Artichoke, Mushroom, and Leek Crostini with Pesto – Gluten Free version!

I absolutely love Alicia Silverstone’s book The Kind Diet (as I keep repeating, but really, I do LOVE it).  It’s been so pivotal for me regarding my dietary changes, not to mention she has yummy recipes!  Here’s another one of my favorites.  This one is fancy enough for parties and is a fantastic appetizer, although I have been known to make it as the main course, where my husband and I love it with just a salad on the side.  I had a fabulous potluck with some of my fellow classmates from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and a few of them eat gluten free.  (I am experimenting with it myself as well!)  So, I made this gluten free version for all of us to enjoy.

Mushroom and Leek spread:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin
2 teaspoons shoyu (or 1 teaspoon tamari for the gluten free)
Salt
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups thinly sliced leek
2 cups sliced button mushrooms

Artichoke Spread:
1 can whole, water packed artichoke hearts, drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 – 1 teaspoon umeboshi vingegar

Pesto:
1 cup fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup raw pine nuts
1/4 cup lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons umeboshi vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil

Slices of Whole Grain Baguette (or Gluten Free cracklebred for the gluten free version)
Finely chopped flat leaf parsley (for garnish, optional)

If using the baguette, preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.  Line a baking sheet with parchment.  Brush the bread lightly with oil on both sides.  Arrange the bread on a baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with salt.  Bake until the bread is lightly browned and crispy at the edges.

Combine the oil, vinegar, mirin, shoyu, and 2 pinches of salt in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic, leek, and mushrooms.  Cover the pan and when you hear sizzling, gently shake the skillet, holding the lid in place.  Reduce the heat to low and braise until the leek is quite tender and deeply browned, 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove the lid and allow any remaining liquid to cook off.  Remove from heat and stir gently to combine.

Blend the artichoke hearts, olive oil, and umeboshi vinegar in a food processor until smooth.  Remove from the food processor and set set aside.

Blend the basil, pine nuts, lemon juice, umeboshi vinegar, and oil in the food processor until smooth.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

Spread the artichoke mixture on the bread or crostini, mound the leek mixture generously on top, and finish with a dollop of pesto and a sprinkle of parsley.  Serve.

Rating:  A.  I love love love this.  I must say that the whole wheat french bread is tastier and a more “traditional” crostini than the gluten free cracklebred I used.  If using some sort of cracker, be sure it’s sturdy and crispy so it won’t get soggy after you put all the delicious toppings on.

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