Unexpected Additions – Recipes with Unexpected Flavor Combinations

Recipes and photos by Meghan Yager

unexpected flavors recipes cheesecake puff tart risotto




This month, take the time to explore surprising flavor combinations that you may not turn to very often. A mixture of new and familiar foods can take your next dinner or sweet moment to a new level! Which one will you make first?


Parsnip Leek Bacon Tart

Leek, Parsnip, and Bacon
Puff Tart

Makes: 1 tart | Time: 70 minutes


  • 4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
  • 2½ cups peeled and cubed parsnips (½ to ¾ inch)
  • ½ tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon + a pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon + a pinch of black pepper
  • 1 cup roughly chopped leeks
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1½ cups ricotta cheese, strained if watery
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions


Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Add cubed parsnip, ½ tablespoon olive oil, and ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper to a large zip-top bag. Shake to combine and scatter on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until tender and starting to brown. Remove from oven and set aside. Keep oven on.

In a small skillet, add 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic, cooking until softened, 1 or 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together ricotta, pinches of salt and pepper, and thyme for the tart.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set puff pastry on the baking sheet and roll out to about ¼-inch thickness. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until light golden brown and puffy. Remove from oven and carefully use the back of a spoon to press down the center of the pastry a little bit. Be sure to leave a border around the edge.

Spread ricotta in an even layer over the center of the puff pastry. Top with cooked leeks and garlic. Add roasted parsnips. Bake for an additional 7 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with bacon, then slice and serve.



Lemon Risotto Parsnip Recipe


Lemon Risotto with Roasted Parsnip

Makes: 6 servings | Time: 45 minutes



  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1½ cups chopped onion
  • 2 cups peeled and cubed parsnips (¼ inch)
  • 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh oregano, divided
  • 3 cups Arborio rice
  • ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Add broth to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover, and keep warm.

In a large heavy saucepan or large skillet with high walls, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in parsnips and oregano. Cook until parsnips begin to brown, about 8 minutes.

Stir in rice and cook for about 2 minutes to toast. Add enough broth to cover the rice mixture, bring to a simmer, and cook until all the broth is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add additional broth, 1 cup at a time, cooking until absorbed between each addition. Make sure to stir constantly. Once the rice is cooked, remove from heat.

Stir in Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


If you want to add more protein to the parsnip risotto, you can top it with sliced chicken, sliced steak, or shrimp.



Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Recipe


Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake Bites

Makes: 10 bites | Time: 30 min. + 2 hr., 30 min. cool


for the crust:

¾ cup graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon granulated sugar


for the cheesecake:

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup sour cream, room temperature

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 large egg, room temperature

2 teaspoons lemon zest

¼ cup fresh raspberries, roughly chopped


for the topping:

1 cup raspberries

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon water



Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with 9 to 10 liners.

Add raspberries, sugar, and water for the topping to a small saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until smooth and thick. Once cooked down (about 5 minutes), remove from heat and let cool completely.

Add crust ingredients to a medium bowl. Stir to combine and add 1 tablespoon of the mixture to each liner. Press down to firmly pack in the crust. Bake for 5 minutes and set aside to cool.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in sour cream, vanilla extract, and lemon juice until combined. Beat in egg, raspberries, and lemon zest until just combined. Divide batter evenly between liners. Bake until edges are set, about 18 to 20 minutes. The centers should only slightly jiggle.

Remove from oven to cool at room temp for about 30 minutes. Place in refrigerator and chill for 1 hour. Add raspberry topping to each cheesecake and chill for another 1 hour before serving.



To press down the crusts into the liners, an easy trick is to use a shot glass instead of your fingers! Less messy and highly effective.




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