Creamy Kale & Mushroom Pasta

Kale PastaKale and mushrooms. Two of my favorite veggies. Together with pasta: a new favorite meal! It’s incredibly easy to make and will be ready in no time.


1 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C onion, minced
3 Tbs flour, divided
1 C vegetable broth
Salt and pepper
1 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
3/4 C unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp lemon juice
2 portobello mushroom caps, sliced, then cut in half
2 C kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 C green onions, sliced
Optional: 1/3 C Dairy-free sour cream
12-14 ounces pasta of your choice (I used rotini)


Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the olive oil and garlic over  medium heat; cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions, and cook another 6-8 minutes, or until the onions are softened. Add two tablespoons of the flour and coat the onions well; cook 1 minute. Little by little, add the broth and whisk until the mixture is thickened. While I prepare the sauce, I had the kale and mushrooms in my steamer pot. They only need about 5-7 minutes to steam, so keep an eye on the pot; I find that kale can get bitter-tasting if it gets over-steamed. Once it turns bright green, it’s perfect—remove from heat.

Stir the nutritional yeast into the sauce, along with the salt, pepper, thyme and nutmeg. In a small cup, whisk together the almond milk with the remaining tablespoon of flour. Again, little by little, whisk it into the sauce until it has thickened. Stir in the lemon juice. Combine the cooked pasta with the green onions and the steamed kale and mushrooms.
20140524_194257Pour the sauce over the pasta mixture and combine well. If using, add the sour cream and mix thoroughly. Season with more salt and pepper if you’d like, serve and enjoy!

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! ;-) )

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
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

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!

Quinoa Pasta with Kale and Mushrooms

Quinoa Pasta with Kale & Mushrooms -- Epicurean VeganThis is a very quick and healthy lunch. It’s also a good idea to munch on if you’re feeling under the weather since it has immune-boosting ingredients like kale, mushrooms, garlic, and pepita seeds. Regardless, it’ll hit the spot!


8-oz quinoa pasta, veggie curls (I used Ancient Harvest brand)
2-3 C chopped kale (I used red kale)
2 C diced or quartered mushrooms
1/2 C green onions, sliced
1/2 C pepitas seeds
1 Tbs olive oil or 2 Tbs Earth Balance
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
Salt and pepper, to taste


Cook the pasta according to package instructions. You don’t want to overcook quinoa pasta, as it tends to get mushy if you do. Drain and set aside.

Quinoa Pasta

Using the same pot, heat the olive oil or Earth Balance and add the garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the kale, mushrooms, and green onions and cook 5-7 minutes, or until they soften.

DSC07293Once the veggies are cooked down a little, stir in the pasta and pepita seeds. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

Immune-Boosting Salad with Baked Tempeh

Immune-Boosting Salad with Baked Tempeh -- Epicurean Vegan

Whether or not you’re fighting a cold or illness, this is the perfect salad to eat to boost your immune. No one wants to be sick during the holidays. It also doesn’t help that we tend to not eat or drink as healthy during these yuletide times. Instead of throwing back some harmful meds with a measly glass of OJ while you’re sick, head for the fridge (or ask someone politely) to fix this cold-fighting bowl of awesomeness. If anything, steam some kale, eat a raw orange bell pepper, and a bowl full of white mushrooms. Then repeat.


1 bunch of kale, torn from stem and chopped small (high in iron, vitamins C, A & K, antioxidants, omega-3s (anti-inflammatory), fiber, and calcium)
1 small bunch of spinach, stems removed and chopped small (1 C=337% of the RDA of vitamin A!! vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, beta-carotene, manganese, zinc and selenium)
1 orange bell pepper, chopped small (vitamin C and B-6, fiber, and antioxidants)
10-12 white mushrooms, stems removed and chopped, (great sources of potassium, riboflavin, niacin, and selenium. They’ve also been proven to reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancers)
2 large carrots, shredded (beta carotene, vitamin A, cancer-preventing properties, and alpha-carotene and lutein, which fight heart disease)
6-7 green onions, sliced thin (Quercetin, an antioxidant and anti-histamine, chromium, vitamin C, fiber, manganese, vitamin B6, potassium, and copper)
1/2 C pepitas (high in vitamins C, D, E, and K. They are rich in beta carotene (that is converted into vitamin A in the liver),  rich in the eye protective carotenoid lutein. A handful of these will deliver 9 grams of protein, along with manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, copper and zinc. They are also rich in omega-3 fats and are also shown to reduce inflammation. Definitely a super food!)


2 cloves garlic, cut in half (boosts hydrogen sulfide production=protects against various cancers, including breast, prostate and colon cancer and protects the heart. Raw garlic’s antimicrobial fights viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi. Its also helps fight asthma, bronchitis, inflammation, rashes, bug bites, tooth aches, ear infections and other infections i.e. Staph and MRSA. Unlike antibiotics that weaken your immune system, garlic actually boosts your immune system)
1/3 C sunflower seed butter (calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, copper, manganese, and magnesium. Also a great source of B vitamins: thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, and  B6, folate, and pantothenic acid. Folate is also essential during pregnancy for proper fetal development. Let’s not forget protein and the healthy, unsaturated fats)
1/4 C tahini (Packed with B vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5 and B15, protein and calcium)
3 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs light miso (Protein, has probiotics, B vitamins, especially B12, fights cancers, high in antioxidants, and can even help lower cholesterol)
1/4 C nutritional yeast (TONS of B vitamins, protein, and fiber. It’s also low in sodium)
1/4 C chia seeds (Omega-3 and 6 oils, protein, and antioxidants. Considered a super food, chia seeds not only support the immune system, they balance blood sugar levels, support the cardiovascular system, give you energy, aid in weight loss, help detox the body, and provides fiber, iron, calcium, niacin (B-3), phosphorus, and magnesium. Did I mention brain-boosting, too?!)
1 C water


Tempeh (optional)

8-oz pkg. tempeh, cut into small cubes (high in fiber, easy to digest, low sodium, and contains antioxidants. It also helps balance blood sugars)
1/4 C soy sauce
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed (see above)
1 Tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper


Whew! Did you get all that?! Talk about a loaded salad!


If you’re adding tempeh, you’ll want to start that now. Combine the tempeh with the soy sauce (preferably low-sodium),  Worcestershire sauce, oil, garlic, and salt and pepper in a large ziplock bag; coat the tempeh thoroughly. Line a baking sheet with foil and pour the tempeh on the sheet. Bake at 375 for 5 minutes, stir around, then bake another 5 minutes.

Baked Tempeh

 Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl, then chop up the tempeh into even smaller pieces; add to the salad.


To make the dressing, combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend 2 minutes, or until completely smooth. It makes about 2-1/2 cups.

Tahini-Miso Dressing -- Epicurean Vegan

You can pour the dressing over the entire salad and blend well, or keep it separate. If you store it separately, keep in mind that it will probably set up in the fridge; you’ll need to add some water and/or lemon juice to it to thin it out some more. I hope all of you are staying healthy and continue to do so during these oftentimes stressful days! Enjoy!


Red Quinoa Pilaf with Kale and Corn

Red Quinoa Pilaf with Kale & Corn -- Epicurean Vegan

This is another excellent recipe from Vegan Holiday Kitchen. Kale and quinoa together?! Talk about a super, nutrient-packed salad. This was easy to make and served warm, it made an excellent side dish on Thanksgiving.


1-1/2 C red quinoa
3 C vegetable broth
1 bunch (8-oz) kale
2 Tbs olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
4 green onions (white and green parts) sliced thin
2 C fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 jarred roasted red peppers, chopped
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp rosemary
Salt and pepper


Combine the quinoa and broth in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. If the liquid isn’t fully absorbed by 20 minutes, but the quinoa is done, drain it using a fine mesh strainer. The recipe says to strip the kale leaves from the stem and slice the leaves into narrow strips. I found that to be difficult and time consuming, so I just chopped it. In the end, it doesn’t really matter anyway. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the garlic until it begins to brown. Add the kale . . .

 . . . and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

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!



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


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


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!

Pasta & Kale with Lemony Cashew Cream

Pasta and Kale with Lemony Cashew Cream -- Epicurean Vegan

This makes a great summer dish! If you don’t have any kale on hand (why wouldn’t you?!) you could use any leafy green such as chard or spinach. I also think sliced mushrooms, sauteed asparagus, or zucchini would also work well in this. The sauce isn’t overly rich and has just a hint of lemon, plus it’s a breeze to make.


4 C pasta
2-3 C kale, chopped

Cashew Cream:

2 C raw cashews

The rest:

2 tsp yellow miso
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs lemon juice
Salt, to taste


Soak the cashews in water for a few hours, preferably overnight. Drain and rinse the cashews, then place them in the blender. Add 2-1/2 cups of water and blend until smooth. The results will resemble heavy cream. This makes about 4 cups. You’ll only need 1-1/2 cups for this recipe, so I store the rest in a mason jar in the fridge. It will also keep in the freezer for a couple of months.

While the pasta is cooking, whisk together 1-1/2 cups of the cream sauce, miso, lemon juice, and black pepper in a small sauce pan. The sauce will already be thick, so it’s just a matter of heating it through.

Just when you’re about to drain the pasta, add the chopped kale to the pot and let it cook 1 minute, then drain.

Pasta and Kale with Lemony Cashew Cream -- Epicurean Vegan

Serve the pasta with the cashew cream drizzled on top. If you’d like, season with a bit of salt. Enjoy!

Kale & Cabbage Salad with Lemony-Almond Butter Dressing

Kale and Cabbage Salad with Lemony-Almond Butter Dressing -- Epicurean VeganOkay, this is probably my favorite dressing I’ve made so far. Love it! It has just a hint of lemon and with the ginger, goes fabulous with the almond butter. There’s some prep work involved here, but if can, make this the night before and you won’t be able to wait for lunch!



2 large bunches of kale, stems removed and chopped
1/4 of a red/purple cabbage, diced
1 bell pepper (red, orange or yellow), diced
1 C carrot, shredded or finely chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 small red onion, diced small
1/3 C sunflower seeds


1/4 C tahini
1/3 C + 1 Tbs almond butter
1″ piece of ginger, chopped2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs miso (light, yellow or red)
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1/8 C water


In a large bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients.

Kale and Cabbage Salad with Lemony-Almond Butter Dressing -- Epicurean Vegan

Combine all of the dressing ingredients in the blender—except the water—just start with a little and add more as you blend it to reach the consistency you want. You may need more than the 1/8 cup. It also depends on how lemony you want it—you can thin it out with more lemon juice if you’d like. Blend until smooth.

Kale and Cabbage Salad with Lemony-Almond Butter Dressing -- Epicurean Vegan

You can pour the dressing over the salad, just a little at time to coat the salad, or serve on the side and mix into individual servings. Yields about 1-1/2 cups. Enjoy!

Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing

Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing -- Epicurean VeganThis is a great salad to take to work for lunch, a mid-day snack, or even for a picnic. I typically steam kale, but if I’m not careful, it’s easy to deplete it of nutrients if I steam it too much. Raw kale can be awfully bitter, but chopped and served with other veggies and this tahini dressing, it tastes amazing. The dressing recipe is for 2 large bunches of kale, making at least 4 good-sized salad servings. Like any salad, you can throw in your favorite ingredients and actually be excited about lunch! (and be sure to read about kale’s super powers)!



1/2 C tahini
1 Tbs miso
1 tsp tamari
1/2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp agave
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp garlic, minced
3/4 C water
Variation: You can use almond butter instead of tahini, in which case, I’d leave out the agave since almond butter is sweeter. I also sometimes add some chia seeds.

The rest:

2 large bunches of kale, chopped
I diced up: cucumber, mushrooms, red onion, and green onion. I also threw in some Craisins and slivered almonds.


Put all the dressing ingredients in a blender and combine until smooth.

Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing -- Epicurean Vegan

Combine the chopped kale with your other salad ingredients and toss well to combine.

Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing -- Epicurean Vegan

(This is just one bunch of kale)

Pour the dressing over the salad and massage into the kale with your hands. Enjoy!

Pasta with Kale

Pasta with Kale -- Epicurean Vegan

I was on my own for dinner the other night, so after staring blankly at the cupboards, then the fridge, I decided to combine some of my favorite ingredients for dinner: tri-color pasta, kale, mushrooms, and miso. For some added crunch (and protein) you could throw in some pine nuts or chopped cashews.

8-10 oz tri-color rotini
1 bunch kale, chopped
5-6 mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbs Earth Balance margarine
1 Tbs yellow miso
1 tsp garlic, minced

Cook the pasta until al dente and drain. Meanwhile, steam the kale and mushrooms 3-5 minutes—just until they’re tender. Usually, once the kale turns bright green, it’s ready. Using the same pot you cooked the pasta in, melt the margarine and garlic. Stir in the miso and blend it in. Add the kale and pasta and combine well. Enjoy!