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

Pine Nut & Cashew Ravioli with fresh mushrooms, tomatoes & basilI’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.
20140411_173050As 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.
20140411_175640I ended up with 44 raviolis . . .
20140411_183459I 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.
20140411_185555Bring 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!

Quinoa and Rice Stir-fry with Cashews & White Beans

Quinoa and Rice Stir-fry with Cashews & White Beans -- Epicurean VeganWhen I want to create a quick and filling dinner, I usually reach for quinoa or rice. Mixed with veggies and nuts, it always makes a great meal and very handy leftovers. I threw in some white beans, too and ended up with a flavorful, protein-filled dish that is nearly gluten-free. The rice mix I used contained wheat, but you can sub in another variety to make it gluten-free.



1 C quinoa
1 box Long Grain Wild Mix
4 C vegetable stock, divided
2 C mushrooms, chopped
6 green onion, sliced
1 C cashews
1 15-oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C white wine
1 C fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste


Start by getting the rice and quinoa going. In a medium saucepan, bring 1-3/4 C of the stock to a boil. Add the rice mix and seasoning packet, reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 25 minutes.

Quinoa and Rice Stir-fry with Cashews & White Beans -- Epicurean VeganStart the quinoa about 15 minutes before the rice mix is done. In another medium saucepan, bring the remaining 2-1/4 C stock to a boil and stir in the quinoa. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes. In a large skillet, toast the cashews over medium heat until they begin to brown; transfer to a boil and set aside. In the same skillet,  heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the mushrooms, green onion, and white beans, and saute 5-7 minutes.

Quinoa and Rice Stir-fry with Cashews & White Beans -- Epicurean VeganStir in the rice, quinoa, and white wine; saute 3 minutes.

Quinoa and Rice Stir-fry with Cashews & White Beans -- Epicurean VeganStir in the parsley and cashews and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Vegan & Soy-Free Ricotta Cheese

Vegan and Soy-Free Ricotta Cheese -- Epicurean VeganI am so excited to share this recipe with all of you! Having to give up soy is a little less traumatic now that I’ve come up with a delicious soy-free ricotta cheese. After I made the switch from no wheat and no soy, The Seventh Grader wanted stuffed shells. Of course. And . . . like the power of suggestion, I wanted stuffed shells in the worst way. So I couldn’t use my go-to riotta cheese, nor use regular jumbo shells. Thankfully, I found these “Grand Shells” from Tinkyada.

The ingredients are simple: brown rice, rice bran, and water. They’re a little smaller than the typical flour-based jumbo shells . . .

. . . but it’s not a big deal. They also don’t fold over like regular shells do either. Again, no biggie. Also, cooking these are a bit different. Bring water to a boil, add the shells and cook 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover, and let the shells sit for 20 minutes. The shells definitely aren’t mushy like some brown rice pasta can be. In fact, they’re pretty al dente—almost too much. If you want them a little softer, I’d leave them for 25-30 minutes. Overall, very impressive! I thought they were delicious.

So onto the ricotta. This recipe makes quite a bit—great for a big pan of lasagna. Feel free to half it for a small portion, otherwise, it makes almost 4 cups.


1 C blanched almonds
1 C cashews
1 C cold water
1/8 C olive oil
3-4 Tbs lemon juice
1/3 C nutritional yeast
1 C fresh basil
1 Tbs fresh rosemary
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 C Daiya cheese,  Mozzarella flavored


I threw the cashews in a bowl of water while I blanched the almonds. Soaking the nuts are not necessary, unless you have the time and want a really smooth ricotta. Add them to the food processor.

Vegan and Soy-Free Ricotta Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

Add the water, oil, and lemon juice. Puree until smooth. This may take a few minutes to get it real smooth, especially if you opt not to soak the nuts overnight, which I did not. It just depends on your preference. I happen to like the nutty texture.

Vegan and Soy-Free Ricotta Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

Next, add the basil, rosemary, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt, pepper. Blend until well combined. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese.

Vegan and Soy-Free Ricotta Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

I had some jumbo shells as well as tofu-ricotta in the freezer, so for the guys, I made them regular stuffed shells. Since I don’t have celiac disease and not concerned with cross-contamination, I combined both in the pan.

Vegan and Soy-Free Ricotta Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

Layer on some sauce and Daiya cheese and you’re good to go. Bake covered for 25 minutes at 375.

Vegan and Soy-Free Ricotta Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan


Three-Nut Cheese

Three-Nut Cheese -- Epicurean VeganI have been both fascinated and mystified by nut cheese. It wasn’t until I went vegan two years ago that I even learned you could make cheese from nuts. No, it doesn’t necessarily taste much like milk cheese, but it’s still delicious and of course, much healthier for you than the moo-ey version. This recipe is also from Big Vegan, and is actually for quesadillas topped with a mango salsa. I plan on giving that a try, but I think this cheese tastes phenomenal on crackers and apples. I melted some on a tortilla and the flavor really comes out. This recipe is a process, so allow a couple of days for it to magically turn into cheese.


1/3 C macadamia nuts
1/3 C raw cashews
1/3 C almonds, slivered or flaked
1 acidophilus capsule
1 Tbs cold-press corn oil (I didn’t have any, so I used olive oil)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt


Place the nuts in a bowl and cover with cold water; refrigerate overnight. The next day, drain the nuts and puree them in a food processor with 1/2 C water. Add the contents of the acidophilus capsule and puree.

Three-Nut Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

Transfer to a glass bowl and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Leave it at room temperature for 24 hours.

Three-Nut Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

It will then give off a very cottage-cheesy smell. Stir in the lemon juice, oil, and salt. Refrigerate. Enjoy!

Vegan Brie

Vegan Brie -- Epicurean VeganThis recipe is from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. I was intrigued. I’ve tried lots of other recipes from this cookbook and many have been outstanding, but there have been a few that just didn’t do it for me. I was nervous about this one. Surprisingly, however, it’s pretty delicious. I wouldn’t say it’s like brie; both with consistency and taste, but it does taste very good. The recipe doesn’t mention this, but I highly recommending briefly warming this cheeze in the oven or microwave. It only takes about 10 seconds in the microwave. It seems to taste better when it’s a bit melty. I also think this would be really tasty with some warm fruit compote over the top, such as warmed raspberries and blueberries. The possibilities are pretty endless!

1-2 Tbs wheat germ, or 1/3 C toasted sliced almonds
1-1/2 C water
3 Tbs agar flakes, or 1 Tbs agar powder
1/2 C chopped raw cashews
1/2 C silken tofu
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1/4 C lemon juice
2 Tbs tahini
1-1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp ground dill seed or ground coriander (I used the coriander)

Lightly oil a 2-1/2 cup round mold. I used a Pyrex bowl, but you can also use a pie plate or cake pan. Dust the bottom of the bowl with either the wheat germ or toasted almond slices. I used the wheat germ; set aside. Combine the water and agar flakes in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring often until dissolved. Transfer to a blender and add the rest of the ingredients; blend until very smooth. Pour it into the prepared mold.

Vegan Brie -- Epicurean Vegan

Place it uncovered in the refrigerator until it cools completely. Then cover it with a lid and let it chill for several hours, or overnight. To serve, I used a sharp knife to go around the edge—mostly to just break the suction. Turn it over and it will slide right out of the bowl.

Vegan Brie -- Epicurean Vegan

Cut it into wedges and serve with crackers. Like I said before, I recommend serving it warm; I think it taste much better that way. It will keep for 5-7 days. I don’t see why it can’t be wrapped up and frozen, too.

Vegan Brie -- Epicurean Vegan


Raw Alfredo with Zucchini Noodles from Vegangela

Raw Alfredo with Zucchini Noodles from Vegangela -- Epicurean VeganI saw this recipe from Angela at Vegangela earlier this week, and it’s all I could think about. I had to wait until the reboot was over since it contains cashews. She came up with the sauce based on the creamy cashew sauce. Using non-pasteurized miso will make it raw and I think zucchini makes ideal noodles. Thanks for another amazing recipe, Angela!

4 medium zucchinis
1 C raw cashews
3/4 C water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
1 Tbs light miso paste (optional)
2 Tbs nutritional yeast (optional)
Fresh basil (optional)

Soak the cashews for minutes in water. While that’s going on, remove the peel of the zucchinis. Using a peeler, peel the zucchinis from one end to the other, rotating until the core is too small to peel anymore.

Raw Alfredo with Zucchini Noodles from Vegangela -- Epicurean Vegan

Next, grind the cashews in a food processor to a fine consistency. Add the other ingredients and blend until fairly smooth.

Raw Alfredo with Zucchini Noodles from Vegangela -- Epicurean Vegan

You can mix the noodles with the sauce or spoon it over them. Top with some fresh basil and enjoy!

It’s A Cheeze Extravaganza!

Well, first of all, Merry Christmas! I hope everyone has had a wonderful, fabulous holiday full of family, friends and happiness. Even Moe-Dog is having a happiness hangover:

And apparently, he’s a little embarrassed about it:

My mom surprised me with a copy of The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook and I have had uncheese on the brain since.  For Christmas Eve, we typically do drinks and appetizers, games and movies, so I made three different cheezes from the recipe book and one from Vegetarian Times. A few of the cheezes will require a couple days’ worth of time—but rest assured—they’re easy and worth it. You will need to blanch almonds, something I had never attempted before, but found it to be quite an easy process.

First up:

Port Wine Uncheese

This is super simple to throw together. The pinto beans give it that dry cheese taste and texture and even if it doesn’t taste exactly like cheese, it still has excellent flavor. I recommend adding some nutritional yeast–maybe a 1/4 C for more of a cheesy flavor if you feel it needs it. Otherwise, it’s fab on its own. The recipe calls for nonalcoholic red wine, but I went with an actual port.


2 C (1-15 or 16 oz can) pinto beans

1/4 C nonalcoholic red wine or port wine

3 Tbs sesame tahini

1 Tbs light or chickpea miso (I used light miso)


Throw it all in a food processor then let it chill several hours or overnight. You could then roll it in roasted walnuts or pecans for extra flavor, if desired.

Source: The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook


Incredible Almond Creme Cheez

This one has a fluffy, lemony flavor that pairs really well with herbed crackers. The taste is very mild, so herbed crackers work great with this one. You will need to blanch the almonds for this, which is very easy: place almonds in a saucepan with enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil for 1-2 minutes, then drain and allow to cool. Pinch the skins between your finger and the skins will slide right off. Dry them off well.


1/4 C blanched almonds

1/2 C hot water

1/2 C cold water

2 Tbs  lemon juice

2 Tbs kuzu, arrowroot, or cornstarch (I used cornstarch)

1/2 tsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp salt


Grind the almonds to a fine powder. Transfer to a blender (I did as the recipe said, but I’m sure just using the food processor is fine) and add the hot water; process until thick and creamy. Add the cold water and remaining ingredients; blend until smooth and creamy.  Pour into a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Once it thickens, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly for another minute. Let it cool. Fluff with a fork or whisk and transfer to a storage container.

Chill for a few hours. Before serving, beat again with a fork or whisk.

Source: The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook


Onion, Dill and Horseradish Cheez

If you like cheese with a kick, you’ll love this one. The horseradish is perfect in this and makes for a great sliced cheese. I’m not crazy about dill, so next time I will go easy on it and not add the full two teaspoons, but aside from that, it’s a great addition to any cheese platter.


1-1/2 C water

5 Tbs agar flakes

1/2 C chopped raw cashews

1/4 C nutritional yeast

3 Tbs lemon juice

2 Tbs tahini

2 Tbs white horseradish (not creamed)

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp salt

1 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp dried onion flakes

2 tsp dried dillweed


Lightly oil a 3-cup plastic (I used glass) container and set aside. Combine the water and agar flakes in a saucepan and boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently 5-10 minutes, or until flakes are dissolved. Transfer to a blender and add the cashews, nutritional yeast, tahini, horseradish, mustard, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder.

Process until smooth. By hand, add the onion flakes and dillweed. Pour into the prepared container and cool uncovered in the fridge. Once it is completely cooled, cover and chill several hours to overnight. Before serving, slice thin.

Source: The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook


Almond Cheese: Spreadable and Feta-Style




Now this is probably my favorite. This one comes from Vegetarian Times and despite the time and effort, I’ll be making it over and over again. I doubled the recipe because it can be made into a spreadable version and a feta-style. The only difference is that the feta-style requires baking—a very simple step.

INGREDIENTS: (undoubled)

1 C blanched almonds

1/4 C lemon juice

3 Tbs olive oil

1 clove garlic, peeled (I used minced)

1-1/4 tsp salt



Place almonds in a medium bowl and cover with 3″ of water; soak for 24 hours. Drain and rinse twice with running water.

Puree the almonds, lemon juice, 3 Tbs olive oil, garlic, salt and 1/2 C of cold water in a food processor until smooth.  Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and line the strainer with a triple layer of cheesecloth. Spoon mixture into cheesecloth.

Bring the corners and sides of the cheesecloth together and twist around the cheese, squeezing out any excess moisture. Secure with a rubber band.

Chill 12 hours or overnight. Discard any excess liquid—I squeezed a little more out. One half I left in the fridge and for the feta-style: Preheat oven to 200. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and unwrap cheese and transfer it from the cheesecloth to the baking sheet. Flatten to a 6″ round with a  3/4″ in thickness on the sheet.

Bake for 40 minutes. Let cool. I then transferred it to a bowl and used a fork to break it up into feta-like chunks. Place in a storage container and refrigerate for several hours.  Add to salads or soups—you’ll love it! Enjoy!

I’m sure Moe will recover from his Christmas overload soon . . .

Buttered Party Mix

Vegan MoFo, Day 16

So easy! And a great way to grab some protein. You can sub in pecans if you’d like—I’m just not a big fan. These are for an artist reception at the Northern Colorado Writers Association that is tonight. I’m also bringing my favorite hummus. The artist happens to be my mother-in-law, watercolorist-extraordinaire.


4 Tbs Earth Balance margarine, melted

1 Tbs garlic salt

1/2 tsp cayenne, or more for taste

1 C raw, unsalted cashews

1 C raw, unsalted walnuts

1 C raw, unsalted almonds

1/2 C sunflower seeds


Preheat oven to 300 and line a baking sheet with foil. In a medium bowl, combine the nuts, garlic salt and cayenne. Add the margarine and thoroughly combine. Layer onto the lined baking sheet and bake for about a half an hour. Stir and flip over the nuts. I know, that’s not easy, but you’ll be able to tell which side is which since the cooked side will be dry-looking. Bake another 20-30 minutes. Let cool, then transfer to an air tight container if not eating right away. Enjoy!

Tofu in Tahini Sauce

Vegan MoFo, Day 4

I know, a very monochromatic meal! The recipe called for mixing half the sauce with the rice, or other accompaniment, but feel free to omit that step, especially for a less beige result. I also recommend adding some steam asparagus and/or mushrooms, or broccoli. This is simple and the sauce is rich and delicious!


1-14oz pkg firm tofu, drained and pressed

2 Tbs olive or peanut oil

1/3 C chopped peanuts, cashews, or a combination of both

Toasted sesame seeds


1/4 C soy sauce

1 Tbs tamari

1/4 C tahini

2 Tbs rice wine vinegar

2 Tbs brown sugar

1/2 tsp hot pepper sesame oil

1/2 a small white onion, chopped

1/3 C water

Salt, to taste


1 C Arborio rice (risotto)

1 Tbs Earth Balance margarine

1-1/2 C water


I recommend making the sauce first so that you don’t have to pan-fry the tofu at the same time. In a food processor, combine all of the sauce ingredients and puree until smooth. Set aside. In a medium sauce pan, combine the water, margarine, and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover tightly with a lid for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil. Slice the tofu into 7-8 steaks, then slice each diagonally in half. Add to the pan and fry each main side until golden brown.

Pour sauce over tofu and coat each piece of tofu.Remove from heat and stir in nuts. If using, add steamed (or roasted) veggies of your choice. Serve over rice, sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds and enjoy!

Recipe: Adapted from Epicurious

Cashew Cheeze Spread

I was inspired by Opera Singer in the Kitchen’s recipe for this cashew cheeze spread, but I made some changes–adding some other flavors and putting my own spin on it. It came out delicious! An easy appetizer or even sandwich spread that is sure to please!


1-1/2 C raw, unsalted cashews

1 garlic clove, minced

2 Tbs lemon juice

2 tsp white miso paste

2 tsp nutritional yeast

1/2 C fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/3 C white onion, chopped

1/2 tsp Garlic and Wine seasoning

2 tsp pimento, diced


In a food processor, chop up cashews–but not too fine. Add garlic, lemon juice, miso, nutritional yeast, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, onion, and seasoning. Process until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl and thoroughly stir in the pimentos. Line a small bowl (I used a 2.5 cup Tupperware bowl) with plastic wrap or waxed paper. Scoop cheeze mixture into bowl and mold it to the inside the bowl.

Wrap extra plastic wrap around the cheeze and refrigerate for several hours. The longer the better–for the flavors to mingle. Serve with cracker and veggies, or use as a sandwich condiment. Enjoy!