Creamy Wild Mushroom Risotto

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

INGREDIENTS:

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

DIRECTIONS:

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

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

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Layered Polenta Casserole

Polenta casseroleThis is how tonight’s post-dinner conversation went between father and son:
        “This is going to be deee-vine for tomorrow’s lunch,” father said as he placed the leftovers in a container.
        “Wait, who said you get them all?” his son said, grabbing hold of the dish.
        “You will lose an arm, son,” father said firmly. 
A wresting match in the kitchen ensued. I don’t know who the victor was; I walked away, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be eating the leftovers for breakfast. Yes, it was that good.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pre-made polenta log (I used the sun-dried tomato & garlic variety), cut into 18 slices
2 C spinach, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
2 C mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp rosemary
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 C bread crumbs or panko
1/2 C Parmezano Sprinkles (recipe below)

Parmezano Sprinkles: (from the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook)
1/2 C blanched almonds

2 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes
1-2 tsp light miso
Heaping 1/4 tsp salt

Sauce:
4 Tbs Earth Balance margarine

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
6 Tbs flour
1 C vegetable broth
1/4 C almond milk
Salt and pepper, to taste

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DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375. To make the Parmezano Sprinkles (which I recommend making ahead of time) combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and process until you have little crumbles . . . then refrigerate.

Parmezano Sprinkles Combine the chopped spinach, tomatoes and sliced mushrooms in a bowl along with the basil, rosemary, salt, and pepper.

20131124_180102To prepare the sauce, melt the Earth Balance and add the garlic. Saute about 2 minutes. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Next, add vegetable broth a little at time, whisking constantly until everything is incorporated over medium heat. The sauce should begin to thicken. Slowly add in the almond milk, an 1/8 C at a time and whisk thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Add a ladle of sauce to the bottom of an 8″ baking dish—just enough to coat the bottom. Place 9 slices of the polenta on the bottom and sprinkle with about 1/4 C of the Parmezano Sprinkles.

20131124_181953Next, layer on the spinach mixture—pack it down if you have to, but get it all on there. Top with the remaining 9 slices of polenta . . .

20131124_182152. . . then remaining sauce, the bread crumbs, and another 1/4 C of the Parmezano Sprinkles.

20131124_182430(0)Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let it sit for  about 5-6 minutes before digging in. Enjoy!
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Ultimate Green Protein Smoothie

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A friend gave me this recipe over the weekend and I’ve made 3 of these so far! I added a tablespoon of chia seeds because of their amazing health benefits, but you can leave them out if you’d like. Please note, you don’t have to use peanut butter AND protein powder, but if you omit the protein powder, I suggest using vanilla almond milk or a vanilla flavoring for taste. Bottoms up!

INGREDIENTS: (1-16 oz smoothie)

1-1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
1 handful of fresh spinach
1/2 a ripe avocado
1 Tbs peanut butter
1 scoop vegan vanilla protein powder
1 Tbs chia seeds
2-3 ice cubes

DIRECTIONS:

Blend 2-3 minutes in a blender until smooth. Enjoy!

Bowties with Veggies and Roasted Garlic Ricotta

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

INGREDIENTS:

 Tofu-Ricotta:

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

The rest:

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

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DIRECTIONS:

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

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

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

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

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Alfredo Ravioli (and a beautiful white morning)

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First, 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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So 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.

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Next, 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.

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Lay 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.

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Time 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.

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Keeping 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!

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Homemade Gluten-Free Ravioli

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Nothing says Easter like ravioli, right? Well, if you’re vegan and some of your dinner guests can’t eat gluten, then yes, raviolis are an ideal Easter meal—or for any occasion, actually. In all of the excitement, I didn’t get a good picture of the finished product with the amazing garlic-butter-walnut sauce, but I did get one with some regular raviolis that I made as well.

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In addition to the raviolis, one guest brought some delicious vegan horseradish mashed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts with pecans and another guest brought this incredible corn and avocado salad.  So, I was living on the edge when I decided to not do a test run on the gluten-free dough before the big day. Luckily, it turned out ok, but not before having a slight meltdown when the GF dough wouldn’t fully cooperate with me. First off, don’t try using your pasta maker; the dough will fall apart. You’re better off using a rolling pin and lots of GF flour to roll it out. Believe me, it’s doable and worth the extra effort; just be patient. I also recommend using a ravioli plate like this one—and that goes for any type of raviolis—it just makes life easier. For the filling, I made two: pureed beet/cashew and tofu ricotta with spinach and mushrooms. Make it easy on yourself and prepare these fillings ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to use. If I was unable to eat gluten, I would miss homemade pasta, especially raviolis, so I’d be making these all the time. Our GF guests loved them and happily took the few leftovers home with them. My friend Kerrie gave me a conversion for GF flour and regular flour a while back and uses it for most things, so I thought I’d give it a whirl for pasta. Basically, for every 1 cup of regular flour, use 7/8 C of rice flour and 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum—worked like a charm.

INGREDIENTS:

Dough:

1-3/4 C white rice flour

7/8 C brown rice flour

3 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp salt

1 C warm almond milk

2 Tbs olive oil

Spinach-Tofu-Mushroom Filling:

14-oz pkg extra firm tofu, drained and pressed

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/3 C nutritional yeast

2 Tbs lemon juice

3 C fresh spinach, chopped

3 mushrooms, diced small

Beet/Cashew filling: see link above

Garlic-Butter-Walnut sauce: (I was feeding a crowd, so for 3-4 people, you may want to halve the sauce recipe)

1-1/2 C walnuts, chopped

6 cloves garlic, crushed or minced

1-1/2 C Earth Balance margarine, cut into pieces

DIRECTIONS:

To make the spinach filling, puree the first 9 ingredients in food processor. Set aside, or refrigerate until ready to use. The beet filling will take just over an hour to prepare, so keep that in mind if using that one. (click on link above to see instructions).

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To make the dough, combine both rice flours, xanthan gum, and salt in a bowl of a stand mixer. On medium speed, slowly add the oil, then the warm almond milk. When it’s fully incorporated, form it into a ball and refrigerate if not using right away. The dough will probably work better if it’s room temperature.

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On a constantly-floured surface, roll out the sections of the dough into long pieces, big enough for your ravioli plate. I wouldn’t bother using the plastic mold part, as it will easily break through the dough. Gently use your fingers to create a small dip where the filling will go. Fill each dip with about a teaspoon of the filling. If using the spinach one, place a few pieces of mushroom on top of the filling. Roll out another long piece of dough and place it carefully over the top of the filling and gently press down. You can use the rolling pin to then finish the process. (This is a great YouTube video showing how to use the plate). Here’s a pic of the regular dough with the fillings:

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I was pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out. A couple of them had some a filling peeking out, but they still cooked up great.

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Let them sit for 20 minutes. While this is happening, prepare the sauce. In a medium, dry saucepan, add the walnuts and brown them over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, then add the Earth Balance. Stir over low to medium heat until the butter is melted and reduce the heat to low.  To cook the raviolis, boil them, about 4-6 at a time, for 3-4 minutes, or until they float to the surface. I usually give them a minute more, just to make sure they’re heated though.

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I’m happy to tell you that none of them fell apart and they were delicious. The regular ones seemed to taste a little sweeter, but otherwise, they tasted very much like regular raviolis! Top them with a ladle of the garlic sauce and enjoy!

Quinoa with Walnuts and Spinach

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

INGREDIENTS:

1 C regular quinoa

1 C red quinoa

2 tsp Better Than Bouillon

3 C water

1 C spinach, chopped

4 green onions, sliced

4 mushrooms, chopped

1/3 C fresh parsley, chopped

2 Tbs chia seeds

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

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tbs lemon juice

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DIRECTIONS:

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

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

 

Immune-Boosting Salad with Baked Tempeh

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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.

INGREDIENTS:

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!)

Dressing:

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

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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

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

DIRECTIONS:

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.

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

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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.

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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!

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

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

INGREDIENTS:

Sauce:

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

Filling:

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

The rest:

6 large flour tortillas
Daiya cheese shreds

DIRECTIONS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Spinach Soup with Basil and Dill

This is a delicious and very flavorful soup from Color Me Vegan. I’m not typically a big fan of dill, but it tastes great combined with the basil and spinach. It’s also very simple to make. Even during the summer, I think this soup would be ideal to make because of the abundance of fresh herbs.

INGREDIENTS:

3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

2 medium onions, chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

6 C vegetable stock (I used 4 and added 2 cup of water)

1 tsp salt

1-1/2 lbs fresh spinach, chopped

1/2 C fresh dill

8 fresh basil leaves, minced

1/2 C nondairy milk

1-3 Tbs agave

Juice from one lemon

Pepper

Tofutti sour cream, optional

DIRECTIONS:

In a large soup pot, combine the onions, potatoes, garlic, broth, and salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

In a food processor or blender, puree the soup with the spinach, dill, and basil. I had to do this in two batches. Blend until smooth. Return it to the soup pot and add the milk, agave, and 1/2 the lemon (add more if needed).

Warm the soup up, but don’t bring it to a boil. Season with salt and pepper and serve with a dollop of sour cream on top! Enjoy!

 

 

Lemon Risotto with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

Barb at That Was Vegan? posted this recipe, but used Israeli couscous and kale. YUM! I didn’t have any couscous and of course, I had eaten all the kale, but . . . I really wanted to make this dish. I added some mushrooms, too and it was delicious! You could also use wild rice or barley—just keep in mind they both take up to an hour to cook. Otherwise, this is quick and satisfying meal.

INGREDIENTS:

1 C arborio (risotto) rice

1-1/2 C water

1 vegetable bouillon cube

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 to 2 C mushrooms, sliced

1 C fresh spinach, chopped

Salt, pepper, and cumin, to taste

2-3 Tbs lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, or drizzle with olive oil. Add the potatoes. I sprinkled on some salt and pepper, too.

Bake 15-20 minutes until they start to brown—but be sure to turn once. While the potatoes bake, bring the water and bouillon cube to a boil, then add the rice. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 10-15 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, spinach, salt, pepper, cumin, and lemon juice. Cover until the veggies soften and wilt.

Stir in the sweet potatoes and enjoy!

Quinoa with Mushrooms and Spinach

Occasionally, there are nights I don’t cook dinner for the fam. Either we have lots of leftovers, or everyone is doing their own thing, so we fend for ourselves. Tonight was one such night. But when The Husband saw what I made, he kindly asked if I’d share. He said this was one of his favorites dishes—we both loved it. And so easy! Throw this together in 20 minutes and you have a healthy, protein-packed meal.

INGREDIENTS:

1 C quinoa

2 C water

1 vegan vegetable bouillon cube

3 C fresh spinach

3 C fresh mushrooms, sliced

Salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium saucepan, bring the water with the bouillon cube to a boil. Stir it around so the cube dissolves completely. Stir in the quinoa, reduce heat to low, and cover for about 15 minutes. When the quinoa is almost done—just a tiny bit of water left—add the spinach, mushrooms and seasonings; combine well.

Turn the heat off, cover, and let the spinach and mushrooms steam a bit—5-7 minutes. You may need to drizzle with some water if there isn’t enough moisture left. Once the spinach is wilted and the mushrooms are tender, serve and enjoy!

Layered (Deep Dish) Pizza

This brings deep dish pizza to a whole new level; five levels to be exact. Since the Mexican Lasagna turned out so great, I thought I’d make a pizza version. It was delicious! This may be my new favorite way to eat pizza.

INGREDIENTS:

5, 8″ flour tortillas

1 Tbs olive oil

3 Field Roast sausages, Italian Seasoning flavor, crumbled

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 -1/2 C mushrooms, sliced

4-5 C fresh spinach, chopped

1 C fresh basil, chopped

1, 15-oz can Glen Muir pizza sauce

1-1/2 C Daiya cheese, mozzarella flavor

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. In a large skillet heat the olive oil and add the bell pepper; cook until slightly tender. Add the crumbled Field Roast and heat through.

Add the mushrooms, spinach, and basil. Cook just until the spinach wilts a bit. Bake the tortilla shells about 2-3 minutes per side. Spray the bottom of a 9″ cake pan with cooking spray, then pour a small amount on the bottom. Lay one tortilla on the bottom, add some sauce, veggie mixture, then sprinkle some cheese on it.

Repeat, top with last tortilla, rest of sauce and cheese.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Field Roast, Ricotta & Spinach

I love stuffed pasta shells, but I don’t always love filling up with carbs and wheat from the pasta. This is a fabulous and healthy alternative, which the family raved about. My hegans agreed that these were the best stuffed peppers I made. You can check out the other recipes here.  I used my go-to ricotta recipe, as well as The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook’s Parmezano Sprinkles–both very easy to whip up.

INGREDIENTS:

My go-to ricotta:

1 14-oz pkg extra-firm tofu, press and drained

1/3 C nutritional yeast

1 C fresh basil

2 Tbs fresh rosemary

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tbs lemon juice

1/4 C Daiya mozzarella

Parmezano Sprinkles:

1/2 C blanched almonds

2 Tbs nutritional yeast

1-2 tsp light miso

1/4 tsp salt

The peppers:

4 bell peppers, washed, tops removed and innards cleaned out

1 tsp olive oil

2 tsp garlic, minced

1 C onion, diced

2 Field Roast sausages, Italian flavor

2 C mushrooms, diced

4 C fresh spinach, chopped

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

To make the ricotta, crumble the tofu into a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients (except for the Daiya) and blend until somewhat smooth. You don’t want it too smooth. Stir in the cheese.

To make the parmezano sprinkles, grind the blanched almonds to a fine consistency. Add the nutritional yeast, miso, and salt. Combine well. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. When you get read to use it, give the container a shake to loosen it all.

Preheat oven to 375. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the onions and cook until they just begin to get tender. Using your fingers, crumble up the Field Roast sausages and add to the skillet. Cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and diced tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms soften. Stir in the spinach and cook 5 minutes, or until the spinach cooks down a fair bit.

Remove from the heat and let sit for about 10 minutes. Drain any excess tomato juices if you need to. Then, stir in 1 cup of the ricotta mixture.

Stuff each pepper with the mixture, pressing down with every scoop.

Bake for 30 minutes. Top with some of the parmezano sprinkles and bake another 5 minutes.

Enjoy!

A Look Back

When it’s time to plan meals for the week, I sometimes rely on some old favorites of mine. When looking back on my recipes, I always come across yummy ones I’ve forgotten about. I thought I’d bring these oldies, but goodies to you.

Appetizers

Party Cheese Ball

Stuffed Mushrooms

Mustard Greens and Cheeze Filo Pie

Avocado Bruschetta

.

Breads

Pesto Potato Bread

Blueberry Muffins with Crumb Topping

Home-made Pita Bread

Chive-Flecked Spud Muffins

.

Side Dishes

Israeli Couscous with Pine Nuts & Parsley

Easy, Creamy Pasta Salad

Baked Fries with Sea Salt & Truffle Oil

Easy Cole Slaw

.

Soups

Eggplant Parmagiano Stew

Vegetable-Barley Soup

Vegetable-Barley Chili

.

Lunch

Smoky-Miso Tofu Sandwiches

Garden Wrap

BLTA with Tempeh Bacon

Green Tea Rice with Lemon, Snowpeas & Tofu

.

Breakfast

Quinoa-Couscous Cereal with Dried Fruit

Colorful Kale and Potato Casserole

Hash Brown Casserole

Home-made Granola

.

Dinner

Sweet Chili-Lime Tofu

Breaded Zucchini with Lentils and Rainbow Chard

Angel Hair Pasta with Mushrooms & Ricotta

Spinach & Tofu Calzones

Spinach & Pesto Lasagna

Fresh & Healthy Soft Tacos/Burritos

Pecan-Crusted Seitan

Field Roast with Fresh Blueberry Sauce

.

Desserts

Glazed Chocolate-Avocado Cupcakes

Chai-Spiced Berry-Oatmeal Cookies

Cheeze Danishes

Sunflower-Cherry Oatmeal Bars

Day 3 of Reboot, plus Potato-Spinach Soup

So the first three days of a reboot are usually the worst. You’re hungry, tired, and usually suffering from headaches. You may even feel like biting someone’s head off. Just remember, feeling lousy is actually a good thing when detoxing—it means your body is expelling toxins (just try to refrain from murdering anyone).

Today’s been a good day. Yesterday . . . not so much. The Husband was ready to force feed me a burrito or two, but I mashed up an avocado with some lime juice and ate it with a handful of jicama. I admire folks who can do the all-juicing fast—I think I’d keel over after two days of it. Luckily, the reboot I’m doing allows me to eat fruits and veggies in addition to the juicing. I am also allowed to use small amounts of oils and spices. My mid-section is noticeably smaller and I’ve dropped two pounds already. No complaints there!

I started the day off with a kale-strawberry-mango smoothie. The reboot does not include nuts, so when I’m fully rebooted, I think some chia seeds would be ideal in this.


Ok, it may not look appetizing, but it is truly my favorite smoothie! Give it a whirl: 5-6 kale leaves, 5 strawberries, 1 mango, and 3/4 cup of water. Blend until smooth. :)

After munching on salad mid-morning, for lunch, I needed something with some girth. A warm meal sounded great, too. I remembered my Potato-Leek Soup recipe, but it’s not quite acceptable for the reboot as it is . . . so I gave it a reboot of my own.

The original recipe calls for Earth Balance margarine and milk, so I needed to get creative. I added mushrooms to give it that thick and creamy texture and I also threw in some spinach. I incorporated a sweet potato and used a tablespoon of coconut oil instead of butter. LOVED it! It was exactly was I was needing to fill me up and satisfy my comfort food cravings—all with staying within the reboot guidelines!

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs coconut oil

1 large sweet potato

1 tsp garlic, minced

3 medium russet potatoes or 6 small Yukon Gold potatoes, diced

2 large leeks, sliced thin, then halved

2 cups mushrooms, quartered

1-1/2 to 2 cups fresh spinach leaves

5 cups water or low-sodium vegetable broth

salt and white pepper, to taste

fresh chives

DIRECTIONS:

In a large soup pot, melt the coconut oil and add the garlic. Saute for a minute. Add the leeks and saute 5-7 minutes, or until they soften.

Add the potatoes and broth/water; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes soften.

Working in batches, ladle into a food processor and add some mushrooms and spinach. Puree until smooth-ish. Transfer to a large bowl. Continue to puree the rest of the soup, adding mushrooms and spinach. Season with salt and white pepper and top with some freshly chopped chives. This was out outstanding and I didn’t miss the milk, cheese, or sour cream that the original recipe uses.

Layer, I threw together another tasty smoothie: 4 kale leaves, 1/2 a small cantaloupe, 1 pear (peeled and chopped), and 3/4 C of water.

I snacked on some salad, munched on some jicama and cherries, and for dinner, I had some more of the leftover potato-spinach soup and decaf herbal tea. I have several more recipes geared up for the next few days, so I’ll be bringing those to you soon. All in all, I feel pretty good and its get easier as I go. The key is planning. Be armed with recipes and ingredients. I recommend planning your meals in advance and spending some time chopping vegetables up ahead of time so that it’s a matter of just grabbing them when you need them. Lack of planning can easily derail you from the reboot!

Hash Brown and Spinach Frittata

I  love making breakfast frittatas. They’re so easy to throw together and are perfect for cleaning out of the fridge of on-the-verge veggies. Since this one uses a Chipotle-flavored Field Roast Sausage, it supplies enough flavoring that I don’t add any other spices or seasonings to this dish, but feel free to add some if you’d like. Some fresh cilantro would be a great addition.

INGREDIENTS:

1 tsp olive oil

2 medium potatoes, shredded

2 C fresh spinach, torn (you can also use kale if you’d like)

1 C green or red cabbage, chopped

5 mushrooms, sliced

4 green onions, sliced

1 Field Roast Chipotle-flavored sausage, crumbled

1/4 C Tofutti sour cream

1 C Daiya cheese (I used a mixture of cheddar and pepper jack flavors)

1-1/2 C crackers, broken up into pieces

1 tomato, diced

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 375. Layer the cracker pieces on the bottom of a pie plate; set aside. Sprinkle with about half of the cheese. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the shredded potatoes and over medium heat, cook them for about 5 minutes, stirring them around. Add the cabbage and continue to cook until both the potatoes and cabbage begin to brown. Add the Field Roast, spinach, mushrooms, and green onions and cook until the spinach starts to wilt.

Stir in the sour cream to the spinach mixture and combine thoroughly. Pour the mixture on top of the cracker crust and spread it out evenly.

Top with the remaining cheese and the diced tomatoes. Bake for 15 minutes.

Let it cool for about 5 minutes, then slice into it and enjoy!

Wild Rice, Mushroom & Spinach Stuffed Peppers

I know what you’re thinking . . . stuffed peppers again?! But these are different—that’s what makes stuffed peppers so great; the ingredient possibilities are endless. These take a bit more time since I used a wild rice mix, which needs to cook for 45-50 minutes, but they’re well worth the extra time. This recipe is enough for 4 peppers, but I made 3; the leftover rice mix will be ideal for tomorrow’s lunch.

INGREDIENTS:

4 large bell peppers, tops and innards removed

1-1/3 C wild rice mix

3 C mushroom broth

1/2 C pumpkin seeds, toasted

2 tsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 C fresh spinach, torn

1-1/2 C mushrooms, diced

1-1/2 C vegan pepper jack, shredded

DIRECTIONS:

In a large saucepan, bring the mushroom broth to a boil. Stir in the rice mix, reduce heat to low and cover for 45-50 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 and in a small skillet, toast the pumpkin seeds.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic, then add the mushrooms and spinach. Only cook until the spinach starts to serious wilt—just a few minutes. Stir in the cooked rice and pumpkin seeds.

Put a tablespoon or two of cheese in the pepper, fill part way with rice stuffing, then some more cheese. Top it off with more rice mix; a layering effect. Bake covered for 35 minutes, then uncover add a tiny bit of cheese on top and bake another 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Crispy “Chicken” Salad

This salad is a staple around my house and each time I make it, I never learn. I eat way too much of it. It’s just so damn good. Not to mention, easy to make. Bake some meatless chicken nuggets and throw some fresh veggies together and you have a healthy meal in minutes.

INGREDIENTS:

1 bag Boca nuggets, baked and diced

Romaine lettuce, torn

Fresh spinach, torn

1 tomato, diced

1 avocado, diced

1 cucumber, sliced, then quartered

Vegan pepper jack cheese and/or cheddar, shredded

Green onions, sliced

Tortilla chips, broken up

Vegan Ranch dressing:

1 C Vegenaise

1-1/2 tsp lemon juice

6 Tbs almond milk

1/2 tsp dried chives

1/2 tsp dried parsley

1/2 tsp dried dill

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

I tend to put everything in separate bowls and let everyone create their own salads. To make the dressing, just whisk everything together in a small bowl and transfer to a pourable container. Refrigerate the leftovers. Enjoy!

Angela’s Vegan Quiche

This wonderful recipe comes from Angela of Vegangela, one of my favorite vegan bloggers. Her recipes all look amazing—I’ve bookmarked so many of them. I had to try this one out—perfect for Easter, by the way. The Sixth Grader remarked, “It’s amazing,” and The Husband, who loved quiche before going vegan, couldn’t get enough  of it. I made only one or two minor changes, otherwise, I followed Angela’s recipe as she posted it. Next time I make it (and believe me, it will be a regular thing at my house) I’ll add mushrooms. Angela also lists sun-dried tomatoes as another addition.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 bag fresh spinach or 1/2 package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained (I used 3 cups of fresh spinach)

1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water for an hour and drained

1/2 block firm tofu

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

4 Tbs soy milk (I used almond milk)

1/2 tsp tumeric

Salt & pepper

1 package defrosted phyllo dough, or 1 vegan pie crust

1/4 tsp paprika

1-2 tomatoes, sliced (optional)

1 C mushrooms, diced (optional)

1/2 C fresh basil, chopped (I added that to the spinach)

1/3 C Daiya cheese (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375. If using the phyllo pastry sheet, be sure to thaw it according to the package instructions. I thought I was being so clever by placing it in a zip lock and placing it in warm water. Wrong. Since it’s folded in thirds, it will meld together. I’m such a dork. So I ended up shaping it into a ball and rolling it out. No biggie, but really not as easy. I ended up piecing the darn thing together to make it fit into a pie plate and it came out funky, but still worked!

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the onion and cook a few minutes—until they start to brown. Add the spinach (and basil, if using), along with some salt and pepper. Cook a few more minutes, or until the spinach starts to wilt; remove from heat.

Meanwhile in a food processor, grind the cashews up until fine. Add the tofu, nutritional yeast, milk, and turmeric. Blend until smooth and creamy. You may need to add a bit more milk.

In a medium bowl, combine the tofu mixture and spinach mixture. You can stir in some cheese if you’d like, too. Line a pie plate with the pastry sheet, just like a pie crust. Pour the tofu/spinach filling into the pie and spread around evenly.


Bake for 20 minutes. I then sprinkled the top with a mixture of Daiya cheddar and mozzarella and baked it another 10 minutes, or until the crust browned and the cheese is melted.

You will love this vegan quiche—a fabulous and easy breakfast. Thanks, Angela for sharing this winning recipe! :)

Mushroom and Spinach Pizza with Truffle Oil

I’ve found my new favorite pizza—and this is it. Truffle oil is ideal for pizzas and this one will leave you wishing you made more!

INGREDIENTS:

Any basic pizza dough recipe. I used a pre-packaged mix.

2 C mushrooms, sliced

1-1/2 C fresh spinach, torn or chopped

1 C fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped

3/4 C Daiya mozzarella cheese

Truffle oil, to taste (I recommend about a tablespoon)

Earth Balance margarine

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425. Combine the mushrooms, spinach, basil, and truffle oil in a medium bowl; set aside. Using about a teaspoon of Earth Balance, I greased a round pizza pan. Press dough onto the pan. Stick several times with a fork.

Bake the crust for 5 minutes, or until it begins to brown. Sprinkle a thin layer of cheese on top of the crust. Next, add all of the spinach/mushrooms mixture. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until the edge of the crust browns. Slice and enjoy!

Spinach & Mushroom Ravioli

I lost my pasta maker. You’re probably wondering, how on earth do you lose a twenty-five pound kitchen appliance? Well, if I knew that, it wouldn’t be lost, right? ;) Somehow, it didn’t make the one mile move to our new house a year ago—and we didn’t use movers; just us. Apparently, the pasta maker in question ran away with my Chantal soup pot because it’s missing as well. Not sure what kitchen conspiracy happened, but I’m hopeful that someday, both (and whatever else was in the box) turns up. So I don’t recommend making ravioli without a pasta maker, otherwise, the process is a lot harder than it needs to be. The taste however, was well-worth the work. There’s nothing like fresh pasta.

INGREDIENTS:

Pasta Dough:

1/3 C nutritional yeast

2 C flour

1 Tbs olive oil

Dash or two of salt

1/2 to 3/4 C water

The rest:

1-1/2 C sliced mushrooms

1-1/2 C chopped spinach

1 C vegan mozzarella, shredded

1 jar marinara sauce

Yummy, gluten-free sauce

In a food processor with the sharp S blade, pulse the nutritional yeast a few times to make a fine powder. Then switch to the plastic dough/bread blade.

Add the flour and salt and pulse to combine. While the machine is running, add olive oil and water to form an elastic-y dough.

Roll out small pieces of dough at a time into a long rectangle. I used a pizza cutter to slice into squares. Place some spinach, 2-3 mushroom slices and a pinch or two of cheese.

I then folded over one side and pinched the edges.

To seal the edges, I used the pizza cutter to the three sides.

I ended up with 18 pretty ugly raviolis that I placed on floured waxed paper, otherwise, if they sit too long, they will stick to the surface and it would be a terrible mess.

I boiled about 3-4 raviolis at a time, then transferred to an oiled, glass dish. Be sure to turn the ravioli once to cook the tops and bottoms—about 1 minute per side.

Brush the tops with olive oil as well. Ladle sauce over individual servings and top with any remaining vegan mozzarella. Enjoy!

Lasagna Roll-ups

This is an easy twist on a classic. I’ve seen these done where you place the roll-ups on the side so the cute, frilly side of the noodle faces up, but I could just see things going wrong for me, so if you’re feeling brave, by all means, go for it!

INGREDIENTS:

My go-to tofu ricotta:

1 14-oz firm (or extra firm) tofu, drained and pressed

1/3 C nutritional yeast

1 C fresh basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 Tbs lemon juice

1/2 C vegan mozzarella, shredded

The rest:

2 tsp garlic, minced

1 Tbs olive oil

18 lasagna noodles

3-1/2 C fresh spinach, chopped

2 small zucchini, sliced very thin

10 mushrooms, sliced very thin

8-0z vegan mozzarella, shredded

1 jar marinara sauce

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Cook noodles for about 7-8 minutes. Make sure you don’t cook them all the way—it’ll be easier to use them if they’re very al dente. Crumble tofu into a food processor. Add nutritional yeast, basil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.  Puree well. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the 1/2 cup of vegan mozzarella.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and garlic. Add the zucchini and cook 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook just another 2-3 minutes.

Put a thin layer of marinara on the bottom of a 15″ baking pan (I forgot to do this, but its no big deal). Use a spoon or rubber spatula to spread about 1-2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture on a lasagna noodle. Next, layer on some spinach, zucchini mixture (only about 8-10 pieces) and a little cheese.

Carefully roll up noodle and place in the pan.

Once all 18 noodles (one of mine was broken, so I have 17) pour the rest of the sauce over the rolls and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.

Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 3-5 minutes. Enjoy!

Stuffed Bell Peppers

OK, I wasn’t kidding when I said I was going to make stuffed peppers. We happened to get a TON of green bell peppers from our CSA yesterday:

This is just a third of what we received–the rest went to my 2 other neighbor who share in the CSA with us.

I guarantee you will LOVE these stuffed peppers. I debated on what to put in them, but when it came down to it, I wanted to make them as simple as possible. As the Sixth Grader said,”These are cooked perfectly; they cut like butter!”

INGREDIENTS:

11 small bell peppers, or 6-7 large peppers

1/2 C Arborio rice (risotto)

3/4 C water

1-1/2 tsp Earth Balance margarine

4 C fresh spinach, chopped small

1 large tomato, diced

6 -oz Tofutti cream cheese

1 tsp cumin

1 Tbs dried minced onion

1/2 C Tofutti sour cream

1/4 C fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1 Tbs lime juice

1/8 tsp garlic salt

DIRECTIONS:

In a small saucepan combine water, rice, and butter. Bring to a boil, stir, and cover for 15-20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375. Wash the peppers and cut the tops off. Clean out the insides of seeds and other innards.

Combine cream cheese with cooked rice (in the same pan) and blend thoroughly. Since the rice is warm, it’ll make it easier to to blend. Stir in cumin and minced onion. Add spinach and tomatoes and combine well.

Fill each pepper with the rice mixture. You can pack in quite a bit of the rice mixture, just press down with a spoon—pretend you’re stuffing a sleeping bag into its stuff sack. Place in a 8″ square pan.

 

I had about 3/4 C of left over rice mixture, but if using larger peppers, you can probably squeeze it all into those.

Bake covered for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake another 5 minutes. While these are baking, combine sour cream, lime juice, cilantro and garlic salt in a small bowl.

Add a few dollops of the sour cream mixture on top of the pepper servings and enjoy!

Potato-Spinach Bake and Pesto Pizzas

I stared at a bag of small red potatoes, wondering what I should make with them before they go bad (and before getting more tomorrow from our CSA). It’s hard not to think of comfort food when making something with potatoes, so I threw together an easy casserole using stuff just sitting around in the fridge and pantry. I was going to make just regular garlic toast with some pesto butter,  but the Sixth Grader had the idea to make little pesto pizzas and they were amazing!

INGREDIENTS:

Olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

4-5 C red and/or russet potatoes, diced

5 C fresh spinach, chopped

8-10 mushrooms, quartered

1-1/4 C Tofutti sour cream

1 C vegan cheddar, divided

1/4 C almond milk (or other nondairy milk)

1-1.8 oz pkg. leek soup mix

2 Field Roast Italian Sausage links, diced (optional)

Pesto/tomato pizzas:

2 round flat breads, each cut into fourths

1/4 C pesto

1/3 C Earth Balance margarine

1 /2 large tomato, thinly sliced

3/4 C vegan mozzarella, shredded

Olive oil

Garlic salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Heat olive oil and garlic in a large skillet. Add potatoes and cook until somewhat soft, about 10-15 minutes. In the meantime,  combine the sour cream, 1/2 a cup of the cheddar, milk, and the leek soup mix. If using, add the Field Roast to the skillet and cook just a few minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the potato mix, spinach, mushrooms, and sour cream mixture. Pour into a 9×13″ baking dish, cover, and bake for 40 minutes.

Add the rest of the cheese and bake uncovered until cheese melts, about 2-3 minutes.

To make the pesto pizzas, preheat broiler on high. Combine pesto and butter in a small bowl.

Brush flat bread with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt. Spread about a tablespoon of pesto onto flat bread pieces, then some cheese and a tomato slice.

Place under the broiler about 3 minutes, or until they begin to brown. Enjoy!

Spinach and Pesto Lasagna

Oh, man. Have you ever made it to vegan food nirvana? Well, this lasagna will take you there. Of course, you’ll have to come back, but you can always go back for seconds. It looked so good as I assembled it, I wanted to eat it right then and there. I used my previous pesto recipe as well as my “ricotta” cheese recipe that I use for the stuffed shells and vegetable lasagna. To make things easier, I made those earlier in the day. I also decided to use regular lasagna noodles instead of the no-boil variety, and I was a little weary, but not only were they easy to use, we preferred them over the no-boil ones.  I just cooked them very al dente since they will continue to cook later in the oven.

INGREDIENTS:

Sauce:

3 Tbs Earth Balance Margarine

2 shallots, minced

1/4 C all purpose flour

2-1/2 C almond milk

1/2 C white wine

1/4 tsp salt

2 Tbs vegan Parmesan cheese

2 portobellos, diced

“Ricotta Cheese”:

1-14oz pkg extra firm tofu, drained and pressed

1/3 C nutritional yeast

1 C fresh basil leaves

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tbs lemon juice

1/2 to 3/4 C vegan mozzarella, shredded

Pesto:

2-1/2 C fresh basil leaves

1/2 C parsley

1 C pine nuts

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/8 C lemon juice

1/3 C olive oil

3 Tbs vegan Parmesan cheese

The rest:

2-1/2 C vegan mozzarella, shredded

4-5 C baby spinach

12 lasagna noodles

DIRECTIONS:

I recommend making the “ricotta” mixture and pesto earlier. To make pesto, combine the basil leaves, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil in a food processor. Process until smooth. Add the pine nuts and Parmesan cheese and process until well combine and smooth. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To make the tofu mixture, combine all ingredients except the mozzarella cheese in a food processor. Process until smooth and then transfer to a bowl. Stir in the cheese and again, store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 350.

Boil the noodles until al dente–don’t have to cook them like regular pasta. While these are boiling, start the sauce: In a large saucepan, melt the margarine over medium to high heat. Add the shallots and saute for a couple of minutes. Whisk in the flour and white wine. Add the almond milk and lower heat; cook until it begins to thicken, stirring often. Add salt, portobellos, and Parmesan cheese.

Spread a ladle full of sauce on the bottom of a 9×13″ baking dish.  Make sure you rinse the noodles with water to keep them separated—you may have to do this a few times throughout the process. Layer 3 noodles on the bottom of the pan, on top of the sauce. Next, add about 2-3 tablespoons of the tofu mixture onto each noodle. Do the same with the pesto. Then add a later of spinach, then sprinkle on some cheese.

Top with 3 more noodles and then another 1-2 ladles of sauce on top. Repeat layers 2 more times and then top with remaining 3 noodles, the rest of the sauce, and the cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 40-45 minutes. For the last 5-7 minutes of baking, you can remove the foil and continue baking in order to melt the cheese on top. Let sit a couple of minutes before slicing up. Next stop: vegan food nirvana.

Enjoy!

Spinach and Tofu Calzones

Now that’s a calzone!

I’ve noticed I’ve been making a lot of pasta/Italian dishes like the Stuffed Shells and Lasagna–no reason, really–perhaps the rainy weather is prompting cravings for comfort food…whatever the reason, I’m not complaining.

The spinach part of the recipe makes quite a hog of a calzone, so if you’re not into that, I recommend either halving the spinach/tofu mixture or doubling the dough recipe to make more calzone that can be stored in the fridge or freezer…or make smaller calzones–8 instead of 4. As the recipe stands, you could easily split one between two people.  Add your favorite pizza toppings if you wish…I added mushrooms, olives (black, green or both), vegan mozzarella. Try Smart Deli ham with pineapple…you name it. I also warmed up 1/2 a jar of marinara sauce to pour on top–a must!

INGREDIENTS:

1 C cooked, chopped spinach, squeezed dry

4 oz soft silken tofu, drained

Salt and pepper

1 Tbs olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1-16oz pkg. extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed and crumbled (I use 14 oz since that’s all I had)

1 Tbs minced fresh basil leaves

1 tsp dried oregano

Optional: your favorite calzone/pizza toppings like mushrooms, olives, vegan ham, pineapple…

Optional: 1/2-1 C vegan mozzarella

Optional: 1/2 a jar of marinara sauce (Muir Glen Organics only has 4 grams of sugar–much less than my previous favorite–Newman’s Own)

1 recipe Traditional Pizza Dough (below):

1-1/2 tsp active dry yeast

3/4 C warm water

2-1/4 C unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

Pinch of sugar or natural sweetener

1 Tbs olive oil, plus more for spreading

DIRECTIONS:

To make dough: Place yeast in a small bowl. Add 1/4 C of the water and stir to dissolve. Set aside for 5-10 minutes. To make the dough in the food processor (like I did), combine the flour, salt, and sugar, pulsing to blend. With the machine running, add the yeast mixture through the feeding tube, along with the olive oil and as much of the remaining 1/2 water (I needed another 1/3 C in addition to the 1/2 C) as necessary to make the dough hold together. To make the dough by hand, combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the yeast mixture, olive oil, and remaining 1/2 C water until well combined. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large oiled bowl. Spread a small amount of oil on top of the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Use immediately or store for up to 8 hours in the refrigerator or for 3-4 weeks in the freezer. Make sure it is tightly wrapped in plastic.

(I decided to store it in the fridge for about 45 minutes and it continued to rise…)

Anyway…

To make calzone: Preheat oven to 375. In a blender or food processor, combine the spinach, silken tofu, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth and set aside.

(I recommend having the rest of the ingredients ready to go before proceeding).  Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the firm tofu, basil, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring , until any liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the spinach mixture. Taste and adjust the seasonings, the set side to cool.

Punch the dough down and divide it in half (to make 4 calzones, divide into fourths). On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece into a 1/4″ thick circle. Divide the filling equally between the dough circles, leaving a 1″ border around the edge. (This is where I smooshed in fresh mushroom pieces, olives and a bit of vegan mozzarella).

Fold the empty half of the dough over the filling and press down along the edge with your fingers, then seal with a fork.

Place on a lightly oiled pizza pan or baking sheet. Bake until the crust is golden, about 30 minutes. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

If using, heat marinara over the stove and pour a ladle-full over the calzone. Top with a pinch or two of vegan mozzarella and enjoy!

Recipe source: Vegan Planet

Hash Brown Casserole 2

No one will ever know this is vegan! This is creamier than version 1 and takes a bit more time, but worth it, especially when even your non-vegan friends and family will love it. I think 1-1/2 C of sliced mushrooms would be a great addition and I’ll also add 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast for a dose of B vitamins.

UPDATE (2/3/14): I’ve made this so many times–it’s a great brunch side dish but I’ve discovered it’s even better to saute the hash browns and onions beforehand. Yes, it makes more work, but I tend to make this up the night before so that I can just toss it in the oven in the morning. I think it’s worth the extra effort :-)

INGREDIENTS:

1 16oz bag frozen hashbrowns
1 C vegan cheddar, shredded
1 C vegan pepper jack cheese, shredded
1/2 pkg Silken tofu, extra firm, crumbled
1-1/2 C fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 a large yellow onion, chopped
6-oz Tofutti sour cream
1/2 C soy milk (or any nondairy milk of your choice)
1 tsp garlic salt
1/4-1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4-2/3 C bread crumbs

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly oil a 9×13″ baking pan. In a large bowl, combine both cheeses, tofu, onion, sour cream, soy milk, garlic salt, and pepper. Stir in the hash browns and spinach and spread evenly into the prepared pan.

Cover with foil and bake for 40-45 mins. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake uncovered for another 10-15 mins until slightly browned. Enjoy!

Hummus and Kalamata Olive Pizza

Being a vegan, you can say good-bye to pizza. Well…traditional pizza, that is. But…vegans say hello to healthier pizza. I had a similar pizza while in Estes Park, CO when we got away for Spring Break, so here is my version. The Kalamata olives are wonderful on this pizza and the Husband kept sneaking them while I was making this meal, so if they look sparse, it’s his fault! Also, I strongly recommend using chopped fresh spinach–if using large leaves and  you take a bite, it could be like pulling a tablecloth out from underneath a set of china and having it go horribly wrong. Chop it up.

INGREDIENTS:

2 C flour

1 C whole wheat flour

1 tsp salt

2-1/2 tsp yeast

2 Tbs olive oil

1 tsp dried rosemary

1-1/2 C hummus

1 C chopped fresh basil

3 C chopped fresh spinach

3/4 C chopped walnuts, toasted

1-6oz jar Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced in half

2 roma tomatoes, diced

Balsamic vinegar

DIRECTIONS:

Dough:

Preheat oven to 400.  In a large bowl, combine flours, yeast, salt and rosemary. Add 1-1/4 C of hot tap water and olive oil. Mix well and shape into a ball. Knead for 5 mins, then let rise in a warm place for 15 mins. Roll out the dough on a floured surface.

Grease a large baking sheet and place dough in it. (I did slice off a small section to make a separate pizza for the 5th Grader, so the one you see on the large pan below is minus that…this makes a good-sized pizza, so making smaller ones would work well). Stick dough several times with a fork and bake for 4 mins.On baked crust, spread hummus first, then layer spinach, basil, olives and tomatoes.

Bake again for 8 mins. Before slicing, add toasted walnuts.

After serving, but before devouring, drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Enjoy!

Spinach Dip

A friend shared this recipe with me several years ago and it’s a classic. I like to hollow out a round sourdough loaf to create a bowl and serve in that, but of course, that’s optional.

INGREDIENTS:

1 box (10 oz) chopped frozen spinach (I like Cascadian Farms brand)

1 can water chestnuts, chopped

1 C Tofutti sour cream

1 C Veganaise

1-1.8oz packet dried leek soup mix

Round sourdough loaf (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Thaw spinach. If it is watery, place in a fine mesh strainer and press down until most of the water is squeezed out. Combine all ingredients, mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve. Then add to the bread bowl, if using. Serve with veggies, bread pieces and crackers. Enjoy!

Red Wine Vinaigrette and Salad with a Kick

So long to boring salads! Between the mustard greens and the Dijon and shallots in the dressing, this salad is anything but tame.


INGREDIENTS:

Vinaigrette:

4 Tbs red wine vinegar

2 Tbs shallots, chopped fine

3 tsp Dijon mustard

4 Tbs olive oil

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Salad:

2 large leaves mustard greens, chopped into 1″ pieces

2 large leaves of kale, chopped into 1″ pieces

2 big handfuls of spinach, chopped into bite sized pieces

8 mushrooms, sliced

2 small tomatoes, diced

1/2 cucumber, diced (not tiny diced–bite sized)

1 big handful sunflower seeds

2 big handfuls craisins

croutons

DIRECTIONS:

Dressing

Whisk together all ingredients, serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate. Makes about a 1 cup

Salad

Combine and toss–I’ll bet you know how to make a salad!

Enjoy!

Miso Soup with Tofu and Baby Spinach

This soup has all my favorite ingredients! Mushrooms, spinach, tofu, green onion….It’s a very light soup that would go great with half a sandwich and is tasty, tasty, tasty! Plus, with prep and cook time, it was ready in about 25 minutes. This is great soothing soup–it’s the new chicken soup! Add or substitute your favorite ingredients like celery, leeks or shredded carrot.

INGREDIENTS:

6 C water
1 1/2 C baby spinach leaves, cut into thin strips
1/2 C thinly sliced mushrooms
3 Tbs minced scallions (about 3 large green onions)
1 Tbs Tamari or other soy sauce
1/3 C mellow white miso paste
4 oz extra firm silken tofu, drained and cut into 1/2″ dice

DIRECTIONS:

Place the water in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the spinach, mushrooms, scallions, and tamari. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables soften, about 3-6 mins. Reduce the heat to low. Place 1/4 cup of the soup mixture in a small bowl and add the miso, blending well. Stir the mixture back into the soup and add the tofu and simmer for 2 minutes, being careful not to boil. Serve hot. Serves 4. Enjoy!

Recipe source: Vegan Planet

Sauteed Seitan with Mushrooms and Spinach

Oh wow…talk about yummy vegan comfort food! This was so satisfying, delicious and a breeze to make. I used the stir fry style seitan that had a very beefy taste and texture. I served it over mashed potatoes (YUM!!), but you can also use quinoa or rice.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs olive oil
2 C seitan, (Westsoy brand in the red box–2 pkgs)
1 small onion, sliced into thick half-moons
2 C sliced white or cremini mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt
Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper (I left this off–not a fan of black pepper)
1/4 C white wine
1/4 C vegetable broth
6 C spinach (Recipe didn’t specify if it should be chopped and since I had large-leaf spinach, I coarsely chopped it and I also used about 4 cups, thinking 6 was overkill, but it cooks down quite a bit).
Lemon slices

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat a large, lidded skillet over med-high heat. Saute the seitan for about 2 mins. Add the onions and saute for another 5 mins, until softened, covering the pan but lifting to stir occasionally, to make the seitan and onion cook faster.

Add the mushrooms, garlic, thyme, basil, salt and pepper and saute for another 8 mins, again covering but occasionally stirring. Once the mushrooms are cooked and soft, add the wine and broth. Add the spinach in batches and combine.

Serve immediately with slices of lemon (which is a really nice added flavor). I will definitely be making this again and agiain–it was hit with the fam. Enjoy!

Recipe source: Veganomicon