Mixed Mushroom and Leek Bruschetta

Boy, have I got a delicious treat for you today, and it comes in the form of this Mixed Mushroom and Leek Bruschetta!

Leeks and a medley of mushrooms combine to form a delicious appetizer that's perfect for picnics, entertaining and more!

I sure hope you’re on #teammushroom, because this recipe is chock full of them. If not, you should probably stop reading now and I promise you’ll have better luck with my next post ;-P But seriously, gimme all the mushrooms and nobody will get hurt. I love those little funghi and I’m getting my fair share of them thanks to this new favorite recipe for topping bread!

I’ve made something similar before as part of my homemade Bruschetta Bar, but this Mixed Mushroom and Leek Bruschetta climbs to a whole other level with not one or two but THREE different types of mushrooms plus more leeks than you’ll know what to do with (hint: eat them.) It’s healthy yet filling at the same time and, when piled on top of hearty, freshly baked bread (my fave is a darker sourdough or multigrain loaf) it can easily pass as a light meal.

Another bonus? Even though it CAN be served warm, Mixed Mushroom and Leek Bruschetta tastes just as good when served room temperature (or even cold), making it an ideal dish to serve for entertaining or to take with you for a picnic, to the beach, to a potluck, etc.

This Mixed Mushroom and Leek Bruschetta is perfect for everything from an elegant dinner party to a casual beach picnic.

As the mother of a very small child with what seems like no time at all to spend in the kitchen, recipes like these are the ultimate lifesaver right now. In fact, don’t put it past me to make a batch on a Sunday and head to the fridge for it multiple times during the week when I want something healthy and quick. As a certified carb lover, it also makes me feel like I’m working some slightly more nutrient-packed foods into my day-to-day.

This Mixed Mushroom and Leek Bruschetta appetizer is best served over slices of your favorite rustic, crusty loaf of bread.

I’m going to keep it short today because, well, it’s 75 degrees out and there are much better things I could be doing than sitting behind my computer, but I hope you are having a wonderful week!

As I’m getting more and more back into regular posts, I’d love to hear what sort of recipes you’d like to see from me. Cocktails? Healthy food? Seasonal fare? Meal prep? Entertaining?

Let me know in the comments below!! xx

Mixed Mushroom and Leek Bruschetta
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

Sauteed leeks and a medley of mushrooms create the perfect appetizer, whether served warm at home for a light dinner or chilled at a casual beach picnic.

Course: Appetizer
Keyword: appetizer, bruschetta, make-ahead, mushroom
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 leek (white part only), sliced
  • 2 shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 12 ounces mixed mushrooms, sliced (I used baby bellas, shiitake and cremini)
  • 1/2 cup cream sherry
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 loaf hearty bread, sliced
  • Olive oil to coat bread
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. 

  2. Add leek, shallots and garlic and sauté until leek is translucent and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and stir to combine.

  3. Add sherry, vinegar and fresh herbs and cook over medium heat until mushrooms release their juices and have wilted significantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Remove mushrooms from heat and let cool. Turn oven on to medium broil and place rack in middle of oven. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. 

  5. Brush olive oil lightly over both sides of each piece of sliced bread and place on prepared baking sheet. Broil bread until golden, somewhere around 5 minutes for each side (keep a close eye on it, as oven temps vary greatly and your bread can go from golden to charred in a matter of seconds.)

  6. Let bread cool and then serve alongside mushrooms (you can either load the bread slices with mushrooms yourself before serving or let guests load their own.)

Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse

I don’t think you understand how excited I am to bring you these Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse today!

Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse are the perfect healthy appetizer for your next get-together.

If you know me at all, you know that poke is one of my absolute favorite foods, and it seems to be right up there on your list of favorites, too. My Spicy Poke Bowls are the most pinned recipe on this site, after all, and this Spicy Beet Poke has become one of the most-requested dishes from some of my closest friends.

I’ve been dying to share these Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse for MONTHS now, but I wasn’t about to share them when I couldn’t enjoy them (thanks, pregnancy!) Well, let’s just say that now I’m making up for lost time and ahi poke in any way, shape or form has once again become a weekly staple in my diet.

I love these flavorful little bites because they combine so many of my OG foods in one bite – poke, pineapple AND avocado? I mean, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse are both gluten-free and dairy free!

So let’s chat a little bit about the three different components that go into making these tasty appetizers..

The pineapple is the easiest part. I cut into a fresh piña because they are plentiful here in CA even in the winter, but if you live somewhere that’s not the case, you can even use canned slices. The important part is to get the wedges as thin as possible so the juicy pineapple flavor doesn’t overwhelm all of the other deliciousness we’re getting to next.

Speaking of – the next step is perhaps the most important part: the poke! You know the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” so I stuck with the basic recipe I’ve used for the other poke dishes on this site. When I made this dish to photograph I left out the spicy sambal oelek, but I must say that there would be absolutely nothing wrong with adding some in to the mix to give the poke a little extra hit of flavor.

And, the third and final step – avocado mousse! Guys, I don’t know why I’ve never ventured down this path before but I kind of feel like I’ve just opened the door to a whole new world of avocado usage. And it’s so easy! Just take ripe avocado, lemon juice and a touch of salt, throw it all in the food processor and – voila! – the creamiest, fluffiest, avocado-ness you’ve ever tasted.

A tray of Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse is sure to be the star hors d'oeuvres at your next party!

I mean, how can you hate a healthy appetizer that contains THE best healthy ingredients (IMO) on the planet? Pineapple, avocado, ahi – I’m looking at you.

Okay, I have to admit that there is ONE more special touch that I think would really take these Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse over the top…and that special touch comes in the form of CRUMBLED MACADAMIA NUTS. I was seriously kicking myself for not thinking of this before I shot the recipe, so please, please PLEASE do me a solid and sprinkle some over top when you make ‘em. And then invite me over 🙂

Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse
Prep Time
25 mins
 

These bite-size appetizers feature the best healthy ingredients - ahi, pineapple and avocado - and are both gluten- and dairy-free!

Course: Appetizer
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the poke:
  • 1.5 pounds sushi-grade ahi
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 1/4 of a sweet onion, diced
  • Sambal oelek or sriracha, to taste
All other ingredients:
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 pineapple, peeled and cut into wedges
Instructions
  1. Add all poke ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.

  2. Place peeled, ripe avocados, salt and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until no chunks remain. Transfer to a piping bag and set aside.

  3. To assemble the bites, scoop a small spoonful of poke onto each pineapple wedge, then pipe a dollop of avocado mousse on top. [And here is where you would also sprinkle on the macadamia nuts if you’re smart enough to use ‘em.] Serve immediately, before the avocado mousse has a chance to brown.

Loaded Mediterranean Hummus Board with Pulled Lamb

Well hi there! It’s been a while…

This Loaded Mediterranean Hummus Board features slow-cooked pulled lamb, pomegranate arils and refreshing sliced cucumber to make the perfect healthy appetizer for your next get-together!

Can I offer you a Loaded Mediterranean Hummus Board with Pulled Lamb to make up for it? I promise it’s just as good as it sounds (and more) and will quickly become a favorite meal of yours. Might I also add it would make a great, healthy option to feed the troops during Super Bowl this weekend?

If you were a reader before, or perhaps have been following me on Instagram, you’ll know that the reason for my recent hiatus was because my husband and I welcomed our beautiful baby girl, Raia Marie, into the world in October. I had a good amount of content lined up for when she was first born, but then (as I’m sure you’ve heard) the perfect storm of unfortunate events hit our little community of Santa Barbara, first with the Thomas Fire and then with the Montecito Mudslide. Add to that a 10-day trip to Hawaii (where we infamously had a near miss with a ballistic missile attack) and you can see why it’s taken me a little longer than anticipated to get back in any sort of groove.

This is the first time since mid-November that we’ve been home for an entire week, and I’m slowly figuring out a schedule (if you can call it that) with little Miss Raia where I can occasionally get a little bit of work done and, most importantly, get back in the kitchen!

A Loaded Mediterranean Hummus Board with Pulled Lamb can serve as a healthy appetizer to feed a crowd or a light dinner for you and your family.

My new favorite method of cooking is, understandably, batch cooking. Since my time in the kitchen is quite sparse these days, when I DO have the time I love roasting up a huge tray of veggies or throwing a big cut of meat or various other ingredients into the slow cooker and letting it do most of the work. Bonus if I can figure something out using healthy ingredients because, man, breastfeeding is no joke and I’m way hungrier these days than I ever was while I was pregnant.

This Loaded Mediterranean Hummus Board with Pulled Lamb fits my need for easy to cook, filling and delicious recipes that, let’s be honest, can just as easily pass as an easy weeknight dinner as it can for a show-stopping appetizer for your next get-together.

I’ve simply created THE most delicious slow-cooked lamb recipe that then gets dumped on top of creamy hummus which is then garnished with pomegranate seeds, fresh rosemary, cucumbers and the like. And don’t forget the pita bread! You could also go hog wild and throw on some fresh veggies like beets, carrots, radishes or whatever you prefer to enjoy your hummus with.

Since my time is a bit limited as far as recipe development goes, I went with premade hummus and pita bread wedges for this go-around, but I know this whole setup will be equally (if not more) delicious if you decide to take the time to make all of these things from scratch.

Loaded hummus is the perfect healthy snack that can easily pass as a meal!

If you’re feeling ambitious, my friend Becky over at Baking the Goods has mastered the Creamy Dreamy Hummus from Tusk in Portland and you can click here for the recipe. Or, you can try one of the other hummus recipes I’ve shared on this site like this Roasted Cauliflower Hummus with Rosemary and Garlic or this Pumpkin Curry Hummus.

I haven’t yet come up with my own recipe for homemade pita bread, but I’m sure you can’t go wrong with this Golden Pita Bread Recipe from King Arthur Flour or this tutorial on How to Make Pita Bread from The Kitchn.

But for those of you who (like me) don’t have a lot of time on your hands, store-bought is just fine. Just be sure to find hummus and pita with as few ingredients as possible!

As far as the lamb goes, it really couldn’t be easier since you probably already have most of the ingredients on hand in the pantry. Just head to your favorite local butcher and ask for the boneless leg of lamb (or lamb shoulder would work, too) and you’ll be well on your way to a tasty, healthy protein made in quite possibly the least hands-on way possible.

This hummus is loaded with all your favorite Mediterranean flavors from a juicy pulled lamb to refreshing pomegranate seeds.

Before I leave you with all the deets on how to create your own Loaded Mediterranean Hummus Board with Pulled Lamb, be forewarned that this lamb recipe will leave you with wayyy more lamb than you will ever need piled on top of your hummus. Well, I’m giving you permission to use the extra to whip up lamb tacos, a Greek casserole, or even pulled lamb sandwiches to get ya through the week. I’m learning now more than ever that there is so much power in leftovers!

5 from 1 vote
This Loaded Mediterranean Hummus Board features slow-cooked pulled lamb, pomegranate arils and refreshing sliced cucumber to make the perfect healthy appetizer for your next get-together!
Loaded Mediterranean Hummus Board with Pulled Lamb
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
6 hrs 55 mins
Total Time
7 hrs 10 mins
 

Not-your-average-hummus recipe! This healthy appetizer has way more going on than a simple chickpea spread - it's loaded with juicy pulled lamb, fresh rosemary and pomegranate seeds!

Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the pulled lamb:
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3-4 pounds boneless leg of lamb (or lamb shoulder), trimmed of any large pieces of fat
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
All other ingredients:
  • Hummus (I used two tubs of store-bought)
  • Pomegranate arils
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Pita bread, cut into wedges
  • Other vegetables such as carrots, radishes, etc. (as desired)
Instructions
  1. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil in bottom of a large slow cooker. Add lamb and drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over top. 

  2. Add garlic cloves, rosemary, oregano, mint, salt and pepper. 

  3. Cook on low for 7 hours. 

  4. Remove lamb from slow cooker and place in a large bowl, reserving the lamb’s juices in the slow cooker. Using two forks, shred the lamb until no big chunks remain.

  5. Drizzle on just enough of the reserved juices from the slow cooker so that the lamb is nice and moist without having too much extra liquid in the bowl. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

  6. To assemble, scoop hummus onto the center of a large cutting board or serving platter, swirling to create a sort of a well in the middle.

  7. Add pulled lamb to the well in the center. Top with pomegranate arils and fresh rosemary.

  8. Surround the hummus with sliced cucumbers, pita bread and any other vegetables you’ve decided to use and serve!

The Best of CaliGirl Cooking: Top 15 Holiday Appetizers

Coming at you today with one final “best of” roundup before Christmas – today we’re talking all about the holiday apps!

Best EVER Winter Vegetable Platte | CaliGirlCooking.com

Before I get too carried away with CGC’s most popular holiday appetizer recipes, I wanted to give you a quick update on our sitch: We’ve been away from our home in SB for a week and a half now, escaping the smoke to save our precious baby girl’s lungs. As I’m writing this on Saturday afternoon, things aren’t looking great for our beautiful oceanfront town. Winds have been terrible since early this AM, which when combined with the very dry conditions in our area have made for a massive amount of evacuations in our area. Although our home is not in an evacuation zone yet, we are certainly surround by them and at this point can only keep our fingers crossed that the firefighters get SOME sort of break in the weather ASAP.

A couple of days ago it had been looking like we might be able to come home tomorrow, but now we’re second guessing that and thinking we may be up here in the Bay Area until Christmas. It’s certainly not what we had envisioned for our first holiday with the babe and the pup, but we’re trying to keep our heads up and make the most of this extra time we get to spend with our families. I’ll be sure to keep you posted as best as possible on social media but, in the meantime, let’s all get our mind off of things with some delicious apps. Shall we?

Without further ado, here are my 15 most popular holiday appetizers!

All-Dressed Party Mix | CaliGirlCooking.com

1. ALL-DRESSED PARTY MIX
2. BEST EVER WINTER VEGETABLE PLATTER
3. CREAMY MUSHROOM PATE

A fresh baguette is the perfect accompaniment to this Creamy Mushroom Pate.

4. FIVE INGREDIENT SMOKED SALMON AND CUCUMBER ROLL-UPS
5. PUMPKIN WALNUT PATE
6. BUTTERNUT SQUASH CROSTINI WITH CRISPY PROSCIUTTO AND SAGE

Curry-Rosemary Roasted Mixed Nuts | CaliGirl Cooking

7. CURRY ROSEMARY ROASTED MIXED NUTS
8. GOAT CHEESE, APRICOT AND PISTACHIO CROSTINI WITH HONEY
9. HOMEMADE ROSEMARY AND OLIVE OIL CRACKERS
10. HOMEMADE WHOLE WHEAT CRACKERS – TWO WAYS

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers: Two Ways! | CaliGirlCooking.com

11. PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED PEARS WITH CREAMY BLUE CHEESE
12. ROASTED CAULIFLOWER HUMMUS WITH ROSEMARY AND GARLIC
13. BACON WRAPPED STUFFED DATES
14. SPICED ROSEMARY BAR NUTS

Portobello Hummus | CaliGirlCooking.com

15. PORTOBELLO HUMMUS

What are your favorite holiday appetizer recipes? Share them with me in the comments below!

Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups

Let’s kick off the week with another easy appetizer recipe!

A tray of Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups will be a huge hit at your next holiday party!

I hope you all had a restful, relaxing weekend filled with lots of fun and holiday cheer. Ours was about as exciting as can be with a one-month old and was made even better by the enjoyment of these Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups, which I am officially dubbing the “it” easy, healthy recipe of the season.

That’s right, these Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups are incredibly simple to make, yet so full of flavor you’d never guess they’re actually one of the healthiest appetizers you can add to your repertoire in this month of endless get-togethers and celebrations.

Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups are an easy, healthy appetizer for any get-together.

Oh, and did I mention they only require five ingredients? That’s right! No special grocery store trips or endless hours slaving over the stove to whip up these delicious bites of heaven. You can grab everything you need at your neighborhood grocery store and have a beautiful tray of Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups ready to bring to your next holiday party in less than 20 minutes.

Speaking of those easy-to-find ingredients, here they are!

Cream cheese
Dried dill
Fresh chives
Persian cucumbers
Smoked salmon

See what I mean? Never been easier.

These Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups are the best holiday appetizer to make this year!

I think I’ve made it pretty clear why I love these tasty tidbits and want to make them for every occasion for the foreseeable future – they’re easy, healthy, composed of just a few ingredients and yet so full of flavor. Plus, I really missed my regular intake of smoked salmon when I was preggo with our baby girl so I’m making up for lost time 😉

I’m not going to keep you long today because, if there’s anything that’s a constant this time of year, it’s that we don’t have much spare time on our hands to sit reading blogs all day. There are more important things to do and people to spend time with!

But, in case you’re looking for a few other appetizer ideas to whip up this season, here are a few of my favorites from the archives…

These Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates

This Butternut Squash Crostini with Crispy Prosciutto and Sage

These Spiced Rosemary Bar Nuts

This Creamy Mushroom Pate

And these Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese.

Read on for the Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Up recipe!

Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups
Prep Time
15 mins
 

This easy, no-cook appetizer is full of flavor yet requires just five ingredients. It's the perfect healthy contribution to your next get-together!

Course: Appetizer
Servings: 30 pieces
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces whipped cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 4-5 Persian cucumbers
  • 8 ounces smoked salmon, cut into 30 strips
  • 30 toothpicks
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the whipped cream cheese, dill and chives until combined. 

  2. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the cucumbers lengthwise to form long, wide strips and lay out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

  3. Spoon cream cheese mixture into a pastry bag and cut off the tip. Squeeze a line of the cream cheese onto each strip of cucumber. 

  4. Place a strip of smoked salmon on top of each cream cheese-lined cucumber and roll up the cucumber, securing at the end with a toothpick. Refrigerate until ready to serve!