Creamy Wild Mushroom Risotto

Creamy Wild Mushroom 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).


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


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.


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)!

Creamy Wild Mushroom Risotto

Gnocchi with Roasted Vegetables

Gnocchi with roasted vegetablesMy mom made this dish for me a few weeks ago and I’ve been anxious to make it for the family. It’s so easy to prepare. The only difficult part was actually finding this fancy little product . .

Knorr Homestyle Vegetable StockMy mom had used Knorr’s Vegetable Homestyle Stock, but I had a hell of time finding it—or I should say, finding the vegetable flavor. Of course the beef, chicken, and low-sodium chicken ones seemed to be available, but us vegemites seem to get left out. I eventually found them at Safeway, but only one of the two Safeways in town (Taft and Drake for you locals). Anyway, this stock is ideal for this dish. It’s extremely concentrated; like a paste, so all I had to do was add a little water, and volia! it was ready.

The gnocchi on the other hand, was pretty easy to find . . .

Delallo Potato Gnocchi


1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 large red onion, cut into big slices
1 large zucchini, cubed
1 large yellow squash, cubed
2 C carrots, cut into cubes/chunks
2-3 C mushrooms, quartered
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
2 tubs of Knorr Vegetable Homestyle Stock
2 (16-oz) pkgs. gnocchi


Preheat the oven to 400. Prepare all of the veggies. (When peeling a butternut squash, a decent potato peeler works just fine). Combine all the veggies (except the mushrooms) in a large bowl. Drizzle with just a tiny bit of olive oil and teensy bit of balsamic vinegar. You don’t want the veggies dripping with oil; use enough to just barely coat them. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet. I used two pans—the vegetables won’t roast evenly if the pan is too crowded; they’ll steam instead.

Roasting Vegetables - Epicurean VeganI roasted them for about 30 minutes before adding the mushrooms (that I prepared with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper). All ovens run differently and cooking time also depends on how large the vegetables are cut. Roast another 10 minutes or so. A good time to start the water boiling for the gnocchi would be right before you throw the mushrooms in.  In a small measuring cup, combine two tubs of the Knorr stock with about 1/2 C of water. Heat in the microwave for about a minute.

knorrThe gnocchi will only take 3-5 minutes. I divided the drained gnocchi in half and added them to the two pans of veggies. I then poured 1/4 C of the stock to each pan and coated everything well. I ended up combing both pans into one . . .

Roasted Vegetables -  Epicurean VeganThat’s it! So delicious . . . enjoy!

Quinoa Pasta with Kale and Mushrooms

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


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


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

Quinoa Pasta

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

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

My 3-year Blogger-versary!

Three years and 542 posts later, here I am. Still vegan. Still happy. Still blogging away. I have to admit, the anniversary sneaked up on me because it was actually WordPress who reminded me (and also, it’s time to renew, of course). I posted A Look Back in July 2011, so I figured this was a good time to look back again at some vegan favorites.



Grilled & Stuffed Avocados

3-Nut Cheese

Spicy Empanadas

Cashew-Truffle Hummus

White Bean Truffle Spread


Side Dishes & Salads


Twice-Baked Potatoes

Quinoa and Rice Stir-fry with White Beans

Immune-Boosting Salad with Baked Tempeh

Kale and Cabbage Salad with Lemony Almond Butter Dressing




Lasagna Soup

Mushroom Chowder with Potatoes and Rosemary

Pesto-Potato Soup

Chili Stew

Hearty Vegetable Stew

Vegan New England Chik’n Corn Chowder




Lemony Quinoa-Almond Granola

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

Zucchini and Kale Frittata




Quinoa with Mushrooms and Spinach

Chickpea Salad

Portobello Wraps




Field Roast-Mole Tamles

Field Roast and Spinach Enchiladas

Sweet Potato and Ricotta Raviolis

Creamy Mushrooms Fettuccine

Avocado and Pinto Bean Enchiladas

Tortilla Lasagna

Stuffed Peppers with Field Roasts and Ricotta

Stuffed Shells with Vegan & Soy-Free Ricotta

Coq Au Vin Fondue with Dipping Sauces




Gluten-Free Granola Bars

Vegan Pigs in a Blanket

Papaya Trail Mix




Avocado Cupcakes

Vegan Chocolate Layer Cake

Gluten-Free Cupcakes

Lemon Monkey Bread

Quinoa with Walnuts and Spinach

Quinoa with Walnuts & Spinach -- Epicurean VeganI 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.


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

Quinoa with Walnuts & Spinach -- Epicurean Vegan


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.

Quinoa with Walnuts & Spinach -- Epicurean Vegan

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


Vegan Twice-Baked Potatoes

Vegan Twice-Baked Potatoes -- Epicurean VeganI should clarify: Once nuked, once baked. This is another kid creation that The Seventh Grader took on. It was one of those nights I forced the family to fend for themselves and this is what the 13-year-old wanted. With very little instruction, he made dinner in about 20 minutes. He a genius. (He takes after me, you know). He may have gotten a little heavy handed with the Tofutti sour cream and (vegan) bacon bits, but who wouldn’t? I stole a bite and wow! He’s cooking next time!

INGREDIENTS: (He made one potato, so I’m giving you the gist–you can figure it out for more than one) ;-)

1 russet potato
1/4 C Tofutti sour cream (my suggested amount)
1 Tbs Earth Balance
1/8-1/4 C Daiya cheddar cheese shreds
Dash or two of garlic salt
Dash (or several) of veggie (TVP-based) bacon bits
(I think some chopped chives or green onions would be great, too)


Preheat oven to 375. Cook the tater in the microwave. (Be sure to fork it several times first). Once it’s soft, cut it in half and scoop out the innards. Be careful not to puncture the skin.

Vegan Twice-Baked Potatoes -- Epicurean Vegan

 Transfer to a bowl and add the other ingredients, except the paprika. Mix together thoroughly.

Vegan Twice-Baked Potatoes -- Epicurean Vegan

Fill each potato skin evenly with the filling.

Vegan Twice-Baked Potatoes -- Epicurean Vegan

Bake for 12-15 minutes. If you want to brown the top, place under the broiler for a minute or two. Enjoy!

Quinoa-Mandarin Stuffed Peppers

Quinoa-Mandarin Stuffed Peppers -- Epicurean VeganThe Seventh-Grader was nice enough to share his cold with me. I can’t remember the last time I was out of commission with a cold, and I don’t plan to let this one win. So far, I’ve kept it somewhat at bay with lots of juiced veggies and kale. Never under estimate the healing powers of vegetables. That may be why I was drawn to making these. Bell peppers, particularly orange and yellow ones, are packed with vitamins C, A, and B6. (Although the heating process will deplete them a bit). But I’m certain they still retain many of their healthy benefits. These also have mushrooms which are a great source of B vitamins, selenium, vitamin D, and potassium. Now on to the zucchini…these guys have tons of vitamin C and A which are actually anti-inflammatory agents. Zucchinis are also high in fiber—an added bonus! And let’s not forget that quinoa is an ideal source of protein, too! Let the healing begin!

Oh, and remember Operation Save Basil from October?

I’m happy to report that it has bounced back beautifully. It looks like there’s room to add another basil plant, but for now, I’m thrilled the basil’s back, baby!


3 large bell peppers (preferably orange, red, or yellow) sliced in half and innards cleaned out
1 C quinoa
1-15oz can mandarin oranges (look for no sugar added), juice reserved
1 C water
1 tsp tamari
1 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 C slivered almonds
1 C mushrooms, sliced
1 small zucchini, sliced then quartered
1/2 C fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste


1 C almond milk
2 Tbs arrowroot
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
2 Tbs yellow miso
dash of nutmeg
dash of garlic salt


Begin with the quinoa: Combine the quinoa, reserved Mandarin orange juice, water, and tamari in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Let simmer for 12-15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375. While the quinoa is cooking, heat the olive oil and garlic in a skillet. Add the slivered almonds and cook them for 5-7 minutes, stirring often.

Add the zucchini, mushrooms, salt, and pepper; cook another 6-8 minutes on medium heat.

Quinoa-Mandarin Stuffed Peppers -- Epicurean Vegan

Once the veggies are tender, remove from the heat and stir in the oranges and basil.

Quinoa-Mandarin Stuffed Peppers -- Epicurean Vegan

Stir in the cooked quinoa and evenly fill the pepper halves.

Quinoa-Mandarin Stuffed Peppers -- Epicurean Vegan

Sometimes I pour about 2 cups of water in the bottom of the pan before covering with foil. This will help soften the peppers without overcooking the filling. I think this is especially important when using cheese or fake meats in the filling. Bake 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. In a small saucepan, whisk together the sauce ingredients over high heat, stirring constantly. After a few minutes, reduce heat to medium-low and let it simmer. Stir frequently so it doesn’t burn. Don’t worry about getting the sauce thickened; it’s meant to seep and ooze into the filling. :-)

Quinoa-Mandarin Stuffed Peppers -- Epicurean Vegan

Ladle the sauce over the peppers and enjoy!

Marinated and Grilled Field Roast with Baked Fries

Marinated and Grilled Field Roast with Baked Fries -- Epicurean VeganIf you haven’t tried Field Roast products yet, where have you been?! Made of veggies, grains, and seasonings, you can’t go wrong, especially when you’re also getting 31 grams of protein per serving! This loaf has only 0.5 grams of saturated fat—real meat can never boast that. Anyhow, this came out delicious and came together in no time. We agreed that these would be perfect between buns with lettuce, tomato, and maybe even some avocado slices.

1 Field Roast Stuffed Celebration Roast

1/2 C balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs ume-plum vinegar
1 Tbs rice vinegar
1 Tbs minced garlic
1/8 C olive oil
1/4 C water
Salt and pepper, to taste

3-4 sweet potatoes and/or russet potatoes
olive oil
Salt, pepper, and cumin

Slice the Field Roast into about 8 slices.

Marinated and Grilled Field Roast with Baked Fries -- Epicurean Vegan

Combine the marinade ingredients in a large ziplock bag. Carefully place the slices into the bag. The slices may break in half if you’re not gentle when handling them. Lay the bag flat in the refrigerator, trying to lay out as may of the slices as possible. After 30 minutes, flip the bag over and marinate the other side for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 and peel and slice the potatoes into crescents—or however you’d like. Transfer to a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil; just enough to coat the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cumin.

Marinated and Grilled Field Roast with Baked Fries -- Epicurean Vegan

Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray. Lay the potatoes in a single layer onto the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. During the final 15 minutes of baking, heat the outdoor grill to a medium-high heat. Place the marinated Field Roast slices on the grill and grill each side for 5-6 minutes.

Marinated and Grilled Field Roast with Baked Fries -- Epicurean Vegan

Serve the slices on their own, or as “hamburgers.” Enjoy!

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Field Roast, Ricotta and Spinach

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Field Roast, Ricotta and Spinach -- Epicurean VeganI 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.

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

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.

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Field Roast, Ricotta and Spinach -- Epicurean Vegan

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.

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Field Roast, Ricotta and Spinach -- Epicurean Vegan

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.

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Field Roast, Ricotta and Spinach -- Epicurean Vegan

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.

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Field Roast, Ricotta and Spinach -- Epicurean Vegan

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.

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Field Roast, Ricotta and Spinach -- Epicurean Vegan

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

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Field Roast, Ricotta and Spinach -- Epicurean Vegan

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

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Field Roast, Ricotta and Spinach -- Epicurean Vegan


Stuffed Bell Peppers with Field Roast, Ricotta and Spinach -- Epicurean Vegan

Hash Brown and Spinach Frittata

Hash Brown and Spinach Frittata -- Epicurean VeganI  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.

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

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.

Hash Brown and Spinach Frittata -- Epicurean VeganStir 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.

Hash Brown and Spinach Frittata -- Epicurean VeganTop with the remaining cheese and the diced tomatoes. Bake for 15 minutes.

Hash Brown and Spinach Frittata -- Epicurean Vegan

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