Cashew Cheese Risotto

Cashew Cheese Risotto -- Epicurean VeganJust so you  know, we’re not messing around with this risotto. I shudder to think what my vegan life would be like without cashew cheese. Obviously, the pure joy of the Creamy Macaroni with Cashew Cheese, would just not exist, as would the Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Cashew Cheese and the Pine nut and Cashew Ravioli. Not a vegan world I’d want to live in, folks. And the beauty of it all, is that cashew cheese is so simple to make, a monkey can do it, so it just doesn’t get any better. This baked risotto dish is creamy, decadent and outta this world (and into vegan heaven). And did I mention it’s easy to make? Ready in 50 minutes? No standing at the stove constantly stirring like traditional risotto; this entree (or side dish) practically cooks itself. Served solo or with garlic bread and a salad, you’re well on your way to cashew cheese nirvana.

INGREDIENTS:
5 C vegetable broth
1-1/2 C Arborio rice
1 tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C onion, diced
16-oz mushrooms, sliced, then cut in half
1-1/2 C green onion, sliced
2-3 C fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 C white cooking wine
2 Tbs vegan margarine
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1 recipe cashew cheese (see below)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cashew Cheese (makes 1 cup)
1 C raw, roasted and unsalted cashews (whole or pieces), soaked in hot water 1-2 hours
1/2 C water
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:
Start the cashew cheese first. Soak the nuts in a bowl with enough boiling water to just cover the nuts. Let sit 1-2 hours. Drain, rinse and transfer to a food processor. Add 1/2 cup of water and puree. While the machine is running, add the salt, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. Scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary; set aside.
Cashew Cheese Risotto -- Epicurean VeganPreheat oven to 350. Combine 4 cups of the broth with the rice in a Dutch oven. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. While the rice is baking, prepare your other ingredients. With about 10 minutes of cooking time left for the risotto,  heat the olive oil and garlic over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Once the garlic starts to brown, add the mushrooms and green onion. Reduce heat to medium-low and saute about 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach and let it cook 2 minutes. Once it starts to wilt, remove from the heat.
Cashew Cheese Risotto -- Epicurean VeganWhen the risotto is done (all the liquid is absorbed), stir in the remaining cup of broth. Then add the white wine, vegan margarine, salt and pepper. Stir vigorously for 2-3 minutes; this is what releases the starches and makes the risotto nice and creamy. Add the nutritional yeast and all of the cashew cheese. Stir until well combined. Fold in the mushroom-spinach mixture. And that’s it! Serve and thoroughly enjoy!

Cashew Cheese Risotto
 
Prep time
Cook time
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Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 5 C vegetable broth
  • 1-1/2 C Arborio rice
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 C onion, diced
  • 16-oz mushrooms, sliced, then cut in half
  • 1-1/2 C green onion, sliced
  • 2-3 C fresh spinach, chopped
  • ½ C white cooking wine
  • 2 Tbs vegan margarine
  • ¼ C nutritional yeast
  • 1 recipe cashew cheese (see below)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cashew Cheese (makes 1 cup)
  • 1 C raw, roasted and unsalted cashews (whole or pieces), soaked in hot water 1-2 hours
  • ½ C water
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp salt
Directions
  1. Start the cashew cheese first. Soak the nuts in a bowl with enough boiling water to just cover the nuts. Let sit 1-2 hours. Drain, rinse and transfer to a food processor. Add ½ cup of water and puree. While the machine is running, add the salt, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. Scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary; set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350. Combine 4 cups of the broth with the rice in a Dutch oven. Cover and bake for 45 minutes.
  3. While the rice is baking, prepare your other ingredients. With about 10 minutes of cooking time left for the risotto, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Once the garlic starts to brown, add the mushrooms and green onion. Reduce heat to medium-low and saute about 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach and let it cook 2 minutes. Once it starts to wilt, remove from the heat.
  4. When the risotto is done (all the liquid is absorbed), stir in the remaining cup of broth. Then add the white wine, vegan margarine, salt and pepper. Stir vigorously for 2-3 minutes; this is what releases the starches and makes the risotto nice and creamy. Add the nutritional yeast and all of the cashew cheese. Stir until well combined. Fold in the mushroom-spinach mixture. And that's it! Serve and thoroughly enjoy!

 

Dreamy, Creamy Pasta Salad

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

INGREDIENTS:
16-oz of pasta
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 C green onion, sliced
2 carrots, shredded
Sauce:
2 cloves of garlic
12.3-oz pkg. Mori-Nu Silken tofu, firm or extra firm
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbs yellow miso
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dill
2 Tbs vegan sour cream

DIRECTIONS:
Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Meanwhile, chop up the garlic cloves in the food processor, then add the remaining sauce ingredients. Blend until smooth, 1-2 minutes.

Dreamy, Creamy Pasta Salad -- Epicurean VeganAdd the veggies to a large bowl . . .
Dreamy, Creamy Pasta Salad -- Epicurean Vegan. . . add the pasta and then fold in the sauce. Combine thoroughly; serve immediately, or chill in the fridge. Enjoy!
Dreamy, Creamy Pasta Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

 

Garbanzo-White Bean Truffle Spread

Garbanzo-White Bean Truffle Spread -- Epicurean Vegan

This is a variation on the white bean truffle spread that I decided to whip up for our July 4th party. I’ve made the original version several times, but I wanted to change things up a little and I’m thinking I like this new version even better!

INGREDIENTS:
1 15-oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 15-oz can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 large (or two medium) clove of garlic, halved or quartered
1 tsp salt
5-6 large green onions (white and green parts) sliced
4 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs truffle oil

DIRECTIONS:
Add the salt and garlic to a food processor and process until the garlic is pretty well chopped up. Add the beans, lemon juice, salt, and green onions; puree until smooth. While the machine is running, add the truffle oil; blend well. If you have time, let it chill for an hour or two before serving. Enjoy on crackers, toasted baguette slices, or veggies.

Garbanzo-White Bean Truffle Spread -- Epicurean Vegan

Polenta Marsala

Polenta Marsala -- Epicurean VeganIt’s great to be back with a new recipe! I haven’t worked with polenta much, so I decided to take the easy route and use the pre-cooked version.

Polenta Marsala -- Epicurean VeganIt’s great when you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Having always liked Marsala-anything, I wanted to give it a try with polenta, another new favorite around here. The recipe calls for flour, but feel free to make this meal gluten-free by using another type of flour, such as rice flour. The Husband called this “f***ing brilliant.” Need I say more?

INGREDIENTS:

1-18oz tube of pre-cooked polenta (I used the basil garlic variety)
1-2 Tbs olive oil
2 C mushrooms, sliced (I recommend cremini or baby portobello)
1/2 C green onion, sliced
3 Tbs Earth Balance
1/4 C flour, any variety
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp black pepper
1  to 1-1/4 C vegetable broth
1/4 C Marsala cooking wine

DIRECTIONS:
Slice the polenta into about 18-19 slices.

Polenta Marsala -- Epicurean VeganIn a small bowl, combine the flour, marjoram, and pepper; set aside. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the polenta slices. You may have to do a couple of batches, like I did. Brown the polenta, about 5-7 minutes on each side.

Polenta Marsala -- Epicurean VeganOnce they are all browned, set aside. Wipe out the skillet and add the Earth Balance. After it melts, whisk in the flour mixture. Over medium heat, add the broth and Marsala, little by little, continually whisking until it’s smooth. You may have some extra broth leftover at this point, but hang onto it in case you need to thin the sauce out more later. Add the mushrooms and green onion, and mix together. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mushrooms cook down a little. You may need to add a little more broth to thin the sauce.

Polenta Marsala -- Epicurean VeganAdd the polenta slices to the pan and carefully fold them into the sauce. Simmer on low until the slices are heated through again. Enjoy!

Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

Tempeh Lettuce Wraps -- Epicurean VeganLettuce wraps are a favorite around here, especially since we can be picky and add what toppings we want. Oh, and they’re fresh and easy to make. I suggest having all of your ingredients out, ready to go, and even chopped before anything else; it just makes life easier. I was inspired by a Vegetarian Times recipe, but I made lots of changes by adding ingredients and omitting some. That’s the beauty of these . . . they’re so versatile.

INGREDIENTS:
Filling:
2 8oz pkg. tempeh, broken into chunks
5 large mushrooms, diced
1 can water chestnuts, chopped (I didn’t have any, but I would have used them if I did, so these are certainly optional)
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs fresh garlic, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1-1/4 C vegetable broth
1/4 C fresh mint, chopped
1/8 C lime juice
1 Tbs tamari
1 Tbs toasted brown rice vinegar
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp sriracha
1/4 tsp brown sugar
Sauce:
1/8 C lime juice
1/8 C water
1/8 C sugar
2 Tbs tamari
1 Tbs brown rice vinegar
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbs yellow  miso
salt and pepper, to taste
Toppings:
2 carrots, shredded
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into strips
Fresh basil, sliced into strips
1 C green onions, sliced
1 avocado, sliced into thin strips
1/2 C chopped peanuts and slivered almonds (also chopped)
12-16 large lettuce leaves

DIRECTIONS:
Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. To make the filling, pulse the tempeh in a food processor. Depending on your preference, you can pulse it until you’re left with course pieces, or process it a bit more like I did. It can be difficult to get a consistent texture if you want larger pieces.

Tempeh Lettuce Wraps -- Epicurean VeganHeat the oil in a large skillet and add the ginger and garlic. Cook for 1 minute, then add the tempeh (and water chestnuts, if suing) and broth. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Uncover, add the mushrooms, increase heat to medium-high, and cook ten minutes. Stir in the remaining filling ingredients and heat thoroughly.

Tempeh Lettuce Wraps -- Epicurean VeganSince you were so efficient in your prep work . . .  ;-) you’re ready to fill the lettuce wraps! Place a scoop in the center of the lettuce leaf and add your favorite toppings, and drizzle with about a tablespoon of the sauce. Enjoy!

Tempeh Lettuce Wraps -- Epicurean Vegan

Quinoa with Dried Apricots and Black Beans

Quinoa with Dried Apricots & Black Beans -- Epicurean Vegan

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.

Quinoa with Dried Apricots & Black Beans -- Epicurean Vegan

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

Quinoa and Rice Stir-fry with Cashews & White Beans

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

 

INGREDIENTS:

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

DIRECTIONS:

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

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

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

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

Wild Rice and Blueberry Salad

Wild Rice and Blueberry Salad -- Epicurean VeganThis recipe comes from Big Vegan cookbook and I thought, what a great combination of ingredients and flavors. The original recipe calls for raspberry vinegar, but after a long search at the grocery store, I found one bottle . . . for $5.99. The fact that I only needed 2 Tbs, and that I rarely come across recipes that call for this fancy vin, I decided to use rice vinegar. Besides, with the maple syrup, I wonder if the raspberry vinegar would make this salad a tad too sweet. Also, may I suggest you buy wild rice in bulk. I went to a regular grocery store (as opposed to Whole Foods, Vitamin Cottage) and they don’t have much in bulk. I picked up a small box of wild rice, but failed to notice (until I got home) that it’s only 4-oz. I needed 6 for this recipe. Who makes 4-oz boxes of rice?! Who needs only 4 ounces?! For 2.69 a box, I find it ridiculous that it’s under a cup of rice per box.

Wild Rice and Blueberry Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

This reminded me of the hilarious scene in Father of the Bride where Steve Martin loses it in the grocery store over hotdogs and hotdog buns. I think the people at the rice factory, got together with the people at the grocery store, and said, let’s make a small box of rice so that customers have to buy two boxes to reach a cup of rice, thus, leaving them with a little bit of rice left . . . Ok, it’s an exaggeration. Just outsmart the rice people and the grocery store people by buying wild rice in bulk.

Anyhow, this is an outstanding salad. I love the combination of flavors and is very simple to make. It’s got a unique sweet and tangy flavor and great for summer.

INGREDIENTS:

6-oz wild rice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C canola oil
2 Tbs raspberry (or rice) vinegar
2 Tbs maple syrup
1 C fresh raspberries
1 C fresh blurberries
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 large green onions, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Stir in the salt and rice. Let it cook anywhere from 25-45 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, cover and let it sit about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until cooled. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, and syrup together. It’ll get slightly thick.

Combine the celery and green onions with the rice.

Wild Rice and Blueberry Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

Fold in the berries, then toss with the dressing. Enjoy!

Cashew Stir-fry with Noodles

Cashew Stir-fry with Noodles -- Epicurean Vegan

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

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

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

Cashew Stir-fry with Noodles -- Epicurean Vegan

 

INGREDIENTS:

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

DIRECTIONS

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

Cashew Stir-fry with Noodles -- Epicurean Vegan

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

Cashew Stir-fry with Noodles -- Epicurean Vegan

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

Cashew Stir-fry with Noodles -- Epicurean Vegan

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

 

Chard and Field Roast Skillet

Chard and Field Roast Skillet -- Epicurean VeganI really love a warm breakfast of veggies. I used two Chipotle-flavored Field Roast sausages, but I think just one would have been enough. You can also choose one of their other varieties. I like that spicy kick of the chipotle ones. This can be enjoyed on it’s own, or wrapped in a tortilla.

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium potato, peeled and diced small
4 large Swiss chard leaves, stem removed and chopped
1 C mushrooms, diced
1-2 Field Roast sausages, crumbled
3 green onions, sliced
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

In about 2 tsp of olive oil, saute the potatoes over medium heat for about 10-12 minutes, or until they begin to brown and are tender.

Chard and Field Roast Skillet -- Epicurean Vegan

Add the Field Roast and cook another 5 minutes.

Chard and Field Roast Skillet -- Epicurean Vegan

Stir in the chard, mushrooms, and green onions. Slowly stir to let the chard cook down, about 3-4 minutes.

Chard and Field Roast Skillet -- Epicurean Vegan

Enjoy!