Dreamy, Creamy Pasta Salad

Vegan Dreamy, Creamy Pasta SaladThis is the perfect picnic pasta salad . . . okay, perfect for any time. Summer is around the corner and chances are, you’ve got some get togethers on the horizon (the Fourth of July will be here before you know it), so this is a flavor-packed, crowd-pleasing salad sure to be gone in minutes.

INGREDIENTS:

16-oz of pasta
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 C green onion, sliced
2 carrots, shredded

Sauce:
2 cloves of garlic
12.3-oz pkg. Mori-Nu Silken tofu, firm or extra firm
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbs yellow miso
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dill
2 Tbs vegan sour cream

DIRECTIONS:

Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Meanwhile, chop up the garlic cloves in the food processor, then add the remaining sauce ingredients. Blend until smooth, 1-2 minutes.
20140526_154005Add the veggies to a large bowl . . .
20140526_153127. . . add the pasta and then fold in the sauce. Combine thoroughly; serve immediately, or chill in the fridge. Enjoy!
20140526_154353

 

Lime n’ Bean Tacos with Field Roast & Bell Peppers

Tri Bean tacosIt doesn’t get much easier than this! These tacos take so little time to prepare, but are packed with flavor. Feel free to use flour tortillas, if you prefer and load up on the toppings. I went with non dairy sour cream, veg cheese and tomatoes. Avocados would have been great, but until they’re less than $1.59 a piece, I’ll hold off. With or without the guac, these make a delicious meal in minutes.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin, then halved
1 Field Roast sausage link, Chipotle flavor, broken into chunks
1 15-oz can tri-bean blend (pinto, kidney, black), drained and rinsed
2 Tbs lime juice
1/2 C cilantro, chopped
Optional toppings: tomato, avocado, sour cream, cheese, salsa
Taco shells, warmed

DIRECTIONS:

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium heat. Add the onions and bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes, or until they soften.
20140522_180254Add the Field Roast and cook another 5 minutes, or until it is heated through. Stir in the beans and cook until they are heated through. Stir in the lime and cilantro.
20140522_181421Scoop into the taco shells, add your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Grilled Veggie Sandwiches with Hummus & Avocado

GrilledSandwichesAll 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 . . .
20140414_175759 Now, 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 . . .

noAvocadoIn spite of these culinary catastrophes, I assure you, the “grilling” process worked beautifully, and the avocado would be a grand addition to these sandwiches.

INGREDIENTS:

Marinade

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

DIRECTIONS:

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.
20140414_181655I 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.
20140414_182013Once 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!

 

Mexican Pasta Casserole

Mexican Pasta Casserole -- Epicurean VeganI’ve made a similar casserole, but I didn’t have all of the ingredients. I changed things up given what I had to work with. I love how easy and delicious these kinds of casseroles are—they make for the perfect winter meal.

INGREDIENTS:

Sauce:

1  14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (or a can of Rotel with green chilies), undrained
1/2 C Tofutti sour cream + any extra for serving on top
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1 packet of seasoning mix (taco, burrito or fajita)
1/2 C shredded  Daiya pepper jack cheese
1/4 C almond milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

The rest:

2 C uncooked pasta (any variety—I had a mixture of ziti and elbow mac)
1 Tbs olive oil (I used chipotle-flavored)
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1/2 of a bell pepper (any variety—I used orange), chopped
1/2 C onion, chopped
1-1/2 to 2 C mushrooms, chopped or sliced
1  15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
4-5 green onions, sliced
1 C cilantro leaves
Optional ingredients: black olives, diced avocados or guacamole

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375. While cooking the pasta, heat the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet. Over medium heat, saute the bell pepper and onions until they begin to soften, then add the black beans.

DSC07161

 

Cook for another 3-4 minutes, then add the mushrooms.

IMG_1099

Cook until the mushroom cook down a little—just a couple of minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients and mix well. Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet, along with the sauce; blend well. Transfer to a 13×9″ baking dish.

Mexican Pasta Casserole -- Epicurean Vegan

Cover and bake for 20-25 minutes. Top servings with some green onions and cilantro and any other optional ingredients. Enjoy!

Mushroom and Barley-Stuffed Peppers

Mushroom and Barley-Stuffed Peppers -- Epicurean VeganI know, stuffed peppers again?! But they’re so easy to change up and try new ingredients combinations. Like most stuffed peppers, these are easy to make, but allow some extra time, especially using barley as it takes 45 minutes to cook.

INGREDIENTS:

3 bell peppers, cut in half and seeds and stems removed
1 C pearl barley
2-1/2 C veggie broth (I like to use Better than Bouillon vegetable base)
1 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 a large onion, diced
1-1/2 C mushrooms, diced
1/4 C pepitas (shelled and toasted pumpkin seeds)
2 Tbs fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 to 1 tsp shallot salt
Black pepper, to taste
2 Tbs white wine
3 Tbs of Earth Balance, divided
Parmezano sprinkles, optional

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium sauce pan, bring the broth to a boil. Add the barley, reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the onions and cook until tender and slightly browned. Add the pepitas, rosemary, shallot salt, and pepper. Cook another 5 minutes over medium to low heat.

Mushroom and Barley-Stuffed Peppers -- Epicurean VeganOnce the barley is cooked, add it to the skillet, along with the mushrooms, and stir well to combine. Add the white wine and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.

Mushroom and Barley-Stuffed Peppers -- Epicurean VeganStuff the peppers with the filling and press down, adding as much as possible to each one. Place them into a large baking dish. Add a cup of water to the dish, cover with foil, and bake for about 30 minutes. Once baked, top each pepper with a half a tablespoon of Earth Balance, replace the foil, and let sit for 5 minutes. Top with the Parmezano Sprinkles, and enjoy!

Mushroom and Barley-Stuffed Peppers -- Epicurean Vegan

Cashew Stir-fry with Noodles

Cashew Stir-fry with Noodles -- Epicurean Vegan

Sorry for the absence…I haven’t been making new dishes over the last couple of weeks, but instead, have been relying on some old favorites like enchiladas, creamy cashew pasta, and tofu sandwiches. We are leaving Wednesday for Santa Fe and Taos, so it was a good time to use up the veggies in the fridge. I’m excited to bring you lots of wonderful vegan food and news from New Mexico. It’s been ten years since we’ve there and we’re  looking forward to going back. Of course, any road trip is not complete in my household without an accident/injury a day or two before leaving. (Last year, the Eighth Grader got his two front teeth knocked out during a trampoline incident. We were supposed to drive to Southern CO for a wedding. It didn’t happen. Spring Break this year was altered after the kid’s appendectomy). It was my turn, I guess. I got a little too excited trying out my new mandolin slicer Sunday night…

I should have seen it coming. I’ve heard the horror stories associated with the mandolin, but I bought one the other day anyway. First time I use it, I slice a pretty large chunk off my right pinkie finger. I’m lucky though, it could have been worse. I was millimeters short of taking off bone and nail! Yikes. Good thing I married an Eagle Scout. He kept me calm and got it wrapped up. I ended up going to urgent care yesterday morning and they cleaned it up good, wrapped it, and I have to go back today to have it looked at. The doc said it will take several months to heal. :-(  The mandolin is in timeout.

Had I not been an idiot and lost part of an appendage, I probably would have used it to make this stir-fry, but I decided to stick with a good old-fashioned knife. It was slow-going, but I had some help. I picked up some East-West Stir-fry Sauce and these awesome ramen noodles from Hakubaku. Both were outstanding. The sauce had a mild flavor with just a tiny bit of zip. I used about 1/2 the jar, but feel free to use as much or as little as you’d like.

Cashew Stir-fry with Noodles -- Epicurean Vegan

 

INGREDIENTS:

2 medium zucchinis, cut into sticks
6 mushrooms, quartered
6 celery stalks, sliced
1 bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 can bamboo shoots, drained
6 green onions, sliced thin
1-2 handfuls of cashews
3 Tbs freshly grated gingerroot
1 jar East-West Stir-fry Sauce
9.5 oz Hakubaku noodles
Olive oil

DIRECTIONS

Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the zucchini, celery, and bell pepper. Cook until they begin to get tender, about 7-9 minutes.

Cashew Stir-fry with Noodles -- Epicurean Vegan

Add the bamboo shoots and ginger. Cook another 5 -7 minutes.

Cashew Stir-fry with Noodles -- Epicurean Vegan

The noodles will take four minutes to cook in boiling water, so when you toss them in to cook, add the mushrooms, green onion, and cashews to the skillet. Cook 2 minutes…then add the sauce. Stir well to combine and saute to heat the sauce.

Cashew Stir-fry with Noodles -- Epicurean Vegan

Drain the noodles and serve them topped with some stir-fry. Enjoy!

 

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls -- Epicurean Vegan

The (soon-to-be) Eighth Grader picked these out from Lightlife. The original recipe is for 12 rolls, but one large head of cabbage had about 8 good leaves to use, so we had some leftover filling. If you plan on making 12, you’ll probably want to pick up 2 heads of cabbage. These we actually pretty easy to make and were really flavorful and delicious, not to mention healthy. One roll is only 275 calories! You can also customize these rolls to suit your tastes—mix it up by adding your favorite ingredients. Next time, I’ll try mushrooms and zucchini. Keep in mind, the recipe calls for cooked rice, so you’ll want to get that going first. Also, you’ll need to steam the leaves ahead of time as well.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pkg Gimme Lean “beef”
2 Tbs olive oil
8-12 cabbage leaves
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 C cooked rice
15 oz can tomato sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbs brown sugar
3 Tbs cider vinegar
2-4 Tbs water

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls -- Epicurean Vegan

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the cabbage leaves, remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, onions, and peppers and cook until tender.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls -- Epicurean Vegan

Add the Gimme Lean. You could chop it up before adding it, or just dice it up with a spatula in the pan. You’ll want small clumps, or pieces. Add the Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper and continue cooking until the “beef” begins to brown.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls -- Epicurean Vegan

Add the rice…

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls -- Epicurean Vegan

In a small bowl, whisk together the tomato sauce, brown sugar, and cider vinegar. Reserve a 1/4 cup; set aside. Add the remaining sauce to the pan and combine it well with the veggie mixture. After you’ve drained the cabbage leaves, pat them dry. Lay a leaf out flat and add about a 1/3 cup of the mixture in the center.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls -- Epicurean Vegan

Fold in the sides, then roll up. You can also secure it with a toothpick if needed, but I found that these rolled up fine and stayed put.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls -- Epicurean Vegan

Place the rolls in a 9×13 baking pan. Pour about 2-4 Tbs of water int he bottom of the pan to keep the leaves moist.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls -- Epicurean Vegan

Mix 2 Tbs of water with the reserved 1/4 cup of sauce and pour it over the rolls.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls -- Epicurean Vegan

Cover and bake for 35-40 minutes. Enjoy!

Quinoa-Mandarin Stuffed Peppers

Quinoa-Mandarin Stuffed Peppers -- Epicurean VeganThe Seventh-Grader was nice enough to share his cold with me. I can’t remember the last time I was out of commission with a cold, and I don’t plan to let this one win. So far, I’ve kept it somewhat at bay with lots of juiced veggies and kale. Never under estimate the healing powers of vegetables. That may be why I was drawn to making these. Bell peppers, particularly orange and yellow ones, are packed with vitamins C, A, and B6. (Although the heating process will deplete them a bit). But I’m certain they still retain many of their healthy benefits. These also have mushrooms which are a great source of B vitamins, selenium, vitamin D, and potassium. Now on to the zucchini…these guys have tons of vitamin C and A which are actually anti-inflammatory agents. Zucchinis are also high in fiber—an added bonus! And let’s not forget that quinoa is an ideal source of protein, too! Let the healing begin!

Oh, and remember Operation Save Basil from October?

I’m happy to report that it has bounced back beautifully. It looks like there’s room to add another basil plant, but for now, I’m thrilled the basil’s back, baby!

INGREDIENTS:

3 large bell peppers (preferably orange, red, or yellow) sliced in half and innards cleaned out
1 C quinoa
1-15oz can mandarin oranges (look for no sugar added), juice reserved
1 C water
1 tsp tamari
1 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 C slivered almonds
1 C mushrooms, sliced
1 small zucchini, sliced then quartered
1/2 C fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Sauce:

1 C almond milk
2 Tbs arrowroot
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
2 Tbs yellow miso
dash of nutmeg
dash of garlic salt

DIRECTIONS:

Begin with the quinoa: Combine the quinoa, reserved Mandarin orange juice, water, and tamari in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Let simmer for 12-15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375. While the quinoa is cooking, heat the olive oil and garlic in a skillet. Add the slivered almonds and cook them for 5-7 minutes, stirring often.

Add the zucchini, mushrooms, salt, and pepper; cook another 6-8 minutes on medium heat.

Quinoa-Mandarin Stuffed Peppers -- Epicurean Vegan

Once the veggies are tender, remove from the heat and stir in the oranges and basil.

Quinoa-Mandarin Stuffed Peppers -- Epicurean Vegan

Stir in the cooked quinoa and evenly fill the pepper halves.

Quinoa-Mandarin Stuffed Peppers -- Epicurean Vegan

Sometimes I pour about 2 cups of water in the bottom of the pan before covering with foil. This will help soften the peppers without overcooking the filling. I think this is especially important when using cheese or fake meats in the filling. Bake 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. In a small saucepan, whisk together the sauce ingredients over high heat, stirring constantly. After a few minutes, reduce heat to medium-low and let it simmer. Stir frequently so it doesn’t burn. Don’t worry about getting the sauce thickened; it’s meant to seep and ooze into the filling. :-)

Quinoa-Mandarin Stuffed Peppers -- Epicurean Vegan

Ladle the sauce over the peppers and enjoy!

Kale & Cabbage Salad with Lemony-Almond Butter Dressing

Kale and Cabbage Salad with Lemony-Almond Butter Dressing -- Epicurean VeganOkay, this is probably my favorite dressing I’ve made so far. Love it! It has just a hint of lemon and with the ginger, goes fabulous with the almond butter. There’s some prep work involved here, but if can, make this the night before and you won’t be able to wait for lunch!

INGREDIENTS:

Salad:

2 large bunches of kale, stems removed and chopped
1/4 of a red/purple cabbage, diced
1 bell pepper (red, orange or yellow), diced
1 C carrot, shredded or finely chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 small red onion, diced small
1/3 C sunflower seeds

Dressing:

1/4 C tahini
1/3 C + 1 Tbs almond butter
1″ piece of ginger, chopped2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs miso (light, yellow or red)
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1/8 C water

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients.

Kale and Cabbage Salad with Lemony-Almond Butter Dressing -- Epicurean Vegan

Combine all of the dressing ingredients in the blender—except the water—just start with a little and add more as you blend it to reach the consistency you want. You may need more than the 1/8 cup. It also depends on how lemony you want it—you can thin it out with more lemon juice if you’d like. Blend until smooth.

Kale and Cabbage Salad with Lemony-Almond Butter Dressing -- Epicurean Vegan

You can pour the dressing over the salad, just a little at time to coat the salad, or serve on the side and mix into individual servings. Yields about 1-1/2 cups. Enjoy!

Layered (Deep Dish) Pizza

Layered (Deep Dish) Pizza -- Epicurean VeganThis brings deep dish pizza to a whole new level; five levels to be exact. Since the Mexican Lasagna turned out so great, I thought I’d make a pizza version. It was delicious! This may be my new favorite way to eat pizza.

INGREDIENTS:

5, 8″ flour tortillas
1 Tbs olive oil
3 Field Roast sausages, Italian Seasoning flavor, crumbled
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 -1/2 C mushrooms, sliced
4-5 C fresh spinach, chopped
1 C fresh basil, chopped
1, 15-oz can Glen Muir pizza sauce
1-1/2 C Daiya cheese, mozzarella flavor

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. In a large skillet heat the olive oil and add the bell pepper; cook until slightly tender. Add the crumbled Field Roast and heat through.

Layered (Deep Dish) Pizza -- Epicurean Vegan

Add the mushrooms, spinach, and basil. Cook just until the spinach wilts a bit. Bake the tortilla shells about 2-3 minutes per side. Spray the bottom of a 9″ cake pan with cooking spray, then pour a small amount on the bottom. Lay one tortilla on the bottom, add some sauce, veggie mixture, then sprinkle some cheese on it.

Layered (Deep Dish) Pizza -- Epicurean Vegan

Repeat, top with last tortilla, rest of sauce and cheese.

Layered (Deep Dish) Pizza -- Epicurean Vegan

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Enjoy!