
Strawberry cocktail

Fresh berries are best, but use frozen in a pinch

This strawberry mimosa is best with fresh berries. But want to try it with frozen? You can with one caveat!

  • Frozen strawberries are a little more tart than the sweet flavor of fresh berries.
  • Want to balance it out? If you’d like, you can add a little drizzle of maple syrup or simple syrup to sweeten the strawberry puree just a bit.

Want more with this tasty berry? Try our Best Strawberry Cocktails.

One recipe makes 6 drinks

And that’s it: it couldn’t be simpler! This strawberry mimosa is for 6 drinks, so it’s party ready! We optimized the recipe for what you’ll get from a standard champagne or Prosecco bottle. What to do with the extra strawberry puree? Well, it’s so delicious, you might just want to drink it! It tastes like a strawberry orange smoothie.

Strawberries

More mimosa variations!

Love mimosas? Us too! In fact, we love them so much that we’ve made all sorts of variations on them. If you want to mix it up even more, here are a few more fruity types of mimosa recipes:

Strawberry mimosa

A few more strawberry cocktails

Strawberries add a lovely fruity, berry spin on classic cocktails. Here’s a list of strawberry cocktails that we also recommend:

This strawberry mimosa recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Strawberry mimosa

Strawberry Mimosa


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 drinks
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

What’s more festive than a strawberry mimosa? This berry spin on the classic stars fresh strawberries, orange juice and Prosecco.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups  (1 pint) fresh strawberries (or frozen strawberries*)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 750mL bottle Prosecco, champagne or other sparkling wine

Instructions

  1. Remove the tops from the strawberries. Add them to a blender with the orange juice and blend.
  2. For each drink, add 1/4 cup puree to a champagne flute and top off with 1/2 cup of Prosecco. 

Notes

*Frozen strawberries are usually a little more tart than fresh berries. If desired, you can add a little drizzle of maple syrup or simple syrup to sweeten. 

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Strawberry mimosa

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Spanish Coffee

Try this homemade Spanish coffee recipe! The showy after dinner drink features Kahlua, rum, orange liqueur, and a caramelized sugar rim. Have you tried the revelation that is Spanish coffee? Flaming Spanish coffee, that is? The name is a bit of a misnomer. It’s actually an American spin on the Spanish concept of carajillo: spiked coffee. But this drink is extra-special. It’s got a caramelized sugar rim and is spiked with Kahlua, rum, and orange liqueur…and topped with hand-whipped fluffy whipped cream! The burnt caramel, citrus, bitter coffee and sweet cream all combine into a literal symphony of flavor. You’ve gotta try this one! What is Spanish coffee? Why’s it called Spanish coffee, when it’s really American? Well, the concept of spiked coffee spans cultures and liquors, from traditional Irish coffee to amaretto coffee. The Spanish version of spiked coffee is called carajillo, and it’s popular in Spain and Latin American countries like Cuba, Colombia and Mexico. Each country uses its own liqueur; in Spain it’s brandy; in Mexico it’s Licor 43, a bright yellow vanilla liqueur. Spanish coffee is an American adaptation of the carajillo, invented at Huber’s Bar in Portland, Oregon. The drink is made tableside by lighting […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Try this homemade Spanish coffee recipe! The showy after dinner drink features Kahlua, rum, orange liqueur, and a caramelized sugar rim.

Spanish coffee

Have you tried the revelation that is Spanish coffee? Flaming Spanish coffee, that is? The name is a bit of a misnomer. It’s actually an American spin on the Spanish concept of carajillo: spiked coffee. But this drink is extra-special. It’s got a caramelized sugar rim and is spiked with Kahlua, rum, and orange liqueur…and topped with hand-whipped fluffy whipped cream! The burnt caramel, citrus, bitter coffee and sweet cream all combine into a literal symphony of flavor. You’ve gotta try this one!

What is Spanish coffee?

Why’s it called Spanish coffee, when it’s really American? Well, the concept of spiked coffee spans cultures and liquors, from traditional Irish coffee to amaretto coffee. The Spanish version of spiked coffee is called carajillo, and it’s popular in Spain and Latin American countries like Cuba, Colombia and Mexico. Each country uses its own liqueur; in Spain it’s brandy; in Mexico it’s Licor 43, a bright yellow vanilla liqueur.

Spanish coffee is an American adaptation of the carajillo, invented at Huber’s Bar in Portland, Oregon. The drink is made tableside by lighting high proof rum on fire to caramelize the glass’s sugar rim. Then the glass is filled with coffee, Kahlua and Triple Sec, and topped with whipped cream and nutmeg. It’s a true dramatic spectacle designed to put on a show: and we’ll admit this drink is totally worthy of it.

Spanish coffee recipe

Ingredients & equipment for Spanish coffee

Here are the ingredients and equipment you’ll need to make a Spanish coffee recipe at home. We’ve created a method that’s easiest for home preparation of this flaming drink: but there are a few different options! The Spanish coffee ingredients are:

  • Coffee: any strong coffee will do, using your favorite brewing method
  • Kahlua or any coffee liqueur like Tia Maria
  • Triple Sec or any orange liqueur like Cointreau or Grand Marnier
  • Rum: use aged rum for the home method, or 151 rum for the bar method
  • Sugar and a lemon: to make the rim
  • Homemade whipped cream: you’ll need heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar, or use vegan whipped cream for vegan
  • Kitchen torch for home method (here’s a good one), lighter for bar method

How to make the caramelized rim… two methods!

This Spanish coffee recipe calls for lighting rum on fire to make the caramelized glass rim. Now, we’re always up for playing with fire at home (safely, mind you). But when we tried this trick using our thick glass Irish coffee mug, it shattered when the coffee was poured in! The flaming method also takes a bit of practice, and it’s not practical for a crowd.

Because of this, we prefer to use a kitchen torch for our method: like the kind you’d use to caramelize crème brulee. Here’s more about the two methods:

  • The best method for homemade Spanish coffee is a kitchen torch. This ensures your glass won’t break (like ours did)! It’s also safer, which is a big plus. And it’s faster and easier to make multiple servings for a crowd.
  • Don’t have a kitchen torch? Here’s the kitchen torch we use and it’s only $15. You can also just skip the caramelized rim altogether: it’s still extra delicious without it. Or, try the bar method…
  • The traditional bar method uses 151 rum and a lighter. If you want to try the traditional method, go for it! To get it to light you’ll need 151 rum, a higher proof alcohol than the standard. Go to the recipe below for our pointers! Use a thin glass so the caramelization happens quickly; thicker glasses take longer, get hotter, and then have the possibility of shattering like ours did.

Note: If you end up buying a kitchen torch, you can use it for so many things! Try it for caramelizing creme brulee, charring crust on a pizza to look like a wood-fired oven (our favorite trick!), or melting cheese on nachos (to add smoky flavor).

Kahlua

Homemade whipped cream: a few tips

Sure, you can buy Cool Whip. But if you’re going to the trouble of making a Spanish coffee recipe, homemade whipped cream takes it up a notch! You’ll just need heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar to sweeten it. it takes only a minute or two to whisk up by hand. Or, you can use coconut cream or coconut milk as a dairy-free option. Here are the various methods:

  • Classic whipped cream: Use this Homemade Whipped Cream recipe. Make sure to use the freshest of cream, which whips the fastest and has the best texture. (Old cream gets too dense.) Whip it to soft peaks, which makes just the right texture for floating on top of a drink. When you add it to the top, do so over the back of a spoon, which helps it to balance on top.
  • Dairy-free whipped cream: Use this Dairy Free Whipped Cream recipe. Keep in mind you’ll need to refrigerate 1 can of coconut milk overnight. Or, you can substitute coconut cream with no need for refrigeration.
Spanish coffee

How to make Spanish coffee

Now that you’ve got your kitchen torch and selected your whipped cream method…this Spanish coffee recipe is a breeze! Here’s the general outline of the steps (or jump to the recipe below):

  • Make your coffee.
  • Make the whipped cream, making sure to whip to soft peaks.
  • Rim the edge of the glass with a 1/2-inch band of sugar. This allows for maximum burnt caramel flavor. Or, skip this step: the drink will still taste delicious!
  • Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar. It should take just a minute or so.
  • Add coffee, Kahlua, Triple Sec and rum.
  • Top with whipped cream. Again, adding it over the back of a spoon helps it to float on top. Enjoy!

Variation that’s even easier: the Carajillo!

If you like this Spanish coffee recipe, you’ll love a Mexican-style Carajillo. As we mentioned, Spanish coffee is actually an American adaptation of this Spanish invention. But Carajillo is also very popular in Mexico, where they spike the coffee with Licor 43 instead of brandy.

Licor 43 is a bright yellow vanilla liqueur made with 43 herbs and spices. Add it to coffee, and it’s got loads of nuance and intrigue. If you top with whipped cream like the Spanish coffee, the two taste very similar. We’d highly recommend giving it a try: or making it instead of this recipe if you’re scared off by the caramelized rim. Go to Carajillo (Mexican Spiked Coffee).

Spanish coffee recipe

More after dinner drinks

There are so many other tasty after dinner and dessert drinks to try in addition to Spanish coffee! Here are some favorites:

When to serve Spanish coffee

Spanish coffee is a showy dessert drink for sipping on after a meal! Serve it as a:

  • After dinner drink
  • Happy hour drink
  • Signature drink
  • Girls or guys night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
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Spanish coffee

Spanish Coffee


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Try this homemade Spanish coffee recipe! The showy after dinner drink features Kahlua, rum, orange liqueur, and a caramelized sugar rim.


Ingredients

  • 3 ounces* coffee
  • 2 ounces Kahlua
  • 1/2 ounce Triple Sec (or other orange liqueur)
  • 1/2 ounce aged rum (or white or dark)
  • Granulated sugar, for dipping the glass
  • Lemon wedge
  • 1 large spoonful sweetened whipped cream (or vegan whipped cream), whipped to soft peaks
  • For the garnish: grated chocolate or fresh grated or ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Make the coffee. Allow it to cool slightly while preparing the drink.
  2. Make the homemade whipped cream, whipping it to soft peaks.
  3. Use a lemon wedge to wet a 1/2-inch of the rim of the glass and dip the outside in sugar to make a 1/2-inch band. 
  4. Use a kitchen torch** to caramelize the outside of the glass until the sugar turns brown. 
  5. Add the coffee, Kahlua, triple sec and rum and stir once. 
  6. Gently float the whipped cream on top using the back of a spoon. Garnish with grated chocolate or nutmeg.

Notes

*If converting to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons.

**The traditional method is to place 3/4 ounce 151 rum in the glass first, light it on fire, and tilt the glass to allow the sugar to caramelize. This method doesn’t require a torch, but if you use a thicker glass like an Irish coffee mug it can shatter (which happened to us!). The torch method is safer and makes it easier to serve this drink for multiple people. You can also omit the sugar rim if you prefer; the flavor is still great. Or, you can try the traditional method at your own risk; if you do, add the 151 rum, caramelize the edge, then add the coffee, Kahlua, and Triple Sec (omit the aged rum).

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Spanish coffee

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Classic Stuffed Peppers

This stuffed peppers recipe is a hit every time! The roasted bell peppers are filled to the brim with melty cheese and Italian flavor. Did you know stuffed peppers is a traditional Italian way to use up leftover odds and ends in your kitchen? We can’t take credit for this genius move, but here’s our spin on it. Try our favorite stuffed peppers recipe! The filling is seasoned irresistibly with Italian spices, pizza sauce and melty cheese. Even better: it works for many diets. We’ve got variations for meat eaters, vegetarian, and gluten-free eaters! (Vegan too, if you want to skip the cheese.) Here’s how to make stuffed peppers…the best way we know how. How to make stuffed peppers There are a few main ways to make stuffed peppers: the variations are in the way you cut them, and how you pre-cook them before filling. Here’s what to know about this stuffed peppers recipe: Slice the peppers lengthwise. We’re picky about our peppers. Eating them straight up with the top cut off makes them hard to eat (in our opinion). Cutting them lengthwise makes them easier to eat. Plus, you get 2 halves on your plate: which looks better and […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This stuffed peppers recipe is a hit every time! The roasted bell peppers are filled to the brim with melty cheese and Italian flavor.

Stuffed Peppers

Did you know stuffed peppers is a traditional Italian way to use up leftover odds and ends in your kitchen? We can’t take credit for this genius move, but here’s our spin on it. Try our favorite stuffed peppers recipe! The filling is seasoned irresistibly with Italian spices, pizza sauce and melty cheese. Even better: it works for many diets. We’ve got variations for meat eaters, vegetarian, and gluten-free eaters! (Vegan too, if you want to skip the cheese.) Here’s how to make stuffed peppers…the best way we know how.

How to make stuffed peppers

There are a few main ways to make stuffed peppers: the variations are in the way you cut them, and how you pre-cook them before filling. Here’s what to know about this stuffed peppers recipe:

  • Slice the peppers lengthwise. We’re picky about our peppers. Eating them straight up with the top cut off makes them hard to eat (in our opinion). Cutting them lengthwise makes them easier to eat. Plus, you get 2 halves on your plate: which looks better and like a bigger portion
  • Pre-bake the peppers! Some stuffed pepper recipes call for boiling your peppers before baking. Others don’t pre-cook them and they turn out too crunchy. Our research found that pre-baking the peppers for 30 minutes makes them perfectly tender! Once you stuff them, you’ll need 20 minutes in the hot even to get the cheese nice and melty.
Stuffed peppers recipe

Vegetarian vs ground beef filling

The best stuffed bell peppers filling, in our mind? Our insanely delicious “sausage” made with mushrooms and walnuts. Sound weird? Hear us out. Or, make the ground beef option: or maybe both ways for a family with a variety of eaters!

  • The best filling option? “Sausage” with lots of spices. Here we combined walnuts, mushrooms, and lots of spices to make an Italian-sausage spin on our Walnut Taco Meat. It is extremely delicious and satisfies even the most passionate of meat eaters (really). Or…
  • Or, make it with ground beef. We eat lots of vegetarian recipes around here. But we know: some family members just love meat! You can make this stuffed peppers recipe with ground beef using the same spices: see below!

Can you make it vegan? Yes, but the cheese is pretty integral to the overall concept. So substitute your favorite brand of vegan mozzarella cheese! The rest of the filling is vegan.

How to make stuffed peppers

Filling adders & ideas

You’ll use that vegetarian sausage or ground beef filling and mix it with rice, pizza sauce, and mozzarella cheese to make a gooey, savory and altogether irresistible filling. There are lots of fun add-in ideas for this filling (at least, we have several!). Here are some ideas to get your wheels churning — consider adding:

  • Chopped basil or fresh oregano
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Pecorino Romano cheese, shredded (a few tablespoons)
  • Feta cheese crumbles
  • Capers, drained (just 1 or 2 tablespoons adds a tasty tangy flavor)
  • Green olives, chopped (again, just 1 or 2 tablespoons)

Variations on stuffed peppers

As you might expect: there’s no one way to make stuffed peppers. It’s an Italian concept, but there are so many different styles. Here are a few ideas:

Stuffed peppers

Tips for make-ahead and meal prep

This stuffed peppers recipe takes about 1 hour to make. We typically reserve this one for special meals: a weekend or dinner party. But want to save time and make it on a weeknight? You can do that too. There are several options depending on what you’d like to do:

  • Make rice in advance: Make sure to reheat it with a splash of water and a pinch of salt before assembling the peppers. It dries out quite a bit in the refrigerator.
  • Make entire filling in advance: You can make the entire filling in advance and refrigerate. Then re-warm before stuffing the peppers.
  • Bake the bell peppers in advance: You also can pre-bake the peppers in advance, then fill and bake them day of.
  • Make the entire stuffed peppers in advance: Make the entire pepper recipe in advance and refrigerate. The day of serving, top with breadcrumbs and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until warmed through and the cheese is melted.

Make it a meal: serving this stuffed peppers recipe!

Lastly: how to accessorize these stuffed peppers? A simple salad is what we normally opt for, which you can mix up while your peppers do their final bake. Here are a few more ideas:

Stuffed peppers recipe

Bell peppers nutrition

Here’s another great thing about stuffed bell peppers…they’re loaded with vitamins, especially Vitamin C. In fact, one serving provides 169% of daily Vitamin C. Bell peppers are:

  • A low calorie food. One medium bell pepper has only 40 calories!
  • Loaded with Vitamin C. A medium red bell pepper provides a whopping 169% of your daily vitamin C! (Source)
  • A potential preventer of anemia. Some studies indicate peppers could prevent low iron (Source).

Let us know if you try this recipe, and what you think! We hope you love it as much as our family does.

This stuffed peppers recipe is…

Vegetarian and dairy free.

Print
Stuffed peppers

Classic Stuffed Peppers


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This stuffed peppers recipe is a hit every time! The roasted bell peppers are filled to the brim with melty cheese and Italian flavor.


Ingredients

For the filling (or use 1 pound ground beef and the spices; see Step 2 below)

  • 1 cup whole walnuts
  • 4 ounces baby bella (cremini) mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari (or coconut aminos for soy free)
  • 1 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon each fennel seeds, dried oregano, smoked paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

For the stuffed peppers

  • 6 multi-colored bell peppers (red, yellow and green)
  • 3/4 cup dry rice or 2 cups cooked (reheated to warm with a splash of water and a pinch of salt)
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce (purchased or homemade)
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella balls (or cut into bite-sized chunks)
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, and/or Italian panko or bread crumbs (omit for gluten-free)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cook the rice: Start the rice to cook. (See Make Ahead Tips in the notes below*.)
  3. Pre-bake the bell peppers: Wash the peppers and cut them in half lengthwise; remove the stems and seeds. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then place the peppers on top. Bake with the cut side down for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip to cut side up, draining any with water. Sprinkle with salt (about a heaping 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt divided between the peppers). Bake another 15 minutes until tender, then remove and stuff (see below).
  4. Meanwhile, make the filling: Roughly chop the mushrooms. Place them in a large food processor, then add the walnuts and tamari, ketchup, spices, and salt. Pulse gently multiple times until everything is evenly chopped, being careful not to over process (or it will be too mushy). If you don’t have a food processor, use a chef’s knife to roughly chop everything and place in a bowl with the spices. 
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium low heat. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring until it releases all of its liquid then becomes dry and browned. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Ground beef variation: Drizzle olive oil into a skillet. Add the beef with the spices and salt and pepper. Cook for about 8 minutes until browned, then drain the fat. Taste and add additional salt as needed. 
  6. Stuff the peppers: Once the peppers are pre-baked, mix the filling from the previous step with 2 cups cooked rice (measure it), pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, and kosher salt. Spoon the filling into the peppers.
  7. Bake the peppers: Top with a handful of shredded mozzarella, and grated Parmesan and/or panko or breadcrumbs. Place the peppers back onto the parchment lined baking sheet and bake 20 minutes until the cheese melts. Allow to cool a few minutes before serving. 

Notes

*Make ahead tips: You can make the rice in advance, but make sure to reheat it with a splash of water and a pinch of salt before assembling the peppers. You can make the entire filling in advance and re-warm before stuffing the peppers. You also can pre-bake the peppers in advance, then fill and bake them day of. Finally, you can make the entire pepper recipe in advance and refrigerate: then top with breadcrumbs and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until warmed through and the cheese is melted.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian inspired

Keywords: Stuffed peppers, Stuffed peppers recipe, Stuffed bell peppers, How to make stuffed peppers

More bell pepper recipes

More to make with bell peppers? Here are all our favorite ways to serve them as a side dish:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Raspberry Martini

This raspberry martini is a vibrant red cocktail full of berry flavor! Treat yourself with this beautiful sweet drink. Here’s a sweet cocktail with a vibrant color: the Raspberry Martini! This drink is stunning and full of bright berry flavor: from first sip, you’ll be sold! The sweet tart, lightly floral flavor of raspberry is beautifully pure, thanks to homemade raspberry syrup. This cocktail is perfect for a romantic dinner, girls night, Valentine’s Day, or really any occasion that needs a red drink. It’s on the sweeter side, but the zing of fresh lemon balances it perfectly. A few more sweet cocktails? Try the Chocolate Martini or Classic Mudslide. What’s in a raspberry martini? The raspberry martini is one in a long list of flavored vodka martinis. This family of drinks has almost nothing in common with the Classic Martini…except the glass! The classic martini stars ultra-dry gin and vermouth, and has a bitter burn on the finish. Vodka martinis became popular in the 1990’s, and they’re every flavor of sweet and fruity: think cucumber, watermelon, or chocolate. Some vodka martinis have official definitions set by the International Bartender’s Association, like the lemon drop martini and espresso martini. All other […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This raspberry martini is a vibrant red cocktail full of berry flavor! Treat yourself with this beautiful sweet drink.

Raspberry Martini

Here’s a sweet cocktail with a vibrant color: the Raspberry Martini! This drink is stunning and full of bright berry flavor: from first sip, you’ll be sold! The sweet tart, lightly floral flavor of raspberry is beautifully pure, thanks to homemade raspberry syrup. This cocktail is perfect for a romantic dinner, girls night, Valentine’s Day, or really any occasion that needs a red drink. It’s on the sweeter side, but the zing of fresh lemon balances it perfectly.

A few more sweet cocktails? Try the Chocolate Martini or Classic Mudslide.

What’s in a raspberry martini?

The raspberry martini is one in a long list of flavored vodka martinis. This family of drinks has almost nothing in common with the Classic Martini…except the glass! The classic martini stars ultra-dry gin and vermouth, and has a bitter burn on the finish. Vodka martinis became popular in the 1990’s, and they’re every flavor of sweet and fruity: think cucumber, watermelon, or chocolate.

Some vodka martinis have official definitions set by the International Bartender’s Association, like the lemon drop martini and espresso martini. All other vodka martini recipes are up to the mixologist, so the ingredients vary. Here’s what’s in our spin on a raspberry martini cocktail:

  • Vodka
  • Cranberry juice (not sweetened*)
  • Lemon juice
  • Raspberry syrup (homemade is best, or use purchased)
Raspberry cocktail

It’s best with homemade raspberry syrup!

This raspberry martini cocktail gets its beautifully sweet flavor from raspberry syrup! We highly recommend making the fresh syrup because it has the best, pure berry flavor. Note that you’ll need to make it in advance: but it only takes 10 minutes of hands on time. Mix up a batch and have it ready to go for shaking up the drink. Here are the basic steps:

  • Melt sugar: Place 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook about 1 minute until the sugar dissolves.
  • Add berries and simmer: Add 1/2 cup fresh raspberries and cook until the berries break down, about 5 to 6 minutes, turning the heat to low when it starts to boil. Break down the berries with a spatula as needed. Once fully liquid, strain into a jar using a fine mesh sieve and a spatula.
  • Cool: Allow to cool, then store refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

More uses for raspberry syrup? Make a Clover Club, or serve it over pancakes or mug cake.

Raspberry syrup

Use purchased raspberry syrup in a pinch

Don’t have time to make raspberry syrup? You can find it at your local liquor store, or online. It’s best with this homemade syrup, but store-bought works in a pinch.

Find unsweetened cranberry juice

The only other thing to note about ingredients: this raspberry cocktail recipe uses 100% unsweetened cranberry juice. It’s easy to find at your local grocery these days, but be careful when you’re picking it out from the shelf. There are several different types of cranberry juice you’ll see:

  • Sweetened cranberry juice or cranberry juice cocktail has added sugars and sometimes high-fructose corn syrup as sweetener. We prefer…
  • 100% cranberry juice is preferred here! The benefits of this type? The color is brighter and you can sweeten your drink to taste.

What if all you can find is sweetened cranberry juice? Easy. Just use only 1/2 ounce of the raspberry syrup instead of 3/4 ounce. Then you can adjust the flavors by adding more raspberry syrup to taste.

Raspberry martini

How to make a raspberry martini: basic steps

Got all your ingredients? Let’s make this raspberry cocktail! Here are the basic steps (or jump to the recipe):

  1. Shake: Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Add 2 handfuls ice and shake until cold. Don’t have a cocktail shaker? Use a mason jar with top.
  2. Strain: Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a few more fresh raspberries to be fancy.

More red cocktails!

This raspberry martini is a stunning naturally red cocktail: and there are lots more where that comes from! Cranberry, pomegranate, strawberry, and blood orange also make for brilliantly bright red drinks. Here are a few more favorites:

When to serve a raspberry martini

The raspberry martini recipe works as a signature drink, perfect for special occasions. Serve it as a:

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Raspberry Martini


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This raspberry martini is a vibrant red cocktail full of berry flavor! Treat yourself with this beautiful sweet drink. 


Ingredients

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce* 100% cranberry juice (not sweetened**)
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounce raspberry syrup (homemade is best, or use purchased)
  • For the garnish: fresh raspberries

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake 15 seconds until cold.
  2. Strain the drink into a cocktail or martini glass. Garnish with raspberries and serve. 

Notes

*1 ounce = 2 tablespoons

**If all you can find is sweetened cranberry juice or cranberry juice cocktail, use 1/2 ounce raspberry syrup, then add more to taste. 

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Raspberry martini

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

This stuffed portobello mushrooms recipe is simply incredible, stuffed with spinach artichoke filling and baked with crispy bread crumbs! Here’s a recipe that doubles as a meatless dinner or a stunning side dish: and it couldn’t be more delectable. Try these spinach artichoke Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms! Yes, that’s right. It combines the deliciousness of spinach artichoke dip with the meaty, savory goodness of a baked portobello mushroom. Top it off with crunchy Italian breadcrumbs, and you’ll amaze everyone at the table! It’s vegetarian but will please every type of eater: we promise. Stuffed portobello mushrooms: an overview Alex and I have made quite a few stuffed portobello mushroom recipes in our day, but this one is the absolute best. Why? Because the filling is our famous spinach artichoke dip, which without fail wows everyone who dips into it with a hunk of crusty bread. Use this as the filling for stuffed portobello mushrooms, and transforms them into a delicious vegetarian dinner or a fancy side dish. Here’s the outline of how to cook portobello mushrooms: Bake the mushrooms: You’ll add olive oil, salt and pepper, then bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Then drain out the liquid. See more […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This stuffed portobello mushrooms recipe is simply incredible, stuffed with spinach artichoke filling and baked with crispy bread crumbs!

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Here’s a recipe that doubles as a meatless dinner or a stunning side dish: and it couldn’t be more delectable. Try these spinach artichoke Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms! Yes, that’s right. It combines the deliciousness of spinach artichoke dip with the meaty, savory goodness of a baked portobello mushroom. Top it off with crunchy Italian breadcrumbs, and you’ll amaze everyone at the table! It’s vegetarian but will please every type of eater: we promise.

Stuffed portobello mushrooms: an overview

Alex and I have made quite a few stuffed portobello mushroom recipes in our day, but this one is the absolute best. Why? Because the filling is our famous spinach artichoke dip, which without fail wows everyone who dips into it with a hunk of crusty bread. Use this as the filling for stuffed portobello mushrooms, and transforms them into a delicious vegetarian dinner or a fancy side dish. Here’s the outline of how to cook portobello mushrooms:

  • Bake the mushrooms: You’ll add olive oil, salt and pepper, then bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Then drain out the liquid. See more below!
  • Make the filling: Stir together the spinach artichoke filling using spinach, artichokes, Greek yogurt, mayo, Parmesan and spices.
  • Stuff the mushrooms: Add the filling and top with Italian panko or Italian breadcrumbs. Bake another 10 minutes at 425 degrees.
Stuffed portobello mushroom recipes

Tips on how to cook portobello mushrooms: baked or roasted!

The best way to cook whole portobello mushrooms is baked or roasted, which makes them beautifully tender and brings out the savory, meaty flavor. You can do this to make a portobello burger, or it works great for stuffed. There are a few things to note about baking the portobello caps:

  • Remove the stems before baking. This is important because the stem is tough and hard to cut into. It also makes it easier to stuff!
  • Bake until just tender, but not falling apart (15 minutes). When making stuffed portobello mushrooms, you want the cup shape of the mushroom cap to stay in tact. Overbaking them can lead to collapse.
  • Important: drain all the liquid before stuffing! Portobello mushrooms contain 90% of their weight in water. That means once they’re baked, you’ll notice water has accumulated in the caps. It’s perfectly normal and expected: just make sure to drain off and discard all liquid that is released.
Portobello mushrooms

What’s Italian panko? Is there a substitute?

These stuffed portobello mushrooms are topped Italian panko, which gives them a satisfying crunch in each bite. What’s panko? Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb mixture that is airier and lighter than traditional breadcrumbs. You can use either panko or breadcrumbs in this recipe. Note that Italian panko or Italian breadcrumbs contain seasonings and salt. It’s easily available in most grocery stores and online. You can also find gluten-free panko or breadcrumbs online to make this a gluten free recipe! If you can’t find Italian panko, here’s what to do:

  • Use regular panko and add salt and Italian seasonings. Mix 1/3 cup panko with 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano and 1/4 teaspoon each dried basil and thyme)
  • Or look for Italian or plain breadcrumbs instead, or make your own breadcrumbs! For plain breadcrumbs, use the seasoning recommendations for panko above.
Baked Portobello Mushrooms

Make it a meal!

Once they’re baked and stuffed, pull them out of the oven and take a bite. You’ll taste meaty mushroom, spinach artichoke dip, and a little breadcrumb crunch: it’s extraordinary! This recipe works very well as a vegetarian dinner recipe with a few side dishes. Or you can use it as a fancy side dish and pair it with steak or fish! They’re great for a dinner party, or even a romantic dinner like Valentine’s Day.

Remember if you’re serving them as a meatless main, add side dishes full of plant-based protein. Here are a few ideas:

All about portobello mushrooms

Want to know more about the mighty portobello mushroom? Here’s what you need to know about this popular mushroom variety:

  • The portobello mushroom (aka portobella or portabella) is one of the most widely consumed mushroom varieties in the world, called Agaricus bisporus. The white mushroom and cremini (aka baby bella) are the same variety of mushroom, just earlier growth stages than the portobello. The portobello is the oldest stage, so it has the most meaty and savory flavor.
  • Where to find it? You can find the portobello mushroom at most mainstream grocery stores. Often it comes packaged in containers with 3 to 6 mushroom caps.
  • What does a portobello mushroom taste like? Portobello mushrooms taste intensely meaty and savory, with loads of umami. While they taste meaty, remember to add protein to the meal if you’re making them as a vegetarian main dish! They don’t contain much protein in themselves.
How to cook portobello mushrooms

More portobello mushroom recipes

Love portobellos? They are some of the tastiest mushrooms on the planet, in our opinion! Here are a few more ways we love to eat them:

This stuffed portobello mushrooms recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free panko or breadcrumbs.

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Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms (Best Ever!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (8 votes, average: 4.63 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This stuffed portobello mushrooms recipe is simply incredible, stuffed with spinach artichoke filling and baked with crispy bread crumbs!


Ingredients

  • 6 medium portobello caps (about 10 to 12 ounces)
  • 5 ounces frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot (1 small)
  • 1 green onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped canned artichokes (about 1/2 can or jar)
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • 1/4 teaspoon each dried dill, garlic powder and kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup Italian panko* or Italian breadcrumbs
  • Paprika or smoked paprika, for topping (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Bake the portobello mushrooms: Clean the portobello mushrooms and remove the stems. Place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet gill side up. Drizzle the tops with the olive oil and use your hands to rub on the bottoms. Sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt divided among the mushroom caps. Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast for 15 minutes until tender. Once baked, drain the caps of the excess liquid.
  3. Meanwhile, make the filling: Meanwhile, thaw the spinach. Use a strainer to squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Mince the shallot. Thinly slice the green onions. Roughly chop the artichokes. In a medium bowl, mix together the spinach, shallot, green onions, and artichokes with the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, dried dill, garlic powder, kosher salt and several grinds black pepper.
  4. Stuff the mushrooms: Turn down the oven heat to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the filling into the roasted mushrooms caps (there may be a little left over). Top with a little more Parmesan cheese on each cap, then sprinkle with the Italian panko. If desired, sprinkle with a little paprika or smoked paprika for color.
  5. Bake the stuffed mushrooms: Bake 10 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden. Serve immediately.  

Notes

*We recommend Italian panko or Italian breadcrumbs because they’re already seasoned. If all you can find is regular panko, mix 1/3 cup panko with 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano and 1/4 teaspoon each dried basil and thyme). 

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Portobello mushrooms, stuffed portobello mushrooms, baked portobello mushrooms, how to cook portobello mushrooms, stuffed portobello mushroom recipes

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Sheet Pan Nachos!

Here’s the very best nachos recipe, loaded with all the classic toppings! These tips make a delicious sheet pan everyone will love. What’s better than a big pan of nachos? (Answer: not much.) This Tex Mex favorite is one of life’s great pleasures, and we’re here for them. They’re ideal an appetizer to feed a crowd, but even better: they work as a simple dinner too! Here’s the best part about our Ultimate Nachos Recipe: it works for any diet. We’ve got a variation for meat eaters, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free eaters! We’ve also research all the best nacho toppings so you know exactly which ones are essential to that classic flavor. Keys to the best nachos recipe (that fits any diet) Like any good food nerds, we’ve done a bit of research to find the best way to make nachos. Here are a few of the features of the absolute best way to make nachos that will be a huge hit with everyone at the table. Here’s how to make a pan of classic nachos while accommodating many diets: Make vegan taco meat OR ground beef. This walnut taco meat tastes so meaty, your family might not know the […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s the very best nachos recipe, loaded with all the classic toppings! These tips make a delicious sheet pan everyone will love.

Nachos recipe

What’s better than a big pan of nachos? (Answer: not much.) This Tex Mex favorite is one of life’s great pleasures, and we’re here for them. They’re ideal an appetizer to feed a crowd, but even better: they work as a simple dinner too! Here’s the best part about our Ultimate Nachos Recipe: it works for any diet. We’ve got a variation for meat eaters, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free eaters! We’ve also research all the best nacho toppings so you know exactly which ones are essential to that classic flavor.

Keys to the best nachos recipe (that fits any diet)

Like any good food nerds, we’ve done a bit of research to find the best way to make nachos. Here are a few of the features of the absolute best way to make nachos that will be a huge hit with everyone at the table. Here’s how to make a pan of classic nachos while accommodating many diets:

  • Make vegan taco meat OR ground beef. This walnut taco meat tastes so meaty, your family might not know the difference. (Sounds weird, but we promise!) It makes for a healthy nachos recipe spin. Serving meat lovers? We’ve got instructions for the standard taco meat below too. Better yet, make both!
  • Add the essential toppings. There are a handful of toppings that are in all the best nachos (see below).
  • Consider toasting the chips first. Just a few minutes in the pan makes super crisp chips that get less soggy.
Nachos

Essential nachos toppings

What are those essential toppings? We did a survey nacho recipes and all our favorite nacho experiences. Here are the top toppings you must have to make the best nachos:

  • Cheese (see below)
  • Refried beans: we mix ours with salsa to get big flavor; it also helps to get nice melty cheese
  • Pico de gallo: use purchased or sub in finely diced tomato and red onion
  • Green onions: the onion-y flavor and bright green color are essential
  • Sour cream: Sour cream is an absolute must! Serve on the side if you’re serving for a crowd, to
  • Guacamole: Same idea: feel free to serve on the side for dipping, or dollop on the entire pan
  • Cilantro: You can go either way, but we’re cilantro people over here
  • Jalapeño peppers: If you like heat, pickled jalapeños are perfection

The second string players when it comes to nacho toppings? Sliced black olives are popular: go for them if you’re an olives fan. Canned corn or crunchy romaine lettuce are also nice adders.

Shredded cheese vs nacho cheese

When it comes to cheese: should you use shredded cheese or nacho cheese for your nachos?

  • Shredded cheese: Shredded cheese is most common for nachos. We like a blend of Colby Jack cheese or Mexican cheese best, but you can also use cheddar.
  • Nacho cheese: Use nacho cheese if you’re a fan of the gooey stuff: or if you want plant-based nachos! This Vegan Nacho Cheese is to die for: even meat-lovers are head over heels for it (we’ve tested on many friends and family!).
Nachos toppings

What chips to use for nachos

Here are a few tips on the best chips to use for nachos…because it really does matter! Here’s what to know:

  • Look for organic chips with a short ingredient list. Going for a healthy nachos recipe? Or healthier? Grab organic corn chips that have only 3 ingredients: corn, oil, and salt! Check the back of the package.
  • Avoid the very thin chips. These get soggy and tend to break when loaded with nacho toppings. Speaking of soggy…

How to avoid a dry or soggy nachos recipe

There are two dreaded nachos recipe states: too soggy or too dry. This recipe avoids both and lands solidly in the “just right” camp. Here’s what we’ve learned on the soggy vs dry nacho front:

  • Add a little cheese to the chips first, which forms a protective barrier. Then layer your toppings on top.
  • Even better, toast the chips in the oven for a few minutes. This helps to crisp them up even a little more (we don’t always do this, but you can do it if you plan to set them out).
  • Use refried beans with cheese, sour cream and guacamole per the recipe below. This makes sure they’re perfectly loaded with goodness: no risk of dryness!
Nachos recipe

Step it up: use a kitchen torch

Want next level nachos? Here’s a tip we learned while making this nachos recipe. To get our cheese a little gooier for the photo, we used a kitchen torch — you know, the kind you use for creme brulee. Turns out, it infuses a delightfully smoky nuance into nachos! We assume most of you probably don’t have one of these at home, but if you do: try running it lightly over the cheese. It’s very, very good.

Nacho variations!

And that’s it! These nachos are a great appetizer for a party, perfect for game day or even a simple dinner recipe. Looking for a few other ways to make nachos? We’ve got lots of ideas because…well, we can’t get enough of them! Here are some ways to vary the theme:

Nacho toppings
Who could resist this goodness?

This nachos recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Nachos recipe

Best Nachos Recipe!


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (11 votes, average: 4.82 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Here’s the very best nachos recipe, loaded with all the classic toppings! These tips make a delicious sheet pan everyone will love. 


Ingredients

For the nachos

  • 1 1/2 cups Walnut Taco Meat or 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 15-ounce can refried beans
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 6 ounces organic corn chips (approximately 1 sheet pan)
  • 2 cups shredded Colby Jack or Mexican blend cheese (or Vegan Nacho Cheese, for vegan)

For the toppings

  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo (or finely diced tomato and red onion)
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper or 1/4 cup pickled jalapeños
  • Sour cream, for garnish (omit for vegan and use nacho cheese)
  • Guacamole, for garnish
  • Optional toppings: Black olives, lettuce or corn

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. For the meat: Make the Walnut Taco Meat (or make it in advance; it stores well). Or if using ground beef, add it to a skillet with 1 tablespoon cumin and 1 teaspoon each smoked paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder. Cook for about 8 minutes until browned, then drain the fat. 
  3. For the beans: Mix the refried beans with the salsa. Taste and add a few pinches kosher salt if desired.
  4. Bake the nachos: Line a standard-sized baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chips in a single layer on top (to avoid soggy chips, you can also pre-bake them for about 3 minutes until they are toasted and fragrant). Add a sprinkle of cheese (this also helps to keep them less soggy). Then add a layer of the beans, then the remaining cheese and taco meat. Bake 5 to 10 minutes until the cheese melts, then remove from the oven. (Optional: Add a smoky flair by charring the cheese with a kitchen torch — only if you have one, but it adds mega flavor!) 
  5. Top the nachos: Top with the pico de gallo, cilantro, green onion and jalapenos. Dollop with sour cream and guacamole and serve. 
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Tex Mex

Keywords: Nachos, Nachos recipe, Best nachos recipe

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Shrimp Pizza (3 Cheese!)

This shrimp pizza recipe is full of big flavor, starring buttery shrimp and 3 cheeses! It’s garlicky, creamy, and a total crowd pleaser. We’ve made just about every pizza recipe, from classic Pizza Margherita to fusions style taco pizza. But here’s a new-to-us pizza that instantly jumped to the top of our list: this 3 Cheese Shrimp Pizza! Shrimp on a pizza isn’t what might first jump to mind. But let me tell you: it’s a must try! The garlicky, buttery shrimp against creamy ricotta cheese is one of the best pizza topping combinations we’ve had in a while. It’s so satisfying, you’ll be hooked. It’s like shrimp alfredo on a pizza crust instead of noodles…which is just as good as it sounds. How to make the best shrimp pizza (basic method) Shrimp on pizza isn’t usually our first choice. But after eating an incredible seafood pizza at one of our favorite pizza joints in town, we knew we had to try it! Our version isn’t much like theirs (so you’ll have to go try it!). But what it does have in common: juicy, buttery garlicky shrimp! Here’s what to do to make the best shrimp pizza recipe: Saute the […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This shrimp pizza recipe is full of big flavor, starring buttery shrimp and 3 cheeses! It’s garlicky, creamy, and a total crowd pleaser.

Shrimp pizza

We’ve made just about every pizza recipe, from classic Pizza Margherita to fusions style taco pizza. But here’s a new-to-us pizza that instantly jumped to the top of our list: this 3 Cheese Shrimp Pizza! Shrimp on a pizza isn’t what might first jump to mind. But let me tell you: it’s a must try! The garlicky, buttery shrimp against creamy ricotta cheese is one of the best pizza topping combinations we’ve had in a while. It’s so satisfying, you’ll be hooked. It’s like shrimp alfredo on a pizza crust instead of noodles…which is just as good as it sounds.

How to make the best shrimp pizza (basic method)

Shrimp on pizza isn’t usually our first choice. But after eating an incredible seafood pizza at one of our favorite pizza joints in town, we knew we had to try it! Our version isn’t much like theirs (so you’ll have to go try it!). But what it does have in common: juicy, buttery garlicky shrimp! Here’s what to do to make the best shrimp pizza recipe:

  • Saute the shrimp with garlic and butter. Get that shrimp perfectly sauteed before you use it as a pizza topping! Use the instructions below or our sauteed shrimp recipe.
  • Spread seasoned ricotta on the dough. There’s no need to make an alfredo sauce: just spread lightly seasoned ricotta straight onto the dough.
  • Top with mozzarella and Parmesan and bake! All you need is 5 to 7 minutes in a super hot oven. It’s best if you have a pizza stone! Speaking of…
Saute pan with shrimp

Use a pizza stone if you can!

This shrimp pizza is best if you bake it on a pizza stone. Why? A pizza stone makes the absolute perfect crust texture! Here’s what to know:

  • Pizza stone: A pizza stone is what makes Italian pizza crust crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Here’s the best pizza stone we’ve found, plus care tips.
  • Pizza peel: Use a pizza peel to transfer the pizza onto the hot pizza stone in the oven. We recommend this Standard pizza peel or this Conveyor pizza peel.

Don’t have a pizza stone? That’s ok too! You can make your pizza right on a baking sheet.

Homemade pizza dough is best, or use these shortcuts!

In our professional opinion: it’s always worth it to make homemade pizza dough! The result is far, far better than what you can buy at the store. But of course: there’s not always time for that! We get it. Here are a few options for the dough for this shrimp pizza recipe:

  • Master pizza dough! This Best Pizza Dough has the absolute perfect flavor and texture. It is sublime. This one takes 15 minutes to make and 45 minutes to proof before baking.
  • Thin crust. Try this Thin Crust Pizza Dough! It’s easy to roll out into a thinner, crispier crust.
  • Pan pizza. Or, make it as a pan pizza in a cast iron skillet! This option takes a little longer but it’s easier to pull off.
  • Naan or flatbread pizza. Want to shortcut the process altogether? Try Naan Pizza or Flatbread Pizza.
  • Store-bought pizza dough. We do it in a pinch, too! Find a good quality brand (experiment to find your favorite).
Shrimp pizza

The shrimp to buy for shrimp pizza

There are lots of options at the store when it comes to shrimp! It doesn’t matter if you accidentally grab the wrong one for this recipe: pizza is very forgiving! But here are a few things to look for:

  • Find medium shrimp. Medium is nice for a pizza topping: it’s also labeled as 41 to 50 count. You could also use small shrimp.
  • Use peeled shrimp. Often we recommend tail on, but you don’t want that for pizza! If you buy the wrong kind, just remove the shell before cooking.
  • Fresh or frozen. Both are essentially the same freshness because most shrimp are immediately flash frozen. Just make sure to thaw the shrimp in advance.
  • Wild caught. Look for wild caught: it’s the most sustainable!
Shrimp pizza recipe

What to serve with shrimp pizza

This shrimp pizza recipe is a perfect meal: it’s gooey, garlicky, cheesy and very filling! We like pairing it with a green salad or other veggie side to amp the meal’s veggie quotient. Here are some ideas:

This shrimp pizza recipe is…

Pescatarian.

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Shrimp pizza

Shrimp Pizza (3 Cheese!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 8 slices

Description

This shrimp pizza recipe is full of big flavor, starring buttery shrimp and 3 cheeses! It’s garlicky, creamy, and a total crowd pleaser.


Ingredients

  • 1 ball Best Pizza Dough (or Thin Crust Dough)
  • 1/2 pound medium shrimp, deveined and peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Chopped parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make the pizza dough: Follow the Best Pizza Dough or Thin Crust Dough recipe to prepare the dough. (This takes about 15 minutes to make and 45 minutes to rest.)
  2. Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. (If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can make the pizza on a baking sheet.)
  3. Prepare the toppings: If frozen, thaw the shrimp in advance. Mince the garlic. Pat the shrimp dry. In a medium bowl, mix the shrimp with the minced garlic and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. In a medium skillet, heat the butter on medium high heat. Cook the shrimp for 1 to 2 minutes per side until opaque and cooked through, turning them with tongs. When done, transfer the shrimp to a bowl.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the ricotta with the 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
  5. Bake the pizza: When the oven is ready, dust a pizza peel with cornmeal or semolina flour. (If you don’t have a pizza peel, you can use a rimless baking sheet or the back of a rimmed baking sheet. But a pizza peel is well worth the investment!) Stretch the dough into a circle; see How to Stretch Pizza Dough for instructions. Then gently place the dough onto the pizza peel.
  6. Spread the seasoned ricotta onto the dough then 1/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Add the shrimp, reserving the butter at the bottom of the bowl. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. Add a sprinkle of the reserved butter (use about half). 
  7. Use the pizza peel to carefully transfer the pizza onto the preheated pizza stone. Bake the pizza until the cheese and crust are nicely browned, about 5 to 7 minutes in the oven (or 1 minute in a pizza oven).
  8. Top with the chopped parsley. Slice into pieces and serve immediately (cutting it with a knife is easiest to cut through the shrimp). 
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Pizza

Keywords: Shrimp pizza, Shrimp pizza recipe

More great pizza recipes

We live for pizza over here! If you do too, here are a few more of our top pizza recipes to try:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Baked Brie

Baked brie recipe is one of the best easy appetizers around! Bake it in 15 minutes and add your favorite toppings for a total crowd pleaser. Some people claim a recipe can be too easy. We think not. I don’t know about you, but we’re always in need of easy ideas…like this Baked Brie! There could not be an easier appetizer recipe, folks. But often, we forget about these simple entertaining tricks. So here’s what you need to know about making a melty, delicious pile of brie. The great part? The toppings are versatile depending on your preferences, and you can make a beautiful platter with little effort. Here’s what to do! How to bake brie Making baked brie is so easy, you barely need a recipe. But we’re of the mindset that there’s nothing too simple to jot down as an idea for cooking inspiration. (Heck, we even wrote a book about simple recipes.) You can go to the recipe below for the full details, or just memorize this easy formula for how to bake brie: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the brie on a baking sheet or dish. Bake for about 15 minutes! To test whether […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Baked brie recipe is one of the best easy appetizers around! Bake it in 15 minutes and add your favorite toppings for a total crowd pleaser.

Baked brie

Some people claim a recipe can be too easy. We think not. I don’t know about you, but we’re always in need of easy ideas…like this Baked Brie! There could not be an easier appetizer recipe, folks. But often, we forget about these simple entertaining tricks. So here’s what you need to know about making a melty, delicious pile of brie. The great part? The toppings are versatile depending on your preferences, and you can make a beautiful platter with little effort. Here’s what to do!

How to bake brie

Making baked brie is so easy, you barely need a recipe. But we’re of the mindset that there’s nothing too simple to jot down as an idea for cooking inspiration. (Heck, we even wrote a book about simple recipes.) You can go to the recipe below for the full details, or just memorize this easy formula for how to bake brie:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Place the brie on a baking sheet or dish.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes! To test whether it’s done, touch your finger in the middle of the brie. It should feel like it’s completely liquid in the center.

Yes, that’s literally zero hands on time to bake brie! Then you’ll need a few minutes to dollop the cheese with toppings. Here’s what we like to use…

Baked brie recipe

Baked brie toppings!

Yes, baked brie is that easy to make. We love it for parties and entertaining, especially when we’re making multiple recipes at once and need something simple yet stunning. The toppings are the fun part for baked brie: you can customize this recipe according to your tastes and make dozens of variations. One key to topping this melty cheese: sweet is an ideal pair with gooey, savory cheese. Here are some ideas for baked brie toppings:

What do you add to your baked brie? Let us know in the comments below!

Variation: cover it in puff pastry

One popular variation on baked brie is to cover it in puff pastry. If you make it this way, you don’t need any toppings. Our personal opinion? We think puff pastry is unnecessary: it adds extra effort, calories, and makes it a little harder to eat. But, you can absolutely add it if you love this 1970’s style appetizer idea! Here’s the basic idea:

  • Cut the top skin off the brie wheel.
  • Get a large sheet of puff pastry. Lay it out in a single layer and place the brie on top.
  • Add a few tablespoons of jam on top of the brie.
  • Fold the pastry up and over the brie and cut off any excess dough.
  • Bake about 25 to 30 minutes at 375 degrees until the pastry is golden brown. Cool a few minutes before serving.
How to bake brie

How to serve this baked brie recipe

How to serve baked brie? Well, the sky’s the limit! There are so many things you can add to this luscious cheese wheel to make a beautiful appetizer spread. It’s great for entertaining at any type of gathering: Christmas, Thanksgiving, or just any type of party! Here are some ideas:

  • Crackers (try homemade)
  • Crostini (try homemade)
  • Gluten free crackers or bread substitutes
  • Baguette slices
  • Apple slices
  • Pear slices
  • Grapes
  • Apricot or cranberry jam (if not using as a topping)
  • Rosemary sprigs, for decoration

More easy appetizers to pair

This baked brie is the perfect centerpiece for an appetizer spread! In fact, we created it in part for a virtual cocktail party with our friend Sierra. Here are a few of the other easy appetizers we’d pair with it to make a delicious spread. In fact, you could even use this as an “appetizer dinner,” which we like to do for an easy meal concept. Here’s what we’d pair:

Baked brie

This baked brie recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free (with gluten-free crackers or bread substitutes).

Print
Baked brie

Baked Brie (Recipe & Tips!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 0 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Baked brie recipe is one of the best easy appetizers around! Bake it in just 15 minutes and add your favorite toppings for a stunning crowd pleaser.


Ingredients

  • 1 brie cheese wheel
  • Honey or cranberry, cherry or apricot jam or preserves
  • Chopped pistachios, walnuts or pecans
  • Sea salt
  • For the platter: crackers, crostini, baguette slices, 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the brie in a baking dish or on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes until soft and warm: it’s done when you touch the center with your finger and it feels very liquid inside. 
  2. Top with honey or jam and crushed pistachios. Surround with crackers or crostini, grapes, apple, pear, etc.
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Baked brie, Baked brie recipe, How to bake brie

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes