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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Gnocchi with Roasted Vegetables

GnocchiMy 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 . .

DSC08073My 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 . . .

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INGREDIENTS:

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

DIRECTIONS:

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.

DSC08071I 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 . . .

DSC08078That’s it! So delicious . . . enjoy!

Quinoa Pasta with Kale and Mushrooms

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This 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!

INGREDIENTS:

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

DIRECTIONS:

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.

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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.

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Once 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.

Appetizers

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Grilled & Stuffed Avocados

3-Nut Cheese

Spicy Empanadas

Cashew-Truffle Hummus

White Bean Truffle Spread

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Side Dishes & Salads

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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

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Soups

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Lasagna Soup

Mushroom Chowder with Potatoes and Rosemary

Pesto-Potato Soup

Chili Stew

Hearty Vegetable Stew

Vegan New England Chik’n Corn Chowder

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Breakfast

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Lemony Quinoa-Almond Granola

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

Zucchini and Kale Frittata

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Lunch

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Quinoa with Mushrooms and Spinach

Chickpea Salad

Portobello Wraps

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Dinner

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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

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Snacks

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Gluten-Free Granola Bars

Vegan Pigs in a Blanket

Papaya Trail Mix

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Desserts 

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Avocado Cupcakes

Vegan Chocolate Layer Cake

Gluten-Free Cupcakes

Lemon Monkey Bread

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!

 

Vegan Twice-Baked Potatoes

I 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

Paprika

(I think some chopped chives or green onions would be great, too)

DIRECTIONS:

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.

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

Fill each potato skin evenly with the filling.

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

The 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!

INGREDIENTS:

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

Sauce:

1 C almond milk

2 Tbs arrowroot

2 Tbs nutritional yeast

2 Tbs yellow miso

dash of nutmeg

dash of garlic salt

DIRECTIONS:

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.

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

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

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. :-)

Ladle the sauce over the peppers and enjoy!

Marinated & Grilled Field Roast & Baked Fries

If 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.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Field Roast Stuffed Celebration Roast

Marinade:

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

Potatoes:

3-4 sweet potatoes and/or russet potatoes

olive oil

Salt, pepper, and cumin

DIRECTIONS:

Slice the Field Roast into about 8 slices.

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.

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.

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

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!

Grilled Vegetable Fajitas

It’s that time of year to fire up the grill! For its 2011 inaugural grilling, we went with vegetable fajitas. Since I do most of the cooking, the Husband revels in the opportunity to be King of the Grill. I’ll gladly delegate that method of cooking to him. This is an easy, healthy meal to jump start your spring (as well as your grill)!

INGREDIENTS:

2 bell peppers, sliced

1 large onion, sliced into strips

1 medium zucchini, julienned

2 avocados, diced

1-1/2 C vegan cheese, shredded

Tofutti sour cream

Salsa

Fresh cilantro

6 flour tortillas

Marinade:

1/4 C olive oil

1/8 C red wine vinegar

1/8 C lime juice

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp Ancho chili powder

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tsp cumin

DIRECTIONS:

Using a large Zip-lock bag, or bowl, combine all of the vegetables.

In a small bowl, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients. Coat the veggies with the marinade and let sit for about an hour. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. We used a grill basket and while stirring often, we (I mean, the grill-master) cooked them for about 20 minutes.

On a warmed tortilla, add some Tofutti, veggie mix, cheese, avocado, cilantro, and salsa. Makes 6. Enjoy!

Collard Green Wraps with Tahini-Umeboshi Sauce

Sorry I’ve been a bit MIA lately. Life is quite busy these days, especially with my alter ego. For the last few days, the family has dined on easy things like spaghetti, veggie burgers, and canned soup. Looking into their Oliver Twist eyes, I knew I needed to make an effort with dinner. Thank goodness for Green Buffalo Foods—they delivered my box of veggie love this afternoon and I swooned at the beautiful collard greens I received.

You could easily make spring rolls using collard greens, or make them with rice instead of noodles, like I did. The ingredients can easily be varied with this recipe, so get creative! I liked using the collard greens because of their fabulous nutritional value and durability when rolling them up. I think next time though, I’ll steam them just a tiny bit before filling them up, rather then afterward—they may fare better.

INGREDIENTS:

12 collard green leaves, washed and patted dry

8-oz firm tofu

6-8 mushrooms, sliced

4 large green onions, sliced

1-15oz can Great Northern beans, drained

1 C long-grain rice, uncooked

2 tsp garlic, minced

1-2 tsp olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Tahini-Umeboshi Sauce:

1/3 C tahini

2 tsp umeboshi paste

2 tsp lemon juice

2 Tbs tamari

2 Tbs water

2 Tbs almond milk

DIRECTIONS:

Combine rice with 1-1/2 cups of water. Bring to boil; stir and cover for 15 minutes, or until water has absorbed. You can also use jasmine scented rice, or arborio rice. Sushi rice would also be great. In the meantime, slice tofu into thin slices (julienned) saute in a dry skillet until slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from the skillet. In its place, add the garlic and olive oil. Heat for a minute, then add the green onions and mushrooms. Saute until slightly browned and soft. Add the rice, beans, and tofu and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut the fat stem off of the collard green. Don’t cut off too much—just to where it starts to thin out and add 1-2 spoonfuls of the rice mixture onto the leaf.

Fold in the two “tails” of the collard green leaf:

Now fold the opposite side in:

Then roll from the bottom up and secure with a toothpick. Spear it through the stem, if you can. You’ll be left with a neatly rolled wrap:

I then placed them in a steamer basket and steamed them for just a few minutes.

You’ll probably have to do this in batches, so I recommend transferring them to a plate after steaming and covering with foil.

To make the sauce, whisk together all the ingredients and serve with the warm wraps. Enjoy!

 

 

Sweet Potato, Kale & Black Bean Fajitas

I’mmmm baaaacckkk! And boy, does it feel good. I had an amazing conference experience that you can read about at Folsom’s 93 and then a fabulous respite up in the mountains where we got to spend time with some great friends and just relax. It was the perfect opportunity to try out a new recipe from my friend at Tried and Tasted Recipes and it was absolutely delicious! I will be making this again and again. It makes quite a bit, as we fed about 8 and still had leftovers.

INGREDIENTS:

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch cubes (I used 2)

2 red bell peppers, diced

1 large red onion, diced

10 cloves garlic, minced, divided

1 large bunch of kale, rinsed and roughly chopped

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (I used 1-1/2 cans)

2 tsp ground cumin, divided (I recommend more)

1 tsp ancho chili powder (again, I suggest adding more)

Freshly ground salt and pepper

8 tortillas

Optional ingredients: Cilantro, Tofutti sour cream, vegan shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheeze, guacamole

DIRECTIONS:

In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add 6 cloves of minced garlic; saute 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and peppers, and saute another 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 tsp of the cumin and the ancho chili powder. Turn to medium heat and cook for 10 minutes, then season with salt and pepper.

In a smaller saucepan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and garlic. Add the beans and kale; stir once and cover for 2-3 minutes, or until the kale has cooked down. Season with the rest of the cumin and more salt and pepper.

Serve a scoop or two of each mixture onto warmed flour tortillas with Tofutti sour cream, cilantro, cheeze, and guacamole. You won’t be disappointed—they are outstanding!

Garden Wraps

I’m no June Cleaver, but I will go that extra mile to make sure the kid eats a healthy and delicious lunch at school. As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, it’s important to include kids when making meals, especially when it comes to eating vegan. We’ve been lucky that The Sixth Grader has embraced veganism so willingly and he loves participating in cooking and meal-planning. So he was getting a little bored with St. Ives ham sandwiches, so together, we came up with a new idea: Garden Wraps. Yes, there is work involved—I spent some time Sunday afternoon making them, but golly, Wally, they are so good and worth it!

INGREDIENTS:

Spinach wraps/tortillas

Hummus

Cucumber, diced

Carrots, julliened

Red onion, chopped

Celery, sliced

Tomato, diced

Avocado, sliced

Daiya cheese

Optional: cooked Boca “chicken” nuggets, diced

Layer 2-3 spoonfuls of hummus on a tortilla, then the rest of the ingredients.

Fold in the sides first, then roll from the bottom. Slice in half and wrap with plastic wrap. I made several for both The Sixth Grader and I for lunch this week—it’s a quick and healthy snack/lunch to grab, especially if you don’t have a lot of time. Enjoy!

Ready to grab and go!

Mustard Green and Cheeze Filo Pie

I’ve moved onto another obsession. Filo (or phyllo) dough. Oh my gosh . . . the possibilities! I veganized this recipe from Sunset magazine and after one bite, we quickly realized I should have doubled, if not tripled the recipe. My mind is going a mile a minute thinking of different ways to create filo pies, so expect more!

INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs mustard greens, chopped

1 Tbs olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 C Earth Balance, melted

6 sheets thawed filo dough, cut in half

1 C Daiya mozzarella

DIRECTIONS:

Steam the greens (may have to do in batches), then transfer to a large bowl of ice water. Drain and squeeze as much water out of the greens as possible. You’ll be left with a ball of damp greens, but just pull and shake apart.

Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl, stir greens with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Butter an 8″ square baking dish and lay one filo square in bottom. You’ll have 2 edges that are a bit longer–that’s ok. Brush lightly with butter—this is where  you can brush those extra edges down and basically fold them over. Layer on another 5 pieces of filo, but alternate the directions that you lay them down, so that the excess edges are alternated each time. Butter each layer as you add it on.

Next, spread the greens on evenly, then the cheese.

Layer on the rest of the filo dough, buttering each layer like before. Then cut through all the layers into 9 pieces.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Let cool 5-7 minutes before serving. You will love these—guarantee! Enjoy!

VARIATION: I’ve made this a couple of times using frozen spinach. I like Cascadian Farms brand which is boxed, but the spinach inside is kept in a sealed plastic bag—makes it easy to thaw. Drain and squeeze out the liquid and prepare the same way as the mustard greens. I often double it and make a 9×13 dish of it—the uncut phyllo dough sheets are perfect for this sized dish.

Pasta with “Meat” Sauce

It really doesn’t get much easier than this, especially when you’re short on time to make dinner. It was my night to host writer’s group, so I needed something quick to whip up. I used Boca Crumbles, but Field Roast makes an Italian “sausage” that I think would work nicely as well.

INGREDIENTS:

14-16oz pasta, cooked

1 jar spaghetti or marinara sauce

1 bag Boca Meatless Crumbles (use as much as you want–depending on how “meaty” you want it)

Vegan mozzarella, shredded

Optional: 6-8 mushrooms, sliced

DIRECTIONS:

I added the frozen  Boca Crumbles directing into the pan with the sauce, warming them together. I also added some sliced mushrooms and simmered everything for about 10-15 minutes. Top pasta with the sauce and cheese and you’re done! This is a great combination of carbohydrates and protein and perfect for the night before a hike or activity when you need some extra umph. Even for my morning run, I tend to go further, longer. Never a bad thing. Enjoy!

Feast On This!

So You Call Yourself an Environmentalist, huh?

Well, do you? What constitutes having that coveted, sought-after title? Is it recycling every week? Driving a hybrid? Unplugging all your appliances when not in use? Being a vegan? Many people believe that being a vegan is a prerequisite–World Watch did after all, conclude last year, that meat and dairy production contributes to 51% of the earth’s greenhouse gases.

Al Gore, isn’t a vegan. He’s not a vegetarian. But he is considered an environmentalist. Hell, he pretty much single-handedly got “global warming” on the map with his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. He publicly acknowledged that being a vegetarian helps the environment, but he himself has not made that leap.

Any why stop with vegetarianism? Dairy production has its own impact on the environment, too, right? Some celebs touts themselves as environmentalists because they drive a Prius (or a hybrid Hummer) and are vegetarians…why not go the whole nine? Why doesn’t dairy get the same silent treatment from them?

Perhaps the term, environmentalist is just overused. Maybe we’re all environmentalists on some level because we each try to do something—recycle, carpool and use “green” light bulbs. I always bring my reusable grocery bags when I shop anywhere. Does that make me an environmentalist? (They sure make me look cool). Might I suggest changing the term to something more general like, earth friendly, environmentally aware, or earth conscious?

So what do you think? What makes an environmentalist? Is going vegan a must?


Soy Good News!

Is the soy debate finally settled? According to acclaimed author, researcher and physician, Dr. Neal Barnard, it is. Barnard concluded that not only is soy safe for men (prostate cancer) and women (breast cancer), but it may also reduce the risk of osteoporosis-related bone fractures and fibroids. In another study by the Journal for the American Medical Association, it was shown that 11 grams of soy protein reduced the the chances of breast cancer recurrence in women.

Source: VegNews


“The greatness of a nation. . . can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

Roasted Veggies and Baked Tofu with Sesame-Ginger Rice

This was one of those “clean-out-the-fridge” meals that despite the different flavors, meshed extremely well together. I had an abundance of fresh vegetables in the crisper (I swear they multiplied in there) and some baked tofu. Add some pilaf and there you go–an easy, satisfying and healthy meal.

INGREDIENTS:

Any veggies you want. I cut up (thickly): asparagus, red onion, green and yellow bell peppers, and mushrooms. If using potatoes, I recommend cooking them a bit first since they take longer to cook. Other ideas: zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, or brussel sprouts. I coated them with some olive oil, salt, pepper, dried thyme and dried rosemary.

2 pkgs Westsoy Baked Tofu, Italian Garlic & Herb flavor

1 C snow peas, cut into 1″ pieces

Near East brand Sesame-Ginger Pilaf

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400. Line a large baking sheet with foil and placed prepared vegetables on the pan and bake for about 20-25 mins. Potatoes can take about 40-45 mins. The rice took about 20 mins and in the meantime, I diced up the tofu and added it to a large skillet over medium heat and a tiny bit of olive oil. After a couple of minutes, I added the snow peas. Saute until tofu is golden brown. Enjoy!

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!

Potato-and-Artichoke-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Oh man…these are a mashed potato-lover’s dream. And portobellos?! Forget about it…I’m sold.

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice (about 4 small potatoes)

1 Tbs vegan margarine, like Earth Balance

2 Tbs nutritional yeast

Salt and ground black pepper

1-1/2 C canned or cooked frozen artichoke hearts, finely diced (I used canned)

2 Tbs olive oil

1/2 C minced onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp fresh minced thyme or 1/2 tsp dried

4 large Portobello mushroom caps, lightly rinsed, patted dry, gills removed

1/2 tsp sweet paprika

DIRECTIONS:

Steam the potatoes until tender, about 15 mins. Transfer the steamed potatoes to a large bowl. Add the margarine, nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash well, then add the artichokes. Stir to combine.

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly oil a 9×13″ baking pan and set aside. In a small saucepan, heat 1 Tbs of oil over medium heat (I did this while the potatoes were steaming). Add the onion, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 mins. Add the garlic and cook, uncovered, 1 min longer. Add the thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5 mins to blend the flavors. Stir the onion mixture into the potatoes and mix until well blended.

Carefully spoon the stuffing mixture into the mushroom caps, packing them tightly and smoothing the tops. Transfer the stuffed mushrooms to the prepared baking pan and drizzle with the remaining Tbs of olive oil. Sprinkle with paprika, cover tightly with foil, and bake until the mushrooms have softened and the stuffing is hot, about 20 mins. Uncover and cook until the stuffing is lightly browned, about 10 mins longer. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Recipe source: 1000 Vegan Recipes

Seitan Meatballs

One bite and these “meat”balls were an instant favorite that I’ll be making often. They’re actually quite easy to make and prep time was only about 10 mins at the most. The recipe is from Vegetarian Times and includes a sauce recipe, which I didn’t have time for, so I just used jarred sauce. Already looking forward to the leftovers for lunch tomorrow…

INGREDIENTS:

1-16-oz pkg. seitan (I used 2-8oz pkgs of Westsoy’s beef-style seitan–in the red box)

1/2 C pecans

1/2 C whole wheat breadcrumbs (used regular–couldn’t find whole wheat)

1/4 C chopped fresh parsley

1/4 C chopped fresh basil

1/8 tsp dried oregano

3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs)

3 Tbs olive oil, divided

1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce

1 tsp egg replacer powder

16-oz pasta

1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray (I used foil and sprayed that–baked-on cooking spray is a pain to scrub off of  baking sheets)! Crumble seitan in food processor . Add pecans; pulse to blend.

Transfer to a bowl. Stir in breadcrumbs, herbs, garlic, 1 Tbs olive oil, and soy sauce. Whisk egg replacer with 1/4 C water until frothy; fold into seitan mixture.

Shape mixture into 18 (I got 20) balls. Place on prepared baking sheet, and brush with remaining 2 Tbs oil.

Bake 20 mins, turning once, or until crusty and lightly browned. I didn’t bother turning them and they turned out great.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and divide among serving bowls. Top with sauce and meatballs. Enjoy!

UPDATE: These made GREAT meatball sandwiches!

Product Review: Boca Meatless Ground Crumbles

These have been sitting in my freezer for a couple of weeks and so I finally got around to using them. I decided to make tacos with the crumbles and typically, I would add 1/2 a large onion, chopped to the pan, but I forgot. Oops. (I guess I was too focused on the review)!

The crumbles come out of the bag resembling frozen, cooked ground beef and breaks up easily in the pan. The back of the packages recommends adding to a skillet, sprayed generously with cooking spray. I used a Tbs of olive oil. Within 10-12 minutes, the crumbles were heated through and gave off an almost sweet, cinnamon-y smell. But the crumbles didn’t taste like it–in fact, there wasn’t much taste to them. I certainly recommend using a taco seasoning when making tacos–or any other seasoning when using these crumbles–they’re kinda bland. Fortunately though, they also don’t taste fake, or rubbery like some vegan meat. Overall, I was very impressed.

For around $4 for 12-oz, “ground beef” tacos are back, baby!

The tacos didn’t taste “altered” at all. Packed with Tofutti sour cream, vegan cheddar, diced avocado, lettuce and salsa, these were delicious, satisfying and very meat-like.

And here comes the really good part: These meatless ground crumbles have only 0.5g of unsaturated fat per serving–that’s 90% less fat than ground beef!! Not only that, there are 13 grams of protein per serving! It seems like a no-brainer.

As we were chowing down, we were listing off the different meals we could use these bodacious crumbles in:

Burritos

Lasagna

Enchilades

Tostadas

Chili

Taco salad (the back of the package features a recipe for this)

Really….these crumbles would work for anything requiring ground beef.

Check out Boca’s site for more info and ingredient list.