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

PineNutCashewRavioli2I’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.

INGREDIENTS

Dough

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

Filling

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

Topping

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

DIRECTIONS

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!
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Empowered Noodle Bowl + A Giveaway of The Oh She Glows Cookbook!

DSC08248I was thrilled to have an opportunity to post a recipe from Angela Liddon’s The Oh She Glows Cookbook AND be able to give a copy away to one lucky reader! I’ve been glued to this cookbook since I received it because not only is it full of beautiful photographs (about every recipe has a pic), but the recipes look downright delicious. Like Liddon, I had some unhealthy eating (or should I say, not eating) habits before I went vegan. I can truly say that a vegan diet saved my life. This is a great cookbook to have in your collection because it is full of tasty, healthy recipes that use only whole, minimally-processed ingredients. If you’ve been a fan of the Oh She Glows website, you’re going to love this cookbook with 75 brand-spankin’ new recipes, plus 25 updated reader favorites. So if you want to win this beautiful cookbook, leave a comment; it’s that easy! You have until midnight (PST) on Sunday, April 6. I’ll announce the winner on Monday, April 7th. 

Empowered Noodle2

You’ll love Liddon’s Empowered Noodle Bowl, two ways: Thai Peanut & Orange-Maple Miso on page 153. I decided to make both dressings and honestly, I can’t tell you which one is my favorite; they’re both delicious. The Thai Peanut is thicker with some garlic kick, whereas the Orange-Maple Miso is a tad thinner and milder. They’re both easy enough to make, so why not do both? This is a fantastic lunch or light dinner, that comes together rather quickly. I like how the veggies take precedence over the noodles—it’s not a heavy pasta dish, but rather, a bowl of fresh veggies with some noodles thrown in and coated with a tasty dressing. A winner for sure.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

Thai Peanut Sauce

1 large garlic clove
2 Tbs toasted sesame oil
3 Tbs natural smooth peanut butter
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
3 Tbs fresh lime juice
2 Tbs + 1 tsp low-sodium tamari
1-2 tsp granulated sugar

Orange-Maple Miso Dressing

3 Tbs light miso
2 Tbs rice vinegar
1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
1 Tbs tahini
1/4 C fresh orange juice
1 Tbs water
1 tsp maple syrup

Salad

4 oz gluten-free soba noodles
Extra virgin olive oil, for the noodles
16 oz bag frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1 carrot, julienned
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 C cilantro, chopped
Sesame seeds, for serving

DIRECTIONS

To make the Thai Peanut sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until completely smooth. Do the same for the Orange-Maple Miso Dressing.

Empowered NoodleCook the noodles according to instructions on the package (5-9 minutes). Drain, rinse under cold water and transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle with a little of the olive oil, then toss with the veggies and dressing of your choice. Top individual servings with sesame seeds and enjoy! If you like the looks of this recipe, you’re going to want this cookbook, so leave a comment and you just may get it! Good luck!

DSC08246With the Thai Peanut Sauce
DSC08247With the Orange-Maple Miso Dressing

 Reprinted by arrangement with AVERY, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © GLO BAKERY CORPORATION, 2014.

Quinoa & Kale Pitas with Tahini Dressing

QuinoaKalePitasThese are packed with some of my favorite ingredients! Quinoa is loaded with protein and the kale is well . . . it’s kale! We all know kale is high in iron, calcium and several vitamins. Check out these 10 Health Benefits of this super green. I also threw in some pepitas, which are rich in vitamins, beta carotene, and protein. I made a pretty big batch so that I can nosh all week (especially post workouts), but feel free to halve the recipe if you’re fearful of getting quinoa’d out. (Inconceivable! ;-) )

INGREDIENTS

Filling

2 C tri-color quinoa
4 C vegetable broth or water
1 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C red onion, diced
3/4 C green onion, sliced
2 C mushrooms, diced
1 bunch kale, leaves removed and chopped (stems discarded)
3/4 C pepitas

Dressing

2 large cloves of garlic
1 Tbs tahini
2 Tbs yellow/light miso
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
1/2 C cold water
2 Tbs chia seesds
1/4 tsp black pepper

The rest

Pita pockets
Avocado slices

DIRECTIONS

I recommend making the dressing first. It’ll be a little runny, but letting it sit for 20 minutes or so, will allow the chia seeds to do their thing and thicken up the dressing. In a food processor or blender, combine all of the dressing ingredients and blend until smooth. Set aside.

DSC08213In a large soup pot, combine the broth (or water) with the quinoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover, and cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.

DSC08214Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet. Add the red and green onions. Saute until softened and a tiny bit browned. Add the kale and mushrooms and saute until the the kale is bright green, about 5 minutes.
onionskaleFold the veggies and pepitas into the cooked quinoa.
DSC08215I placed a little dressing inside the pita,  along with a slice or two of avocado, then added the filling, and topped with some more dressing. Enjoy!
QuinoaKalePitas

Asian-Inspired Risotto

AsianRisottoYep, I’m still on my risotto kick. This time, however, I gave it an Asian twist by adding bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, and a touch of sesame oil (among other seasonings). This is a unique and delicious change from the usual risotto dish and would be great paired with some veggie crystal rolls. Yum!

INGREDIENTS:

4 C vegetable broth
1 Tbs red miso
1 C water
1-1/2 C Arborio rice
2 heads baby bok choy, chopped
2 C shiitake mushrooms, chopped
3/4 C green onion, sliced thin
1/2 C Sherry cooking wine
2 Tbs Earth Balance
1/3 C nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp Chinese 5-Spice blend
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbs tamari ( or soy sauce)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. In a Dutch oven, whisk the 4 cups of broth and 1 tablespoon of miso; stir in the rice. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Fifteen minutes before the rice is done, begin steaming the bok choy. Steam for 10 minutes, then add the mushrooms and green onion.

bokchoyWhen the rice is done (most of the liquid has been absorbed), stir in the one cup of water,sherry and Earth Balance. Stir vigorously for 1-2 minutes—it’ll thicken up. Next, add the nutritional yeast, five-spice blend, sesame oil, and tamari. Stir well for at least a minute. Fold in the bok choy mixture and enjoy!

 

Potato-Leek & Broccoli Soup with Tempeh Bacon

PotatpBroccoliSoupWe’ve had some mighty chilly weather lately—mostly in the form of wind, so by evening, we’re ready for a hot soup to warm the bones. This soup is easy to prepare (especially if you have an immersion blender) but if you don’t, you can certainly transfer to a blender or food processor. The tempeh is optional, but we all thought it added a nice smoky flavor to the soup. I used LightLife organic strips, chopped up and sauteed in a little olive oil.

tempeh baconINGREDIENTS:

5 Tbs Earth Balance Margarine, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 leeks, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 heads worth of broccoli florets
2.5 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and diced
6 C vegetable broth
1 tsp shallot salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp Herbs de Provence
1/2 C nutritional yeast flakes
4 Tbs flour
1 C warm almond milk
Daiya cheese shreds, optional

DIRECTIONS:

In a large soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the Earth Balance. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add the leeks and celery. Cook 5-7 minutes, or until the veggies soften and begin to brown.

DSC08196Add the potatoes, broccoli and broth. Lower heat and let simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are softened. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup to your heart’s content . . . you can leave some chunks of potato and broccoli if you’d like. Season with the shallot salt, pepper, Herbs de Provence, and nutritional yeast.  In a small sauce pan, melt the remaining tablespoons of Earth Balance and whisk in the flour. Little by little, add the warm almond milk, whisking constantly until thickened. This should only take a couple of minutes. Pour into the soup and blend thoroughly. Top with a scoop of tempeh bacon and Daiya cheese and enjoy!

Wild Rice & Potato Stew with Field Roast

WildRicePotatoFRStewCan you tell that I’m loving my new Dutch oven?! But really, this could be made with a regular soup pot too, but it’s way more satisfying to get use out of a new kitchen toy. This is a little similar to the Creamy Wild Rice Soup, but I revved it up by adding a Field Roast sausage (which we all thought, made the soup) and some other seasonings. I also didn’t have to prepare a roux, so it was even easier. This stew is perfect for a cold and wintry night. We’ve been socked in with LOTS of snow and temps this week haven’t risen much above 12 degrees. Our rain chain is certainly feeling it . . .

rainchainINGREDIENTS:

2 Tbs Earth Balance margarine
1/2 large red onion (about a cup)
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 C vegetable broth
1 C wild rice mix (I like Lundberg’s Wild Blend)
1 Field Roast sausage (either Apple & Sage, or Italian Seasoning flavor), crumbled
3 small red potatoes, peeled and diced (about 1-1/2 cups)
1/2 C Tofutti sour cream
1/4 C almond milk
3 Tbs flour
3/4 tsp Herbs de Provence
Salt and pepper, to taste

DSC08174

DIRECTIONS:

In a Dutch oven (3Q or larger) or in a large soup pot, melt the Earth Balance over medium-high heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook 4-5 minutes, or until they are softened. Stir in the garlic and Field Roast and saute over medium heat for 3 minutes. Pour in the broth and rice; cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 40 minutes. Add the diced potatoes and cook covered for another 20-25 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the sour cream, milk and flour until well blended; stir into the soup. Season with the Herbs de Provence, salt, and pepper.
soupsLet it cook a few minutes longer until heated through, then enjoy! (Serves 6)
wildricepotatoFRStew2

Easy Baked Risotto

BakedRisottoThis is a lot like the Creamy Wild Mushroom Risotto, but this one requires a lot less work, especially when it comes to stirring! I recently purchased a Dutch oven and decided to try making risotto in it. So much less work! Mine is 5-quarts and this recipe only took up about 1/2 of the Dutch oven, so I would think even a 3-quart one is plenty big enough.
DSC08169Risotto is a very versatile dish, so you can add whatever vegetables to it that you’d like. I stuck with spinach, onion and mushrooms, but feel free to add peas, asparagus, Swiss chard, kale . . . you name it.The great thing about using a Dutch oven, is that if you want to make this a side dish, you’ll have plenty of time to throw together the main entree while this cooks. But served with a salad and bread, this risotto makes an ideal main entree.

INGREDIENTS:

5 C vegetable broth
1-1/2 C Arborio rice
1 Tbs olive oil
1 C onion, chopped
16-oz mushrooms (cremini or white), chopped or sliced
2 C spinach, chopped
1/4 C lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C white cooking wine
2 Tbs Earth Balance margarine
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1-1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Combine 4 cups of the broth and the rice in the Dutch oven. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. While the rice is baking, prepare your other ingredients. In a bowl, combine the spinach, lemon juice and salt; set aside. Next, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until softened and a little brown. Add the mushrooms and cook 5 minutes more.
20140126_171053I also combined the nutritional yeast, thyme, pepper, and salt in a small bowl to make it easier to add it all at once, when it comes time to add them.
DSC08164Once the rice is done (most of the liquid has been absorbed), add the remaining cup of broth:

20140126_172828Next, stir in the white wine, Earth Balance and seasoning. Stir vigorously for about 3 minutes, or until the risotto is thick and creamy. Stir in the mushrooms mixture, along with the spinach.
DSC08165So good! Serve immediately and enjoy!
BakedRisotto

Layered Eggplant with Cashew Cheese

EggplantThis is part lasagna, part eggplant “Parmesan.” I originally set out to make the latter, but I didn’t want to use packaged vegan cheese. Homemade cashew cheese has become a favorite around here, especially with Italian food, so I decided to give it a try with this. The recipe for the cheese is the same from the Butternut Stuffed Shells and I think it turned out delicious! I didn’t soak the cashews very long—maybe just an hour—and it still turned out creamy and smooth. This makes about 6 good-sized portions; great for a larger group, or for having leftovers.

INGREDIENTS:

2 medium eggplant, peeled (a carrot peeler works great) and sliced into 9 thin slices
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs olive oil
2 14-oz can diced tomatoes (I used the Italian variety), undrained
1/2 C white wine
1 Tbs dried basil
1 tsp oregano
1/4 C flour
2 C panko or breadcrumbs
2 Tbs Italian dried seasoning
1/2 C Ener-G Egg replacer powder
3/4 C almond milk
1/8 C water
Olive oil for frying

Cashew Cheese
2 C raw cashews, soaked in water for up to 2 hours, then drained
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
2 Tbs lemon juice
2-3 Tbs almond milk
1 tsp tahini
1/2 Tbs onion powder
1 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

To make the cashew cheese, combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. If you want it thinner, feel free to add more almond milk and/or lemon juice. Set aside.
DSC08139Preheat oven to 350. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the garlic over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the onion and saute for 7-8 minutes, or until the onions begin to soften and brown. Add the tomatoes, wine, basil, and oregano, stir to combine, and lower heat. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

DSC08137While the sauce is cooking, combine the egg-replacer powder with the almond milk and water in a shallow bowl. Do the same with the Italian seasoning and panko, and add the flour to a small bowl.

breadingDust the entire eggplant slice with flour, cover with a thin layer of egg-replacer, then coat with the panko. Eventually, you might have to add a little more water to the egg-replacer dish in order to cover all 9 slices. In batches, place the eggplant slices in a skillet with enough oil to fry—about 2 minutes each side. Try to avoid flipping the pieces more than once, otherwise, you’ll end up with lots of fried chunks of breading in the skillet.
unfriedandfriedPlace finished slices on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat process until all 9 slices are done. Next, coat the bottom of an 8×8″ baking dish with a ladle of the tomato sauce. Place 3 slices of the eggplant on the bottom and spread each slice with cashew cheese. Top with sauce, then repeat process.
layeredCover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Cut into 6 pieces and enjoy!

Creamy Wild Mushroom Risotto

risottoWow, has it really been this long since my last post?! I guess the holidays will do that. I hope everyone had a great holiday season and so far a good 2014. I’ve made this risotto several times now, and I swear we love it more each time. Sure, there’s a little prep work involved, as well as some constant stirring, but I promise you, it’s worth it. You can even read a book while you make this. Seriously. Have a book  handy because you  might as well get some reading done as you stir. (A glass of wine wouldn’t hurt either).

INGREDIENTS:

3/4-oz pkg. dried shiitake mushrooms
3/4-oz pkg. dried porcini mushrooms
3 C vegetable broth
3 C fresh spinach, chopped
1/8-1/4 C lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 large onion, chopped small (about 1 C)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs olive oil, divided
16-oz cremini mushrooms
1-1/2 tsp thyme
1 C Arborio rice
1/2 C white cooking wine
1-1/2 Tbs Earth Balance margarine
1/8 C nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

To begin, soak the shiitake and porcini in very hot water for about 30 minutes. Once re-hydrated, drain, wash, and chop the mushrooms up small; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, lemon juice and salt; set aside as well. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 Tbs of olive oil and add the garlic. Cook 2 minutes over medium heat, then add the onion. Saute until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the cremini, shiitake, and porcini mushrooms and cook 10-12 minutes, or until they have cooked down. Add the thyme, Arborio rice, and remaining olive oil. Combine the rice well in the pan and cook 3-4 minutes. Stir in the wine and cook 5 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.

DSC08122

Add about 1/2 C of the broth and stir constantly until completely absorbed; repeat, adding only a 1/2 C of broth at a time. It will take about 20-30 minutes. (Good time to have a book handy). Next, stir in the spinach mixture and cook 2-3 minutes, or until the spinach has cooked down. Stir in the Earth Balance, nutritional yeast, and black pepper. Enjoy! (This is great with some oven-roasted asparagus and garlic toast)!

DSC08128

Wild Mushroom & Miso Soup

MushroomSoupFor mushroom lovers like us, this soup certainly made us very happy. Some friends had brought it to a get together and we all demanded the recipe. It is from The Vegetarian Slow Cooker.  This soup requires just a tad of prep work, but then it all goes into the slow cooker. Not only is this soup savory and full of flavor, but the mushrooms are packed full of immune boosters—perfect for fighting off the winter chills and colds.

INGREDIENTS:

1 (1/2 oz) pkg dried porcini mushrooms (I could only find the 3/4 oz package, which I used all of)
1 C hot water (I added a bit more since I used more mushrooms)
1 Tbs olive oil
2 leeks, (mostly white parts and a little of the green) sliced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked peppercorns (I used ground—didn’t have the peppercorns)
1 bay leaf
8-oz shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and thinly sliced (I recommend adding more–they cook down quite a bit)
8-oz cremini mushrooms, stems removed and quartered (Again, I’d add more)!
6 C vegetable broth
1 C water
1/4 C miso
Optional: fresh snipped chives

DIRECTIONS:

In a small bowl, combine the dried porcini mushrooms and the hot water. Let sit for 30 minutes, using a fine mesh strainer, drain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Finely chop up the porcinis and set aside. In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks, carrot and celery for about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, peppercorns, bay leaf, and porchinis. Cook for a minute, then add the reserved liquid.

vegmixTransfer to a slow cooker and add the shiitake and cremini mushrooms, along with the broth and water.

20131208_125234

Cover and cook on high for 3 hours OR on low for 6 hours. Stir in the miso and cook on high for 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf and ladle into separate bowls; garnish with chives. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Lasagna

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Looking for Thanksgiving meal ideas? You’ve come to the right place! This lasagna, is downright amazing—your guests will be demanding the recipe.  A similar dish that would also be great for Stuffed Bird Carcass on the Table Day, would be these Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells with Cashew Cheese. So this dish is definitely less complicated than you might think. I recommend preparing the squash and tofu ricotta ahead of time and keeping them in the fridge until ready to use. Because I didn’t saute the mushrooms, the only things I had to do come suppah-time, was boil the noodles and make the white sauce—both no-brainers . . . I promise. Speaking of noodles, I prefer to use the old fashioned kind simply because the no-boil ones are too short and I have found that they don’t always get cooked completely. Should your noodle preference differ from mine, that’s quite all right . . . you get to make those executive decisions in your own kitchen :-) I just like that I can cut the cooked noodles to fit my pan. Either way, this won’t disappoint!

INGREDIENTS:

1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced
4-5 garlic cloves
Olive oil
1/8 C almond milk
4-5 C mixture of shiitake and button mushrooms
Salt and pepper
15 + a few extra lasagna noodles

Tofu ricotta
14-oz tub extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 tsp basil
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 C nutritional yeast
2 Tbs lemon juice
Optional: 1/4 C vegan mozzarella, shredded

White sauce
1/4 C Earth Balance margarine
6 Tbs flour
1 C vegetable broth
1/2 C almond milk
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425. To prepare the squash, I recommend peeling the squash and dicing it up. I have found that if you’re going to just puree it anyway, this is the fastest way to roast a butternut squash. As long as you have a decent potato peeler, this step will be a breeze.

squashToss in a bowl with a little olive oil and some salt and pepper. I decided I might as well roast some garlic too, so I took about 6 cloves, cut the tops off (leaving them in the skins), placed them on some foil, drizzled some olive oil on them, then loosely wrapped them up.

20131121_152005

Spread the diced squash on a large baking sheet (along with the garlic) and roast for 30 minutes.roasting

Next, transfer the squash and the garlic cloves (which should slip right out of the skins) into a food processor. Add about an 1/8 C of almond milk and puree. It’s up to you how smooth you want to puree the squash, but I recommend not having too many big chunks remaining. To prepare the ricotta, throw all of the ingredients in a food processor, except the cheese, and puree until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, and if using the cheese, stir it in.

fillings

Slice up the mushrooms. I had just about 4 cups of sliced shiitakes and since we’re obsessed with mushrooms, I decided that wasn’t enough, so I added some white button mushrooms . . . perfect.

mushrooms

Preheat oven to 375. To begin, I suggest starting the sauce about 5 minutes before you start the water for the noodles. In a medium saucepan, melt the Earth Balance, then whisk in the flour until fully incorporated and you have a thick paste. Add a little broth, then whisk until smooth. Do this until you’ve added all the broth. Whisk it constantly over medium heat until it begins to thicken. Slowly, and bit by bit, add the almond milk, whisking continuously until it thickens. Reduce heat and season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Keep an eye on it and don’t let it burn. Hopefully by now, the noodles are about ready. Don’t over-boil them—they’ll cook more once in the oven. Otherwise, they’ll rip while assembling the lasagna. Rinse thoroughly with cold water to keep them from sticking to each other. Ladle some sauce on the bottom of the pan—not a lot; just enough to coat the bottom. I used a 9×13″ baking dish, so I placed 5 noodles vertically in the dish and cut a couple of inches off one end. Spread half of the squash mixture on the lasagna noodles. Then spread a couple of tablespoons of the tofu ricotta on each noodle. (I didn’t use all of the ricotta–I had about a full cup leftover). Next. layer on half of the mushrooms.

20131121_173131

Repeat process with another 5 noodles, the rest of the squash mixture, more ricotta, and the remaining mushrooms. Top with the last 5 noodles and pour sauce on top. (I added a little more almond milk to the sauce because it had gotten a bit thick). Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then enjoy!

20131122_091628

Gnocchi with Roasted Vegetables

GnocchiMy mom made this dish for me a few weeks ago and I’ve been anxious to make it for the family. It’s so easy to prepare. The only difficult part was actually finding this fancy little product . .

DSC08073My mom had used Knorr’s Vegetable Homestyle Stock, but I had a hell of time finding it—or I should say, finding the vegetable flavor. Of course the beef, chicken, and low-sodium chicken ones seemed to be available, but us vegemites seem to get left out. I eventually found them at Safeway, but only one of the two Safeways in town (Taft and Drake for you locals). Anyway, this stock is ideal for this dish. It’s extremely concentrated; like a paste, so all I had to do was add a little water, and volia! it was ready.

The gnocchi on the other hand, was pretty easy to find . . .

DSC08074

INGREDIENTS:

1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 large red onion, cut into big slices
1 large zucchini, cubed
1 large yellow squash, cubed
2 C carrots, cut into cubes/chunks
2-3 C mushrooms, quartered
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
2 tubs of Knorr Vegetable Homestyle Stock
2 (16-oz) pkgs. gnocchi

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 400. Prepare all of the veggies. (When peeling a butternut squash, a decent potato peeler works just fine). Combine all the veggies (except the mushrooms) in a large bowl. Drizzle with just a tiny bit of olive oil and teensy bit of balsamic vinegar. You don’t want the veggies dripping with oil; use enough to just barely coat them. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet. I used two pans—the vegetables won’t roast evenly if the pan is too crowded; they’ll steam instead.

DSC08071I roasted them for about 30 minutes before adding the mushrooms (that I prepared with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper). All ovens run differently and cooking time also depends on how large the vegetables are cut. Roast another 10 minutes or so. A good time to start the water boiling for the gnocchi would be right before you throw the mushrooms in.  In a small measuring cup, combine two tubs of the Knorr stock with about 1/2 C of water. Heat in the microwave for about a minute.

knorrThe gnocchi will only take 3-5 minutes. I divided the drained gnocchi in half and added them to the two pans of veggies. I then poured 1/4 C of the stock to each pan and coated everything well. I ended up combing both pans into one . . .

DSC08078That’s it! So delicious . . . enjoy!

Mexican Stuffed Shells

Mexican Stuffed Shells

I had been seeing recipes for this dish floating around and decided to try make my own vegan version. You might not think to combine pasta and Mexican food, but it’s not unlike my Mexican Pasta Casserole. Easy and delicious!

INGREDIENTS:

DSC08058

Filling:

1 Tbs olive oil
1 (12-oz) pkg. LightLife veggie crumbles (or other ground “meat” of your choice)
1 C onion, diced small
1/2 red bell pepper, diced small
1 packet taco seasoning
1/2 C cilantro, minced
2 Tbs lime juice

Sauce:

1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce
2 tsp Ancho chili powder (or other chili powder)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic
2 jarred roasted red peppers
1 (4-oz) can diced green chilies

The rest:

1 box jumbo shells (approx 45 shells)
1/2 C green onions, sliced
1 (4-oz) can sliced black olives
Vegan shredded cheese
Optional: vegan sour cream, salsa

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the onions and bell pepper. Saute until they begin to soften and brown. Add the veggie crumbles and cook another 5-7 minutes. I mixed the taco seasoning with about a 1/2 C of water and poured it into the skillet and combined it with the veggie mixture. Stir in the cilantro and lime juice and remove from the heat. Let it cool.

DSC08060Meanwhile, boil the water for the shells and prepare the sauce. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the tomato sauce and seasonings. In a food processor, puree the garlic cloves and roasted red peppers. Add the puree to the sauce, along with the green chilies and cook over medium heat. Once the shells are ready, drain, rinse and place them on a large baking sheet. (It keeps them from sticking together).

DSC08061Place about a 1/4 C of the sauce on the bottom of a 15″ baking dish. Stuff each shell with about a tablespoon of filling; place in dish. I ended up with about 42 stuffed shells with a few leftover. Top with remaining sauce, green onions, olives, and cheese.

DSC08063Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

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Sugar-Glazed Zucchini Bread

Zucchini bread

Ah . . . Fall, the changing of the leaves, and the smell of baking zucchini bread. Not bad for a Friday afternoon. Then of course, eating the sugar-crusted bread! This is a very easy bread to throw together and great for sharing!

INGREDIENTS:

6 Tbs flax meal
1/2 C warm water
4 C zucchini, grated and squeezed of all liquid (2 to 2-1/2 medium zucchinis)
2 C brown sugar
1/2 C applesauce
1/4 C oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 C almond milk
3 C regular flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbs baking powder
1 Tbs cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt

Glaze:

1 Tbs Earth Balance margarine, melted
1/4 C brown sugar
3 Tbs almond milk

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350.  In a small bowl whisk together the flax meal and warm water; set aside. Using a mixer, combine the brown sugar, applesauce, oil, vanilla, and almond milk. Add the zucchini and flax meal; mix well. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and combine well. Pour the mixture evenly into two lightly greased loaf pans. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Every oven runs differently, so check often. Once they are a bit browned on top and an inserted toothpick or knife comes out clean from the center . . .

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Just before this, of course, whip up the glaze.  Whisk together the ingredients and brush the tops of the bread with it. Bake it again for another 7-10 minutes.

20131011_130949Let them cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from the pans. Slice and enjoy!

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Bowties with Veggies and Roasted Garlic Ricotta

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I’m so happy there are some leftovers! The original recipe uses real ricotta, but not only did I make use my go-to ricotta recipe, I also added/omitted some ingredients. Ricotta cheese has so much fat it’s ridiculous (10 g/fat, 6 g/saturated fat) so even if you do eat dairy, I urge you to try my tofu-version that contains 5 grams of fat, and only 1 gram of saturated fat. Plus, you’ll also benefit from the protein and the no cholesterol! Also, if you think roasting garlic is a pain, it’s really not. It’s so easy to do and takes only 30 minutes, in which time, you can prepare all of your ingredients. Ideally, if you can roast the garlic and make the ricotta the day before, it will be even more flavorful by the time you make this dish. I think you’ll find this is a great main meal or side dish that will please even picky eaters.

INGREDIENTS:

 Tofu-Ricotta:

14-oz pkg extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 tsp basil
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 C nutritional yeast
2 Tbs lemon juice
Optional: 1/2 C Daiya Mozzarella shreds

The rest:

1 lb bow-tie pasta (any variety would be fine)
6 cloves of garlic (or more if you want)
Olive oil
1-1/2 C cherry tomatoes, halved
4-6 C fresh spinach, chopped
2 C mushrooms, sliced and sauteed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 C reserved pasta-cooking water

Ricotta Pasta

DIRECTIONS:

To roast the garlic, preheat the oven to 425. Cut off the tips of each garlic clove and place on a piece of foil; drizzle with olive oil. Wrap up loosely in the foil, place on a small baking sheet, and roast for about 30 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

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Meanwhile, however, prepare your other ingredients. To make the “ricotta,” combine all of the ingredients in a food processor, but don’t blend it yet until the garlic is done. You’ll want to add the garlic cloves and blend everything together, along with the 1/4 C of the reserved pasta-cooking water. So until the garlic is ready, at least throw together the ingredients to get started. Cook the pasta according to package instructions while you saute the mushrooms in a small pan with a teaspoon of olive oil. Chop your spinach, slice those tomatoes, and finish off the ricotta by adding the newly roasted garlic and water. (For the garlic cloves, gently squeeze an end and the skins should come right off, then discard).

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Drain the pasta and rinse with hot water to remove as much starch as possible. Return the pot to the stove and over medium-low heat, add the spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms; saute with a smidgen of water until wilted and heated through.

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Add the pasta and ricotta and combine everything thoroughly, season with salt and pepper, and enjoy!

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Rosemary Drop Biscuits

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The rain is continuing to wreak havoc on our state. It took a break yesterday, but started up again last night and hasn’t let up since. Tomorrow is shaping up to be another day off for the Ninth Grader. We are so lucky where we’re at right now, that we aren’t experiencing flooding in my neighborhood, but other sections aren’t fairing as well. We’re so thankful we’re not in Lyons, Estes Park, Boulder, and other mountain towns where people have lost their homes. Hundreds of people are unaccounted for. Please keep Colorado and those affected by the floods in your thoughts!

We’re grateful to be warm, dry and safe in our home and able to have veggie chili simmering in the crock pot, listening to music, and spending our day together. The Ninth Grader made these the other night for dinner and I wanted to share them all of you—an easy addition to any meal.

INGREDIENTS:

1 C whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 C flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C Earth Balance, melted
2/3 C almond milk
1 Tbs dried rosemary

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Whisk together the dry ingredients, then stir in the milk and melted Earth Balance. It’ll be sticky, but that’s OK; just incorporate everything the best you can.

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We had a very curious visitor stop by . . .

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Take 1/4 C-sized pieces of dough and place them on the baking sheet. We got 12 biscuits out of the batch.

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Bake 12-15 minutes, or until they begin to brown around the edges.  Enjoy!

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Vegan French Onion Soup

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I’ll be honest, I never really ate French onion soup before my vegan days, so I’m not sure how it’s supposed to taste. My guys were the ones to decide if this one passed the test. The Ninth Grader liked it a lot, but found it a little salty (I used broth and miso). The Husband liked it, but didn’t care for the vegan cheese—he admitted that the  real cheese is what made it so great before. I myself, loved the vegan cheese and I found that it all worked so well. Of course, the salt-factor didn’t seem to be a problem for me, which I’m thinking is because I spent the day (from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) walking over 15 miles along one of Fort Collins’ trails and pretty much sweated out any salt, so I was needing it! You can certainly just use water for this recipe. This recipe serves 3.

INGREDIENTS:

3 Tbs olive oil
2 extra large onions, sliced (about 8 cups)
4 C water (or broth)
1/3 C miso
3 Tbs water or broth
1 Tbs thyme
Black pepper (and salt, if needed)
Vegan cheese

Croutons

1/2 a loaf of sourdough or French bread or baguette, sliced
Olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

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Heat the 3 tablespoons of oil in a large soup pot and add the onions. Cook them over medium heat for about 30-40 minutes, or until they soften and begin to brown.

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Meanwhile, make the croutons. Lay them out on a baking sheet, brush with oil and place under the broiler until browned. Flip them, brush with oil and broil again.

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In a small bowl, combine the miso, thyme and tablespoons of water or broth.

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Add the water/broth and miso mixture to the onions and bring to a boil.

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Fill bowls with the soup, top with the croutons and cover with cheese. I used the Daiya shreds and also sliced up some of the Daiya Swiss slices:

French Onion collage

Place the bowls onto a baking sheet and place under the broiler for just 1-2 minutes.

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Enjoy!

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My “New” Chairs

This post sort of has to do with food. We sit on these “new” chairs while eating delicious vegan food . . .

Our dining room chairs were beginning to show their age and I had already reupholstered them once before. We had inherited a new table, but the chairs didn’t match. *GASP*! Can you imagine?! ;-) The set had been a housewarming gift when we bought our first house back in 2002, so when we went shopping, we had no idea how dang expensive good quality chairs were. We would have paid anywhere between $800-$1000 for 6 chairs. In the end, I decided to go all DIY on them . . .

Chairs

Between fabric (worth waiting for a sale–saved 50%), paint, and supplies, I spent $102—for all six chairs. Don’t you love recycling?!

I chose to accent two of the six chairs with this fabulous patterned yellow fabric; the others in the gray chevron.

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Sure, there’s work involved, but I had these babies done in less than 3 days. My search is now on for a rug, which unfortunately, I don’t think I can whip up from anything I have already. Any recommendations for a durable, earth-friendly rug?

Meatless Mushroom Ragu

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Hello! 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.

INGREDIENTS:

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

DIRECTIONS:

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

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Transfer 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.

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Transfer the Field Roast, tomatoes, mushrooms, salt and pepper, vinegar, and wine in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

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Serve over cooked pasta and top with fresh basil. Enjoy!

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Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Cashew Cheese

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A BIG thank you goes out to Luminous Vegans for this outstanding recipe. When I saw it a couple of weeks ago, it immediately bookmarked it. This also reminds me a bit of the Sweet Potato Ravioli I made a while back, which was also a favorite. Everyone loved this—a keeper for sure. The only thing I did different was made a full box of jumbo shells (about 40 shells), otherwise, I followed the recipe as it was. These are not overly squashy tasting, thanks to the amazing cashew cheese. You can make the filling ahead of time and store it in the fridge until ready to use, which is a time saver, but not a must. From start to finish, it took me about an hour and a half of (easy) prep and cook time.

INGREDIENTS:

1 box jumbo shells

1 large butternut squash

1/3 C chives, chopped

1/3 C basil, chopped

salt and pepper

1 jar marinara sauce

Cashew Cheese:

2 C raw cashews, soaked in water for up to 2 hours, then drained

2 Tbs nutritional yeast

2 Tbs lemon juice

2 Tbs almond milk (I did add about another tablespoon)

1 tsp tahini (I accidentally used a tablespoon, hence, the extra almond milk, but it all worked out)

1/2 Tbs onion powder

1 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 450. Cut the butternut squash in half. Roast for 30-45 minutes. Oven temps and cooking times vary, so check after 30 minutes; the squash should be tender and soft.

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Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine all of the cashew cheese ingredients and puree until smooth. Pretty easy. In a medium bowl, combine the chives, basil, squash and about 1/2 to 3/4 C of the cashew cheese.

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Season with salt and pepper.

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Of course, while all this is going on, boil the shells (10-15 minutes). Once drained, stuff each shell with the filling. Don’t get too heavy handed—you can always add more to any of the shells.

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Layer on the jarred marinara sauce. I used about 3/4 of a jar. The rest will be great for a quick spaghetti lunch this week.

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Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. Enjoy!

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Vegan Oven Tacos

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Every week, when I’m writing up a grocery list, I always ask for dinner suggestions. It never fails. “Tacos.” It’s become a joke around here. When I saw this recipe on Pinterest for Oven Tacos, I knew my hegans would be very happy with a vegan version. These were definitely a hit. I had to laugh when the original recipe said that after the ground beef is cooked (yack!) “drain the liquid.” Oh, just say what it is! Grease! Melted animal fat! Ahhh . . . I love it; being vegan means never having to say, “drain the liquid/grease/fat.” Speaking of which, the Boca crumbles have zero fat, I use “no fat” refried beans, and there is no fat in the tomato sauce. Obviously, these aren’t totally fat free, but can you imagine the fat content alone in the original ones? Yikes! So, not only are these amazing, they’re actually healthy for you. I’ve discovered these great whole grain taco shells that really are delicious. Psst . . . by the way, this makes A LOT. I made 13 tacos and had some filling left over, so I recommend either serving these to a crowd, or freezing half the filling for the next taco night.

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INGREDIENTS:

1 bag Boca Crumbles

1/2 large onion, chopped

1 Tbs olive oil

1  15-oz can no fat refried beans

1 small can diced green chilies

1 packet taco seasoning

1  8-oz can tomato sauce

Daiya cheese shreds

13-14 taco shells

Toppings:

green onion, sliced

sliced black olives

fresh cilantro, chopped

diced tomatoes

guacamole or diced avocado

salsa

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 400. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and saute until softened and beginning to brown. Add the Boca Crumbles and cook 4-5 minutes, or until they are heated through. (No need to drain any “liquid”)! In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the seasoning mix with 1/2 to 3/4 C of water;  stir into the Boca mixture. Next, add the tomato sauce, green chilies, and beans. Combine well over medium-low heat.

DSC07837

 

Fill the taco shells with the mixture. I wanted to leave plenty of room for toppings, so I filled them about a third of the way up, but feel free to use as little or as much as you want. Like I said, I made 13 tacos—enough to fill a 9×13 baking dish, so if you’re making more, you’ll want a larger dish. And be careful, they break easily with the thick filling inside (especially after they’re baked). Sprinkle with some Daiya cheese.

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Bake for 10 minutes. The bottom portion of the shell (that has the Boca filling) will have the awesomeness of a soft taco, but the flavor of corn. THEN, the top half is crunchy—best of both worlds!

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Load them up with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

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Creamy Dill and Chive Potato Salad

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What better way to welcome spring than making a big bowl of potato salad?! We Coloradans have had enough of cold weather although we should be careful what we wish for because we’ll be in the mid-80s this week. Oh well, much better than snow.

INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs red potatoes, cubed

2 tsp Better than Bouillon paste (optional)

6 celery stalks, sliced

1 C green onions, sliced

1/2 C parsley, minced

Sauce:

1/2 C vegan mayo

1/3 C vegan sour cream

2 Tbs Dijon mustard

2 Tbs garlic powder

3 Tbs apple cider vinegar

1/2 C dill, chopped

1/2 C chives, chopped

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

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DIRECTIONS:

I whisked together the bouillon paste and water in a large pot for some added flavor, but this is certainly optional. Bring to a boil and add the potatoes. Boil for about 20 minutes, or until they are softened, but still firm. However, you may decide to cook them longer to make a softer salad, just keep in mind, that you could end up with a mashed potato salad, which isn’t the end of the world; it’ll actually make the salad even creamier (which is actually how mine turned out). It’s all a matter of preference. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the celery, green onions, and parsley; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, sour cream, Dijon, garlic powder, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. Stir in the dill and chives.

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Once the potatoes are where you want them, drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a large bowl and using a rubber spatula, carefully fold in the celery mixture.

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I suppose you could actually combine the celery mixture and the sauce together first to save a step, as well as save the potatoes from being stirred too much. Either way, you get the idea. Fold in the sauce and chill for at least 2 hours, then enjoy!

 

Tofu Sliders

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This recipe is from Vegetarian Times, but I made just a few alterations. The original recipe is called “Kung Pao Sliders,” but I’m not sure where the kung pao is because they weren’t spicy at all—the recipe only calls for an optional pinch of cayenne. The recipe also says it makes 16 sliders and I sliced the tofu the same way and ended up with just 14. Next time, I’ll actually just cut large slabs instead of using 2 per slider, because they were pretty small. If you want them to have more of a kick, I suggest adding more cayenne, or some sriacha to the slaw mixture. Ok, with all of that out of the way, I have to say, these were quite delicious. The slaw is really flavorful and any leftovers would be great eaten alone, or on some rice or noodles. I made some fries to go with them and it was a great meal. (I guess you can call it “Frasian” dining . . .)

INGREDIENTS:

Sliders:

1 14-oz pkg extra firm tofu, patted dry

4 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce (I used tamari)

2 Tbs natural cane sugar

2 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp cornstarch

(I also added 1 Tbs yellow miso)

slider buns

Slaw:

3 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce (or tamari)

2 Tbs vegan mayo

2 Tbs creamy peanut butter

5 tsp natural cane sugar (I reduced this to 2 tsp)

2 Tbs rice vinegar

2 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/8 tsp black pepper

4 medium carrots, julienned* (I recommend 2 carrots, as there was a lot of slaw left—unless you’re fine with that)

2 medium (I recommend small ones) zucchini, julienned*

1/4 C dry-roasted peanuts, chopped

Optional: sriacha or other hot sauce for some heat

*Another option is to use a peeler and make ribbons of carrots and zucchini—this can be much easier than julienning them.

DIRECTIONS:

I recommend making this a couple of hours ahead of time to allow the tofu to marinate and give yourself plenty of prep time. The recipe says to cut the tofu into 8 slices lengthwise; halve the slices to make 16 pieces. I did the best I could. (Again, next time I’ll make larger cuts)

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In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, cane sugar, toasted sesame oil and cornstarch. (This is also where I added in the miso). Pour about a third of the sauce on the bottom of a baking dish and place the tofu squares in the pan. Pour the remaining sauce over the tofu to coat it.

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Cover and chill while you prepare the slaw. Basically, whisk together all of the slaw ingredients (minus the veggies and peanuts) in a large bowl. Stir in the carrots, zucchini, and peanuts. Cover and chill.

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Preheat oven to 375. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and transfer the tofu to the sheet. The recipe says to drain the tofu, but I just poured the marinade over the tofu.

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Bake 20-25 minutes, then flip and bake 15-20 minutes. I reduced the times a little from the original recipe because mine seemed to bake pretty fast. Every oven runs different, so just check them often to make sure they’re not burnt to a crisp. On to assembling them . . .

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Add about 2 Tbs of slaw and you’re ready to eat! Enjoy!

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Vegan Baked Jalapeno Poppers

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The Eighth Grader and I have been wanting to try making these for a while, but we kept forgetting. We were to bring an appetizer to a dinner the other night and finally! I remembered these. Not only that, our friends love jalapenos, so these were ideal. They were literally gone in about 5 minutes. They were so easy to make, too, so I’ll be bringing them to the next get together.

INGREDIENTS:

10 jalapeno peppers

Filling:

6-oz vegan cream cheese
1/2 C Daiya cheese shreds (I used a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2-3  Tbs vegan bacon bits

Coating:

Egg-replacer powder + water
almond milk

Breading:

3/4 C flour (any variety)
4 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 to 1-1/2 C panko

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 375. To make the filling, combine all of the ingredients, except the bacon bits, in a mixer. Once well incorporated, fold in the bacon bits; set aside. To prepare the peppers, cut the tops off and slice the peppers in half, length-wise. Clean out the insides, reserving any seeds you may want to keep (for heat).

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To prepare the coating, I didn’t measure out the egg-replacer powder and water .  .  . sorry. But I can tell you, I used about 1/3 C of Ener-G Egg Replacer and created a thick, meringue-like consistency by whisking in some water. I then combined it with about 1/2 to 3/4 C of almond milk.  Next, combine the flour and nutritional yeast in a shallow bowl.

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In another shallow bowl, pour in the panko. So here’s the process:

Fill the pepper halves with some cream cheese filling, roll it in the milk, then the flour filling, then the panko. Place onto a lightly greased baking sheet.

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Repeat with remaining peppers. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops begin to brown. I threw them under the broiler for about 2 minutes. Enjoy!

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And guess what . . .  it’s snowing! Again! I’m so over it.

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Luckily, the veggies we planted in March are doing fine. Of course, we had to cover them again last night, but we should only be getting 3 inches at the most.  I suppose the good thing is that this will help with this summer’s fire danger. But still . . . why can’t it just rain?!

Vegan Deep Dish Pizza

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There are certainly more than one way to make pizza—this one in a 9×13″ baking dish, plus you can use whatever pizza toppings you want. I used Pillsbury’s pizza crust, and yes, I know . . . even though it’s vegan, it’s not the healthiest food, but it’s definitely not a staple at our house and it worked perfect for this meal. Whichever crust you decide to use, you’ll enjoy this deep dish classic!

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INGREDIENTS:

1 Pillsbury Pizza Crust

1 Tbs olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, cut into thin strips, then cut in half

2 small zucchini, sliced thin

2 C mushrooms, sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

28-oz can diced tomatoes, with juices

24 slices of veggie pepperoni

1 Tbs Italian seasoning

Salt and pepper, to taste

Daiya cheese mozzarella shreds

Optional: 2 Field Roast sausages, Italian flavor, crumbled

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 400. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and then add the garlic; cook 2 minutes. Add the onions and bell pepper and cook 5 minutes, or until they begin to soften. Add the zucchini and mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes.

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Add the can of tomatoes and combine well. Let it simmer for 10 minutes.

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Meanwhile, line the bottom of a 9×13″ baking dish with the pizza dough. It doesn’t need to be perfect—as seen by mine . . .

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Bake for 6-8 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375. Next, sprinkle a little Daiya cheese on the crust, then spoon the veggie mixture on top of the crust. I left a little bit of an edge all the way around.

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Top with some more Daiya cheese and the veggie pepperoni.

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Bake for 20 minutes. Cut and enjoy!

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Creamy Wild Rice Soup

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Colorado weather has been staying true to form, showing us just how schizophrenic it can be in the springtime. We’ve had 70 degree days and suddenly, we’re hitting the 20s and getting snow. Yesterday was one of those bone-chilling days which always makes me want to put on a pot of soup. I love experimenting with soups because it’s so easy. I have to say, this is probably one of my favorites—rich, creamy, and flavorful. I was already told that I need to make it again soon, and the Eighth Grader actually took leftovers to school today for lunch. He never takes leftovers! After a warm up this weekend, we are expected to get some more rain/snow next week, so I just may have to make this again. Darn. ;-)

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs olive oil

3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced

2-3 celery stalks, sliced thin

1 medium onion, diced

7 C vegetable broth

1 C wild rice mix (I used Whole Foods 365 Everyday brand)

1 large russet potato, peeled and diced

1 carrot, grated

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper

1 Tbs nutritional yeast

4 Tbs Earth Balance

6 Tbs flour (any variety)

2 C almond milk

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DIRECTIONS:

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil then add the garlic; cook 1 minute. Add the celery and onions and cook 3 minutes, or until they begin to soften.

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Add the broth, rice and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook another 15 minutes, or until they soften, but are still a little firm. Stir in the carrots and nutritional yeast.

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Meanwhile, to make the roux, melt the Earth Balance in a medium pan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, one tablespoon at a time. You’ll have a thick, batter-like consistency. Slowly add the almond milk—a little at time—and continue to stir until it is all incorporated and thickens. This shouldn’t take more than 8-10 minutes.

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Remove and discard the bay leaves, then slowly pour the roux into the soup and combine well. Reduce the heat to low and let it cook 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

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Mock Tuna Salad

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I never like to spend a lot of time preparing lunch, which can make it difficult to come up with something. Not only is this easy to throw together, but it makes plenty for a few lunches. The recipe is adapted from 1000 Vegan Recipes. If you’re not a fan of garbanzo beans, I suggest trying white beans instead. I also added chopped cashews, but sunflower seeds, chopped almonds, or pepitas would also be great. Cucumber can be subbed in for the celery as well and a tablespoon of nutritional yeast wouldn’t hurt either. Miss the omegas? Toss in some flax seeds! The recipe calls for 1 tsp of kelp powder and of course, the only amount I could buy was a pound. A pound of kelp powder?! Sure! I put that on . . . and . . .What do you use kelp powder for? (besides mock tuna salads)? Well first of all, it helps to know that kelp powder is loaded with health benefits. According to Livestrong.com it helps lower LDL cholesterol, lowers breast cancer risk, lowers blood sugar, and is a great source of iodine. After some research, I found it’s great to throw it in  your smoothie, sprinkle it on your veggie sushi rice, add it to bread dough, and even use it as a seasoning—in place of salt. What do you use kelp powder for? 

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INGREDIENTS:

2 cans garbanzo or white beans

2 stalks celery or 1/2 C cucumber, chopped small

1/4 C minced onion

1/2 C cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, or pepitas, chopped

1 Tbs nutritional yeast

1 tsp capers, drained and chopped

1/2 C Vegenaise (or other vegan mayo)

2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp kelp powder

Salt and pepper, to taste

Lettuce leaves

Tomato slices

8 slices of bread

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium bowl, coarsely mash the beans, or chopped them up on a cutting board. Add the celery (or cucumber), onions, nuts, capers, mayo, lemon juice, mustard, nutritional yeast, and kelp powder. Season with salt and pepper if you’d like. Combine thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Serve on bread with the lettuce and tomato and enjoy!

Gluten-Free Burrito Bowls with Avocado-Lime Rice

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This is my new favorite versatile meal. I saw this recipe for the avocado rice, where they also suggested making burrito bowls using it. Obviously, I wasn’t keen on their meat and dairy version, so I made my own, healthier ones. I also made some changes to the rice recipe by using this awesome rice from Lundberg. The guys tend to be white rice kind of men, but there were no complaints! It’s a blend of sweet brown rice, short grain brown rice, long grain brown rice, whole grain Wehani (brand) rice, whole grain black Japonica (brand) rice.

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And I have to mention the quite ingenious Velcro re-closeable bag!

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This is such a fresh, simple, and healthy meal where everyone in the family can create their own with their favorite fresh ingredients. Now, my new favorite ingredient . . . is this tri-bean blend. Organic and on sale for $1 a can! Love these. Packed with protein and fiber.

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So, on to the recipe!

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 6 bowls)

Rice:

3-1/2 C water

2 C Lundberg Jubilee rice

2 avocados, mashed

1/2 C cilantro, chopped

zest and juice from one lime

The beans:

3 cans tri-bean blend (black bean, pinto, and kidney)

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp Ancho Chili pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 C water

The rest (toppings):

Green onion, sliced

Tomato, diced

Daiya cheese

Sour cream

Lettuce, chopped

Salsa

Corn tortilla crunchies/chips

DIRECTIONS:

The rice will take 35-40 minutes, so you’ll want to get that started first. Bring the 3-1/2 cups of water to a boil, add the rice, stir, cover, and reduce heat to low. Check after 30 minutes.

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Meanwhile, in a small to medium saucepan, add the beans, seasonings, and water. Heat on low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

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When the rice is done, stir in the mashed avocados, cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice.

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Fill a bowl with about 1 to 1-1/2 cups of the avocado rice . . .

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 . . . layer on some beans and toppings and enjoy!

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Roman Pasta Soup with Potatoes

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This is definitely a carb-lover’s soup! You certainly don’t have to use pasta and potatoes, but I think they work really well together in this soup. I used to make this soup a lot about ten or twelve years ago, but sort of forgot about it, especially since it used real bacon, but like most meat dishes, this one is easy to veganize. It’s incredibly easy to make and versatile, too. I think some chopped kale or mushrooms would be great additions.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 veggie bacon slices, diced

1 large onion, chopped

1/3 C fresh parsley, chopped

8-9 C vegetable broth

3 medium russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced

2 C pasta shells, uncooked

Black pepper, to taste

Daiya mozzarella

DIRECTIONS:

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the onions and veggie bacon and cook 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and cook another 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and broth and cook over medium heat about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are slightly tender. Add the pasta and cook 10 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked through. Season with black pepper and serve with Daiya cheese on top. Enjoy!

Field Roast and Avocado Burritos

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Yikes, it’s been a while. I have so many new recipes on my list to make, but I’ve been so busy with various different projects, that throwing together a simple favorite has been all I’ve had time for. I’ll get back into the swing of things. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be emerging from the cold and depressing days of winter! We even got our garden started this weekend. (I’ll be bringing you Garden Watch soon). In the meantime, here’s a fast and simple meal that is ready in less than 30 minutes.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs chipotle-flavored olive oil (or regular)

1/2 C yellow or white onion, chopped

1/2 C red onion, chopped

4 Field Roast Sausages, Italian Seasoning flavor, crumbled

2 avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced

4 Flour tortillas

Other (optional) burrito fillings: vegan sour cream, salsa, cilantro, diced tomatoes, Daiya cheese

 

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DIRECTIONS:

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the onions. Cook 5-7 minutes, or until they soften. Add the Field Roast and cook over medium heat until heated through, again, for 5-7 minutes.

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On a warmed tortilla, layer on some sour cream, Field Roast mixture, avocados, and any other burrito fillings you want. Roll up and enjoy! (See, I told you it was easy)!

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Creamy Baked Potato Soup

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I saw this recipe on Lunch Box Bunch and it looked delicious. Potatoes are a staple around our house and with these snowy days, it foot the bill nicely. I made some changes to it so this is an adaptation of the original. Absolutely delicious and full of flavor—a keeper for sure. It was very simple to throw together as well and dinner was ready in less than an hour. Makes about 7-8 cups.

INGREDIENTS:

Soup:

1/2 C almonds, blanched (boil in water for 1-2 minutes, drain, rinse and remove and discard skins)

3 C vegetable broth

2-3 large (4 C) russet potatoes, peeled and diced

1/3 C nutritional yeast

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

2-3 dashes cayenne

Garnish:

2 russet potatoes (2 C), diced peeling them is optional

1/2 C nutritional yeast

2-3 Tbs olive oil + 1 Tbs for sauteing

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 C onion, chopped

5-6 slices veggie bacon

4 green onions (white and green parts), sliced


DIRECTIONS:

Begin by making the garnish. Preheat oven to 400. In a medium bowl, combine the potatoes, nutritional yeast, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

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Layer the potatoes on a greased baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes, but check often. Roast until tender. Remove from oven and set aside.

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Meanwhile, boil the four cups of potatoes until tender. And while those cook . . . saute the onions and veggie bacon in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Set aside along with the green onions.

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Using a blender or food processor, grind the almonds. Add the nutritional yeast, broth, pepper, salt, garlic, and cayenne. Once the potatoes are done, drain and add them to the blender. Puree 1-2 minutes, or until completely smooth. (You can add the broth little by little in case you want it thicker). Transfer back to pan (that you used to boil the potatoes in) and heat over low to medium heat; stir often until heated through. Top each serving with some potatoes, veg bacon/onion mix and green onions. Enjoy!

Cherry-Zucchini Bread

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Sorry for my absence. We were all hit with a pretty nasty cold and it’s taken a couple of weeks to return to normal. The break did, however, give me way too much time to veg out and thanks to Hulu and PBS, I watched all three seasons of Downton Abbey. (If they keep killing off beloved characters, I’m going to have to stop watching; my heart can’t take it). Anyway, I’m back in the kitchen and it feels great. We spent the afternoon with our friends (both human and animal) at Beakon Hill Farm and Education Center. Their newest residents are a trio of adorable lambs. They took them in when they were just less than 24 hours old and have been bottle-feeding them for weeks. Randy and Teresa are such amazing people and are working toward making Beakon Hill a non-profit. It is home to some of the most wonderful animals: goats, horses, alpacas, hens, roosters, ducks, and many more.

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The Eighth Grader bottle-feeding one of the lambs

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Shiro’s just like a puppy, but with horns. His latest game is to push against you with his head.

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 Zee Man liked to follow us around as we shoveled poop from the pens . . .

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So I figured I’d bring along this amazing bread to share (with the humans) of Beakon Hill. The recipe is adapted from Hell Yeah it’s Vegan, because I made a few changes and added some ingredients. That’s the beauty of making two loaves; share the love!

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 2 loaves)

4-1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer
1/2 C warm water
1-1/4 C brown sugar
1/2 C applesauce
1/2 C canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 C zucchini, grated
2 C flour
1 C whole wheat flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbs cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 C dried cherries
1/8 C chia seeds (optional . . . I was out of them, but I would have definitely put them in if I had any)!

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 8x4x2″ loaf pans and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the egg replacer and warm water. Add the brown sugar, canola oil, vanilla and applesauce. I don’t usually keep applesauce on hand, but we definitely have plenty of apples, so I just pureed two apples in the food processor.

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Add the zucchini and blend until smooth. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and chia seeds (if using). Little by little, add the dry ingredients to the batter.

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Fold in the dried cherries. Divide the dough between the two loaf pans.

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Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until done in the middle (check using a toothpick or knife).

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Let them cool on a rack and lay a piece of foil loosely over the top to keep in the moisture while they cool. Slice and enjoy!

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Me holding Worf, the rooster.

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Macadamia Nut Cheese

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I was immediately smitten when I saw this recipe for macadamia nut “goat cheese” over at The Holy Kale. I haven’t met many nut cheeses I didn’t like, and this one looked too delicious not to try. I followed the recipe as it was written, but when I tasted it, I found into be incredibly bland. After all, there wasn’t any seasonings besides the tarragon it was rolled in. . . I took matters into my own hands because I sure the heck wasn’t going to waste the $7 I spent on two cups of macadamia nuts! A little salt, lemon juice, olive oil, and agave saved the day . . . and the cheese! Other than the texture, I don’t think this resembles goat cheese, but that doesn’t mean it’s not tasty–it most certainly is!

INGREDIENTS:

2 C macadamia nuts (I used unsalted), soaked for 24 hours in water
1 cap veggie Probiotic
1/2 C water
2-3 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp, or to taste, salt
1-2 Tbs agave
2-3 Tbs fresh tarragon, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

After soaking the nuts, drain and transfer to a food processor along with 1/2 a cup of fresh water and the contents of the probiotic capsule. Blend until smooth (you will probably need to periodically scrape the sides).

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Wrap in a cotton napkin or a few layers of cheese cloth and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

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Keep wrapped in the cloth and place into a bowl. Do not seal the bowl.

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Let it sit for 2 days on the counter and ferment. Unwrap . . .

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. . . and transfer to a bowl. Using a fork, blend in the lemon juice, salt, and oil. Taste and adjust seasonings/flavorings if need be. Wrap the cheese in plastic wrap, shaping into a log.

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Refriderate for several hours to overnight to allow the flavors to meet and mingle. The longer you let it percolate the better! Spread the chopped tarragon on a cutting board and roll the log over it. Drizzle with agave and serve with crackers. This would also be excellent crumbled over a salad. Delicious and worth the long process! Enjoy!DSC07277

Roasted Mushroom and Garlic Soup with Caramelized Onions

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I found this recipe on She Wears Many Hats, and knew it was right up my alley. I love mushrooms and it also has white beans, so I was hooked. I wasn’t expecting to change it up, but I ended up deviating off the recipe a little. It turned out fabulous; full of flavor! Not only that, it was pretty easy to make. The only thing that takes a while is caramelizing the onions, so I recommend allowing about 30-45 minutes for that—but well worth it!

INGREDIENTS:

6 C white and cremini mushrooms, quartered

3 – 15 oz cans white beans, not drained

5-6 large cloves of garlic, skins on

2 Tbs olive oil + a drizzle

Salt and pepper, to taste

8-10 fresh sage leaves

8-10 thyme sprigs + 1 Tbs fresh leaves

5 C vegetable stock (I recommend using Better Than Bouillon)

2 Tbs dried minced onions

Caramelized onions:

1 large white or yellow onion, sliced into strips

2 Tbs olive oil

2 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1 Tbs sugar

DIRECTIONS:

Begin with the onions. Combine the onions and olive oil and add to a medium skillet. Saute over medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes, or until they begin to brown. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook another 15 minutes; stirring often. Stir in the sugar and continue to saute until the onions are almost black and sticking to the skillet.

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Reduce heat to low. Of course, while you’re doing all of this, you’ll need to start the soup . . . Preheat oven to 450. Coat the mushrooms with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large baking pan. Add the sage and thyme sprigs. To prepare the garlic, place the cloves in the middle of a piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil and wrap up tightly; place onto the baking sheet.

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Bake/roast for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, add the broth, beans, salt, pepper (to taste), and the tablespoon of thyme to a large soup pot; bring to a simmer. Stir the mushrooms in the oven and roast another 10 minutes.

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Remove the thyme sprigs and discard. Gather the sage leaves and set aside. Transfer one cup of the soup broth to a blender, along with 2 cups of drained beans. Toss in the sage leaves and the two tablespoons of minced onion, along with the garlic (the skins should slide right off). Puree until smooth. Add the mushrooms to the soup and stir in the puree; season with salt and pepper if you’d like then bring to a simmer.

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Serve with some caramelized onions on top and enjoy!

Quinoa with Dried Apricots and Black Beans

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The next time someone asks you, “Where do you get your protein?” you can (politely) point out this dish as one of numerous options. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 amino acids essential to human health. It offers up roughly 8 grams of protein per cup and also passes along calcium, iron, folate, manganese, and other vitamins. Black beans also carry nearly 15 grams of protein per cup, so add some veggies and you have healthy lunch!

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 C red quinoa, rinsed and drained

1/2 C regular quinoa, rinsed and drained

1 tsp Better than Bouillon paste

1-1/2 C water

1 C fresh cilantro, chopped

1 C green onions, sliced

1 C dried apricots, chopped

1/3 C pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds)

1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp lime juice

2 Tbs red wine vinegar

2 Tbs olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium sauce pan, whisk together the bouillon and water; bring to a boil. Stir in the quinoa, cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cilantro, green onion, apricots, pepita seeds, salt, lime juice, red wine vinegar, and olive oil.

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Once the quinoa is finished, add it, along with the black beans to the bowl.

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Combine well and enjoy! (You can also chill it in a covered dish and serve cold).

Vegan Herbed Cream Cheese

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I think non vegans would find it pretty hard to know this is nondairy. (And when is it not fun to fool omnivores)? This is a Tofutti cream cheese-based dip/spread, but you could easily reverse the ratio of cream cheese and sour cream in this recipe and make it a sour cream-based one. It works great as a dip, dolloped on a baked potato, cracker spread, bagel topper, or sandwich condiment. It was ideal for veggie wraps . . .

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INGREDIENTS:

12-oz container of Tofutti cream cheese
1/4 C Tofutti sour cream
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbs dried minced onion
1 tsp salt
2 large green onion, sliced
1 Tbs lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Store in an airtight container and keep chilled until using. Enjoy!

Curry in a Hurry

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I’ve never made a curry sauce before, but I had a general idea of what went in it. I did make a rookie mistake, however, of trying to make it a little thicker by adding a smidgen of arrowroot and water. It made it a little clumpy and a bit too thick . . .it didn’t affect the taste, but I recommend not trying to thicken it up. All in all, it turned out delicious and I’d definitely make this again, especially because it came together in no time. I didn’t make it spicy, but we did top off our servings with some sriracha, which was perfect! I steamed some veggies, but you can saute them, too.

INGREDIENTS:

2 C long grain white rice

3 C water

2 tsp Better than Bouillon paste

Sauce:

1 Tbs olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

3 Tbs curry powder

1 can coconut milk

1/2 C water

1/2 tsp Better than Bouillon

1 Tbs sugar

1 tsp dried basil

3/4 tsp dried ginger

Salt and pepper

The rest:

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2″ pieces

1 C edamame

1 C mushrooms, sliced

1/2 C green onion, sliced

1 can sliced water chestnuts

Optional: Sriracha or other hot sauce

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DIRECTIONS:

Whisk together the 3 cups of water and 2 tsp of bouillon paste; bring to a boil. Stir in the rice and cook on low for 15 minutes. Prepare your veggies how you’d like: steaming or sauteing. (minus the green onions)

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Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat the olive oil and then stir in the curry powder; cook for 2 minutes.

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Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Combine the 1/2 C of water and 1/2 tsp bouillon in a cup, then add to the sauce pan. Whisk in the coconut milk and season with the basil, ginger, and salt, and pepper; add in the sugar. Let it simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Ladle over the cooked rice and veggies and add some heat, if desired. Top with green onions. Enjoy!

Lemon Monkey Bread

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I was going to post this recipe tomorrow, but after taking a bite, I think you might want to run out and buy the ingredients for tomorrow’s breakfast. So worthy of veganizing! You may have seen the original recipe on Pinterest . . . it’s definitely making the rounds and now I know why! The original recipe was a bit hard to follow because of the way it’s laid out—lots of really closeup pictures with some directions, then at the bottom of the post is the ingredient list and directions. It also wasn’t clear how long it was going to take to let these puppies rise, but luckily, it was only about 45 minutes. These are little pieces of glaze n’ sugar heaven; like a mini glazed doughnut! And the crunchy sugar topping?! Forgetaboutit! Frickin’ amazing and perfect for a brunch get together (that is, if you want to share)!

INGREDIENTS:

12 Rhodes dinner rolls, thawed, but still cold (I took them out of the freezer and stuck them in the fridge the night before)

Zest from one lemon

1/2 C sugar

3 Tbs Earth Balance, melted + some for greasing the pan

1/2 C powdered sugar

1 Tbs lemon juice

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DIRECTIONS:

Grease (very well) the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking dish. Cut each roll in half . . .

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. . . and place flat-side down into the pan.

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Drizzle with the melted butter . . .

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In a small bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Sprinkle half of the sugar mixture on the top of the rolls.

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Cover and let rise for 45 minutes, or until they have doubled in size. (I turned my oven onto the lowest temp: 190. Placed the covered rolls inside and just cracked the oven door. Works beautifully)!

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Preheat oven to 350. Sprinkle the rest of the sugar on top.

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The original recipe says to bake them for 20-25 minutes, but mine were ready in about 16-17 minutes. Check often as all ovens run differently. And let me tell you, these smelled SO incredible as they baked!

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Remove from the pan onto a plate. In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Drizzle on top. Thoroughly enjoy!!

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UPDATE:

I recently made these with cinnamon and sugar . . . YUM!

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Prepare them the same as above, but use 1/3 C sugar (I reduced the amount from 1/2 C), 1 Tbs cinnamon, and zest from one orange. This is a quick and easy alternative to cinnamon rolls, especially if you’re short on time. Enjoy!

Zucchini, Tomato & Ricotta Tart

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This was so good and so easy to make! Yes, I know, puff pastry—even though it’s vegan—isn’t the healthiest of foods, but once in a while, it’s okay. In fact, it’s downright fun to come up with recipes using it. This is the perfect time to break out the mandolin slicer (if you’re brave enough). I’m still too freaked out to use it after my mishap with it.  Anyway, I used my go-to ricotta cheese recipe which makes more than what you need for this, but the rest will freeze well or keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. It’s great mixed in some cooked pasta with veggies, or small batch of a stuffed shells. You can also just halve the recipe if you’d like. This dish works as a main meal, or cut into small squares, is ideal as an appetizer. Check out these other tart recipes: Savory Vegetable Tart and Savory Asparagus Tart.

INGREDIENTS:

1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
1 medium zucchini, sliced thin
2 tomatoes, sliced thin
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Ricotta:

14-oz tub of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 tsp basil (sometimes I use fresh basil–about a cup)
1 tsp rosemary (Again, you can use 1 Tbs of freshly chopped rosemary)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/3 C nutritional yeast
Optional: 1/4 to 1/3 cup of vegan mozzarella, shredded

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350. On a floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to fit an 11″x17″ cookie sheet. It’s ok if the edges go over the side—just tuck them in. Stick with a fork in several places.

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Bake for 7-10 minutes (check it to make sure it’s not browning). You want it just toasted:

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To make the ricotta, combine all of the ingredients (except the cheese, if using) in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl, then stir in the cheese.

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Spread about a cup or so of the ricotta onto the puff pastry. You can use as little or as much as you’d like. Top with the tomato slices. I got about 9 slices, so I spaced them evenly on top.

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Next, layer on the zucchinis. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

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Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges of the crust brown the zucchinis are tender.

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Transfer to a large cutting board, then cut and enjoy!

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Hearty Vegetable Stew

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The guys went snowboarding yesterday, so I figured this soup would be great for them to come home to. It may not have healed the bruises and bumps, but it did hit the spot. This is much like beef stew but without the cancer-causing, artery-clogging, animal carcass. Yum!

INGREDIENTS:

1 C white onion, chopped

2 Tbs olive oil

2 large cloves of garlic, crushed or minced

1/4 C flour

1 C red wine

7 C vegetable broth

1 Tbs vegan Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp dried rosemary

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

4-5 celery stalks, sliced

3 large carrots, sliced

2 C mushrooms, quartered

2 Tbs arrowroot

1 Tbs dried minced onion

DIRECTIONS:

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the onions and cook over medium heat until they begin to soften and brown. Stir in the flour and coat the onions well and cook 2 minutes.

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Whisk in the wine and let it simmer for about 2 minutes.

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Whisk in the broth, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper, then drop in the bay leaf. Cover and let simmer over low to medium heat for 15-20 minutes.

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Add the potatoes, celery, and carrots and cook 20-25 minutes, or until the veggies soften, but not too much—you don’t want them mushy. Add the minced onions and mushrooms and let them cook down a little—about 5-7 minutes. The soup wasn’t quite as thick as I wanted it, so I mixed together the arrowroot with just over an 1/8 cup of water and then poured it into the soup. As always, it worked like a charm. Enjoy!

Mexican Pasta Casserole

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I’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.

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

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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.

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

Spicy Empanadas

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Happy New Year!

We spent our New Year’s Eve with friends and I brought these empanadas. I’ve made similar ones before and I noticed that I had written 5-6 jalapenos for that recipe. Those must have been some pretty mild peppers, because I used one in this recipe and they were plenty zippy! I changed these up a little and they turned out great. I think adding a chipotle-flavored Field Roast sausage link would also be great for the filling. I’m going to have to figure out how to keep them from opening up during the baking process, but it didn’t seem to make a difference in taste—they were gone in minutes!

INGREDIENTS:

Dough:

3 C flour + some for kneading
3 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer + 4 Tbs water
12 Tbs Earth Balance (1-1/2 sticks)
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs white vinegar
1/3 to 1/2 C water

Filling:

8-oz non-dairy cream cheese
2 Tbs lime juice
1 Tbs almond milk + some for brushing
1 tsp shallot salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 C fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 C vegan pepper jack, shredded
1 tsp cumin
1 jalapeno, chopped fine
1/3 C red bell pepper, chopped small
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped small
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbs olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

To make the dough, combine the egg replacer with the water and process until foamy.

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Add the flour, Earth Balance, salt, vinegar, and water. Process until well combine.

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Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 3 minutes. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and garlic in a medium skillet. Add the onions, jalapeno, and bell pepper. Season with cumin and saute 5-7 minutes, then remove from the heat.

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Using a mixer, combine the cream cheese, lime juice, almond milk, shallot salt, and garlic powder. Stir in the cilantro, cheese, and pepper mixture.

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Preheat oven to 400. Roll out the dough and using a disk, bowl or cup, cut out 4″ circles.

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Place about a tablespoon of the filling in the middle of dough circle. Fold over and you can either use a fork to seal the edges closed, or a pastry wheel cutter, then place onto a large baking sheet.

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Bake for 15 minutes, then brush the tops with almond milk. Bake another 5-7 minutes, or until the tops brown. Enjoy!

Quinoa with Walnuts and Spinach

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I hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday! For the first time in many years, we had snow falling on Christmas Eve! You wouldn’t think that’d be such a rarity in Colorado, but a drought will do that to ya. It’s even snowing as I type! So I wasn’t sure what to call this dish because it has more than just walnuts and spinach it—it’s loaded with veggies. I served this warm, but I think it would be tasty cold as well.

INGREDIENTS:

1 C regular quinoa

1 C red quinoa

2 tsp Better Than Bouillon

3 C water

1 C spinach, chopped

4 green onions, sliced

4 mushrooms, chopped

1/3 C fresh parsley, chopped

2 Tbs chia seeds

1/2 C walnuts, chopped (and toasted, if you’d like)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tbs lemon juice

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DIRECTIONS:

In a medium or large saucepan, whisk together the bouillon and water and then bring to a boil. Add the two quinoas (you can also use tri-colored quinoa if you’d like), stir, reduce heat, and cover. Cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until just a little bit of liquid remains. Stir in the spinach, green onion, and mushrooms and let cook for a few minutes—just enough for the spinach to wilt and the mushrooms to cook down a little.

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Stir in the salt, pepper, chia seeds, and lemon juice. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and walnuts. Enjoy!

 

Hot and Sour Soup

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I have always wanted to try making hot and sour soup at home. Typically, Asian restaurants use a chicken or beef-based broth in their soups, so I usually have to pass on it. I found a recipe in Color Me Vegan, but I made some alterations to it. We loved the results! I went easy on the hot part, so feel free to spice it up more if you’d like.

INGREDIENTS:

1-1/2 oz dried mushroom variety such as shiitake, oyster, porcini, boletus and woodear

3/4 oz dried exotic mushrooms

14-oz extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into cubes

7 Tbs tamari or soy sauce, divided

1 Tbs canola oil

6 C vegetable broth

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp black pepper

1/4 C rice vinegar

1/4 C arrowroot

1 can bamboo shoots, sliced into thin strips

2-3 tsp chili sesame oil

4 green onions, sliced

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dried mushroom variety mix

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dried exotic mushroom mix

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3 packets of dried mushrooms

DIRECTIONS:

Combine the mushrooms in a bowl and cover with hot water. Let sit for about an hour. Drain, but reserve the liquid (approx. 2 cups). Then cut/slice the mushrooms.

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Preheat the oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with foil and coat with canola oil. You don’t have to use foil, but I find stuff still sticks to the pan regardless. Place the tofu on the baking sheet and drizzle with 4 Tbs of the tamari.

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Bake for 15 minutes and then turn the pieces. I’m sorry to say, there really isn’t an easy way to do this other than one by one . . . bake another 8-10 minutes.

DSC07107(These may look pretty scorched, but it’s actually just the baked-on tamari)

In a large soup pot, bring the broth to a boil, then add the mushrooms. Let simmer or med/low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and black pepper. In a small bowl, combine the arrowroot, rice vinegar, and 3 Tbs of the tamari. Whisk well to thoroughly combine. Stir into the soup and bring it to a boil.

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Add the bamboo shoots, tofu, and chili sesame oil; cook for 5 minutes. You may want to thin out the soup a little, so add some of the reserved mushroom water. I had two cups and ended up using it all–it just depends on how thick you want the soup. Top each individual serving with some green onions and enjoy!

Potato-Leek Chowder

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I’m finally back and I bring with me a satisfying, flavorful soup that is perfect for a winter’s night in. It’s quite easy to make, particularly if you have an immersion blender (which I don’t, but I suspect I may find one under the tree come Christmas ;-) )

INGREDIENTS:

5 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ dice

2 large leeks (mostly white parts with a little of the green parts), chopped

4 C veggie broth (I really like Better than Bouillon)

3 Tbs Earth Balance

2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced

6 Tbs nutritional yeast

1 C almond milk

2 tsp shallot salt

1 tsp celery salt

2 dashes black pepper

2 dashes white pepper

Optional ingredients: croutons, vegan cheddar shreds, sliced green onion, vegan sour cream

DIRECTIONS:

In a large soup pot, heat the Earth Balance and garlic over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute about 10 minutes, or until the leeks begin to soften.

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Add the potatoes and broth and simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. I prefer to not cook them too much, as I don’t want real mushy potatoes. I then transferred the soup to a food processor, working in batches. Each time, I added 2-3 Tbs of the nutritional yeast and some of the almond milk until I was out of each. I try not to blend it too much, as I like a few potato chunks left in there. If you use an immersion blender (any suggestions on brands, anyone?) slowly add the milk and nutritional yeast as you blend the soup. Season with the salts and the peppers and serve with your favorite soup toppings! Enjoy!

Cinnamon-Soaked Wheat Berry Salad

I’ve never had anything with wheat berries in it . . . at least I don’t think so. I had bought a bag a while ago for another recipe (that I can’t even remember now) and so when I saw this recipe in Vegetarian Times, I decided to give it a try. Wheat berries refer to the entire kernel, or whole grain form of the wheat. They’re a great source of fiber and are used in breads, pilaf mixes, stir-fry . . . you name it. It usually needs to be soaked for several hours ahead of time, so keep that in mind, otherwise, they’ll take forever to cook! This salad is delicious warm or cold and was great as a side dish for Thanksgiving.

INGREDIENTS:

Salad

1 C wheat berries

1 2″ cinnamon stick

1/4 tsp salt

3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4″ dice

1 heaping cup thinly sliced dried apricots

1/2 C toasted slivered almonds

6 Tbs chopped cilantro

Dressing

3 Tbs apple cider vinegar

3 Tbs olive oil

1 Tbs lemon juice

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp maple syrup

1/4 tsp cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

Soak the wheat berries and cinnamon stick in 3 cups of water for 8 hours or overnight. I didn’t have any cinnamon sticks, so I added a dash or two of cinnamon later on. Transfer the wheat berries and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. (This is where I added the cinnamon).

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for an hour. Drain any leftover liquid and remove cinnamon stick. In a small saucepan, blanch the carrots, then drain. Toss the carrots with the wheat berries, apricots, almonds, and cilantro.

For the dressing, blend all of the ingredients until creamy and season with salt and pepper. Stir into the salad, cover, and chill for about an hour. Enjoy!

Field Roast and Spinach Enchiladas (a.k.a. Best. Enchiladas. Ever.)

These were seriously enchilada magic. They were also very easy to make, which may have been because The Eighth Grader helped out. With or without help in the kitchen, you’ll have plenty of help eating these! This is also a great dish to trick those meat-lover friends and family and later, you can do the happy “Ha-Ha That Was Vegan And You Loved It” dance. (But try not to gloat too much). ;-)

INGREDIENTS:

Sauce:

28-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 C vegetable broth
2-1/2 tsp Ancho chile pepper
1-1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp salt
2 jarred roasted red peppers
2-3 large cloves of garlic

Filling:

2 tsp olive oil
2 Field Roast sausages, Chipotle style, crumbled
1 C onion, diced
5-6 C fresh spinach, torn into pieces, or chopped
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

The rest:

6 large flour tortillas
Daiya cheese shreds

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium saucepan, combine the diced tomatoes, broth, Ancho chile pepper, cumin, oregano, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook five minutes, or until the onion softens and begins to brown. Add the Field Roast and black beans and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.

While the filling is cooking, place the roasted red peppers and garlic in the food processor:

Add just half of the sauce and puree until smooth, then return it to the saucepan and combine with the other half of the sauce.

Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes. Stir the spinach into the filling mixture. You may need to add a tiny bit of water to get the steam going. I poured a little vegetable broth in. Cook until the spinach just begins to wilt, then remove from the heat.

To assemble the enchiladas, place about a third of the sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Fill each tortilla evenly with the filling and top with a sprinkle of Daiya cheese. I used a combo of cheddar and jack.

Roll up tightly and place fold-side down in the pan.

Top with the remaining sauce and sprinkle some more Daiya on top.

Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Top with some Tofutti sour cream, cilantro, and green onions (diced avocado is great, too)!

Enjoy!

Pesto-Potato Soup

 

I told you I’d find a way to use the pesto—or at least some of it. This soup, from Crash Test Vegetarian has become a mainstay around here. I’ve made small changes during the half a dozen times I’ve made it and I have to say, adding the pesto is probably my favorite variation. It reminds me of the Pesto-Potato Bread that is so delicious. Served with bread or croutons, this is a fabulous fall dinner.

INGREDIENTS:

4-5 C potatoes, peeled and diced

2 C celery, sliced

1 C onion, diced

4 tsp Better than Bouillon vegetable base

4 Tbs Earth Balance

6 Tbs flour

2 C almond milk

2 Tbs basil pesto

Salt and pepper

Vegan cheddar shreds, optional

DIRECTIONS:

In a large soup pot, whisk together the bouillon base with 6 cups of water. Add the celery and onions and bring to a boil. Stir in the potatoes and simmer 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes become tender. You should have just enough water to cover the potatoes and veggies, so if it’s too watery, you’ll want to drain some of the liquid. In a medium saucepan, melt the Earth Balance, slowly whisk in the flour; blend well. You’ll end up with a paste. Blend in the pesto. Little by little, add the almond milk and whisk thoroughly. Cook over medium/high heat and stir constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes. Pour into the soup and bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes until soup is thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

 

Vegan White Lasagna

So there are moments in history where you want to slap your forehead and say, “Seriously?” The OJ Simpson acquittal. . . Lady GagGag’s meat dress . . . the recent attacks on Sesame Street . . . Oh, and the terrible call that cost cost the Green Bay Packers the game against the Seattle Seahawks a couple of weeks ago . . .(that’s for you, Jessie)! I had a moment of forehead-slapping-followed-by-a-REALLY? when I forgot a key ingredient in this meal. Pesto. See . . . I even made it:

But I made it earlier in the day and forgot to use it. Wheresma pesto? In the fridge. For those of you unfamiliar with “wheresma,” let me give you a brief history. My dear and wonderful husband apparently earned the nickname, “Wheresma” because he often asked, “Where’s my (this)?” “Where’s my (that)? Enduring, right? No. Wheresma makes an appearance every once in while . . .

Anyhoo . . . I have to admit, the lasagna just wasn’t the same without the pesto. I highly recommend you don’t forget this ingredient. It was still tasty and leftover-worthy, but it didn’t have the flavor I was hoping for, so don’t forget the pesto!

INGREDIENTS:

Ricotta:

1 12-oz extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/3 C nutritional yeast
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 C vegan mozzarella

Pesto:

4 C basil leaves
1 C Italian leaf parsley
1 C pine nuts
4 cloves garlic cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 C lemon juice
2/3 C olive oil
6 Tbs vegan Parmesan cheese

White sauce:

3 Tbs Earth Balance
1/4 C flour
2 C almond milk
1/2 C white wine
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
Dash of nutmeg
1/3 C nutritional yeast (this is in the ricotta, so if you can leave this out, otherwise, I think it’s a great addition)

The rest:

12 lasagna noodles
5 C kale, cut into 1-2″ pieces
2 C sliced mushrooms
1 C onion, diced
olive oil
Vegan mozzarella, optional

DIRECTIONS:

Save yourself a headache by making the ricotta and pesto a day ahead, or at least earlier in the day. (Just don’t forget about them). For the ricotta, combine everything but the vegan mozzarella in the food processor. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese. To make the pesto, combine everything but the pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. Blend until smooth. Add the nuts and Parm and blend well.

I like using traditional lasagna noodles, as opposed to the no-boil variety. The trick is to not boil them too long. They’ll cook the rest of the way later on in the oven. I also made a small batch (8″x8″) pan, which meant cutting 2-3″ off the noodles in order to fit the pan. I ended up with 4 layers, but feel free to make 3 layers in a 9×13″ pan. So . . .to begin, start the noodles. Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook 5-7 minutes, or until the onions get tender. Add the mushrooms and kale and cook a few more minutes, until the mushrooms soften and the kale wilts.

To make the sauce, melt the Earth Balance. Slowly whisk the flour, a little at a time until you reach a thick paste.

Whisk in the milk a little bit at a time until there aren’t any clumps left. Stir with a whisk over medium-high heat until thickened, about 7 minutes.  Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Preheat the oven to 350. Drain the pasta and rinse it with cold water. Pour about half of the sauce mixture on the bottom of an 8×8″ baking dish. Lay 3 lasagna noodles (you’ll need to cut the noodles to fit) on the bottom of the pan. Spread on about 2 Tbs of ricotta on each noodle, then a layer of the pesto. Top with a thin layer of  the mushroom/kale mixture.

Repeat layers, ending with the final three lasagna noodles. Pour the rest of the sauce on top. Sprinkle with some vegan mozzarella if you’d like.

Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Enjoy!

Quinoa and Black Bean Burgers with Guacamole

 

Quinoa and black beans are two proteins that are just meant to be together. The original recipe for the burgers is from Vegetarian Times, but I made a few alterations. I also added a slice of Daiya cheese (Havarti style wedge) and I made some guac to top it off. The recipe also calls for steak seasoning, and as a vegan, I don’t typically stock up on that stuff, so I went with a blend of Old Bay and a Garlic and Wine seasoning. And don’t expect a dry consistency with these burgers—they’re crispy on the outside and soft and moist inside. These can be made ahead, and even frozen, so they make a great lunch as well when you don’t have a lot of time.

 

INGREDIENTS:

Burgers:

1/2 C quinoa (I used a blend of red, wheat, and black quinoa which I found in the bulk section of the store)

1 C onion, chopped fine

6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped fine

1 15-oz can black beans, drained, rinsed, and divided

2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced

1 tsp Old Bay seasoning

1 tsp Garlic & Wine seasoning

1/4 C flax seed

5-6 hamburger buns

Guacamole:

2 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded

1/2 C diced tomatoes

2 Tbs red onion, diced

1 Tbs lime juice

1/4 C cilantro, optional

2 tsp Mt. Elbert All Purpose Seasoning from  Savory

 

DIRECTIONS:

In a small saucepan, combine 1-1/2 cups of water with the quinoa and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, in a skillet, combine the onion and sun-dried tomatoes. The oil left on the tomatoes will be plenty of oil for sauteeing. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the onion softens. Add 3/4 cup of the black beans, garlic, seasoning, and 1-1/2 cup of water. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed.

 

Transfer the bean mixture to a food processor, along with 3/4 cup of the quinoa and process until smooth.

Transfer to a bowl and add the rest of the black beans and quinoa. I also added some flax seed to the mix. Season with salt and pepper.

(Yes, I know, it looks really unappetizing right now…)

I made these earlier in the day, so I covered the mixture and let it cool in the fridge for about an hour. When you’re ready to make the patties, preheat the oven to 350. Spray a pan with cooking spray and set aside. Make 5-8 patties (depending on how large you make them) and place onto the pan.

Bake for 20-22 minutes, then flip and bake another 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the guac, mash the avocados with a pastry blender. Add the other ingredients and combine thoroughly.

If using Daiya cheese, throw a slice or two onto the burgers during the last minute of baking—it’ll melt quickly.

Enjoy!