Hummus & Tomato Tart

Hummus and Tomato Tart -- Epicurean VeganThis is great for a last minute appetizer and is extremely versatile. Change up the veggies, spices, and herbs and you have another great appetizer. I used Pillsbury crescent rolls (yes, they’re vegan) and I actually like them as a crust a bit more than puff pastry (which is also vegan). The crescent rolls have a fluffy layer effect that’s light and tasty. I cut the tart into 9 squares, but feel free to slice and dice the way you’d like.

1 pkg. Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (8 to a package)
1/3 to 1/2 C prepared hummus
2 tomatoes, sliced thin (about 9 slices)
1/3 C chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9×13 baking sheet. Unroll the crescent rolls on the baking sheet and press the perforated edges to seal them. Using your fingers, firmly press the dough in several directions in order to get it to fit the baking sheet.

Hummus & Tomato Tart -- Epicurean VeganBake for 9 minutes, or until golden brown.
Hummus & Tomato Tart -- Epicurean VeganLet it cool completely, then spread on the hummus, add the tomatoes and sprinkle on the basil. Cut into squares and enjoy!


Grilled Veggie Sandwiches with Hummus & Avocado

Grilled Veggie Sandwiches with Hummus and Avocado -- Epicurean VeganAll right. I have two confessions. First, these aren’t technically grilled, nor do they have avocado on them. *GASP* I know, I’m sorry. But let me explain. So, it’s very early spring here in Colorado and the outdoor grill, much like my legs, are still winterized. But, I do have the spray tan of grills . . .
 Grilled Veggie Sandwiches with Hummus and Avocado -- Epicurean VeganNow, about that avocado. I’ve had 4 avocados sitting in a paper bag on my counter for about 5 days and they are still rock solid. I made the mistake of trying to cut into one and it was like stabbing a butternut squash. And if that wasn’t enough, I tried a second avocado and ended up with the same results. In fact, I couldn’t even get the halves apart! I was all ready to place the beautiful slices of avocado next to the fresh basil . . .

Grilled Veggie Sandwiches with Hummus and Avocado -- Epicurean VeganIn spite of these culinary catastrophes, I assure you, the “grilling” process worked beautifully, and the avocado would be a grand addition to these sandwiches.

1/2 C balsamic vinegar
1/2 C red wine
1/4 C olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
The rest
2 small zucchini, sliced length-wise
1 red bell pepper, cut into wide strips
1 eggplant, sliced length-wise, then again length-wise
1/2 large onion, cut into wide strips
1 avocado (preferably real and not imaginary), sliced
1 C fresh basil leaves
1/2 C hummus, homemade (easy) or store bought (even easier)
6 French rolls, or other sandwich bread

Combine the marinade ingredients in a large zip bag. Add the veggies and let them marinate in the frige for about an hour. Turn the bag over halfway through. Spray the grill pan with a small amount of cooking spray and heat pan over medium heat. Using tongs, place the veggies in the pan. I recommend putting as many slices of bell pepper on as you can because they’ll take the longest to cook. I also suggest flattening them out a little so that you can turn them over to cook both sides. The zucchini and eggplant will take about 3-4 minutes per side.

Grilled Veggie Sandwiches with Hummus and Avocado -- Epicurean VeganI continued cooking all of the zucchini and eggplant, transferring the cooked slices to a large sheet of foil and sealing it up while everything else cooked. Everything stayed nice and hot. I then added the onions while the peppers continued to cook.
Grilled Veggie Sandwiches with Hummus and Avocado -- Epicurean VeganOnce the vegetables are cooked, start assembling your sandwiches! (You can toast the bread first, if you’d like). Spread on some hummus, add the veggies, basil and of course, a few beautiful slices of avocado. Enjoy!


Pine Nut & Cashew Ravioli with Fresh Mushrooms, Tomatoes & Basil

Pine Nut and Cashew Ravioli with Fresh Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Basil -- Epicurean VeganI’m finally back with a new recipe! As much as I love them, I don’t use pine nuts often because they’re rather pricey, but I picked some up on sale. They add such a decadent flavor to dishes and this is no exception. Combined with cashews, they make an ideal stuffing for ravioli. The fresh veggies on top complete the meal.

1-1/2 C semolina flour
1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 C warm unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 C pine nuts
1 C roasted, unsalted cashews
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 C fresh spinach
2 Tbs Earth Balance
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 C cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 C fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbs red wine
Salt and pepper

You can soak the nuts for several hours to overnight, or to speed things up, in a medium bowl, pour boiling water over the nuts and let sit for 2 hours. Sometimes, I only soak them for an hour or so; I don’t mind if the filling isn’t perfectly smooth, so it’s up to you. To prepare the dough, whisk together the two flours and the salt. Whisk in the warm almond milk and oil. Sometimes it’s easier to use your hands to combine everything; use what works. Transfer the dough to a very lightly floured surface and knead for 5-7 minutes until the dough is smooth. Cover in plastic wrap and set aside. To make the filling, drain the nuts and add them to a food processor. Process them for about 30 seconds to get them a bit pureed. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree 1-2 minutes until smooth. Set aside.

Pine Nut and Cashew Ravioli with Fresh Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Basil -- Epicurean VeganAs you probably recall, I like to use my pasta maker and a ravioli plate to make raviolis, and I have to say, the process gets easier and quicker each time. I recommend at least getting a ravioli plate—you can find one for under $20 on Amazon.
Pine Nut and Cashew Ravioli with Fresh Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Basil -- Epicurean VeganI ended up with 44 raviolis . . .
Pine Nut and Cashew Ravioli with Fresh Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Basil -- Epicurean VeganI then let them sit for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, I prepared the topping. In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes and basil; season with salt and pepper. In a medium skillet, heat the Earth Balance and add the garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes, then add the mushrooms. Cook for two minutes, then add the wine and cook another 2-3 minutes, or until the mushrooms soften. Remove from heat and stir in the tomatoes and basil.
Pine Nut and Cashew Ravioli with Fresh Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Basil -- Epicurean VeganBring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the ravioli (about a dozen at a time) for 3-5 minutes. They will float to the top and puff up a little when they’re ready. I usually serve them as they finish cooking so they stay hot. If you want to cook them all first, I suggest transferring them to a large, oiled baking sheet. Otherwise, they’ll stick together. Serve with a scoop or two of the fresh topping and enjoy!
Pine Nut and Cashew Ravioli with Fresh Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Basil -- Epicurean Vegan

Meatless Mushroom Ragu

Meatless Mushroom Ragu -- Epicurean VeganHello! I didn’t forget about all of you; I’ve had a very busy month of traveling. I spent a couple of weeks traveling around Northern California on a little book tour—you can read about it HERE if you’d like. I now get to spend 8 days in New York City this month with my dear friends Kerrie and Nicole! I’ve thrilled to be going on this trip, especially since I’ve never been to the Big Apple. I’m hoping I get a chance to check out some of Alicia Silverstone’s favorite NYC vegan eateries while I’m there. Any recommendations of your own?

In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying not living out of a suitcase for a few days and I finally got back in the kitchen. I recently picked up The Vegan Slow Cooker Cookbook and decided try the meatless ragu. I made a few changes to the recipe, however. You may not think to haul out the slow cooker during the summer, (let alone for vegan food), but it beats using the oven to heat up the house and we’re not regular grill users, so the crock pot is a great idea. The only trouble is that the smell of everything cooking might make you hungry all day. Most of the recipes in the cookbook include instructions for what to prepare the night before and what to prepare the next day—a real time-saver. There wasn’t much to do the night before, so I threw it all together in about 15 minutes around noon.

1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 C onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Field Roast sausages, Italian Seasonings flavor, crumbled
1 28-oz can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, undrained
2 C mushrooms, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs port wine
Chopped fresh basil
Optional ingredients: diced zucchini and/or bell pepper
1 lb Rigatoni pasta

In a large skillet, cook the onion in the olive oil, until the onions are tender, a bout 3-4 minutes.

Meatless Mushroom Ragu -- Epicurean VeganTransfer the onions to the slow cooker. Next, add the Field Roast to the skillet and over medium heat, saute until browned, 3-4 minutes as well.

Meatless Mushroom Ragu -- Epicurean VeganTransfer the Field Roast, tomatoes, mushrooms, salt and pepper, vinegar, and wine in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Meatless Mushroom Ragu -- Epicurean VeganServe over cooked pasta and top with fresh basil. Enjoy!

Meatless Mushroom Ragu -- Epicurean Vegan


Artichoke and Lemon Linguine

Artichoke and Lemon Linguine -- Epicurean Vegan

While at the farmer’s market last weekend, I picked up some Artichoke Lemon pasta. You can order it at Pappardelle’s Pasta.

Artichoke and Lemon Linguine -- Epicurean Vegan

I threw together a dish with a light, creamy roux and some vegetables and it came out delicious—and fast too. Dinner was ready in less than 30 minutes. Keep in mind, you’ll have three different pots/pans going at the same time, but don’t be alarmed, it’s easy to make, especially if you have all of your ingredients chopped, sliced, and ready to go before hand.

8-oz Artichoke Lemon linguine
1-1/2 C fresh basil, chopped
4-5 large mushrooms, sliced
14-oz can artichoke hearts, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbs olive oil (preferably buttered-flavored)
2 Tbs Earth Balance
2 Tbs flour
1/2 C almond milk
Dash of salt, pepper, and nutmeg
1 Tbs lemon juice

In a small skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the artichokes and cook for 8 minutes, stirring often. Meanwhile, cook the pasta for 5-7 minutes. I have found that this pasta tends to cook faster than commercial brands, so keep an eye on it. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook another 5 minutes.

Artichoke and Lemon Linguine -- Epicurean Vegan

While this is happening, get your roux going. Melt the Earth Balance in a small saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute. Slowly pour in the almond milk and whisk it until smooth. It will thicken up pretty quickly.

Artichoke and Lemon Linguine -- Epicurean Vegan

Add the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and blend well. For the veggie mixture, once the mushrooms are tender, reduce the heat to low and stir in the basil.

Artichoke and Lemon Linguine -- Epicurean Vegan

Combine the sauce and the veggies with the pasta and blend everything together.

Artichoke and Lemon Linguine -- Epicurean Vegan


Spinach Soup with Basil and Dill

Spinach Soup with Basil and Dill -- Epicurean VeganThis is a delicious and very flavorful soup from Color Me Vegan. I’m not typically a big fan of dill, but it tastes great combined with the basil and spinach. It’s also very simple to make. Even during the summer, I think this soup would be ideal to make because of the abundance of fresh herbs.

3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 medium onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 C vegetable stock (I used 4 and added 2 cup of water)
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 lbs fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 C fresh dill
8 fresh basil leaves, minced
1/2 C nondairy milk
1-3 Tbs agave
Juice from one lemon|
Tofutti sour cream, optional

In a large soup pot, combine the onions, potatoes, garlic, broth, and salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Spinach Soup with Basil and Dill -- Epicurean Vegan

In a food processor or blender, puree the soup with the spinach, dill, and basil. I had to do this in two batches. Blend until smooth. Return it to the soup pot and add the milk, agave, and 1/2 the lemon (add more if needed).

Spinach Soup with Basil and Dill -- Epicurean Vegan

Warm the soup up, but don’t bring it to a boil. Season with salt and pepper and serve with a dollop of sour cream on top! Enjoy!



Fruit Salad with Herbs and Coconut

Fruit Salad with Herbs and Coconut -- Epicurean VeganI usually don’t get excited over fruit salads, but this one has some of my favorite fruits and tossed with a tangy dressing that says anything but boring!

1/8 C lemon juice
1/8 C espresso-flavored balsamic vinegar
1/8 C sunflower oil
A few dashes of nutmeg
3 Tbs fresh basil, chopped
3 Tbs fresh mint, chopped

The rest:
2 C jicama, bite-sized cubed
16-oz container of strawberries, diced
1-1/2 C blueberries
4 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 mangoes, peeled and diced
1 C walnuts, chopped and toasted
1 C coconut


Combine the dressing ingredients and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the fruit. Pour the dressing over the fruit and stir well to combine. Stir in the coconut and walnuts. It’s that easy! Enjoy!

Fruit Salad with Herbs and Coconut -- Epicurean Vegan

Warm Pasta Salad

Warm Pasta Salad -- Epicurean VeganI tend to make cold pasta salads in the spring and summer and I think I’ve been craving them, but I went with making it warm—just seemed like the thing to do. It came out delicious and I’m anxious to try the chilled leftovers!

1 lb bow-tie pasta
2 C fresh spinach, chopped
1 C parsley, chopped
1/2 C fresh basil, chopped
3 green onions, sliced
1 bell pepper (any variety), diced
2 tomatoes, chopped
Optional: vegan Parmesan

3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp truffle oil
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1/3 C Tofutti sour cream
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to package instructions; drain. Return to the pan and add the spinach, basil, parsley, green onion, bell pepper, and tomatoes.

Warm Pasta Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients; add to the pasta mixture and coat well and enjoy!

Warm Pasta Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

Mushroom and Spinach Pizza with Truffle Oil

Mushroom and Spinach Pizza with Truffle Oil -- Epicurean VeganI’ve found my new favorite pizza—and this is it. Truffle oil is ideal for pizzas and this one will leave you wishing you made more!

Any basic pizza dough recipe. I used a pre-packaged mix.
2 C mushrooms, sliced
1-1/2 C fresh spinach, torn or chopped
1 C fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped
3/4 C Daiya mozzarella cheese
Truffle oil, to taste (I recommend about a tablespoon)
Earth Balance margarine

Preheat oven to 425. Combine the mushrooms, spinach, basil, and truffle oil in a medium bowl; set aside. Using about a teaspoon of Earth Balance, I greased a round pizza pan. Press dough onto the pan. Stick several times with a fork.

Mushroom and Spinach Pizza with Truffle Oil -- Epicurean VeganBake the crust for 5 minutes, or until it begins to brown. Sprinkle a thin layer of cheese on top of the crust. Next, add all of the spinach/mushrooms mixture. Top with remaining cheese.

Mushroom and Spinach Pizza with Truffle Oil -- Epicurean VeganBake for 10 minutes, or until the edge of the crust browns. Slice and enjoy!

Mushroom and Spinach Pizza with Truffle Oil -- Epicurean Vegan

Portobellos with Tomatoes and Truffle Cheeze Sauce

Portobellos with Tomatoes and Truffle Cheeze Sauce -- Epicurean VeganWe got some beautiful portobellos and tomatoes from Green Buffalo Food Co. and this came together so fast. The truffle cheeze sauce is amazing! I could have eaten it with a spoon—it is rich, creamy and perfect for veggies, pasta, or by the spoonful!

1/2 Tbs olive oil
2 Portobello mushrooms, stem and gills removed
2-4 large basil leaves (I used spinach, but I think I’d prefer basil for more flavor)
4 tomato slices

1/3 C almond milk
1/2 C Daiya mozzarella
1/8 tsp (or less) white truffle oil

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Place portobellos, face down, in the pan and lightly saute for about 2 minutes. Turn over and saute the other side. Add the basil leaves and 2 tomato slices per mushroom. Reduce heat to low and cover.

Portobellos with Tomatoes and Truffle Cheeze Sauce -- Epicurean VeganTo prepare the sauce, bring the almond milk just to a boil, reduce heat to medium and whisk in the cheeze and truffle oil. Whisk until smooth—it’ll only take a couple of minutes.

Portobellos with Tomatoes and Truffle Cheeze Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan

Serve the portobellos with sauce drizzled on top and enjoy!