Celebrate the 'iZombie' Season 3 premiere with these brainy snacks

These guys can even make brains seem appetizing.

There ain’t no party like an iZombie cooking party, because an iZombie cooking party is all about braaaaaiiins (made out of red jello).

The CW and Warner Brothers teamed up for a unique Season 3 premiere party with the cast and showrunners of the network’s zombie rom-com Monday night. Stars Rose McIver, Robert Buckley, Rahul Kohli, David Anders, Aly Michalka and Malcolm Goodwin, along with executive producers Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright, joined Mashable and other members of the press for a five course cooking class. The tapas-style food ranged from vegetable stir-fry to beef sliders to spicy tuna sushi, each with a tie-in to previous iZombie episodes like “He Blinded Me … With Stir-Fry” and “Astro Burger.” 

While the head chef Rose LeBoeuf – who bonded with McIver over their shared first name – watched over each station as the cast, showrunners and press attempted to make each plate, bartenders were serving colorful iZombie-themed drinks like “The Embalmer” and “Corporal Sour.” There was even a shot called a “Brain Hemorrhage” that looked uncannily like a brain floating in bloody water (made with Bailey’s, peach schnapps and grenadine). Talk about committing to the theme. 

Anders was the first cast member to try the Brain Hemorrhage shot, shooting it back as the bartender handed him a bottle of water with a laugh, telling him he’d “need it.” Goodwin was the next brave soul to try it, while the whole party cheered him on. Once the cooking started, the cast, producers and press spread out over all five stations. 

Kohli kept sneaking more hot sauce into the spicy tuna at the sushi-making station while the chef wasn’t looking; Buckley showed off his expert avocado slicing skills, and Anders manned the shrimp on the grill. 

It was all hands on deck at each station, but it was McIver and Ruggiero-Wright who were the true MVPs of the night when it came time to decorate cupcakes for dessert. The two ladies crafted ultra-realistic brains on top of their cupcakes out of white frosting and red food dye that ended up being way too pretty to eat.

Want to host your own iZombie cooking party for the premiere? Mashable snagged all the recipes so you can make a meal worthy of Liv’s special diet … brains optional. 

Beef burger sliders

Servings: 12

– 2 pounds ground beef, 80/20 mix

– 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

– 3 tablespoons olive oil

– 1 teaspoon kosher salt

– 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

– 6 ounces cheese slices

– 12 slider buns

– 4 ounces shredded lettuce

– 3 medium tomatoes, sliced into 1/8 inch rounds

– 2 small red onions, sliced into 1/8 inch rounds

– Ketchup for serving

Preheat grill to medium heat.

Place the ground beef in a large bowl and add mustard, olive oil, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix gently with a fork to combine, taking care not to compress the ingredients. Shape the meat into 12 (2-inch) patties.

When the grill is medium-hot, brush the grill grate with oil to keep the sliders from sticking. Place the sliders on the grill and cook for 4 minutes. Turn the sliders over with a spatula and cook for another 4 to 6 minutes, until medium-rare — or cook longer if you prefer the sliders more well-done. For the last two minutes of cooking time, place a small slice of cheese on the top of each burger and close the grill lid. Place the sliders on a platter and cover with tin foil. 

Place the sliced buns on grill and toast them cut-side down for 30 seconds.

Divide the lettuce among the 12 bottom buns, top each with a slider and finish with a slice of tomato and red onion. Cover with the top of the bun and serve hot with ketchup. 



Image: Diyah Pera/The CW

Shrimp tacos with avocado salsa

Servings 8 (16 small tacos)

For the salsa:

– 1 small shallot

– 1 jalapeno chili pepper, quartered and seeded

– 2 cloves garlic, peeled

– 1 tomato, seeded and chopped

– 1 avocado, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks

– 1 tablespoon lime juice

– ¼ cup cilantro leaves, whole, coarsely chopped

– Salt, to taste

– ½ cup mayonnaise or sour cream

– 2 tablespoons lime juice

– ¼ teaspoon ground cumin

For the shrimp:

– 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

– 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder

– ½ teaspoon salt

– Pinch of cayenne pepper

– 1 ½ pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined


– 16 mini corn tortillas

– 2 cups finely shredded cabbage

– 2 limes, cut into wedges

Make the salsa: Place the shallot, jalapeno and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped. Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Add chopped tomatoes, avocado, salt, lime juice and cilantro. Stir to combine. Set aside for flavors to meld. 

In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the cumin and lime juice. Set aside to use for serving. 

Make the shrimp: Heat grill to medium. Mix the olive oil, chili powder, salt, cayenne pepper and shrimp in a large bowl. Stir until shrimp are evenly coated with seasoning. Skewer shrimp on metal or bamboo skewers that have been soaked in water and grill until shrimp in just opaque, about 1 ½-2 minutes per side. Remove from heat and cover with foil to keep warm. 

Grill the tortillas until warm and slightly charred, about 20 seconds per side. 

Spoon avocado salsa generously over warm tortillas, then top with 3 shrimp, shredded cabbage and finally drizzle with mayo-lime sauce. Serve tacos with lime wedges on the side. 

Spaghetti with cauliflower and marinara sauce

Servings: 8 (serves 8 as side dish, 4 as main course)

– 1 large cauliflower head, cut into small florets

– 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

– ½ cup olive oil

– Salt and pepper to taste

– 1 pound spaghetti or linguine

– 2 cups marinara sauce, heated

– ½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Bring a large stockpot with 4 quarts of water and 4 tablespoons of salt to boil.

In a large sauce pan fitted with a vegetable steamer, bring about two cups of water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and steam just until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Remove cauliflower and transfer to a colander and rinse in very cold water to stop the cooking. Shake off as much water as possible. Salt to taste and reserve. 

In a large frying pan, over medium heat, heat the olive oil until it shimmers. Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Do not let the garlic brown. Add the cauliflower florets along with the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Sauté for about 5 minutes until flavors blend. Remove from heat and reserve.

When water in stockpot comes to a full, rolling boil, add pasta and cook until al dente, about 9-11 minutes. Before draining the pasta, reserve about 1 cup of water and add it to the cauliflower. Drain pasta in a colander, do not rinse. Place drained pasta in a large heated metal bowl and add the cauliflower, marinara and grated cheese. Toss everything together. If mixture seems a bit too thick, add some reserved pasta water to thin and lighten up. Turn the pasta onto a heated platter and serve immediately. 

Friends don't let friends eat people.

Friends don’t let friends eat people.

Image: Katie Yu/The CW

Spicy tuna and veggie rolls

Servings: 12

– 3 cups short grain rice

– 4 ½ cups water

– 6 tablespoons rice vinegar

– 3 tablespoons sugar

– 24 pieces nori, toasted

– Wasabi powder

– Soy sauce

– Pickled ginger

– Black sesame seeds

For veggie rolls:

– 2 avocado

– 1 lime

– 1 cucumber, peeled, sliced and cut lengthwise into ¼” strips

– 1 carrot, peeled, sliced and cut lengthwise into ¼” strips

– ¾ cup sprouts

– 6 scallions, green parts only, sliced into long thin strips

For spicy tuna:

– ¾ pound sushi grade ahi tuna

– 6 tablespoons mayonnaise

– 3 tablespoons sriracha

To make tuna: Cut tuna steak into thin slices and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze for 20 minutes to make it easier to chop. Remove from freezer and dice tuna into very small pieces. Place in a medium bowl and mix with mayonnaise and sriracha. 

To make rice: In a large heavy sauce pan, bring water to a boil, add rice and give it a good stir. Reduce heat to low and let rice simmer, covered tightly for 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and rice is tender. 

Remove the pan from the heat, let rice stand, covered tightly for 10 minutes. Transfer rice to a flat baking sheet, spreading in an even layer. When rice is cool, sprinkle with vinegar and sugar, then cover with parchment paper or plastic wrap.

Peel and pit avocado. Cut into ¼” strips and sprinkle with lime juice.

Toast nori over an open flame, gently passing it over the heat a few minutes until pliable. 

Working with one sheet of nori at a time and with a long side facing you, spread about ¾ cup rice in an even layer on each sheet, leaving ½ inch boarder on the long sides. 

Arrange some of the vegetable strips (and tuna) horizontally across the middle of the rice.

Beginning with a long side, roll up the nori tightly. Cut each roll with a sharp knife about ¾” thick slices and serve rolls with soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi paste. 

Just because she can't taste it, doesn't mean she can't chop it.

Just because she can’t taste it, doesn’t mean she can’t chop it.

Image: Cate Cameron/The CW

Vegetable stir-fry with udon noodles

Serving: 8 (serves 8 as side dish, 4 as main course)

– ½ pound udon noodles

– ¼ cup soy sauce

– 3 tablespoons lime juice

– 3 tablespoons rice vinegar

– 1 tablespoon brown sugar

– 1 tablespoon corn starch (optional: will thicken the sauce)

– 1 tablespoon canola oil

– 1 clove garlic, minced

– 1 teaspoon ginger, minced

– 3 cups assorted chopped vegetables (red peppers, yellow peppers, onions, broccoli florets, snow peas, carrots or mushrooms)

– Sriracha to taste

– Chopped peanuts

– Chopped green onions

In a large pot of heavily salted water, boil the noodles until just cooked, about 6 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. 

Combine soy sauce, lime juice, vinegar, brown sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat oil in large skillet or work over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook 30 seconds while stirring.

Add veggies. Stir-fry until brightly colored but still slightly crisp. Add sauce to veggies in skillet and stir. Add noodles to skillet and toss together until everything is coated with the sauce and it cooks down just a bit, about 30 seconds. Add sriracha if desired and toss well again.

Serve garnished with chopped peanuts and red onions, if desired.

Brain appétit! 

iZombie season three premieres Tuesday, April 4 at 9 p.m. on The CW.

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