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Breanna Wilson - Cooking with Coffee: 12 Dinner, Sides, and Desert Recipes Using Your New Favorite Ingredient, Coffee

Cooking with coffee. It has a nice ring to it. And an even better buzz associated with it. (Literally.)

I think we can all agree coffee is delicious. (That is why you’re here, right?) Delicious to drink and even more delicious to sneak into our favorite dishes. From salads (yes, salads) to steaks, we’ve rounded up the best ways to integrate coffee and espresso into your cooking, whether you’re at home, out on the trail, or you’ve just set up camp in the forest, these are the most delicious ways to cook with coffee (or espresso!).

Keep Reading: How to Make Espresso While Camping: Hacks for Getting the Most from Your Nanopresso on the Road

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SALADS, SIDES, SAUCES, and SEASONING:

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Mexican Grilled Salad with Coffee Vinaigrette

Bright, acidic, and with a touch of the good stuff (and by that we obviously mean coffee) this salad is a lively addition to any meal at home or around the campfire this summer grilling season.

Ingredient List:

4 small red onions, quartered

4 tomatillos, husks removed and cut into quarters

2 small nopales (cactus paddles), spikes removed

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Cheese of choice (haloumi, provolone or other grill-friendly firm cheese), sliced thickly

2/3 cup olive oil

3 cups washed and chopped greens of choice

1/2 English cucumber, halved and sliced

1 cup fresh cilantro removed from the stems

3 tablespoons Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon espresso made with your Nanopresso

Kosher salt 

Black pepper

Vegetable oil for grilling

How to Make:

In a large resealable plastic bag, throw in your quartered red onions, tomatillos, cactus paddles, finely chopped garlic, cheese, and 1/3 cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to your preference. Seal the bag, pressing out the air, and toss to coat. Allow this mixture to rest and absorb for at least one hour.

While your cactus paddles are marinating, which your vinegar, honey, and espresso together in a medium bowl until dissolved to prepare your coffee vinaigrette. Gradually add the rest of your unused olive oil and continue to whisk without stopping. Season with salt and pepper to your preference. Cover and put the bowl into the fridge or over ice to chill until ready to use.

Once your cactus paddles have marinated for an hour, begin preparing your grill. You’re aiming for a medium-high heat with lightly oiled grates. You can also use a grill pan, if that’s what’s available to you. 

Remove the onions, tomatillos, and cactus paddles from the plastic bag and place them on the grill. Cook until tender and charred, turning them occasionally to allow for even cooking. Cooking time should be about five minutes. Once cooked through, remove them from the grill and allow to cool.

Pull the cheese out from the marinade and grill. Allow your cheese to brown, cooking about 10 minutes on the grill, or until browned evenly on all sides.

On a cutting board, chop your grilled vegetables and grilled cheese into easy-to-eat pieces. 

In a large bowl, add your greens, cucumber, cilantro, grilled vegetables, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with 3/4 of your chilled espresso vinaigrette. Toss. Serve the remaining vinaigrette on the side.

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Coffee Sweet Potatoes with Bourbon and Agave 

A little bit sweet. A little bit tangy. A whole lot delicious. These sweet potatoes are everything you want in a side dish, and almost definitely a whole lot more.

Ingredient List:

3/4 cups coffee brewed with your Pipamoka

4 tablespoons agave syrup

1 1/2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1/4 cup bourbon

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

Kosher salt

Black pepper

4 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and put into large cubes

1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil

1/4 cup smoked almonds, chopped

How to Make:

In a medium saucepan, stir coffee, agave syrup, and brown sugar over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Once the mixture begins to boil, turn down the head and continue to cook until the mixture thickens and reduces by half. This should take about 7 minutes. Remove from heat.

To the thickened mixture, add bourbon and 1 tablespoon of butter. Place back on medium-low heat and simmer until the sauce further reduces. This should take about 40-45 minutes. Your goal is for the mixture to thicken enough to coat a spoon. Keep in mind it will thicken as it cools. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Cover and chill. You can make this component up to two days ahead. Rewarm before serving.

While your sauce is reducing, preheat oven to 425° with the rack placed in the middle of the oven.

Melt your remaining butter and pour into a large bowl. Add your large sweet potato cubes and coconut oil and season with salt and pepper. On a baking sheet, space out your potatoes and begin roasting. 

Turn your sweet potatoes occasionally and rotate your baking sheets halfway through. Roast until tender (use a fork to measure tenderness). After 30-35 minutes your potatoes should begin turning golden brown, crisp on the edges, and the largest cubes should be tender the entire way through. Remove from oven.

When you’re ready to serve your roasted sweet potatoes, drizzle the warmed sauce over and garnish with your chopped smoked almonds. Garnish with parsley if you have some on hand. Serve any remaining sauce on the side.

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Slow-Cooked Tangy Three Beans

Beans and coffee might sound like a deadly combination to some. And to others, a dream come true. Let us know which you decide after you whip up this delectable delicacy that’s sure to get your insides going.

Ingredient List:

1 cup coffee brewed with your Pipamoka 

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup spicy brown mustard

2 tablespoons molasses

2 16-ounce cans butter beans

2 16-ounce cans kidney beans

2 16-ounce cans navy beans

How to Make:

To a greased 3 or 4-qt. slow cooker, add your coffee, brown sugar, brown mustard, and molasses. In a strainer rinse and drain all six cans of beans. Add beans to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 4-5 hours until mixture is dissolved, and flavors have saturated.

For camping, put into a container and freeze overnight. Heat in a saucepan and add water if necessary. 

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Crack Espresso Peanut Butter

You love espresso. You love peanut butter. So, why not combine the two in these ready-in-minutes homemade peanut butter recipe.

Ingredient List:

2 cups roasted and salted peanuts 

1 tablespoon fine coffee grounds (used) from your Nanopresso

1 tablespoon coconut oil

Salt

How to Make:

In a food processor, add peanuts and blend on high for 5 minutes*. Stop when a paste-like consistency is reached.

To that, add coffee grinds, coconut oil, and salt into the food processor. Set to high and mix for another 5 minutes. At this point you should start to reach a liquid consistency.

Pour into your storage container of choice and eat within 1-2 weeks without refrigeration or up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator. 

*Food processor time measurements may vary based on the food processor’s strength.

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BONUS: Coffee-Paprika Salt

This is one of those party tricks we can’t help but brag about. And one of those “recipes” not even the worst of us home cooks can mess up.

Ingredient List:

1 tablespoon fine coffee grounds (used and dried) from your Nanopresso 

1 tablespoon hot smoked Spanish paprika

2 tablespoons flaky sea salt

How to Make:

Combine salt, coffee, and paprika in a small bowl and mix.

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DINNER:

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Coffee-Braised Pulled Pork Sandwiches

For a big crowd or just the family, you can never go wrong with these pulled pork sandwiches. Serve with a side of cole slaw and our Mexican Grilled Salad with Coffee Vinaigrette recipe. 

Ingredient List:

3 lbs. pork shoulder, boneless

1/3 cup medium-course coffee grounds (used and dried) from your Pipamoka 

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1 medium white onion, chopped

2 cups chicken stock

1 1/2 cups coffee brewed with your Pipamoka 

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon whole peppercorns, crushed

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

10 potato or other buns of choice

Salt

Black pepper

How to Make:

Start by cutting your pork shoulder into thirds. Rub the pieces with your used coffee grounds, salt and pepper, before placing them in an oiled large skillet. Brown the pieces on all sides and drain the liquid when done.

Place your browned roast in a 5-qt. slow cooker and add your vegetables, stock, Pipamoka brewed coffee, parsley, coriander seeds, cumin, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf.

Place your lid on the slow cooker and cook on low until tender, which should take approximately 8-10 hours. Let the meat cool before shredding with a fork and skimming some of the fat away from the cooking juices. Strain out the cooking juices into a separate container and discard the vegetables, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf.

Serve on buns, with one spoon of cooking juices on top. Add cole slaw to your sandwich before serving accompanied with a Mexican Green Grilled side salad.

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Easy Coffee-Rubbed Steak

The theme of this recipe: easy peasy, coffee-rubbed steak breezy. 

Ingredient List:

2 rib-eye steaks, boneless

2 tablespoons fine coffee grounds (used and dried) from your Nanopresso 

5 teaspoons packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon hot smoked Spanish paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds

3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon ginger powder

Vegetable oil

Salt

Black pepper

How to Make:

In a small bowl, mix your coffee grounds, brown sugar, Spanish paprika, dried oregano, coriander, mustard seeds, ground red pepper flakes, ginger, salt, and pepper.

Season your steaks by rubbing with the mixture above. Let your steaks chill uncovered 3-6 hours. Remove from fridge and let sit for 1 hour, allowing the steaks to come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400°. 

In a large skillet, heat your vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Gently place steaks into skillet, careful not to splatter the oil. Allow steaks to cook for 2 minutes on each side, creating a nice crust to seal in the juices. 

From the stovetop, transfer your entire skillet to the oven. Cook steaks until they reach 120° for medium-rare. This should take about 5 minutes. 

Remove steaks from skillet and let rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes.

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Glazed Beef Shanks with Coffee and Peanuts

Who knew that beef, coffee, and peanuts was the trifecta our lives have been missing all along. But, as they say, better to discover it later rather than never!

Ingredient List:

4 1 1/2-pound osso buco–cut Angus beef shanks, tied

2 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

1/4 cup peanut oil

1 28-ounce can whole peeled plum tomatoes, undrained

1 large yellow onion, sliced

3/4 cup unpeeled fresh ginger, sliced

3/4 cup garlic, peeled and smashed

6-ounces tomato paste

1 red Fresno chile, unseeded and halved lengthwise

5 chiles de arbol

3 cups coffee brewed with your Pipamoka 

1 1/2 cups water

2 teaspoons toasted coriander seeds

1 1/2 teaspoons toasted cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon toasted fenugreek seeds

1 toasted cinnamon stick

4 toasted peppercorns

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Roasted peanuts, crushed

Fresh cilantro leaves

How to Make:

Pat shanks dry and rub with generous amounts of salt and pepper. Allow your shanks to stand at room temperature for an hour.

After one hour, preheat your oven to 300°F. In a roasting pan over medium-high, heat peanut oil until it starts to smoke. Quickly add your beef and brown on all sides, about 15-20 minutes. Turn off heat, remove beef from pan and place on a cutting board. Don’t discard pan yet. 

In a blender, blend plum tomatoes for about 15 seconds, looking for a smooth consistency.

In the roasting pan, turn on the heat to medium. Place onion, ginger, and garlic in the pan. Stir occasionally while scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until onion is soft and translucent, 6-8 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, Fresno chile, and chiles de árbol. Cook about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add coffee and smooth blended tomatoes and bring the contents to a boil over medium.

Add the beef back into the roasting pan, covering with the tomato mixture. Add 11/2 cups water, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, cinnamon stick, and peppercorns. Continue to boil over medium. Place aluminum foil over the pan, covering it tightly. Place the pan into the oven and allow it to roast for 2.53 hours, or until fork-tender. Remove the aluminum foil and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

After the additional 30 minutes in the oven, remove the uncovered roasting pan carefully. Let the pan and its contents cool for 15 minutes. 

After 15 minutes, remove beef from pan and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Strain your braising liquid from the pan. Trash the solids and wipe your roasting pan clean. 

Add your strained braising liquid back into the clean pan. Over medium-high heat, bring the liquids to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until liquid is slightly thickened. Stir occasionally until the liquid is reduced to about 5 cups, which should take about 15-20 minutes.

Once your liquid is reduced, whisk peanut butter into the reduction looking for a smooth texture. Salt to taste. 

Place your beef back into the pan and continue to cook over medium-low heat, basting occasionally for 8-10 minutes to warm the beef through. Garnish with crushed peanuts, ground coffee beans, and cilantro.

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Secret Ingredient Roast Beef

While you can probably guess the secret ingredient, it’s more fun if your dinner guests – and fellow coffee lovers – can’t. This secret ingredient roast beef is super easy to make at home, or over a fire for a fancier campsite dinner thanks to this flavorful and simple to prepare cut of beef.

Ingredient List:

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 2 1/2 lbs. eye of round roast beef

1 garlic clove, minced

2 teaspoons dried basil

1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 beef bouillon cube

1 cup coffee brewed with your Pipamoka 

3/4 cup water

Salt

Black pepper

Gravy Ingredient List:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cold water

How to Make:

Put canola oil into a Dutch oven and place over medium heat. Place your eye of round roast inside and brown on all sides. Remove roast from pan and set aside. In a small bowl, mix garlic, dried basil, and dried rosemary. Rub into roast.

To the pan, add your chopped onion and cook over medium heat until translucent. Stir in bouillon cube, coffee, and 3/4 cup water. Place your roast back into the pan and bring the contents to a boil. Once boiling, reduce your heat and cover. Allow the meat to cook about 2 1/2 hours, until tender.

After 2 1/2 hours, remove the roast from the pan. Pour cooking juices into a separate container to make a gravy. Let your beef rest for 10 minutes. Slice and prepare to serve. 

To make a gravy to be served with your roast, mix flour and cold water until smooth in your Dutch oven. Whisk your cooking juices into this mixture and bring to a boil. Continue to whisk. Keep over heat for 1-2 minutes, until thickened. Pour into a separate container and serve.

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DESSERT:

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Cast Iron Coffee Crumble Bake

Impressive and delicious? You bet your favorite cast iron skillet it is! 

Ingredient List:

3 tablespoons butter, cubed

2 cups Gala apple, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup pecans, chopped 

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup coffee brewed with your Pipamoka 

2/3 cup canola oil

1/2 cup white sugar

1 large white egg, room temperature

1 egg white from large white egg, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Drizzle Ingredient List:

1/3 cup coffee brewed with your Pipamoka 

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

How to Make:

Preheat oven to 375° F. 

Using a 10 inch cast iron skillet, melt butter over low heat on the stove top (or over the fire, if camping). 

Add your chopped Gala apple, chopped pecans, and 1/4 cup brown sugar to the skillet. Cook until the apple starts to become tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in coffee and remove skillet from heat.

Find two large bowls. In the first large bowl, beat oil, sugar, egg, egg white, vanilla and remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar until well blended. In the second bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg together. Slowly beat your dry mixture into your wet mixture. Gently pour this mixture into the skillet, covering the apple.

Bake about 20 minutes. When a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, your crumble is ready. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

While the crumble is cooling, make your drizzle in a small saucepan. Add coffee and cream to pan and bring to a boil. Allow the coffee and cream to cook for 10-12 minutes, reducing it to 1/4 cup. Remove from heat and whisk in confectioners' sugar. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before drizzling over cake.

Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if available.

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Spiced Coffee Affogato with Vanilla Ice Cream

Face it, getting into the desert portion of any dinner programming is the best part of any meal. Combine that with our favorite thing – coffee – and well, you’ll never be look at things the same way again. Especially after you read how easy this 5-step no-cook, no-bake recipe is.

Ingredient List:

1/4 cup roasted and salted almonds, chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 pint vanilla ice cream

8 tablespoons hot espresso brewed with your Nanopresso

How to Make:

In a small bowl, mix cinnamon and cardamom together with a fork.

In 4 large coffee cups, portion out the vanilla ice cream. Sprinkle your cinnamon and cardamom blend over the ice cream and pour 2 tablespoons of espresso over. Top with chopped almond pieces.

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Espresso Granita

Nothing beats a frozen espresso treat to cool you down on a hot day. Are we right?

Ingredient List:

2 cups hot espresso brewed with your Nanopresso 

1/2 cup white sugar

1 Cuillères à café d'extrait de vanille

Whipped cream

Bittersweet chocolate shavings

How to Make:

In a medium bowl, mix espresso, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla. Stir until sugar dissolves. Once dissolved, pour into a 9x9x2" metal baking pan and place in the freezer for 1 hour. 

After 1 hour, remove the pan from the freezer and mash with a fork to get the right granita texture. Place the pan back into the freezer for 2 hours. 

When ready to serve, scrape granita with a fork to make icy flakes. Divide granita among bowls and top with whipped cream and garnish with chocolate shavings.

Cover your granita tightly with foil when done serving and keep frozen for up to 3 days. Repeat fork scraping process before serving again.

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