Ladies Who Dine: Spring Tapas

About a year ago, I purchased what I thought were adorable place card invitations thinking that they would be perfect for a dinner party. They sat in my pantry, still in the original package, for nearly a year until a few weeks ago when I was finally inspired to host a Spring Tapas inspired night at my digs! It had taken me what felt like forever to get my small space in a cozy state that I deemed suitable for guests and "larger parties." Larger parties as in the four other women and myself that could fit tightly around my coffee table to enjoy some drinks and bites while catching up.

As far as a particular theme for this shindig, "spring" and "tapas" seemed to stick with me. Keeping it simple was likely my best route and I could just use ingredients to bring some flavor and excitement to the evening. Inspired by some of my recent favorite tapas friendly diet staples, I planned a menu and slipped the invites in the mail with indecisiveness still resting on what I would serve for dessert. Because no evening is ever quite complete without something to satisfy that sweet tooth...

The final spread was compromised of the following:

White Bean Hummus & Avocado Pitas, inspired by my complete adoration for avocado toast..and anything avocado for that matter.

Wasabi Pea Crusted Tempeh, a recipe I typically use on salmon, however I wanted to bring something unique to the table with a vegan friendly protein.

Orange Miso Scallopsfor something a bit more challenging that infused light and zesty citrus flavors.

Mushroom & Kale Tostadasas an attempt to recreate my own version of the ABC Cocina masterpiece.

Salted Caramel & Brownie Le Parfait-In-A-Jar, because I love the idea of a dessert in a jar. And the fact that non-dairy ice cream can be such a crowd pleaser - dietary restriction or not.

White Bean Hummus & Avocado Pitas

1 cup hummus (I used Whole Foods Original)

1 cup cannellini beans

2 avocados

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and black pepper, to taste

3 Roma tomatoes

small round pita crisps or crostini

  1. Make it easy on yourself and purchase pre-made hummus, however by all means feel free to whip up your own! Combine hummus and cannellini beans in a food processor and blend until smooth. Spoon into a bowl and set aside
  2. Halve each avocado, removing the pit and setting them aside (do not throw the pits away!). Use a large spoon to remove the avocado and place all four halves into a bowl. Pour olive oil and sprinkle sea salt and black pepper and then use a fork to mash the avocado mixture.
  3. Slice and dice the Roma tomatoes into small pieces.
  4. Using a knife, layer each round pita or crostini first with the white bean hummus followed by a generous layer of mashed avocado and then garnish with diced tomato.
  5. Serve on a platter and enjoy as a welcome appetizer.


Wasabi Pea Crusted Tempeh

I typically make this recipe for grilled salmon, however I wanted to test it out with tempeh for the sake of my own curiosity. Thank you to my gals for being open to trying this stuff.

2 packages of original tempeh (I favor Lightlife Original

½ cup Dijon mustard

½ cup pure maple syrup

1 cup wasabi peas

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Slice the tempeh into small cubes, approximately the size of dice and set aside.
  3. In a bowl, mix the Dijon mustard and maple syrup. If you prefer your mixture to be along the sweeter side, then opt for a larger proportion of maple syrup and vice versa. You’ll want the mixture to be the consistency of a thick soup.
  4. Either in a large bowl or Ziploc bag, dump in the tempeh cubes and then drizzle with the Dijon and maple syrup mixture. Miz well until all tempeh cubes are generously coated.
  5. In a separate Ziploc bag, toss in the wasabi peas, seal, and lightly crush.
  6. Mix the crushed wasabi peas with the marinated tempeh until all pieces are generously covered.
  7. Spread the tempeh out on a large baking pan and bake in the oven for approximately 15-20 minutes or until the tempeh begins to appear golden and slightly crisp.
  8. Remove from the oven with your fancy oven mitts and pile onto a plate.


Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 8.35.32 PM.png

Orange Miso Scallops

Serves 5 - adjust accordingly 

Note: The original recipe called for blood oranges, however I was unable to find any and just swapped for navel oranges.

1 ½ teaspoon orange zest

juice from 1 medium orange

2 tbsp red miso paste

10 large sea scallops (each person received 2)

coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp coconut oil (original called for butter, however I opted for coconut oil for a richer taste)

5 sprigs fresh thyme

4 tbsp minced shallot

1 tbsp finely minced fresh parsley (or dried flat leaf)

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange zest, juice, and miso paste. Set aside.
  2. Warm a large pan over medium-high heat. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and season very lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the oil and coconut oil to the pan; swirl to melt. Add the scallops and thyme, being sure not to crowd the scallops, and let them get a good sear on the first side (2-3 minutes).
  4. When the scallops are well browned, flip them over. When the scallops are browned on the second side and almost cooked through, transfer them to a plate.
  5. Turn the heat down to medium and add the shallots to the pan. Cook for 1 minute, stirring.
  6. Add the miso & orange mixture to the pan and whisk to combine. Simmer for about 30 seconds, then turn off the heat and add the parsley.
  7. Spoon the sauce over the scallops and serve.


Mushroom & Kale Tostadas

Serves 5 - adjust accordingly

10 small round corn tortillas (2 per person; I bought mine at the USQ Greenmarket from Hot Bread Kitchen)

2 large portabella mushrooms

1 bundle of lacinto kale

Tahini Drizzle:

1 tbsp tahini

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

pinch of curry powder

2 tsp gomasio

black pepper, to taste

  1. De-stem the kale and place the leaves in a pile to the side. By stacking about three leaves at a time, roll them up and then use a knife to cut into thin strips. It should look like small pieces of confetti as you’re slicing.
  2. Mix all tahini drizzle ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Turn stove on medium-high and drizzle a skillet with olive oil.
  4. Slice the portabella mushrooms into thick rectangle shaped pieces and toss into the skillet with a pinch of curry powder.
  5. As soon as the mushrooms begin to darken, remove them from the skillet and place in a bowl.
  6. Toss in the kale into the skillet just long enough for it to only begin to wilt. Quickly remove and place  the strips on a large plate.
  7. Turn the heat to low and have your taco stands out and ready to be loaded.
  8. One tortilla at a time, place them in the skillet and warm them quickly on each side.
  9. Place the tortillas into the taco stand, spoon in a bit of the portabella, top with kale and drizzle with the tahini mixture.
  10. Serve with lime wedges as an optional flavor enhancement.

Salted Caramel & Brownie Le Parfait-In-A-Jar

Serves 5

1 pint Van Leeuwein Vegan Salted Caramel Ice Cream

5 small brownies of choice (we used a variety of chocolate and blondes from Whole Foods)

salted peanuts, for garnish

5 small swingback jars

  1. Using your hands, crumble each brownie into small pieces and place as the bottom layer of each jar.
  2. Scoop and spread the salted caramel ice cream on top, filling the remainder of each jar.
  3. Close the jar lids and place in the freezer until ready to serve.
  4. Before serving, sprinkle each parfait with a few salted peanuts. Voila!


Thanks very much to Whole Foods, Sur La Table, and Anthropologie for allowing me to create such a palate pleasing and inviting coffee table tapas spread.

Shop the Spread

Allison WaltonComment