YOUR GO-TO VEGAN CHEESE BOARD & HOW TO PAIR IT WITH WINE by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal


i don’t know about you, but the thought of creating on e of those beautiful cheese boards i have seen on pinterest and food publications over the years. was enough for me not to ever give one a go. that was until frank and i moved from nyc, to la, had a home large enough to have people over to “entertain”. not only that, but i don’t even really eat dairy-based cheese (sometimes i’ll have an occasional bite), so if i was going to make a vegan cheese board what cheeses do i buy? how many of those teeny forks will i need? what do i serve next to said cheese? and most importantly: what wine does one serve with exclusively vegan cheese?!

i’m happy to report, that over the past few years i’ve done research on the above questions. long gone are the days when vegan cheese meant rubbery, odd tasting little shreds on top of your pasta or veggies. today there are a plethora of nut-based, cultured vegan cheeses that are legitimately delicious. even though dairy-free cheese lacks milk-fat, it does contain fat which lends a richness to it all the same. but that is to say, vegan cheeses are a bit more delicate than dairy-based cheeses, and therefore are best when paired with light or medium-bodied wines.

what are medium and light bodies wines? generally medium and light bodied wines have an alcohol content between 12.5%-13.5%, and commonly have that refreshing, crisp vibe. and that’s what we want - light and refreshing. i tend to love serving chilled rose (even in the winter, controversial, i know!) and white wine, and a light and fruity pinot noir with a vegan cheese board. and since vegan cheeses tend to be a bit more mild than dairy-based cheese, you don’t have to go overboard with the pairing of them with specific wine varieties. think floral or citrusy, crisp wines if you’re serving fruit, dried fruit, or preserves alongside your cheese, as to not overpower your tastebuds with too much sweet flavor.

here, i served a light bodied pinot noir as an option (even if it’s not your cup of tea, a guest may prefer it), a bright and citrusy sauvignon blanc, and a faintly acidic rose pinot noir from one of my favorite online retailers that has a wonderful array of great wines from around the globe, millesima. it’s almost better than going to a store because their wines are beautifully curated, giving you the best of options at all price points. and they also offer a number to call for advice (where you get to talk to an actual human!), which is super convenient.

this post was created in partnership with millesima wine. all thoughts and opinions, as always, are my own.



how to choose which cheese to serve? and what to look for.

  • first, go with availability. LA is a mecca for plant-based cheese options, but being a life-long new yorker, i know this isn’t the case everywhere.

  • second, look for cultured cheese. essentially, this means the cheese is going to have more of a traditional cheese flavor. cultured means probiotics have been added, which in turn gives you that cheesy, pungent flavor that is so common with dairy-based cheese.

  • variety. even if your options are limited and you can only find spreads, look for various flavor profiles - whether that’s chive, herbs de provence, truffle, etc. if you are afforded the option of variety, then i would suggest 3-4 different cheeses: goat-style cheese log, a cheese that slices hard (i.e. a cheese that’s not a spread), a cheese-like dip, and/or a ricotta-style cheese. this gives your guests an assortment to choose from, and gives you more options when it comes to styling your cheese board.

  • be aware of cheeses that include hard-to-pronounce ingredients, sugar, food coloring, and vegetable oils such as: canola, safflower, soybean, and sunflower.

  • happy tummy and tastebud ingredients: coconut oil, nuts (if you can tolerate them), tapioca starch, agar, and cultures. the best vegan cheeses i’ve had have the least amount of ingredients. of course, if you’re nut-intolerant it can be quite difficult to find good options out there (sorry!).



what you need to build a vegan cheese board

  • surface - this is going to dictate your cheese board arrangement. i personally like going with a round cutting board/cheese board, but a rectangular shape works just as well. and gather a few small bowls to hold a softer cheese, preserves, nuts, etc. first i placed my bowls, from there i placed the cheese rounds and cut one into hunks (i think it makes it more visually pleasing, but it’s also easier for guests to pick as opposed to cutting it themselves). slice apple or pear and fan them out, fan more pieces in an opposite direction to get some texture on the board.

  • 1-2 different varieties of crackers - if you’re going with 2, purchase one with a different flavor profile, shape, and texture, just for variety.

  • add some sweetness - i like to go with seasonal fruit. winter fruit i love to include are: grapes, sliced apples and ripe pears. i like purchasing extra fruit, especially if it’s fresh like satsumas with their leaves still on, or little ornamental pears or crab apples - anything that’s going to add some softness. and i especially love fig conserve to serve with your cheeses (if you can find it, i highly recommend it - i use june taylor’s) , if you can’t find something similar try a cranberry or maybe even a fruit chutney.

  • nuts - i’m a big fan of roasted and salted pistachios, cracked walnuts, or maybe some flavored mix of nuts.

  • fresh herbs - i used fresh rosemary and fresh bay leaves here for just to give the board a bit more of seasonal vibe. but you could also use eucalyptus stems, olive branches, or evergreen/pine tree snips.

  • lastly, i would suggest some sort of low key floral arrangement. i tend to go less “floral”, and more leafy. this has all to do with your aesthetic, but i generally don’t buy anything too fragrant for fear of it distracting from the food.


more holiday recipes:

chocolate tahini cake w/ sugared cranberries

chocolate tahini cake w/ sugared cranberries

a weeknight holiday party

a weeknight holiday party

christmas morning cranberry, lemon & poppy seed cake

christmas morning cranberry, lemon & poppy seed cake

(INSIDE OUT) CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIE BARS by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal


december is undoubtably the season for cookies! so today we’re making these cookie bars. chocolate chip cookies in bar form.  that's essentially what these are, but with 2 distinct differences:  there's a good bit of almond butter in the batter, which gives them a fudgy quality.  and we did an inside out kind of vibe when it comes to the chocolate chips.  the chocolate completely melts that way, and creates these perfect little chocolate puddles which are so satisfying.  these are actually my favorite cookies to make for the holidays. not because they’re overly holiday - no candy canes, gingerbread, peppermint here. but because they’re quite possibly the easiest to put together. most chocolate chip cookies require chill time in the fridge, but because these aren’t actual cookies (at least in shape) they go right into the oven, and bake in just about 20 minutes. and if i haven’t sold you completely yet, they’re super portable. bake them in the morning, then cover them with some parchment and foil, and bring them to your holiday get together, office potluck, etc, etc!

happy cookie season, friends!



(inside out) chocolate chunk cookie bars | gf & df

print the recipe!

| makes 20 cookie bars |

  • 1 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped

  • 1 1/4 cups fine brown rice flour

  • 1/2 cup arrowroot powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1 cup coconut sugar

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted but cooled

  • 1/3 cup unsalted almond butter

  • 2 large eggs (preferably pasture-raised)

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 4 ounces dark chocolate, 55%-65% cacao, chopped into rough chunks



method

  1. preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. spread the chopped almonds onto a baking sheet and toast until lightly browned and fragrant, about 5-6 minutes. let cool completely.

  3. oil and line a 9x13-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving enough parchment to overhang on opposite sides.

  4. in a large bowl, whisk together the brown rice flour, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. in another large bowl, whisk together the sugar, coconut oil, almond butter, eggs, and vanilla. a little at a time, add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix with a rubber spatula until everything is combined. (the batter will be quite thick - basically an arm workout!) add the toasted almonds and mix once again, until evenly distributed.

  5. dump the batter into the pan, using the spatula to evenly spread it into the corners and sides of the pan.

  6. bake in the center of the oven for 12-14 minutes, until the sides are just golden, and the center is puffy. remove from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chunks over top. place back in the oven a bake for another 5-7 minutes, until the chocolate has melted into little puddles.

  7. remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool. let cool completely, then use the parchment overhangs to carefully lift the cookie brick from the pan. sprinkle with flaky sea salt, and slice into 20 bars. cookie bars can be stored in a lidded container at room temperature for 3 days.


more holiday cookie recipes:

double chocolate gingersnaps

double chocolate gingersnaps

maple, pecan butter chocolate chip cookies

maple, pecan butter chocolate chip cookies

satsuma & rosemary pignoli nut cookies

satsuma & rosemary pignoli nut cookies


GARLIC & HERB MAZTO BALL SOUP by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

this post was created in partnership with bed, bath & beyond. all thoughts and opinions, as always, are my own.


amesy turned 2 at the end of september, which means a whole lot of things, but mostly that he’s becoming more aware of celebrations, and special events, which is such a thrill. it can also feel like a lot of pressure to create a memory for him. i can often get overwhelmed by something so simple for fear that is won’t be special enough for him. this is silly, i know - it’s part of my brain i’m constantly trying to quiet. i’m learning though, as time goes by, and reminiscing on my own childhood that it’s the occasions, and everyday instances that have always stuck with me. of course there was the birthday or two that i really remember. but tuesday night pizza night before my mom went off to school still resides as one of my favorite memories. or when my parents left me notes telling me to have a good day at school, and that they loved me. the little things mattered in the end, and i only hope to provide amesy with enough of those small quiet moments that they leave an impression.

with the holidays coming up it can feel like even more pressure. but celebrating holidays comes with family traditions which always provides such a grounding force. hanukkah has forever meant latkes and matzo balls, simple as that. my mom would make her grandmother’s german potato pancakes, and we would eat them plainly with applesauce. should would buy matzo ball soup from the store in town, and we would have the coziest celebration. we would light the candles on the menorah, say the prayers, and sing maoz tzur.

this is amesy’s third hanukkah, but perhaps the first one he’ll understand as being a special occasion, or maybe even remember. so i’m going all out with this matzo ball soup, this latke pie from last year, and this chocolate macaroon cake for my family. we’ll all be together under one roof, and i can’t wait to celebrate! the one thing that stresses me out (and i know i’m not the only one with this), is the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. so a reliable store to source all that i’ll need is key. that place for me is bed bath & beyond. everything i could ever need to prepare for the holidays can be found under one roof. and if you’ve ever had a toddler come shopping with you, you know that that’s a deal breaker!

from this sturdy bamboo cutting boards, to my favorite non-toxic cookware. to prep bowls, beautiful serveware and gorgeous black satin flatware, and even cloth napkins, the store provides it all. with helpful in-store and online assistance i can do it all in a one stop shop making it such a breeze. not to mention the range of price points and the variety of products is helpful as well to make your holidays or special occasions that much easier.

wishing you a wonderful start to the holiday season! xo!



garlic & herb matzo ball soup | gf

to fill this soup out a bit you can add some sliced veggies and cook them in the broth either ahead of time or while the matzo balls are cooking. i personally like the combination of celery, carrots, and turnips.

print the recipe!

| makes roughly 18-20 matzo balls |

roasted garlic

  • 1 head garlic

  • extra virgin olive oil

matzo balls

  • 1 1/2 cups chickpea flour

  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped dill

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • freshly ground pepper

  • 3 large free range eggs

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 6-8 roasted garlic cloves

  • 6 cups vegetable or free-range chicken stock



method

  • preheat oven to 400°F. slice the top of the garlic to expose the garlic cloves. place the garlic head on foil, and spray or drizzle with the oil to coat. fold it loosely to make a packet. cook until the garlic cloves are tender, roughly 30-40 minutes. remove from the oven and let cool. once cool, squeeze out 3-4 garlic cloves into a mixing bowl. smash the garlic with the back of fork until it turns into a smooth paste. set aside.

  • make the matzo balls. whisk together the flour, herbs, baking powder, salt, and pepper. to the bowl with garlic paste, mix in the eggs, and oil. mix the wet ingredients into the dry until everything is combined and the dough is sticky. cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

  • fill a large lidded pot three-quarters of the way full with water and bring to a simmer. place the broth in another large pot and bring to a simmer, cover, and turn heat to low.

  • while the water is heating, remove the matzo ball dough from the fridge. take about 2 teaspoons worth of batter and with wet hands, roll them into balls. when the water is simmering, drop the balls, a few at a time, until they rise to the surface. once they do, turn the heat to a low simmer, cover the pot, and cook for 20-22 minutes, until the matzo balls are cooked through and centers are light in color. (if the center is hard and dark, cook for another 3-5 minutes.) transfer cooked matzo balls to the warmed broth and repeat with the remaining matzo balls.

  • divide 2-3 matzo balls per bowl, sprinkle with dill, and serve immediately.


similar holiday recipes:

horseradish, shallot & herb latkes

horseradish, shallot & herb latkes

everyday roasted veggies

everyday roasted veggies

cacao nib, coconut macaroons

cacao nib, coconut macaroons