Every month I get together with some of my favorite girlfriends for food and drinks and to discuss the book we’ve chosen to read over the previous month. This month, it was my turn to host! Since this would be my first time hosting (and first dinner party since I had began the blog,) I wanted to get extra creative and make this a night of memorable and tasty foods.
I knew right away that the perfect place to turn for inspiration for recipes for a crowd would be the Forest Feast Gatherings cookbook by Erin Gleeson. She features tons of amazing and beautiful vegetarian recipes perfect for any sort of get together or dinner party. Before we dove into the veggie deliciousness, we kicked things off with a simple but impressive looking side that’s quickly becoming a book club favorite: my friend Amanda’s Crescent Wrapped Baked Brie.
- 1 wheel of Brie or Camembert (there was a large group of us and we LOVE cheese, so we chose one of each!)
- 1 can of crescent dough
- 3-4 green apples, sliced thinly for pairing.
- Preheat oven to 350. Roll open the crescent dough and divide it into two even squares.
- Rub some olive oil on a sheet pan to prevent the dough from sticking. Place the first square of dough on the pan with the wheel of cheese directly in the center. Fold each of the four corners up to the center and press together.
- Flip the wheel over and place directly in the center of the second square of dough and fold the four corners up again. Rub both sides with oil and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
- I find it best to let the wheel cool for about 5 minutes before cutting into it so all the cheese doesn’t run out and its easier to get a good bite. Enjoy it with some apple slices, its perfect for sharing with friends over a few glasses of wine.
After a couple of glasses of wine, we were all ready to dig in properly. We feasted on a zucchini noodle salad, cucumber wraps, and butternut squash crostinis, three of my favorite Forest Feast creations with a few small twists of my own.
Zucchini Noodle Salad
This is one of my favorite Forest Feast recipes, I’m not the biggest fan of pesto, so I opted to make my own dressing instead, an avocado cream sauce.
Ingredients: (for the sauce)
- 1 large ripe avocado
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 lime
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- Halve, pit, and dice the avocado. Roughly chop the garlic. Zest then halve the lime. Roughly chop the cilantro.
- Add the avocado, Greek yogurt, garlic, and cilantro to a food processor. Add the lime zest and juice of half the lime.
- Pulse until smooth and creamy.
- Add a large drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
Ingredients for the salad:
- 3 zucchini
- 1 cup edamame
- 8 oz mozzarella balls
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 bunch of fresh mint, roughly chopped
- Using a Spiralizer, make the zucchini noodles. Toss in olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Add edamame, mozzarella balls, mint, and pine nuts, tossing to combine.
- Add the dressing and stir until everything is evenly coated.
Butternut squash crostinis
- 2 loaves of Demi baguette bread
- 1 butternut squash
- 4 oz goat cheese (spreadable kind)
- Fresh thyme
- Peel and dice the butternut squash into 1/4 inch thick cubes. Add a large drizzle of olive oil to a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the butternut squash and sauté approximately 10 minutes until lightly browned and fork tender. Season with salt and pepper.
- Slice the bread on the diagonal into 1/4 inch thick slices. Spread evenly on a sheet pan and drizzle generously with olive oil.
- Broil on high for 2 minutes.
- Allow bread to cool for 5-10 minutes then spread with a thin layer of goat cheese.
- Strip the thyme leaves from the stems until you have about 2-3 tablespoons worth.
- Top each crostini with a teaspoon of butternut squash and sprinkle with fresh thyme.
Cucumber Spinach Wraps
- 3 cucumbers
- 6 large spinach tortillas
- 6 oz pesto
- 8 oz cream cheese spread
- 1 red onion
- Halve then cut the cucumbers into 1/2 inch thick slices. Thinly slice the red onion.
- Spread each spinach tortilla with a layer of cream cheese and a layer of pesto. Top with cucumber slices and red onion slices. Roll into a burrito.
- Wrap each in parchment paper and tie with twine. Chill for 1 hour and cut into equal halves before serving.