Ultimate Green Protein Smoothie

Ultimate Green Smoothie -- Epicurean VeganA friend gave me this recipe over the weekend and I’ve made 3 of these so far! I added a tablespoon of chia seeds because of their amazing health benefits, but you can leave them out if you’d like. Please note, you don’t have to use peanut butter AND protein powder, but if you omit the protein powder, I suggest using vanilla almond milk or a vanilla flavoring for taste. Bottoms up!

INGREDIENTS: (1-16 oz smoothie)
1-1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
1 handful of fresh spinach
1/2 a ripe avocado
1 Tbs peanut butter
1 scoop vegan vanilla protein powder
1 Tbs chia seeds
2-3 ice cubes

Blend 2-3 minutes in a blender until smooth. Enjoy!

Strawberry Cupcakes

Strawberry Cupcakes -- Epicurean VeganI was in a baking mood today, but I couldn’t decide between these, chocolate chip scones, or lemon madeleine cookies. Obviously, I went with these cupcakes from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s The Joy of Vegan Baking. If you love to bake, vegan or not, this is a fabulous cookbook to own. Not only is it filled with easy and delicious recipes, it also is filled with lots of valuable baking tips, especially if you are new to the world of vegan baking. I found that these cupcakes are really more like muffins, but if Ms. Colleen says they’re cupcakes, then I’ll go with it. Cupcakes, muffins, whatevs—you’ll love them!

1-3/4 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 C granulated sugar (I used about 3/4 C)
1/2 C canola oil
1 Tbs white distilled vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 oz frozen or fresh strawberries, crushed or pureed (I used fresh)
For the frosting, I didn’t go with her Butter Cream Frosting. I used confectioners’ sugar mixed with almond milk.
Strawberries to garnish the tops

Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease or line a muffin pan with muffin cups. I only had 9 muffin cups, so I greased the last three. Both methods worked fine.I pureed the strawberries in the food processor.

Strawberry Cupcakes -- Epicurean Vegan

Mix the flour, baking soda, and sugar in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Stir in the strawberries. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it.

Strawberry Cupcakes -- Epicurean Vegan

Stir to combine, but don’t overstir. You’ll be left with a light and fluffy batter:

Strawberry Cupcakes -- Epicurean Vegan

Evenly fill the muffins cups with the batter.

Strawberry Cupcakes -- Epicurean Vegan

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and place onto a wire rack to cool.

Strawberry Cupcakes -- Epicurean Vegan

Let them cool completely before icing them. I just mixed a few cups of confectioners’ sugar with just 1-1/2 to 2 tsp of almond milk to reach a very thick consistency. If you’d like, you can add a dash of extract flavoring to it. Drizzle the tops of the cupcakes with the icing and top with a few strawberry slices. Enjoy! Makes 12.

Strawberry Cupcakes -- Epicurean Vegan

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


Hash Brown and Spinach Frittata

Hash Brown and Spinach Frittata -- Epicurean VeganI  love making breakfast frittatas. They’re so easy to throw together and are perfect for cleaning out of the fridge of on-the-verge veggies. Since this one uses a Chipotle-flavored Field Roast Sausage, it supplies enough flavoring that I don’t add any other spices or seasonings to this dish, but feel free to add some if you’d like. Some fresh cilantro would be a great addition.

1 tsp olive oil
2 medium potatoes, shredded
2 C fresh spinach, torn (you can also use kale if you’d like)
1 C green or red cabbage, chopped
5 mushrooms, sliced
4 green onions, sliced
1 Field Roast Chipotle-flavored sausage, crumbled
1/4 C Tofutti sour cream
1 C Daiya cheese (I used a mixture of cheddar and pepper jack flavors)
1-1/2 C crackers, broken up into pieces
1 tomato, diced

Preheat the oven to 375. Layer the cracker pieces on the bottom of a pie plate; set aside. Sprinkle with about half of the cheese. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the shredded potatoes and over medium heat, cook them for about 5 minutes, stirring them around. Add the cabbage and continue to cook until both the potatoes and cabbage begin to brown. Add the Field Roast, spinach, mushrooms, and green onions and cook until the spinach starts to wilt.

Hash Brown and Spinach Frittata -- Epicurean VeganStir in the sour cream to the spinach mixture and combine thoroughly. Pour the mixture on top of the cracker crust and spread it out evenly.

Hash Brown and Spinach Frittata -- Epicurean VeganTop with the remaining cheese and the diced tomatoes. Bake for 15 minutes.

Hash Brown and Spinach Frittata -- Epicurean Vegan

Let it cool for about 5 minutes, then slice into it and enjoy!

Vegan and Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake

Vegan and Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake -- Epicurean VeganSome of you may recall when I made this cake about a year ago, I put in way, way too much of the flour mixture and a friend, who I had served it to, joked that I made him eat a brick. The cake was a disaster and apparently, it took me a year to get over it, but here it is. Wow, what a difference correctly following the recipe makes! ;) This cake is outstanding! You’d never know it was gluten-free AND vegan! The cake was soft, moist, and not too sweet. (The icing will sure make up for that)! This is now going to be the family birthday cake for a while—it’s that good! Plus, I’ve completely redeemed myself and my friend told me he can no longer tease me about serving him a brick!

1 C gluten-free vanilla rice milk
1 tsp cider vinegar
2-1/2 C Betsy’s Baking Mix (recipe below)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp xanthan gum
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 C palm oil shortening
2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 oz red food coloring
1/4 C + 3 Tbs unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs distilled white vinegar
1 tsp baking soda
1 recipe butter cream frosting (below)

Betsy’s Making Mix: this makes 7-1/2 cups–remember, use just 2-1/2 cups of it.
3-3/4 C garbanzo bean  flour
2-1/4 C potato starch
1-1/2 C tapioca starch/flour

Buttercream Frosting:
1 C Earth Balance margarine
4 to 4-1/2 C confectioner’s sugar
Vanilla rice milk

Preheat oven to 350. Make your baking mix first: Combine all the flours in a large zip-lock bag. Using a whisk, blend them well. Then seal tightly and shake it vigorously for 1 minute. This mix will stay good for up to 3 months.

Grease 2 9″ cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper; set aside. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the rice milk and cider vinegar to create “buttermilk” and set aside. In a small bowl, use a spoon to combine the cocoa powder and food coloring. (Keep in mind that 1 ounce is a full-sized bottle of food coloring). It will form a paste:

Vegan and Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake -- Epicurean VeganIn a large bowl, combine 2-1/2 cups of the baking mix, salt, and xanthan gum. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and palm oil shortening. Add the applesauce and vanilla and cream everything together until mixture is light and creamy. Add the cocoa paste and mix well.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake -- Epicurean VeganAlternately, add the dry ingredients and the “buttermilk” mixture to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Pour the white vinegar into a small cup and sprinkle the baking soda over it. Immediately pour the fizzing combo into the cake batter and thoroughly mix it in. Evenly divide the batter into the two cake pans.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake -- Epicurean VeganBake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely on a rack before turning them out of the pans.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake -- Epicurean VeganOnce cooled, turn over the pans and remove the parchment paper. Take a large plate and place it upside down on the bottom of one of the cakes (that will be upside down on the rack). Flip over so the cake is face up on the plate.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake -- Epicurean VeganTo make the frosting cream the Earth Balance until smooth. Little by little, add the confectioner’s sugar. Add the vanilla rice milk 1-2 tablespoons at a time until you reach a thick consistency.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake -- Epicurean VeganFrost the top and sides of the cake that is on the plate. Lay it pretty thick, especially on the top. Carefully place the 2nd cake on top and frost that one.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake -- Epicurean Vegan

Vegan and Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake -- Epicurean Vegan

Slice and enjoy! Cover the leftovers and store in the refrigerator.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake -- Epicurean Vegan

Recipe source (cake only): Living Without

Tater Tot Casserole

Tater Tot Casserole -- Epicurean VeganPlease Pass the Tofu posted a tater tot casserole recipe and considering my guys love anything potato (tater tots being the Holy Grail) I knew this would be a hit with them. I made some modifications to the original recipe based on what I already had on hand. As expected, the guys loved it and are even fighting over the leftovers.

1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
2 C mushrooms, sliced
2 C fresh spinach, torn or chopped
1 C edamame
1 bag Boca soy crumbles
10-oz mushroom broth
1/2 C almond milk
2 Tbs arrowroot
1/3 C Tofutti sour cream
Dash or two of nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
40-50 frozen tater tots

Preheat oven to 375. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the soy crumbles and edamame; cook until heated through. Add the mushrooms and spinach and cook until the spinach begins to wilt and the mushrooms soften.

Tater Tot Casserole -- Epicurean Vegan

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring the mushroom broth to a boil. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the almond milk and arrowroot; whisk it into the broth. Once it begins to thicken, add in the sour cream and whisk until smooth. Season with the nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

Tater Tot Casserole -- Epicurean Vegan

Pour the broth mixture over the crumble/vegetable mixture and combine well. Lightly spray a 9×13″ baking dish with cooking spray. Layer about 20-25 of the tater tots on the bottom of the pan. Pour the mixture on top and spread it out evenly. Top it off with the rest of the tater tots.

Tater Tot Casserole -- Epicurean Vegan

Bake for 35 minutes, or until the tater tots are crispy. Enjoy!

Tater Tot Casserole -- Epicurean Vegan

Savory Asparagus Tart

Savory Asparagus Tart -- Epicurean VeganWhen I open my own vegan restaurant, this tart will be a signature item on the menu! And look, I’m sharing my secret recipe with all of you now! The Husband was on a conference call when I took this out of the oven and took a bite. You have no idea how difficult it was to not eat his portion; he would have never known. But of course, I couldn’t do that to him—it’s a recipe you’ll want to share and enjoy with others.

1 puff pastry dough, thawed
1 C Daiya or other vegan cheeze, shredded
1 bunch asparagus
2 Tbs olive oil
1-1/2 tsp truffle oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Roll the pastry sheet out to about 11″x7″. Place onto a baking sheet. Using a fork, puncture the dough all over.

Bake for 5 minutes, or until it begins to brown. You may need to press down on the dough with a spoon if it puffed up in places.

Sprinkle the cheese onto the dough, then line the asparagus—close together—on top. I just cut the stalks in half (after cutting of the thick ends) and placed them like so:

Savory Asparagus Tart -- Epicurean Vegan

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, truffle oil, salt, and pepper. Brush the mixture onto the asparagus , thoroughly coating the tops. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges of the tart begin to brown. Remove from the pan (I used two spatulas on either end) and transfer to a large cutting board. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Savory Asparagus Tart -- Epicurean Vegan

Crispy “Chicken” Salad

Crispy "Chicken" Salad -- Epicurean VeganThis salad is a staple around my house and each time I make it, I never learn. I eat way too much of it. It’s just so damn good. Not to mention, easy to make. Bake some meatless chicken nuggets and throw some fresh veggies together and you have a healthy meal in minutes.

1 bag Boca nuggets, baked and diced
Romaine lettuce, torn
Fresh spinach, torn
1 tomato, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 cucumber, sliced, then quartered
Vegan pepper jack cheese and/or cheddar, shredded
Green onions, sliced
Tortilla chips, broken up

Vegan Ranch dressing:
1 C Vegenaise
1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
6 Tbs almond milk
1/2 tsp dried chives
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

I tend to put everything in separate bowls and let everyone create their own salads. To make the dressing, just whisk everything together in a small bowl and transfer to a pourable container. Refrigerate the leftovers. Enjoy!

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