Sarena is the sweetheart otherwise known as The Non-Dairy Queen and I had the pleasure of meeting her last May at Nourished Food Blogger Conference. I love checking out her easy, family-friendly recipes and seeing what she’s up to with her boys (and how cute that those teens will still pose for so many pictures for their mama!) Someday, I will get around to trying her protein-packed Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Parfait and Rosemary Oat Chickpea Flatbread. I’m sure I would love anything she makes, considering we coincidentally made almost the same thing for Attune Foods & Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Brunch event last spring – check out her version of Chicken ‘n Waffles and mine!

For more of Sarena’s gluten-free and dairy-free  recipes, visit The Non-Dairy Queen, “Like” her on Facebook, and follow @SarenaShasteen on Twitter.


Hello Cara’s Cravings readers! I am completely honored to have been asked to participate in the Clean Eating Cocktail Party this month. I’m Sarena and I blog at The Non-Dairy Queen. My specialties are healthy dairy free, gluten free and soy free eats. Thank you, Cara, for inviting me to the party!

This time of year is filled with so many fun get togethers and occasions to eat amazing food with friends and family! My way of eating always leans towards the healthy side, so while I love indulging sometimes, I still like having a great balance of healthy options at my gatherings. Whether I’m throwing the party or I’m invited to the party, I always like to make sure that there’s something safe for me to eat, as well as something for other guests to enjoy too. Along with my already restricted diet, I also don’t eat meat. Yep, I’m that fun party guest everyone loves to invite over with no clue what to make them to eat. So, my tendency is to make a heartier vegetarian option that everyone can enjoy. I actually don’t just do this during the holiday season, since our family also does a weekly hor d’oeurve night throughout the year. About once a week, we do a casual meal where we all nibble on various finger foods and enjoy some fun family time. My kids love helping me put the foods together for that night and it really does make it feel like a weekly party here!

When I plan out menus for parties, I like to do a mix of flavors and variety. This typically include meats, cheeses and vegetables of some sort. Hummus is one thing I make often to serve with a vegetable platter, but I like to change things up from time to time. Also, during the colder months I like to throw in a warm or room temperature option for my typical hummus and vegetable platter. I love baked falafel, which has all the amazing flavors of hummus made crispy. Falafel is one of the foods that you can definitely play around with the flavor combinations to make it your own. This version is an artichoke falafel stuffed in miniature sweet peppers and small portabella mushrooms. These little bites are a mix of sweet, salty, crunchy and creamy. The artichoke adds a slight sweetness to the mixture which perfectly compliments the salty chickpea mixture. The falafel is crunchy on top nestled into the soft roasted peppers and mushrooms. These are a favorite here and will definitely make an appearance at my next get together!

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Artichoke Falafel Stuffed Peppers and Mushrooms

Yield: ~40 small scoops

Zesty falafel mixture is stuffed into sweet mini bell peppers or mushroom caps and baked for a party appetizer with a twist! Be sure to wow your guests when you serve these at your next holiday party or game day. Gluten-free and dairy-free.


1 16 oz can low-sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 canned artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
fresh ground black pepper to taste
small sweet peppers or mushrooms


Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pull the stems from the peppers. Cut a side off the peppers to allow enough space to put the falafel mixture in them. (Or, remove stems from the mushroom caps if needed.)

Place all of the ingredients (except for peppers or mushrooms) in a food processor. Blend until the mixture forms a paste with some chunks left in it. Scoop about 1-2 TBSP worth (I used a small cookie scoop) into the hollowed out peppers. For the mushroom caps, I used 3 scoops. The more rustic you leave the top, the crispier they will be on top. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until slightly browned on the top and bottom.

Makes 39 small peppers, 20 medium peppers, 20 small mushrooms, or 13 medium mushrooms.

**When reheating these, toast them under the broiler.