I don’t know about you, but the idea of sitting around with my best babes, drinking quality booze, and eating quality food is one of my favorite ways to spend an evening any time of the year.
This past weekend I hosted a little autumn-inspired soirée since one of my dear friends was in town.
What was on the menu, you ask?
Since I’m vegan and my friends are awesome and pretty much up for anything, I decided to buy a few different types of vegan cheeses so we could try them out, à la “wine and cheese night” … but with tequila, because is it truly a girls night without some Spanish flare?
Keep reading to let me fill you in on all the menu details *AND* give away the secret recipe for my tested (and approved!) recipe for skinny jalapeño margaritas.
The Skinny-Spicy-Margarita Recipe
There was a time in my life when the crappiest brand of vodka would suffice. But, in my elder years I’ve found what I enjoy to drink and what I do not. And the two types of adult beverages I actually like to drink without having to pinch my nose and knock back, are: tequila and mead. Yes, yes. I am aware of the vast difference between the two types of alcohol — but I like to think my love for them reflects the different sides of my personality (lol).
Recently, I have fallen in love with the jalapeño margaritas. The bite of the pepper followed by the salty, sweet of the drink mixture is heaven.
Without further ado, here is how you can make your own skinny jalapeño margaritas. (If you don’t like spicy shiz, feel free to just skip the peppers.)
Makes 4 servings
- 8-ounces silver tequila (organic, if possible)
- 1 cup fresh organic lime juice
- 1 jalapeño pepper, sliced thinly
- 4-ounces raw, local, wild honey (*To make this vegan, use agave or date syrup instead.)
- 4 tablespoons pink Himalayan or Celtic salt
- Fresh organic limes for garnish (You could also get creative and use cilantro, rosemary, or slices of chopped up jalapeño.)
- Extra salt in a bowl to put on the rims of the glass.
- In the bottom of a pitcher or jar (I used a gallon-sized mason jar) muddle the jalapeño slices and lime juice together. Alternatively, if you want it really spicy (like I do), let the tequila and pepper sit for six to eight hours and intermingle their flavors. Then, add in the lime juice when you’re ready to make the drinks.
- Add honey to the tequila and stir well, or else the honey will clump.
- Before pouring, dip the top of each glass in the margarita, then dip the glass into the bowl of salt to rim the glass.
- Fill each glass with fresh ice.
- Pour in the margarita mixture and garnish with your choice of fresh limes, peppers, or herbs.
The Vegan Cheeses
I purchased four types of vegan cheeses to try out. I am pretty picky with my vegan cheeses because most (hint: Daiya) are mainly just filled with oil, chemicals, and preservatives aka not stuff I want in anything I eat.
I wanted cheeses that could be easily spread decadently on a slice of baguette or gluten-free cracker, so I selected these for that reason. Note: my absolute *favorite* vegan cheese slices are the Follow Your Heart brand. I highly recommend these because not only are they delicious as is, but they melt wonderfully on pizza, for quesadillas, or on toast.
These are the brands and flavors of the cheeses I chose for my girl’s night (Note: all four brands have probiotics added to them, so you get the benefits of dairy without all the wack side effects. They are also all soy, citric acid, and canola oil free.):
Miyoko’s Creamery: Fresh VeganMozz
Miyoko’s Creamery is a brand I adore and trust. Not only are their cheeses f*cking fabulous, but they are organic and made primarily from coconut and cashews.
The VeganMozz looked pretty similar to dairy mozzarella and was very creamy. It was my most favorite of the cheeses. I will absolutely buy it again.
Miyoko’s Creamery: Double Cream – Garlic Herb
This cheese was creamy and gooey. Filled with parsley, garlic, and various herbs.
My second favorite of the cheeses because I love the flavor, consistency and texture of Miyoko’s. To be honest, I have never bought something from this brand that I haven’t loved. (Try their butter! It is ahhh-mazing!)
Leaf Cuisine: Garlicky Herb
I picked this cheese because it is raw and has very minimal ingredients. Like Miyoko’s, it is made primarily of cashews and coconut oil plus some herbs de provence, chives, lemon, garlic, dill, cayenne, and probiotics.
It was very creamy and spreadable. I think this would go well on a sandwich or melted on a baked potato.
Third favorite. I wasn’t a huge fan of this one — but my husband adores it. So, it could just be my selective palate.
Treeline: Herb Garlic
I’ll be honest, I chose this brand because of the graphic design on the packaging. Call it stealthy marketing or me a sucker, I liked how it looked.
This cheese is made primarily of, as the brand name suggests, tree nuts. Specifically, cashews. It is very creamy and herby and garlicky.
Least favorite of the four. I adore cashews, but the taste of this reminded me more of pine nuts for some reason. (There are no pine nuts to be found in the ingredients list.) I really thought I was going to love this because creamy, herby, garlicky are three things I love when it comes to food. Alas, it was my last choice in this batch of vegan cheeses.
In addition to the cheeses, as you saw in the pictures above, I served a mushroom and black truffle flatbread, homemade bruschetta (Recipe: organic cherry tomatoes, homegrown basil, black pepper, 8 cloves of garlic, Celtic sea salt, red pepper flakes, organic coconut oil in place of EVOO since that’s what I had on hand — blend in a food processor until fine, then top on warm, crusty baguette.), vegan pumpkin pie and pita and hummus.
I hope this inspires you for your next cocktail party or girl’s night!
Until next time,