Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Mushroom Pesto + Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes


What a very relaxing weekend this has been. Pancakes (I still haven't perfected the recipe enough to share it), running, reading, coffee, good friends, hiking, studying, and a s**t load of cooking. 

Living here in Whitehorse, we all know that when the Superstore is well stocked, you just have to buy it all, just in case a certain product disappears, not to be seen again for weeks on end. This is the case with cremini mushrooms. When they are around, I just have to buy them. And then the fun starts, when I get to decide on the fate of these poor mushrooms. GET IN MA' BELLY. 
So I made a double batch of lentil-mushroom-walnut balls (recipe can be found here), I made mushroom gravy to go with some mashed potatoes, and I made a kick-ass mushroom pesto. It is great on noodles, and fun on pizza with roasted asparagus and caramelized onions...the possibilities are endless!

Mushroom Pesto: 

- 3 cloves roasted garlic
- 2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
- 2/3 cup walnuts, divided into 1/3 cup + 1/3 cup, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup fresh parsley
- 1/2 tsp salt
- black pepper, to taste

Roast the garlic and saute the mushrooms until most of the liquid cooks off, about 12 minutes.
In a food processor, process garlic + lemon juice + parsley + olive oil + salt.
Add mushrooms + 1/3 of the walnuts and process until the mixture is combined but still has texture. Add the rest of the walnuts and the black pepper and pulse a few times to combine.


And then....there were cupcakes. Not just any cupcakes. We are talking vegan, gluten free chocolate cupcakes made with quinoa and tahini. To me, they were just a delicious piece of chocolate cake. And trust me, I know my chocolate cake. Face your fear of quinoa and try them - you won't regret it!

Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes:

- 2 tbsp ground flaxseed + 6 tbsp water
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 3/4 cup tahini
- 2 cups cooked quinoa

If you do not have cooked quinoa on hand, cook a batch according to package directions.
In a small bowl, combine flaxseed and water and refrigerate while you prepare the rest - this will allow the mixture to become gelatinous, the consistency of egg whites.
Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake pan with 12 liners.
In a large bowl, combine the cocoa powder + baking soda + salt and set aside.
In a blender, blend applesauce + vanilla + almond milk + maple syrup + flax/water mixture. Then add tahini, then quinoa. Blend until smooth and silky - this may take a few minutes.
Pour liquid mixture into the large bowl and mix with the dry ingredients - do not overmix. Pour into cupcake liners and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out mostly clean, with a few crumbs clinging to it.

For the icing, I used 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips melted on low heat with 1/2 cup coconut oil. I then refrigerated the mixture for a half hour, added 2/3 cup icing sugar, and whipped until fluffy.
Thanks to the coconut oil, this icing hardens after you refrigerate the cupcakes and gives them some nice crunch!
Of course, feel free to substitute your favorite icing recipe.

Enjoy the snow - yes, we are September 30th, after all - and stay cozy, my friends!

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