Sunday, May 24, 2020

the best vegan lasagna

This really is THE best vegan lasagna.  It was so delicious!!!  When I saw the recipe I was hopeful.  I loved the idea of replacing ricotta with tofu and garlic hummus.  It just made sense to me and I hoped for the best.  This lasagna was so good I wanted to eat the entire pan.  Did I mention this recipe made like a 10 pound lasagna?  I didn't weigh it but it was big and heavy.  I served Italian sausages on the side for the omnivores in the family.
NOTE:  The ENTIRE family ate it and enjoyed it- even the 10 year old who occasionally asks for a hot dog instead of what I've made.

the best vegan lasagna (adapted from hummusapien)
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 medium zucchini, quartered and thinly sliced
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen spinach, thawed
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 bunch asparagus, trimmed and sliced into 1-inch pieces
7-10 cups marinara sauce (I used 1 3/4 cans Hunts Garlic and Herb)

tofu ricotta:
2 (14 ounce) packages extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
10 ounce tub roasted garlic hummus
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup fresh basil or 2 tablespoons freeze dried basil
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
Meanwhile, heat a couple tablespoons water over medium heat.  Once hot, add zucchini and onion and season with salt and pepper.  Saute for 5 minutes or until softened.  Add spinach, asparagus and carrots.  Saute for another 5 minutes.  Remove pan from heat.
Place drained tofu in a large bowl.  Crumble with hands.  Add hummus, nutritional yeast, basil, salt and garlic powder.  Stir together until it's semi smooth and resembles ricotta.
Place about 1 1/2 cups of marinara in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.  Top with 4 noodles.  Next add half of the ricotta mixture and half of the vegetable mixture.  Top with a heaping 1 1/2 cups more sauce.  Repeat with more noodles, tofu mixture and veggies.  Then top with one last layer of noodles and another 1 1/2 cups of sauce.  Top with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.
Bake for 30 minutes.

Friday, May 22, 2020

crispy vegan quinoa cakes with fresh tomato chickpea relish

Vegan cooking is taking me out of my comfort zone but that's what kids do right?  My kids repeatedly take me out of my comfort zone.  That's alright- we're discovering some fun recipes we might not have tried otherwise.  Like this one.

crispy vegan quinoa cakes with fresh tomato chickpea relish (feasting at home)
2 cups water
1 cup rinsed white quinoa (make sure it's white and rinse and drain it)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
zest from a small lemon, optional
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley, optional

fresh tomato chickpea relish:
2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 cup cucumber, diced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 can, drained and rinsed)
3 tablespoons olive oil (I used 2 tablespoons)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt or more to taste
1 garlic clove, minced
pepper, to taste

In a medium pot, over high heat, combine water, white quinoa, salt, garlic powder, cumin, Italian seasoning and olive oil.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, lower heat to low and simmer gently for 20 minutes.  Set timer.
While the quinoa is cooking make the tomato chickpea relish, stirring all ingredients together in a bowl.
Check quinoa, making sure all the water is gone.  If not, continue cooking covered, 5 more minutes and until steam holes appear (this usually takes a total of 25 minutes) and quinoa has soaked up all the water and looks fairly dry.  It is important that the quinoa is dryish and not watery.
While it's still warm, stir the quinoa vigorously with a fork for one whole minute until you begin to see the individual grains break apart.  This is important in getting the quinoa to bind.  Eventually you can feel the grains begin to stick.  Remove from stove.  Let cool  for about 15 minutes.  Stir in the lemon zest and fresh parsley if you like.
Shape into 4 balls the size of a tennis ball.  Place on a plate or sheet pan.  Press into 1-1/2 inch thick cakes smoothing out any cracks on the edge, making them nice and tidy.
Refrigerate 15 minutes to set.  As they cool they will become more sturdy.
Gently pan-sear the cakes in a well oiled skillet.  Let them brown before flipping them once.
Divide among plates and top with the fresh tomato chickpea relish.  
Garnish with optional crumbled feta or goat cheese if you aren't vegan. :)

Thursday, May 21, 2020

spanakopita (spinach pie)

My 6th grader has been craving this since Greek Fest at her school.  She was so busy at her own booth she didn't have a chance to try the spanakopita and was sure to be her favorite sample.  My college kid made this for her and it is DELICIOUS!  My husband said it's the best he's had.  I have to agree that it's probably the best I've had too.

spanakopita (spinach pie) (adapted from tina's chic corner)
3 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
3 eggs
3 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons dried dill (we purposefully omitted; not everyone in the family likes dill)
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
12 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
16 sheets phyllo dough, thawed (I couldn't find it so used puff pastry and just worked it differently)
3/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9x13 pan and set it aside.
In a skillet over low/medium heat add the olive oil and finely chopped onion and cook it until it is slightly browned.
Thaw the frozen spinach and squeeze out the water. Add the spinach to the skillet and stir.
Remove the spinach mixture from the heat and set it aside.  Let this rest to get to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, mix together the egg, parsley, dill, salt, pepper and feta cheese.
Add in the spinach mixture and stir everything together and set this aside.  Make sure the spinach mixture is not hot because you don't want to cook the egg.
Make sure that the dough is completely thawed (the puff pastry I used was refrigerated).
My directions with puff pastry:
Cut the rectangle into two pieces.  Use a rolling pin to roll each piece into 9x13.
Brush one rectangle with butter and place in the 9x13.
Pour spinach filling over the rectangle of dough.
Brush the other rectangle with butter and place over the spinach filling.
Bake in a preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

chipotle portobello tacos (vegan)

These are delicious!  Above is my daughter's taco but mine had some sour cream, a little shredded chicken and some hot sauce...of course on a bigger tortilla.  Our cilantro had wilted but it would've been awesome with some cilantro and avocado.  Next time!

chipotle portobello tacos (vegan) (feasting at home)
2 extra large portobello mushrooms, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 red bell pepper

1 tablespoon oil (I omitted)
2 tablespoons canned chipotle in adobo sauce, sauce only
1 minced garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
salt to taste

warmed tortillas
1 can refried black beans
pickled red onions (see previous recipe on this blog)
cilantro and avocado, optional

Preheat oven to 425.
Slice the porobellos into 1/2 inch thick wedges and slice bell pepper to 1/2 inch thick strips.  Place on a lined sheet pan.  Mix marinade ingredients together in a small bowl.  Brush mushrooms and peppers with marinade.  Roast 20 minutes or until portobellos are fork tender.
While this is roasting, heat the beans and prep any additional garnishes.
When ready to serve, warm tortillas and spread with the refried black beans.  Divide mushrooms and peppers and pickled onions among tortillas.

easy picked onions

I love picked onions.  Makes my mouth water just thinking about them.  I needed some pickled onions for some tacos I was making and found this simple recipe which is better than the recipe I had been using.  So quick and easy!!

easy pickled onions (shared appetite)
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar (I used 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Combine vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a medium bowl or large liquid measuring cup.  Whisk together until sugar and salt is fully dissolved.
Place onion in a jar or bowl (I used a mason jar).  Pour vinegar mixture over and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour if you're in a rush.  Preferably, cover and refrigerate for at least a day.  Pickled onions will last a few weeks stored in the refrigerator.

Monday, May 18, 2020

spinach artichoke wonton bites (vegan)

So delicious!  My youngest daughter was mentioning wanting to make spanakopita so my oldest thought she should try a spin-off vegan recipe.  We even made an extra stop so we could pick up some vegan cream cheese.  You could easily make this recipe with regular cream cheese.  I promise to never post a vegan recipe that tastes all-out vegan!  I've tasted a few questionable vegan recipes recently.

spinach artichoke wontons (slightly adapted from bianca zapatka)
(makes 24-40 wontons)
2 garlic cloves
1 onion
10 ounces spinach
won ton wrappers
1 (8 ounce) can artichoke hearts without oil
2 teaspoons oil
3/4 cup cream cheese, vegan
1/4 cup sour cream or mayo, vegan
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, vegan (we used vegan mozzarella)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup hot water

Heat a little water in a pan.  Add the onion and saute for 2-3 minutes until translucent.  Add the spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes longer until wilted, stirring occasionally.  Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds until fragrant. 
Transfer the spinach, onion, and garlic to a mixing bowl and squeeze to remove excess liquid.  Add the artichoke hearts, cream cheese, mayo, parmesan, salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine.

wrap wontons:
Place a wonton wrapper on a floured surface.  Scoop a tablespoon of the spinach artichoke mixture into the center.  Brush the outside edges with a little water.  Gather the four corners of the wrapper and bring them to the center, pressing them together using your fingers.  Make sure to seal the wonton bites completely.
Repeat with remaining ingredients until all of the mixture is used.

bake the wontons:
Place the wontons on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and lightly spray the wontons with a little oil from all sides.  Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes until golden and crispy. 

or you can fry the wontons

morning glory muffins (vegan)

My husband made these and they are one of the best recipes that he makes.  They are so soft and full of goodness.  AND they happen to be vegan!  It's so nice when a recipe we already like is vegan.  I wish it happened more often.  You'll love these muffins.

morning glory muffins (my husband found the recipe at Baker by Nature)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 apple, shredded
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrot
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup flaked coconut (my husband threw in a handful of dates instead)
1/2 cup walnuts, optional

Line a muffin tin with paper liners and set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl add the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt; whisk well to combine.  Add the applesauce, oil, apple and vanilla; whisk just until combined.  Fold in the carrot, raisins, coconut and walnuts; stir until ingredients are combined.  Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool muffins in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.  Serve at room temperature.