Breaded Tofu with a Creamy Spinach, Tomato and Bell Pepper Sauce

Breaded Tofu with a Creamy Spinach, Tomato and Bell Pepper Sauce -- Epicurean VeganThis recipe started out with me going through the refrigerator and trying to decide what I had and how they could go together. At the center: a close-to-expiring tub of tofu. Luckily, we had hit the farmer’s market yesterday, so I had plenty of veggies on hand. The flavors of the breaded tofu and the savory, sage-y sauce, is a beautiful combination. The pine nuts on top are a fabulous addition if you happen to have some on hand.

INGREDIENTS:
Tofu
1 14-oz tub extra firm tofu, cut lengthwise into 6 steaks
1/4 C tamari or soy sauce
1/2 tsp Worcestershire
2 tsp tomato sauce
1 Tbs yellow or red miso
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp agave
1 C panko
1/8 C nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper
Sauce
1 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
3 Tbs vegan margarine
6 Tbs flour
1/2 C white wine
1 C almond milk
1/2 to 3/4 C vegetable broth
1/2 tsp sage
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 tomatoes, diced
4 C spinach, chopped
The rest
1/4 C pine nuts, toasted

DIRECTIONS:
I recommend having all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go before proceeding; it’ll help out a lot.

Breaded Tofu with a Creamy Spinach, Tomato and Bell Pepper Sauce -- Epicurean VeganStart with preparing the tofu. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the tamari, tomato paste, miso, Worcestershire sauce, sesame oil and agave. In another shallow bowl, combine the panko, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Next, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the garlic and bell pepper over medium heat. While the pepper is cooking, finish preparing the tofu. Coat the tofu steaks in the tamari mixture, then coat well in the panko mixture.
Breaded Tofu with a Creamy Spinach, Tomato and Bell Pepper Sauce -- Epicurean VeganSpray a grill pan with some olive oil cooking spray and heat over medium. Lay the six tofu steaks in the pan and cook for about 8 minutes per side.
Breaded Tofu with a Creamy Spinach, Tomato and Bell Pepper Sauce -- Epicurean VeganWhile the tofu is cooking, check the bell pepper. (You should also make sure you’re toasting those pine nuts—just a few minutes in a dry skillet, stirring often.)
20140818_174457Once the bell pepper softens and browns, transfer to a bowl. Using the same skillet, add the vegan margarine and let it melt completely. Whisk in the flour and blend well over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the white wine until the mixture is smooth. Next, add the almond milk, but just a little at a time. The sauce will gradually thicken as you go. (Check the tofu; you may need to turn it by this point.) Once the milk is all incorporated and the sauce is getting thick, add the vegetable broth. I used somewhere between half and three-quarters of a cup. I’d whisk a little in, let it thicken, then added more. I continued to do this until I was happy with the consistency. Season with sage, salt and pepper. Next, I folded in the tomatoes. The liquid from the tomatoes may thin out the sauce a little, but it ought to thicken back up with no problem. Your tofu ought to be finished about this time, so fold the spinach into the sauce.
Breaded Tofu with a Creamy Spinach, Tomato and Bell Pepper Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan Serve the tofu with a ladle or two of the sauce on top. Sprinkle with pine nuts and enjoy!
Breaded Tofu with a Creamy Spinach, Tomato and Bell Pepper Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan

Breaded Tofu with a Creamy Spinach, Tomato and Bell Pepper Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 3-6
Ingredients
  • Tofu
  • .
  • 1 14-oz tub extra firm tofu, cut lengthwise into 6 steaks
  • ¼ C tamari or soy sauce
  • ½ tsp Worcestershire
  • 2 tsp tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbs yellow or red miso
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp agave
  • 1 C panko
  • ⅛ C nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper
  • .
  • Sauce
  • .
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 3 Tbs vegan margarine
  • 6 Tbs flour
  • ½ C white wine
  • 1 C almond milk
  • ½ to ¾ C vegetable broth
  • ½ tsp sage
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 4 C spinach, chopped
  • .
  • The rest
  • .
  • ¼ C pine nuts, toasted
Directions
  1. I recommend having all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go before proceeding; it'll help out a lot.
  2. Start with preparing the tofu. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the tamari, tomato paste, miso, Worcestershire sauce, sesame oil and agave.
  3. In another shallow bowl, combine the panko, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper.
  4. Next, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the garlic and bell pepper over medium heat. While the pepper is cooking, finish preparing the tofu. Coat the tofu steaks in the tamari mixture, then coat well in the panko mixture.
  5. Spray a grill pan with some olive oil cooking spray and heat over medium. Lay the six tofu steaks in the pan and cook for about 8 minutes per side.
  6. While the tofu is cooking, check the bell pepper. (You should also make sure you're toasting those pine nuts---just a few minutes in a dry skillet, stirring often.)
  7. Once the bell pepper softens and browns, transfer to a bowl.
  8. Using the same skillet, add the vegan margarine and let it melt completely. Whisk in the flour and blend well over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the white wine until the mixture is smooth. Next, add the almond milk, but just a little at a time. The sauce will gradually thicken as you go.
  9. (Check the tofu; you may need to turn it by this point.)
  10. Once the milk is all incorporated and the sauce is getting thick, add the vegetable broth. I used somewhere between half and three-quarters of a cup. I'd whisk a little in, let it thicken, then added more. I continued to do this until I was happy with the consistency. Season with sage, salt and pepper.
  11. Next, I folded in the tomatoes. The liquid from the tomatoes may thin out the sauce a little, but it ought to thicken back up with no problem. Your tofu ought to be finished about this time, so stir in the spinach.
  12. Serve the tofu with a ladle or two of the sauce on top. Sprinkle with pine nuts and enjoy!

 

 

Tofu Caesar Wraps

Tofu Caesar Wraps -- Epicurean VeganWraps are such a quick and easy meal, especially when summer activities have you running all over the place. Although, these are a great option during the school year when you need to grab-and-go. I love Caesar salad, but since going vegan, it’s hard to come by a non-dairy (and non anchovy) version. I made my own Caesar dressing a couple of years ago, which I think his pretty darn good, if I say so myself, so I used that same dressing for these wraps. I did, however, thin out the dressing a little for this recipe, but feel free to do what you’d like. The dressing recipe makes about 2-1/2 cups, so I suggest either halving the recipe, or just enjoy the leftover dressing on salads, sandwiches, or even as a veggie dip.

INGREDIENTS:
Dressing:
2 cloves garlic
12-oz box firm silken tofu
3 Tbs lemon juice
1/8 C olive oil
2 Tbs capers
4 tsp caper juice/brine
1/2 tsp mustard powder
Dash of sugar
Salt and pepper
(I added 2 Tbs of nutritional yeast to the original dressing recipe)
The rest:
1 large bunch of romaine, chopped
1/2 large red onion, sliced
1/3 C cashews chopped
1 14-oz tub extra firm tofu, cut lengthwise into 4 slabs
Cooking spray
Salt and pepper
Croutons
Flour tortillas or other wraps

DIRECTIONS:
To make the dressing, puree the whole garlic cloves in the food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl halfway through. I then transferred the dressing to a mason jar and stored in the fridge.
To prepare the tofu, lightly spray a grill pan with cooking spray and over medium heat, brown the tofu, about 8-10 minutes per side.

Tofu Caesar Wraps -- Epicurean VeganMove the tofu to a cutting board and let them cool about 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, toss the romaine, red onion and cashews in a medium bowl. I then scooped out about 1/2 a cup of the dressing into a small bowl and whisked in about 1-2 tablespoons of water—it’s a pretty thick dressing. Feel free to use almond milk, veggie broth or leave it as is. I then added the dressing to the salad mixture and thoroughly combined it all.
Tofu Caesar Wraps -- Epicurean VeganCut the tofu into small squares.
Tofu Caesar Wraps -- Epicurean VeganTo assemble, I warmed the tortilla in the microwave for just a few seconds; it’s easier to roll when warm. Place a large mound of salad in the tortilla, then some tofu and a few croutons. Wrap and enjoy!

Tofu Caesar Wraps
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • Dressing:
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 12-oz box firm silken tofu
  • 3 Tbs lemon juice
  • ⅛ C olive oil
  • 2 Tbs capers
  • 4 tsp caper juice/brine
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • Dash of sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • (I added 2 Tbs of nutritional yeast to the original dressing recipe)
  • .
  • The rest:
  • .
  • 1 large bunch of romaine, chopped
  • ½ large red onion, sliced
  • ⅓ C cashews chopped
  • 1 14-oz tub extra firm tofu, cut lengthwise into 4 slabs
  • Cooking spray
  • Salt and pepper
  • Croutons
  • Flour tortillas or other wraps
Directions
  1. To make the dressing, puree the whole garlic cloves in the food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl halfway through. I then transferred the dressing to a mason jar and stored in the fridge.
  2. To prepare the tofu, lightly spray a grill pan with cooking spray and over medium heat, brown the tofu, about 8-10 minutes per side.
  3. Remove to a cutting board and let them cool about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, toss the romaine, red onion and cashews in a medium bowl.
  5. I then scooped out about ½ a cup of the dressing into a small bowl and whisked in about 1-2 tablespoons of water---it's a pretty thick dressing. Feel free to use almond milk, veggie broth or leave it as is. I then added the dressing to the salad mixture and thoroughly combined it all.
  6. Cut the tofu into small squares.
  7. To assemble, I warmed the tortilla in the microwave for just a few seconds; it's easier to roll when warm. Place a large mound of salad in the tortilla, then some tofu and a few croutons. Wrap and enjoy!

 

 

Dreamy, Creamy Pasta Salad

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

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

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

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

 

Tofu-Avocado Bowl with Cilantro-Ginger Cashew Sauce

Tofu Avocado Bowl with Cilantro-Ginger Cashew Sauce -- Epicurean VeganIt’s been a busy spring, but I hope to get back to posting more regularly very, very soon. I’m excited to bring you this new recipe that is a “smorgasbord of flavors,” as The Husband called it. (That’s a good thing, I found out). This weekend, we went to WaterCourse Foods in Denver where I thoroughly enjoyed their Street Tacos that had a cilantro cream sauce. I have no idea how they made theirs, but it inspired me to make my own. Then came the veggies, rice and tofu and an incredible meal was born! (Sorry, a little dramatic). But I think you’ll really love this easy to make meal (no judgment here if you lick the bowl).

INGREDIENTS:
Cilantro-Ginger Cashew Sauce:
1 C raw, unsalted cashews, soaked for at least an hour in hot water
1 Tbs white or yellow miso
1/3 C packed cilantro leaves
2 Tbs lime juice
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 Tbs fresh ginger
1 tsp salt
1/4 C water
1/4 C unsweetened, unflavored almond milk

The rest:
1-3/4 C vegetable broth
1 C wild rice (I used Lundberg Jubilee variety)
14-oz extra firm tofu, drained and pressed, cut into 6-7 slabs
1-1/2 C snowpeas, ends trimmed and cut in half
3/4 C green onion, sliced
2 carrots, grated
Shallot salt (or regular salt)
1-2 avocados, sliced
Cooking spray

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DIRECTIONS:
Start with preparing the rice. Combine the broth and rice in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, to make the amazing sauce, drain the cashews and transfer them to the food processor. Add the other ingredients and puree. Scrape the bowl a few times and process until completely smooth.

Tofu-Avocado Bowl with Cilantro-Ginger Cashew Sauce -- Epicurean VeganSpray a large skillet with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Place the tofu slabs in the skillet, season with shallot salt. Turn the tofu once one side is browned. Season once again with shallot salt.
Tofu-Avocado Bowl with Cilantro-Ginger Cashew Sauce -- Epicurean VeganOnce the tofu is done, transfer to a cutting board and cut each slab into 3 long pieces, then again in half.
Tofu-Avocado Bowl with Cilantro-Ginger Cashew Sauce -- Epicurean VeganAdd the snowpeas and green onion to the same skillet. Over medium heat, saute the veggies for just a few minutes; enough to soften them a little. If need be, spray the skillet again with cooking spray. Stir in the carrot and cook another few minutes. Season with a little shallot salt, if you’d like.
Tofu-Avocado Bowl with Cilantro-Ginger Cashew Sauce -- Epicurean VeganTo assemble, start with rice, top with the vegetable mixture, then add the tofu and avocado. Drizzle, drop or dump some sauce on top. Then . . . mix it all together and enjoy!
Tofu-Avocado Bowl with Cilantro-Ginger Cashew Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan

 

Tofu & Shiitake Stir-fry with Soba Noodles

Tofu and Shiitake Stir-fry with Soba Noodles -- Epicurean VeganThis is such an easy and tasty dinner to throw together—as long as you remember to give the veggies time to marinate. Even it’s just an hour, that’s quite all right. Feel free to use your own favorite veggies, but keep in mind, that you may have to marinate certain vegetables separate, depending on whether or not they need longer cooking time. The vegetables I chose could be all cooked together at the same time, so it made this dish a breeze.

INGREDIENTS
Marinade:
1/2 C tamari
2 Tbs brown rice vinegar
2 tsp agave
2 tsp sesame seed oil
2 Tbs sherry
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs ginger root, grated
1/2 C green onion, sliced
The rest:
8-oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
14-oz pkg. extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cubed
3/4 C snowpeas, cut in half
6 to 8 oz buckwheat soba noodles ( I like Hakubaku brand. They come in a package of 3 separate rolls of noodles. I used 2 of the 3)
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs arrowroot

DIRECTIONS:
Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a resealable bag. Mix it up well, then add the mushrooms, tofu and snowpeas. Coat the vegetables thoroughly and lay flat in the refrigerator for at least an hour, turning over once, half way through.

Tofu and Shiitake Stir-fry with Soba Noodles -- Epicurean VeganIn a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Drain and reserve the marinade in a measuring cup; you should have about a 1/3 of a cup; set aside. Saute the vegetables over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, or until they begin brown. Meanwhile, heat the water for the noodles. They’ll only take 4 minutes to cook once adding them to boiling water, so it will all come together pretty quickly.

When the vegetables are about done, whisk the arrowroot into the reserved marinade. Make sure you don’t have any clumps. Pour it into the skillet, coat the vegetables well, and reduce the heat to low.

Tofu and Shiitake Stir-fry with Soba Noodles -- Epicurean VeganDrain the soba noodles and serve with the vegetable mix on top. Enjoy!

 

Rainy Day Tofu Scramble

Rainy Day Tofu Scramble -- Epicurean VeganSo Mother Nature has not been happy with us. A couple of weeks ago, we were having extreme heat that schools actually closed down for a day. Now, Denver and Northern Colorado is having extreme rain and flooding. (And we can’t forget about the snowstorm in May!) Fort Collins is shutting down bridges and closing up shop. Other cities, like Lyons are being completely evacuated. Many of the mountain towns have no water, electricity and gas! We’re fortunately doing fine where we’re at, but other neighborhoods in Fort Collins are gearing up for some serious flooding.

flood

This is between Lyons and Estes Park. Image from Estes Park News.

Yikes! I hope everyone stays safe and that this rain gives us a break!

So while we wait it out, might as well eat, right? Here’s a quick, easy, and versatile breakfast that will be ready in minutes.

INGREDIENTS:
1 Tbs olive oil
1 14-oz tub extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and crumbled
6 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 C green onions, sliced
1/2 C black olives
A few dashes of turmeric
A few dashes of cumin
A couple dashes of garlic salt
A couple of dashes of black pepper
1/4 C salsa
1 tomato, diced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
Daiya cheese shreds
Flour tortillas, optional

DIRECTIONS:
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms and green onion and saute over medium, heat for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms cook down a little. Add the turmeric, cumin, garlic salt, and pepper. Next, add the tofu and black olives and saute 5 minutes, then stir in the salsa. Cook for a few minutes until everything is hot. Serve either in a bowl, or tortilla along with some Daiya, tomatoes, and avocado. Enjoy!

Homemade Gluten-Free Ravioli

Homemade Gluten-Free Ravioli -- Epicurean Vegan

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.

Vegan Ravioli -- Epicurean Vegan

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).

Ravioli Filling -- Epicurean Vegan

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.

Gluten-Free Ravioli Dough -- Epicurean Vegan

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:

Homemade Gluten-Free Ravioli -- Epicurean Vegan

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.

Homemade Gluten-Free Ravioli -- Epicurean Vegan

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.

Homemade Gluten-Free Ravioli

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!

Hot and Sour Soup

Hot and Sour Soup -- Epicurean VeganI have always wanted to try making hot and sour soup at home. Typically, Asian restaurants use a chicken or beef-based broth in their soups, so I usually have to pass on it. I found a recipe in Color Me Vegan, but I made some alterations to it. We loved the results! I went easy on the hot part, so feel free to spice it up more if you’d like.

INGREDIENTS:

1-1/2 oz dried mushroom variety such as shiitake, oyster, porcini, boletus and woodear
3/4 oz dried exotic mushrooms
14-oz extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into cubes
7 Tbs tamari or soy sauce, divided
1 Tbs canola oil
6 C vegetable broth
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 C rice vinegar
1/4 C arrowroot
1 can bamboo shoots, sliced into thin strips
2-3 tsp chili sesame oil
4 green onions, sliced

DSC07111

dried mushroom variety mix

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dried exotic mushroom mix

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3 packets of dried mushrooms

DIRECTIONS:

Combine the mushrooms in a bowl and cover with hot water. Let sit for about an hour. Drain, but reserve the liquid (approx. 2 cups). Then cut/slice the mushrooms.

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Preheat the oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with foil and coat with canola oil. You don’t have to use foil, but I find stuff still sticks to the pan regardless. Place the tofu on the baking sheet and drizzle with 4 Tbs of the tamari.

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Bake for 15 minutes and then turn the pieces. I’m sorry to say, there really isn’t an easy way to do this other than one by one . . . bake another 8-10 minutes.

DSC07107(These may look pretty scorched, but it’s actually just the baked-on tamari)

In a large soup pot, bring the broth to a boil, then add the mushrooms. Let simmer or med/low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and black pepper. In a small bowl, combine the arrowroot, rice vinegar, and 3 Tbs of the tamari. Whisk well to thoroughly combine. Stir into the soup and bring it to a boil.

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Add the bamboo shoots, tofu, and chili sesame oil; cook for 5 minutes. You may want to thin out the soup a little, so add some of the reserved mushroom water. I had two cups and ended up using it all–it just depends on how thick you want the soup. Top each individual serving with some green onions and enjoy!

Vegan Sweet Potato and Ricotta Ravioli with a Butter-Garlic Cream Sauce

Vegan Sweet Potato and Ricotta Ravioli with a Butter-Garlic Cream Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan

I’m very proud of this meal. And it was certainly a labor of love. Three hours of labor, to be exact. (Although that includes the Caesar salad I had to make). Luckily, many of the steps involved can be made way ahead of time and kept in the fridge, making assembly and cooking time a breeze. It may have taken a while to make, but it was nothing compared to my first attempt at raviolis. I got wise and bought a ravioli mold that made the process so much easier!! (Check out this great YouTube video on how to use it). I threw together a butter-garlic cream sauce which looks pretty weird, as you can see, but I promise you, it tastes better than it looks. After using the ravioli mold, I’m excited to try other types of ravioli—it’s less daunting now that I’ve got the right tools. The sweet potato and tofu ricotta are an excellent combo! You can also try my soy-free version. I made enough dough and filling to feed an army; I easily could have made a 100 raviolis. The leftovers are perfect for freezing and saving for another meal. Feel free to half the recipes for the dough, fillings, and sauce to make about 50 raviolis. (One serving is 10-12 raviolis). Even though there are several steps to this meal, they’re very simple and there’s nothing like fresh pasta!

INGREDIENTS:

Dough

2 C flour
2 C semolina flour
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs olive oil
1-1/2 to 2 C water

Vegan Pasta Dough -- Epicurean Vegan

Sweet Potato Filling

2 sweet potatoes
3 large green onion, minced
2 Tbs almond milk
Salt and pepper

Ricotta Filling

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

Butter-Garlic Cream Sauce

3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 C Earth Balance
3 Tbs flour
3/4 C to 1 C almond milk
Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Begin by cooking the sweet potatoes. I cooked them in the microwave to save some time—only took 10 minutes. Scoop out the potato and mash it with a fork or pastry blender. Stir in the almond milk and combine well. Add the green onion, salt, and pepper; set aside. To make the ricotta, combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth; set aside. To make the dough, combine the flours and salt in a large bowl of a stand mixer (you can use a food processor too). While the mixer is running, slowly add the oil, then water until you reach a somewhat damp (but not too sticky) dough.

Knead on a lightly floured surface for 3-5 minutes. I used my pasta maker to roll out flat sheets. You can easily use a rolling pin instead. Lay a sheet of dough over the metal portion of the mold. Place the plastic mold on top and press gently, creating pockets for the filling. Place about a teaspoon of each filling into each pocket.

Vegan Sweet Potato and Ricotta Ravioli with a Butter-Garlic Cream Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan

Place another sheet of dough on top and press down, sealing the edges and flattening the top. Using a rolling pin, roll over the top to create the raviolis. (Again, check out the You Tube video at the beginning of the post to see this magic happen).

Vegan Sweet Potato and Ricotta Ravioli with a Butter-Garlic Cream Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan

So much better than trying to make by hand! The mold was worth the $20 I paid for it. Let the raviolis sit for about 20 minutes. To make the sauce, combine the garlic and butter in a small saucepan and melt the butter. Whisk in the flour, one tablespoon at a time. Slowly whisk in the almond milk, using enough to reach a semi-thick consistency; keep warm.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Using a spatula, I placed 12 raviolis at a time, into the pot. Boil for 5-7 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon to a colander.

Vegan Sweet Potato and Ricotta Ravioli with a Butter-Garlic Cream Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan

Repeat the process until they’re all cooked. (For the last dozen, instead of removing with the slotted spoon, I placed the colander in the sink and poured the remaining raviolis and boiling water into the colander. That way, the other raviolis that cooled off could be somewhat reheated).

Drizzle a ladle of sauce over a serving of the raviolis and enjoy!

Vegan Sweet Potato and Ricotta Ravioli with a Butter-Garlic Cream Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan

Baked Tofu Tacos

Baked Tofu Tacos -- Epicurean VeganThis was a delicious experiment. The Eighth Grader suggested these tacos, so why not? Tofu’s the chameleon of plant-based foods. I had bought some seasoning mix from Savory Spice Shop   that we thought sounded interesting, and decided to try it out on these tacos.

I think it works best to try to marinate the tofu in the seasoning for a few hours. (These tacos tasted even better the next day).

INGREDIENTS:

16-20 oz extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
2 Tbs Seasoning mix of your choice, divided
2-4 Tbs Olive oil, divded
1 onion, sliced
Taco shells
Lettuce, chopped
Tomatoes, chopped
Salsa
Avocado

DIRECTIONS:

Cut the tofu into little slabs . . .

Baked Tofu Tacos -- Epicurean Vegan

Line a baking sheet (preferably with sides to catch the oil) with foil. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the seasoning mix with about 1 to 1-1/2 Tbs of olive oil. Brush the foil with a little of the mixture, then line the pan with the tofu. Brush the tops and sides of the tofu with the olive oil mix. If you can cover and leave the tofu for an hour or two, that would be great. You can also combine the the 2 Tbs of the mixture and olive oil in a bag or dish with the tofu and marinate it that way.

Baked Tofu Tacos -- Epicurean Vegan

Preheat oven to 375. Bake the tofu for about 15 minutes, or until the edges start to brown. Turn the tofu slices and brush the remaining seasoning/oil mix on the other side. Bake another 15 minutes or so, again, until the edges begin to brown.

While the tofu is baking, saute the onion slices in a little olive oil over medium heat.

Baked Tofu Tacos -- Epicurean Vegan

Once baked, cut each slice in half, longways.

Baked Tofu Tacos -- Epicurean Vegan

I transferred the tofu to the onion pan.

Baked Tofu Tacos -- Epicurean Vegan

Scoop into some taco shells, add a slice or two of avocado, some lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa. Enjoy!