Mexican Pasta Casserole

Mexican Pasta Casserole -- Epicurean VeganI’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.



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


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.



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


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.

Mexican Pasta Casserole -- Epicurean Vegan

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

Vegan Scalloped Yams and Zucchini

Vegan Scalloped Yams and Zucchini -- Epicurean VeganI found myself with several yams and sometimes, I don’t always know what to do with them. So why not scalloped potatoes? I threw in some zucchini and onions, and topped it with some Daiya and panko. Delicious!

2 large yams, peeled and sliced thin
1 small onion
1 medium zucchini, sliced, then quartered
1 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp garlic, minced
2-1/2 Tbs arrowroot
1/4 C nutritional yeast
2 C almond milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbs fresh rosemary, minced
1/4 C panko
Daiya cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Boil the yams in a large soup pot for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside.

Vegan Scalloped Yams and Zucchini -- Epicurean Vegan

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the onions and cook 3-4 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook until softened. Add the seasonings.

Vegan Scalloped Yams and Zucchini -- Epicurean Vegan

Whisk together the milk, arrowroot, and nutritional yeast. Pour it into the skillet with the onions and zucchini. Stir continuously until the sauce begins to thicken.

Vegan Scalloped Yams and Zucchini -- Epicurean Vegan

Layer half of the yams into an 8″ baking dish. Pour half of the onion mixture on top and spread evenly around. Layer on the rest of the yams, then the mixture. Top with some cheese.

Vegan Scalloped Yams and Zucchini -- Epicurean Vegan

Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with the panko and bake another 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!

Vegan Scalloped Yams and Zucchini -- Epicurean Vegan

Vegan & Soy-Free Ricotta Cheese

Vegan and Soy-Free Ricotta Cheese -- Epicurean VeganI am so excited to share this recipe with all of you! Having to give up soy is a little less traumatic now that I’ve come up with a delicious soy-free ricotta cheese. After I made the switch from no wheat and no soy, The Seventh Grader wanted stuffed shells. Of course. And . . . like the power of suggestion, I wanted stuffed shells in the worst way. So I couldn’t use my go-to riotta cheese, nor use regular jumbo shells. Thankfully, I found these “Grand Shells” from Tinkyada.

The ingredients are simple: brown rice, rice bran, and water. They’re a little smaller than the typical flour-based jumbo shells . . .

. . . but it’s not a big deal. They also don’t fold over like regular shells do either. Again, no biggie. Also, cooking these are a bit different. Bring water to a boil, add the shells and cook 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover, and let the shells sit for 20 minutes. The shells definitely aren’t mushy like some brown rice pasta can be. In fact, they’re pretty al dente—almost too much. If you want them a little softer, I’d leave them for 25-30 minutes. Overall, very impressive! I thought they were delicious.

So onto the ricotta. This recipe makes quite a bit—great for a big pan of lasagna. Feel free to half it for a small portion, otherwise, it makes almost 4 cups.

1 C blanched almonds
1 C cashews
1 C cold water
1/8 C olive oil
3-4 Tbs lemon juice
1/3 C nutritional yeast
1 C fresh basil
1 Tbs fresh rosemary
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 C Daiya cheese,  Mozzarella flavored

I threw the cashews in a bowl of water while I blanched the almonds. Soaking the nuts are not necessary, unless you have the time and want a really smooth ricotta. Add them to the food processor.

Vegan and Soy-Free Ricotta Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

Add the water, oil, and lemon juice. Puree until smooth. This may take a few minutes to get it real smooth, especially if you opt not to soak the nuts overnight, which I did not. It just depends on your preference. I happen to like the nutty texture.

Vegan and Soy-Free Ricotta Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

Next, add the basil, rosemary, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt, pepper. Blend until well combined. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese.

Vegan and Soy-Free Ricotta Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

I had some jumbo shells as well as tofu-ricotta in the freezer, so for the guys, I made them regular stuffed shells. Since I don’t have celiac disease and not concerned with cross-contamination, I combined both in the pan.

Vegan and Soy-Free Ricotta Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

Layer on some sauce and Daiya cheese and you’re good to go. Bake covered for 25 minutes at 375.

Vegan and Soy-Free Ricotta Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan


Vegan Brie

Vegan Brie -- Epicurean VeganThis recipe is from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. I was intrigued. I’ve tried lots of other recipes from this cookbook and many have been outstanding, but there have been a few that just didn’t do it for me. I was nervous about this one. Surprisingly, however, it’s pretty delicious. I wouldn’t say it’s like brie; both with consistency and taste, but it does taste very good. The recipe doesn’t mention this, but I highly recommending briefly warming this cheeze in the oven or microwave. It only takes about 10 seconds in the microwave. It seems to taste better when it’s a bit melty. I also think this would be really tasty with some warm fruit compote over the top, such as warmed raspberries and blueberries. The possibilities are pretty endless!

1-2 Tbs wheat germ, or 1/3 C toasted sliced almonds
1-1/2 C water
3 Tbs agar flakes, or 1 Tbs agar powder
1/2 C chopped raw cashews
1/2 C silken tofu
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1/4 C lemon juice
2 Tbs tahini
1-1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp ground dill seed or ground coriander (I used the coriander)

Lightly oil a 2-1/2 cup round mold. I used a Pyrex bowl, but you can also use a pie plate or cake pan. Dust the bottom of the bowl with either the wheat germ or toasted almond slices. I used the wheat germ; set aside. Combine the water and agar flakes in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring often until dissolved. Transfer to a blender and add the rest of the ingredients; blend until very smooth. Pour it into the prepared mold.

Vegan Brie -- Epicurean Vegan

Place it uncovered in the refrigerator until it cools completely. Then cover it with a lid and let it chill for several hours, or overnight. To serve, I used a sharp knife to go around the edge—mostly to just break the suction. Turn it over and it will slide right out of the bowl.

Vegan Brie -- Epicurean Vegan

Cut it into wedges and serve with crackers. Like I said before, I recommend serving it warm; I think it taste much better that way. It will keep for 5-7 days. I don’t see why it can’t be wrapped up and frozen, too.

Vegan Brie -- Epicurean Vegan


Raw Alfredo with Zucchini Noodles from Vegangela

Raw Alfredo with Zucchini Noodles from Vegangela -- Epicurean VeganI saw this recipe from Angela at Vegangela earlier this week, and it’s all I could think about. I had to wait until the reboot was over since it contains cashews. She came up with the sauce based on the creamy cashew sauce. Using non-pasteurized miso will make it raw and I think zucchini makes ideal noodles. Thanks for another amazing recipe, Angela!

4 medium zucchinis
1 C raw cashews
3/4 C water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
1 Tbs light miso paste (optional)
2 Tbs nutritional yeast (optional)
Fresh basil (optional)

Soak the cashews for minutes in water. While that’s going on, remove the peel of the zucchinis. Using a peeler, peel the zucchinis from one end to the other, rotating until the core is too small to peel anymore.

Raw Alfredo with Zucchini Noodles from Vegangela -- Epicurean Vegan

Next, grind the cashews in a food processor to a fine consistency. Add the other ingredients and blend until fairly smooth.

Raw Alfredo with Zucchini Noodles from Vegangela -- Epicurean Vegan

You can mix the noodles with the sauce or spoon it over them. Top with some fresh basil and enjoy!

Mock Chicken Divan Pot Pie

Mock Chicken Divan Pot Pie -- Epicurean VeganOkay, so this is pretty much one of the most delicious things I’ve ever made. So incredibly creamy and tasty; even the (soon-to-be) Seventh Grader had 3 helpings. The original recipe is from Vegetarian Times, but I made lots of changes such as using Boca chick patties instead of seitan and adding mushrooms to the mix. You will love this recipe and even non-vegans will be thoroughly impressed!

4 cups broccoli florets (about 2 medium-sized heads)
2 C mushrooms, diced
1-1/2 C prepared creamy portobello mushroom soup (Imagine brand–see below)
3/4 C light Vegenaise (see below)
1 tsp dry sherry or cooking sherry
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning (or use 1/8 tsp each of sage and thyme. I used Old Bay)
1/3 C nutritional yeast
4-5 Boca Chick patties, slightly thawed and diced
1/2 C Daiya mozzarella
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

With the leftover mushroom soup, I used it to make Near East pilaf, instead of using water. Conveniently, the pilaf takes 20 minutes to cook—same as the cooking time for the pot pie.  It turned out amazing!

Preheat oven to 425. Place the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven. Coat a 11″x7″ baking dish with cooking spray; set aside. Steam the broccoli for 10-15 minutes; set aside. Meanwhile, whisk together the portobello soup, Vegenaise, sherry, seasoning and nutritional yeast. Add some salt and pepper, if you’d like.

I thawed the Boca patties in the microwave for about 45 seconds so that they’re a bit easier to cut.

Mock Chicken Divan Pot Pie -- Epicurean Vegan

Add the diced patties,broccoli, and mushrooms to the mayo mixture. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and top with the Daiya cheese. (If making the pilaf to go with this, I’d start heating the soup for it now . . .)

Mock Chicken Divan Pot Pie -- Epicurean Vegan

On a lightly floured surface, I rolled out the pastry sheet a bit more and then cut it into18 squares. I ended up with about 2 leftover squares, but I’m cool with that.

Mock Chicken Divan Pot Pie -- Epicurean Vegan

Place the squares (as evenly as you can–they don’t have to touch) on top of the broccoli mixture.

Bake for 20  minutes. The puff pastry pieces will be a beautiful golden brown. Enjoy!

Mock Chicken Divan Pot Pie -- Epicurean Vegan

Creamy Tofu-Port Spread

Creamy Tofu-Port Spread -- Epicurean VeganI love experimenting with making vegan cheeses and spreads and this one is so easy and delicious. It’s ideal as a sandwich or wrap condiment, or a dip for crackers and veggies (particularly, veggie crackers)! I also think it’d be great on a toasted bagel, English muffin, or toast.

14-oz tofu, drained, pressed, and cubed
2/3 C nutritional yeast flakes
3 Tbs yellow or red miso (I used yellow)
3 Tbs tahini
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 C port wine
Salt, to taste

Add everything into the food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes about 2-1/2 cups. Enjoy!

Chickpea Havarti Spread

Chickpea Havarti Spread  -- Epicurean VeganThis spread can easily be called a dip as well. It almost has a chowder-like taste to it. From the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook, this recipe is simple and delicious! This would also make a great condiment for sandwiches or wraps, too.

1 C water
2 C drained cooked or canned chickpeas (one 15 or 16 oz can)
1/2 C raw cashews
1/3 C nutritional yeast flakes
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground dill seed
1/2 tsp whole celery seed
1/4 C lemon juice

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Transfer to a medium sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring often until very thick, about 15-20 minutes.

Chickpea Havarti Spread  -- Epicurean Vegan

Remove from heat and cool a few minutes. Pour into an air tight container and chill for several hours to overnight.

Chickpea Havarti Spread  -- Epicurean Vegan

Enjoy on crackers, as a vegetable dip, or as a sandwich condiment. Makes 2 cups.

Herb-Scalloped Potatoes

Herb-Scalloped Potatoes -- Epicurean VeganThe Husband LOVES potatoes and several days of week, he makes hash browns from scratch. But in an effort to reduce fried and sauteed food, he decided to make these baked scalloped potatoes from Veganomicon. They turned out fantastic! The only change we recommend is layering the spices, broth, almond milk, and nutritional yeast instead of just topping the potato slices with them.

2 lbs white potatoes (3 average-size) scrubbed, slice into 1/8″ thick disks
3/4 C vegetable broth
1/2 C unsweetened soy milk (he used almond milk)
1 Tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs nutritional yeast or flour (he used nutritional yeast)
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
Several pinches of black pepper

Herb-Scalloped Potatoes -- Epicurean Vegan

Preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease a 9×13″ baking dish. Layer the potatoes in the dish, slightly overlapping them. Lay them across the short way first, overlapping a little less than half of each potato slice. In each subsequent row, overlap the potatoes by about 1/4 of each potato slice. (Keep in mind, if you want to layer in the spices, broth, milk, and nutritional yeast, don’t layer all the potato slices at once).

Herb-Scalloped Potatoes -- Epicurean Vegan\Pour most of the vegetable broth over the potatoes, reserving about 3 tablespoons.

Herb-Scalloped Potatoes -- Epicurean VeganPour the almond milk and drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes, making sure to coat each one. Scatter the garlic over the top then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast all over the potatoes. Slowly drizzle the remaining vegetable broth on top. Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of nutritional yeast, the herbs, and salt.

Herb-Scalloped Potatoes -- Epicurean VeganLoosely cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes and enjoy!

Herb-Scalloped Potatoes -- Epicurean Vegan

Amazing Mac ‘N Cheez Sauce

Amazing Mac 'N Cheez Sauce -- Epicurean VeganGuess what? You’ll never guess where this recipe came from! That’s right . . . how’d you know? The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. All right, I have one more recipe from the book in the queue, then that’s it. Promise. I just can’t help it; these recipes are amazing. As vegans, we all know how difficult it can be to find tasty “cheese” so when you find what works—go with it. This sauce is delicious, creamy and ready in less than 10 minutes. I added some vegan Worcestershire and some light miso, but feel free to tweak the recipe to your liking because it’s a pretty basic sauce. You can serve it over pasta, potatoes, or other veggies.

1/2 C flour (any kind)
1/2 C nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika, sweet, hot, smoked or regular
2 C nondairy milk (I like almond milk)
1/4 C olive oil
1/2 tsp prepared mustard, any variety (I used Dijon)
Optional: 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire, 1 Tbs light miso

In a medium saucepan, combine the flour, nutritional yeast, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika. Gradually whisk in the nondairy milk, olive oil, and mustard. Combine well, then add the optional ingredients, if using. Cook over medium heat stirring with a whisk constantly until the sauce is smooth and thick. Enjoy! Oh, and when it comes to leftovers, like most nondairy cheese sauces, I recommend heating the sauce in a saucepan on the stove. Otherwise, it gets dried out.