Potato-Filled Spinach Ravioli with Mushroom-Truffle Sauce

Potato-Filled Spinach Ravioli with Mushroom-Truffle Sauce -- Epicurean VeganHere I go again with the ravioli! Well, these could be like more like perogies, actually. Plus, I also added spinach to the dough which is definitely new for me. I’d been wanting to try that for a while now and I’m so glad I did. I’m already trying to figure out what other vegetables I can use to make pasta with. I made everything up earlier in the afternoon when I had some extra time, so when it came dinnertime, it was easy to throw it all together. The mushroom sauce with truffle oil is the perfect, light sauce for these raviolis; nothing too heavy and thick since the raviolis themselves have got some girth. Between the sauce and the fresh chives in the filling, this meal is packed with flavor and taste.

INGREDIENTS:
Dough:
1-1/2 C semolina flour
1 C whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 C warm unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbs olive oil
1 C minced spinach (about 4 C of fresh spinach leaves)
Filling:
2 medium potatoes
1 Tbs vegan margarine
1/8 to 1/4 C almond milk
1-2 Tbs fresh chives, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Mushroom-Truffle Sauce:
4 Tbs vegan margarine
2-3 C mushrooms, sliced
5 Tbs flour
1-1/2 to 2 C vegetable broth
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbs truffle oil

DIRECTIONS:
To prepare the dough, whisk together the two flours and salt. Add the olive oil and warm almond milk and blend a little to create large clumps of dough. Add the spinach.

Potato-Filled Spinach Ravioli with Mushroom-Truffle Sauce -- Epicurean VeganBlend well using either a wooden spoon, or your hands.
Potato-Filled Spinach Ravioli with Mushroom-Truffle Sauce -- Epicurean VeganKnead on a floured surface for 3-5 minutes. You may need to add more flour; the spinach adds a bit of moisture to the dough. Shape into a ball, wrap with plastic and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Potato-Filled Spinach Ravioli with Mushroom-Truffle Sauce -- Epicurean VeganYou can go about making the filling two ways: nuke the potatoes in the microwave until they are done, let them cool slightly, then peel them. The other way, is to peel them first, dice them up and boil them in either water or broth until they are tender. I went ahead and microwaved them, but you choose. I then transferred the cooked potato to a medium bowl, mashed them up, then added the margarine, almond milk, chives, salt and pepper. You can also use the food processor to make the potatoes super creamy and whipped, but I’m a lumpy mashed potato kind of girl, so I just used a potato masher for mine.
Potato-Filled Spinach Ravioli with Mushroom-Truffle Sauce -- Epicurean VeganTo make the raviolis, I love using my pasta maker and ravioli plate. If anything, I highly recommend the ravioli plate, but you can easily roll the dough out thin enough without using a pasta maker. I usually tell readers to THIS POST for a more detailed description of how to use the ravioli plate, as well as some helpful links. Fill each ravioli with about a teaspoon or so of the potato filling.
Potato-Filled Spinach Ravioli with Mushroom-Truffle Sauce -- Epicurean VeganIf you find that the dough is sticking to the ravioli plate (which I did), I recommend lightly spraying the plate with cooking spray and they’ll pop right off next time. I then transferred them to a baking sheet sprinkled with some semolina flour (which keeps the raviolis from sticking to the pan). I ended up with 54 raviolis. These can sit out and dry a little while you prepare the sauce.
Potato-Filled Spinach Ravioli with Mushroom-Truffle Sauce -- Epicurean VeganTo make the sauce, saute the mushrooms in the margarine in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and coat the mushrooms well. Little by  little, add the vegetable broth and stir. Once it starts to thicken, add a little more broth and keep doing that until you’re out of broth. Let it thicken up, but if it seems to be taking a while, turn the heat off, and let the sauce sit. It will get thick.
Potato-Filled Spinach Ravioli with Mushroom-Truffle Sauce -- Epicurean VeganNext, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the raviolis in 2-3 batches. I often hear that you shouldn’t cook more than 6 or 7 at a time, but I did them in two batches. First of all, they should be served immediately after being removed from the water (3-5 minutes) and second, they tend to stick together if you transfer them to a colander and wait until they’re all cooked before you serve them. I didn’t find any problems with cooking 25 at a time. Do what feels right to you though. If you’re going to cook them in several batches, I recommend oiling a large bowl and use a slotted spoon to transfer the raviolis to the bowl. The oil will help keep them all from sticking to one another.
Potato-Filled Spinach Ravioli with Mushroom-Truffle Sauce -- Epicurean VeganLadle some sauce over the raviolis and enjoy!

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Potato-Filled Spinach Ravioli with Mushroom-Truffle Sauce
 
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Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • Dough:
  • .
  • 1-1/2 C semolina flour
  • 1 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ C warm unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 C minced spinach (about 4 C of fresh spinach leaves)
  • .
  • Filling:
  • .
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 Tbs vegan margarine
  • ⅛ to ¼ C almond milk
  • 1-2 Tbs fresh chives, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • .
  • Mushroom-Truffle Sauce:4 Tbs vegan margarine
  • .
  • 2-3 C mushrooms, sliced
  • 5 Tbs flour
  • 1-1/2 to 2 C vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs truffle oil
Directions
  1. To prepare the dough, whisk together the two flours and salt. Add the olive oil and warm almond milk and blend a little to create large clumps of dough. Add the spinach.
  2. Blend well using either a wooden spoon, or your hands.
  3. Knead on a floured surface for 3-5 minutes. You may need to add more flour; the spinach adds a bit of moisture to the dough. Shape into a ball, wrap with plastic and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  4. You can go about making the filling two ways: nuke the potatoes in the microwave until they are done, let them cool slightly, then peel them. The other way, is to peel them first, dice them up and boil them in either water or broth until they are tender. I went ahead and microwaved them, but you choose. I then transferred the cooked potato to a medium bowl, mashed them up, then added the margarine, almond milk, chives, salt and pepper. You can also use the food processor to make the potatoes super creamy and whipped, but I'm a lumpy mashed potato kind of girl, so I just used a potato masher for mine.
  5. To make the raviolis, I love using my pasta maker and ravioli plate. If anything, I highly recommend the ravioli plate, but you can easily roll the dough out thin enough without using a pasta maker. I usually tell readers to THIS POST for a more detailed description of how to use the ravioli plate, as well as some helpful links. Fill each ravioli with about a teaspoon or so of the potato filling.
  6. If you find that the dough is sticking to the ravioli plate (which I did), I recommend lightly spraying the plate with cooking spray and they'll pop right off next time. I then transferred them to a baking sheet that is sprinkled with some semolina flour (which keeps the raviolis from sticking to the pan). I ended up with 54 raviolis. These can sit out and dry a little while you prepare the sauce.
  7. To make the sauce, saute the mushrooms in the margarine in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and coat the mushrooms well. Little by little, add the vegetable broth and stir. Once it starts to thicken, add a little more broth and keep doing that until you're out of broth. Let it thicken up, but if it seems to be taking a while, turn the heat off, and let the sauce sit. It will get thick.
  8. Next, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the raviolis in 2-3 batches. I often hear that you shouldn't cook more than 6 or 7 at a time, but I did them in two batches. First of all, they should be served immediately after being removed from the water (3-5 minutes) and second, they tend to stick together if you transfer them to a colander and wait until they're all cooked before you serve them. Do what feels right to you. If you're going to cook them in several batches, I recommend oiling a large bowl and use a slotted spoon to transfer the raviolis to the bowl. The oil will help keep them all from sticking to one another.
  9. Ladle some sauce over the raviolis and enjoy!

 

Rigatoni with Garlic-Ricotta & Field Roast

Rigatoni with Garlic-Ricotta & Field Roast -- Epicurean VeganThanks to the previous lasagna meal, I had a few ingredients leftover and I needed a fast and easy dinner to throw together. I had some tofu ricotta left, as well as two Field Roast sausage links, so it worked out beautifully. I wanted to make the ricotta more of a sauce, so I added some minced garlic and a bit of vegetable broth to thin it out. When I sauteed the Field Roast, some of the small crumbles got nice and crispy, creating a kind of crumbled bacon taste. Yum! Fresh tomatoes and parsley (basil would be great too) and the meal was ready in 15 minutes.

Rigatoni with Garlic-Ricotta & Field Roast
 
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Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Rigatoni pasta
  • 1 C tofu ricotta (see link above)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ C vegetable broth (I used a tsp of Better Than Bouillon + water)
  • 2 Field Roast sausage links, Italian Seasoning flavor
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • ½ C parsley, chopped
Directions
  1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
  2. Mince the garlic cloves in a food processor, then add the ricotta and vegetable broth. Process 30 seconds, or until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until heated through.
  3. Meanwhile, saute the Field Roast in a skillet with a tad of olive oil.
  4. To serve, top individual servings of pasta with some sauce, Field Roast, tomatoes and parsley. Enojy!

 

 

Vegan & Gluten-Free Lasagna

Vegan & Gluten-Free Lasagna -- Epicurean VeganI’ve had some rice lasagna noodles sitting in the cupboard for quite a while, so I thought I’d finally give them a try. They are from Ener-G (which strangely, I couldn’t find on their website). I was really impressed with them. You can use your favorite ingredients, but I went with tofu ricotta, mushrooms, spinach and Field Roast (which isn’t gluten-free, so omit for a 100% gluten-free dish). The noddles are the perfect size for an 8×8″ pan, so great for a small batch. I also recommend cooking them until they are completely done. Typically, when I make lasagna with regular noodles, I don’t cook them all the way because they tend to cook more in the sauce in the oven. These rice noodles, however, don’t do that, so make sure you cook them completely. I also usually add 2-3 extra ones in case any of the noodles come out ripped and unusable. I would certainly use these gluten-free noodles again—I thought they tasted great.

Vegan & Gluten-Free Lasagna -- Epicurean Vegan

Vegan & Gluten-Free Lasagna
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 9 servings
Ingredients
  • 12 Ener-G rice noodles (If you'd like, add 2 more if any rip during the boiling process)
  • 2 Field Roast sausage links, crumbled (I used Apple-Sage flavor--again, omit if you want this 100% gluten-free)
  • 2 C mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 C fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jar marinara sauce
  • .
  • Tofu Ricotta
  • .
  • 14-oz container extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and crumbled
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ⅓ C nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • Optional: ½ C Daiya Mozzarella shreds
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions (about 10-12 minutes).
  3. Prepare the ricotta by placing all of the ingredients, except the Daiya cheese, in the food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the cheese. Set aside.
  4. Saute the Field Roast in the olive oil and garlic on medium heat for 5-7 minutes.
  5. To assemble, pour about a cup of the marinara on the bottom of an 8x8" baking pan and top with three cooked noodles. Layer on some mushrooms, spinach and Field Roast. You can also spoon a little sauce on top.
  6. Repeat layers until you've topped the lasagna with the final three noodles.
  7. Pour the rest of the sauce on top.
  8. Cover with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes. Slice and enjoy!

 

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

Pine Nut and Cashew Ravioli with Fresh Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Basil -- Epicurean VeganI’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.

Pine Nut and Cashew Ravioli with Fresh Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Basil -- Epicurean VeganAs 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.
Pine Nut and Cashew Ravioli with Fresh Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Basil -- Epicurean VeganI ended up with 44 raviolis . . .
Pine Nut and Cashew Ravioli with Fresh Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Basil -- Epicurean VeganI 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.
Pine Nut and Cashew Ravioli with Fresh Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Basil -- Epicurean VeganBring 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!
Pine Nut and Cashew Ravioli with Fresh Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Basil -- Epicurean Vegan

Bowties with Veggies and Roasted Garlic Ricotta

Bowties with Veggies and Roasted Garlic Ricotta -- Epicurean VeganI’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

Bowties with Veggies and Roasted Garlic Ricotta -- Epicurean Vegan

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.

Bowties with Veggies and Roasted Garlic Ricotta -- Epicurean VeganMeanwhile, 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).

Bowties with Veggies and Roasted Garlic Ricotta -- Epicurean VeganDrain 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.

Bowties with Veggies and Roasted Garlic Ricotta -- Epicurean VeganAdd the pasta and ricotta and combine everything thoroughly, season with salt and pepper, and enjoy!

Bowties with Veggies and Roasted Garlic Ricotta -- Epicurean Vegan

Homemade Fettuccine with a Pesto-Butter Sauce

Homemade Fettuccine with a Pesto-Butter Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan It’s hard to believe we’re nearing the end of August. Right now, I can see a few leaves on the Sumac trees outside my window, already turning red. I feel as though I missed a great deal of our Colorado summer, spending it rather, in different parts of the U.S. (and in one case, another country). We experienced the gorgeous summer days of Victoria, BC, Seattle, San Francisco, a couple balmy days in San Diego, Sacramento, Napa, and finally wrapped up the season’s fun in New York City. I feel truly blessed that I was able to go on these trips with the people I love and adore. This morning, I was reminded of how lucky I am to have such times and that my family and I have our health. A young teacher at my son’s school, passed away last night from cancer. He had just celebrated his one-year anniversary with his wife. I didn’t know him, but he was to be my son’s English teacher this year. My heart goes out to his wife, who is also a teacher at the school. It makes me appreciate even more, the times spent together as a family. One of my favorite times is cooking with the Ninth Grader and the fun we have together making messes in the kitchen. This meal would not have come together without his help; him holding up the sheet of pasta dough while I crank it through the pasta maker. It may have looked like a circus stunt, but the results were nothing less than spectacular.

INGREDIENTS:
Pasta dough:
2 C semolina flour
1 C whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp salt
1 C warm almond milk
2 Tbs olive oil
Pesto Sauce:
2 to 2-1/2 C fresh basil leaves
1/2 C parsley
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 C lemon juice
1/4 C olive oil
1 C pine nuts (sunflower seeds, walnuts or almonds would work great, too)
3 Tbs Earth Balance margarine
The rest:
2-3 C mushrooms, sliced
1 C green onions, sliced
1 Tbs olive oil
1 large tomato, diced
1 C walnuts, chopped and toasted

DIRECTIONS:
To make the dough, whisk together the flours and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the warm almond milk and olive oil. I recommend using your hands to then blend everything together thoroughly. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. I divided the dough into fourths and proceeded to feed each section through the pasta maker to make long sheets, then through the fettuccine portion. I found that four hands make this job much easier, if not necessary. You’ll want to let the pasta dry up a little. I don’t have any pasta drying racks, so I improvised . . .

Homemade Fettuccine with a Pesto-Butter Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan These methods worked beautifully. Time-consuming, perhaps, but a necessary step—otherwise, you’ll have a bunch of fettuccine noodles stuck together in one big mess. While the pasta drying, make up the pesto. You can also make this earlier in the day to save time. Toss the basil, parsley, oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor and blend for about a minute. Add the nuts and blend until smooth. Transfer to a covered dish and refrigerate until ready to use. To make the sauce, I added about half of the pesto and 3 Tbs of Earth Balance to a small saucepan over medium to low heat. Let the butter melt, stirring often.

Homemade Fettuccine with a Pesto-Butter Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan Now would be a good time to get a large pot of salted water boiling. While you’re waiting, heat the one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and add the mushrooms and green onion.

Homemade Fettuccine with a Pesto-Butter Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan Saute 3-5 minutes, depending on how cooked you want the mushrooms to be. Meanwhile, the Ninth Grader toasted the walnuts in a small, dry skillet.

Homemade Fettuccine with a Pesto-Butter Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan Have your dinner plates ready because once the water is boiling, the small batches of pasta will cook quickly. I think I cooked all of the pasta in 4 batches. This recipe will easily feed 6 people. The pasta will stick together if you cook it all at once, so I recommend having everyone dish up as you go. You can also drizzle a little olive oil over the cooked noodles to keep them from getting sticky. Top each serving with a tablespoon or two of pesto sauce, mushroom mixture, tomatoes, and walnuts. Enjoy!

Homemade Fettuccine with a Pesto-Butter Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan

Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Cashew Cheese

Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Cashew Cheese -- Epicurean VeganA 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.

Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Cashew Cheese -- Epicurean VeganMeanwhile, 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.

Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Cashew Cheese -- Epicurean VeganSeason with salt and pepper.

Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Cashew Cheese -- Epicurean VeganOf 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.

Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Cashew Cheese -- Epicurean VeganLayer 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.

Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Cashew Cheese -- Epicurean VeganBake at 350 for about 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Cashew Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

Alfredo Ravioli (and a beautiful white morning)

Alfredo Ravioli -- Epicurean VeganFirst, I had to snap a few pictures this morning of the snow because by tomorrow, most of it will be gone. This is a photog’s dream and the time I love snow—so beautiful.

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DSC07688So anyway, as you probably know, I go through phases when I discover certain meals. For example, when I discovered stuffed peppers, I made about 10 different versions . . . same with frittatas and tofu scrambles. Now I’m on to my latest obsession: Ravioli. At least I have the process down to a science so preparation goes a lot smoother. I was hankering for some of this Alfredo sauce, but I was also craving ravioli. Typically, I don’t like to pair ravioli with a heavy sauce, but to hell with rules; this was too good not to try. I changed up the dough a little because I didn’t have enough semolina flour and it worked out nicely. These are stuffed with tofu ricotta and fresh spinach—a fabulous combo. For a more in-depth description on using a ravioli plate, check out this version.

INGREDIENTS:
Dough:
1 C semolina flour
2 C whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp salt
1 C almond milk, warm
2 Tbs olive oil
Filling:
14-oz pkg. extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and crumbled
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/3 C nutritional yeast
1/3 C Daiya mozzarella (optional)
2 C chopped spinach
Sauce:
1 C raw cashews
2 Tbs pine nuts
1-1/2 C water
4 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/16 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1 to 2 C mushrooms, sliced

DIRECTIONS:
Start with making the dough. In a large bowl, combine the flours and salt. Create a well in the middle and slowly pour in the almond milk and oil. Using a spoon, or your hands, combine well. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for at least 5 minutes. Shape into a ball, cover with plastic, and set aside.
Next, throw together the ricotta. Combine all of the ingredients, except the spinach and cheese, in a food processor and blend well. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the spinach and cheese. Set aside.

Alfredo Ravioli -- Epicurean VeganNext, roll out the dough. I used my pasta maker, but you may certainly use a rolling pin. Lay one long sheet over the ravioli mold and fill each pocket with just over a teaspoon of filling.

Alfredo Ravioli -- Epicurean VeganLay another thin sheet of dough over the top, press down and use a rolling pin to seal the edges. Again, refer to this post on how to use a ravioli plate. Place the raviolis on a baking sheet and repeat the process until you have used up all of the filling. I had just a small amount of dough left, but not much. I had 75 raviolis when it was all said and done. Cover and set aside.

Alfredo Ravioli -- Epicurean VeganTime to make the sauce. Using a blender, grind the cashews and pine nuts to a fine powder. Add the nutritional yeast, water, lemon juice, garlic, nutmeg, and salt. Blend until completely smooth—about 1 minute. Transfer to a medium saucepan and whisk over medium heat until it begins to boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes; stir in the black pepper. I sauteed the mushrooms first, then stirred them into the sauce.

Alfredo Ravioli -- Epicurean VeganKeeping the sauce warm on very low heat, bring a large pot of water to a boil. I cooked about 12-15 raviolis at a time for about 4-5 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, place them in a strainer. Serve immediately, or lay them out on a large pan, otherwise, they’ll stick to each other. You can drizzle a little olive oil on them as well, to keep them separated. Ladle on some sauce and enjoy!

Alfredo Ravioli -- Epicurean Vegan

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Beet Ravioli with a Garlic-Butter Walnut Sauce

Beet Ravioli with a Garlic-Butter Walnut Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan

Beet Ravioli with a Garlic-Butter Walnut Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan

I’ve had this “Sexy Beet Ravioli” bookmarked since last April and I figured it was high time to give it a try. After 3 hours and 15 minutes in the kitchen, the meal was ready (this included making a salad). Good thing it was worth it! This dish definitely ranks in the top ten meals I’ve made and despite the long prep time, I’d make these again for sure. You have to like beets. Even though I’ve eaten them plenty of times, I’ve never roasted them before, but piece of cake! The original recipe said it yielded 12-15 raviolis. It was hard to gauge what size raviolis that made, so I decided to double everything. I would have been fine to just double the filling and the sauce, but not the dough. Luckily, the dough is outstanding and I now have a batch in the freezer for another pasta meal. With the doubled filling, I got about forty-eight  1-1/2″ square raviolis. Don’t be freaked out by the prep work. You can certainly make up the dough and filling ahead of time and store until ready to assemble the raviolis. Regardless, freshly made pasta is just going to take more time, but in the end, it’s worth it! (Perfect for a Valentine’s Day dinner)!

INGREDIENTS:

Dough: (not doubled)

2 C semolina flour
1 C whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp salt
1 C warmed almond milk
2 Tbs olive oil

Filling: (Doubled)

2 beets
2 C raw cashews, soaked for 1 hour in water
1/2 C water
1 tsp salt
2 tsp nutritional yeast

Garlic Walnut Butter sauce: (Doubled)

8 Tbs Earth Balance
8 cloves of garlic, crushed (You could roast the garlic while roasting the beets . . .)
1 C walnuts, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

To roast the beets, preheat oven to 425. Scrub the beets clean, remove the greens, and wrap in foil. Roast for one hour. You can also be soaking the cashews during this time. To prepare the dough, whisk together the flours and salt. Create a well in the middle and slowly pour in the warmed almond milk and olive oil.

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Blend well with a spoon, or your hands and then transfer to a clean surface. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough forms a smooth, un-sticky ball. Wrap with plastic wrap and set aside until ready to use. Refrigerate if not using right away.

Vegan pasta dough -- Epicurean Vegan

To make the filling, drain the cashews and add them to a food processor. Chop up the roasted beets and along with the other filling ingredients, add them to the food processor.

Beet & Cashew Ravioli Filling -- Epicurean Vegan

Process until smooth. You’ll end up with a very hot pink filling!

Beet & Cashew Ravioli Filling -- Epicurean Vegan

I used my pasta maker to roll out the dough, but you can also use a rolling pin. I also used my ravioli plate, which was the best thing to happen to raviolis . . . it’s so easy to use and it ensures a closed edge, unlike using a fork. You can find one at Amazon . . . this one is for $13!

Beet Ravioli with a Garlic-Butter Walnut Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan

Perfect raviolis!

Beet Ravioli with a Garlic-Butter Walnut Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the raviolis—about 8-12 at a time—and remove with a slotted spoon once they float to the top, in roughly 2-3 minutes. I transferred them to a large colander, but be sure you drizzle with a little oil as they will a stick to one another as they cool.

Beet Ravioli with a Garlic-Butter Walnut Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan

The sauce is quite easy to make and you can just throw the ingredients into a small saucepan while you cook the raviolis. I didn’t brown the garlic, I just threw it all in at once, let the butter melt, and stirred it every minute or so.

Garlic-Butter Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan

Serve the raviolis with a drizzle of the sauce and thoroughly enjoy!

Beet Ravioli with a Garlic-Butter Walnut Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan

Vegan White Lasagna

Vegan White Lasagna -- Epicurean VeganSo 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.

Vegan White Lasagna -- Epicurean Vegan

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

Vegan White Lasagna -- Epicurean Vegan

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.

Vegan White Lasagna -- Epicurean Vegan

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.

Vegan White Lasagna -- Epicurean Vegan

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.

Vegan White Lasagna -- Epicurean Vegan

Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Enjoy!