Amazing Spinach Artichoke Dip

Amazing Spinach Artichoke Dip

Amazing Spinach Artichoke Dip

I wanted to make a vegan Spinach and Artichoke dip because it’s definitely a favorite of Matt’s (if it’s on the menu at a restaurant, he’ll order it. Well, pre-vegan Matt, anyway) and I love it, too. I took a look at some recipes online but none of them seemed as easy and sure-fire delicious to me as I wanted. So, I just made something up. And it was ridiculously amazing. Though I purposely made “a lot” of it, apparently it wasn’t that much because Matt had some for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and soon it was all gone.

Another bonus? Super easy, and not expensive like it usually is at restaurants! I wish I’d gotten a better picture of it, but we just ate it too darn fast. It’s too tasty to last for photographs. It doesn’t take skill or much time, either! I think it probably took me 10 or 15 minutes total, and Matt was stealing bits of it before I’d even finished 🙂

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:
-1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for using in the pan)
-16 oz. bag of frozen spinach
-8 cloves of garlic, minced
-2 cans of artichoke hearts, pureed in a food processor
-4 TBSP nutritional yeast (adds a saltiness &Vitamin B12!)
-4 TBSP veganaise* (don’t buy the cheaper brands, they just aren’t very good… )
-4 TBSP vegan* cream cheese

(*if you aren’t vegan, use your favorite regular kinds)

Directions:
-Fry the minced garlic in the olive oil over medium heat as you add the pureed artichoke and frozen bag of spinach. Stir on occasion until everything is well mixed and the spinach is no longer frozen.
-Add the nutritional yeast, veganaise, and vegan cream cheese. Stir well.
-Return the entire mixture to a food processor or blender and pureed to your liking. Serve warm, and watch it disappear!

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Raspberry, Chocolate & Vanilla Bean Cake

I wanted to make another Vegan Vanilla Bean Cake, but realized after having become committed to the idea that we out of two significant ingredients for it: non-dairy milk and maple syrup. Since I knew I’d have to change it anyway, I wanted to use more real vanilla bean and also add more complexity. I wanted a full on luxurious dessert, not a lightly sweet, pancakey cake. So I threw some dark chocolate shavings into the batter, made sure to make it plenty sweet, and did my best to saturate it just enough that it’d be fluffy and soft instead of hard and dry… And I also love raspberries and thought that raspberries with vanilla bean and chocolate sounded pretty darn fabulous.

 

Despite forgetting to test the cake before taking it out of the oven (I was a little bit too excited to eat it) and having to put it back in to fully cook it… It was awesome. My husband was a big fan, even with my dilapidated efforts and my having had to cook it more because the first slice was gooey inside! I look forward to making this again, probably soon, and seeing how it turns out the second time. Surely it’ll be even more delicious (and hopefully, adequately baked)!

Bird's Eye of the cake before we devoured it.

Ingredients:

  •  5 Tablespoons egg replacer (or the equivalent of five eggs – I used Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer)
  • 1 cup water (I had no soymilk or non-dairy milk available)
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup expeller pressed canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons white or apple cider vinegar
  • chopped up dark chocolate or chocolate chips to your preference
  • Insides of 1 real vanilla bean (removing the beans and leaving the stalk for other use)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 8 oz frozen raspberries (or to preference; I enjoyed some on the side as well!)
  • chocolate shavings or chips to top off the cake

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch round or square cake pan using canola oil spray. Set aside. In a large bowl whisk everything – except the raspberries and additional chocolate – together (I felt lazy and figured hey, why not?).  Pour half of the batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle frozen raspberries over the batter, saving some for later use. Pour in the rest of the batter and cover the raspberries. Sprinkle chocolate chips/shavings over top of the batter mixture. Bake approximately 45 to 50 minutes, or until done when tested with a toothpick. (Be sure to test first!) Once the cake is done, add additional raspberries to the top or side, and enjoy!

Portobello Fajitas

Close up as I was finishing sautéing the fajita "meat"

I don’t think of myself as a chef, and didn’t expect to share any recipes with you that I made up myself… but I did make something yesterday that resulted in yesterday’s lunch. Then dinner. And lunch again, today. And I enjoyed it every single time. So, I figure hey. Maybe the little guys out there like me might like this, as well, despite my lack of culinary expertise or prowess. I do have a good ability to eat, and I like tasty foods. So, hopefully that lends itself fairly well to simple recipes? And hey. If I can make it and enjoy it without much worry, mess, or time then surely YOU can make an easy and delicious dinner out of it, too! 🙂

Anywho, I wanted to make a vegan portobello fajita that would be fast, easy, delicious, and nutritious! So here’s what I did.

Couldn't wait to eat it before I shot a pic. So, I unraveled it to show you the insides 🙂

Takes about 20-30 minutes. Serves about 6. (Confession: If you aren’t vegan, well… I have to admit that shredded mexican cheese would probably taste pretty fantastic with this, but I’m not going to talk about that! haha)

Ingredients:

  • 6 portobello mushroom caps
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro
  • Olive oil to your preference for sautéing
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (or to your preference for heat)
  • 6 whole wheat flour tortillas
  • salsa for topping
  • fresh lime, for squeezing overtop (I didn’t have this on hand but I think that would be DIVINE!)

Instructions:

  • Prepare the vegetables first: Wash and slice the portobello mushrooms into long strips. Slice the onion into moon shapes (rather than chopping or dicing). Wash and slice the red pepper, either into long, thin strips or chopped pieces. Chop cilantro and mince the jalapeno & garlic, setting them aside in separate containers.
  • Place the mushrooms and onions in a large frying pan or skillet with some oil and let cook until the mushrooms approach tenderness. Add the garlic, chili pepper and paprika and let cook some more.
  • Once the mushrooms and onions are sautéed to your liking, add the cilantro and jalapeno, and mix.
  • Warm your tortillas. I did this by microwaving them for 15 minutes on a plate, individually.
  • Serve some of your vegetable mixture onto each tortilla and add salsa, lime and extra cilantro if you like; Enjoy!

It’s absurdly easy and also tastes great when you warm up leftovers!

Awesome Vegan Pizza

Guilt-Free Super Easy Vegan Pizza!

I’ve already made this recipe at least four times in probably the period of a month or less, and begun adapting it to use different toppings… I want to get more creative with “themes” for the pizzas (like mediterranean or spicy or maybe fake meat – who knows?!) and would love to hear if some of you end up making this recipe, especially if you adapt it to suit your tastes! I think the best thing about it is that is SO so easy, not expensive, and quick. Especially if you prepare the toppings in advance. WHAM! It’s on the table in no time, and that’s always a wonderful attribute to a tasty recipe!

Avocados are great toppings to add after baking.

And really, even vegans love pizza. Right?

Baking two personal pizzas.

Here’s a link to the original recipe, from Marcus Samuelsson, and below the basics of the recipe with adaptations from me. As always, adapt it further to suit your own preferences/needs as you see fit:

Easy, Vegan Tortilla Pizzas

Prepare your toppings & cheesy sauce, bake & start eating within 15 minutes! Great for singles as well as families who want to let their kids pick out their own toppings. Such a versatile recipe & great way to enjoy leftover veggies!

Ingredients

4 whole-wheat tortillas
2 sweet red pepper chopped into large chunks
1/2 onion finely sliced
approx. 8-10 sliced mushrooms
small handful spinach leaves
2 tbsp tomato paste/puree
1 tbsp chopped jalapeno peppers

(other ideas for toppings: cilantro, arugala, pine nuts, tomatoes, basil/pesto, capers, garlic, or avocado added after it is cooked… anything you like really. Don’t be shy!)

for the ‘cheese’

1/2 cup hummus
1 tbsp tahini
juice 1/2 lemon
black pepper (to taste) & water as you desire (I prefer a more drizzled cheese substitute than a thick, clumpy one)

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.

Turn over a baking sheet and leave it in the oven to heat while you go about assembling your toppings and preparing the cheese substitute in a separate bowl. Once they are ready, remove the baking sheet and place two tortillas side by side on it. (The original chef recommends using two, one on top of the other, per pizza – but I actually prefer just the one. It’s a bit crispier and allows for more pizzas! If you want to make it more filling, use two per pizza.) If you’re using a non-stick baking sheet, this works well – but if not, you may want to use flour or foil to keep the tortillas from sticking or burning.

Spread the tomato puree onto each tortilla with the back of spoon leaving a gap around the edge of the pizza. I recommend putting down the greens (whether that’s spinach, cilantro or otherwise) first, then the pepper chunks and mushrooms, then the onions, and lastly the cheese and any small toppings like added nuts or spices. I’ve found that the ingredients stay on the pizza better that way and look prettier, too!

I bake them for 6 minutes, but depending on your oven and personal preferences, you may want to bake  them for 8 to 10 minutes or more. Cut into quarters and enjoy!

A bit messy to eat, but totally delicious! (photo taken before baking)

Vegan Vanilla Bean Cake

This may or may not have been the size of the first piece. As in, it totally was. AND we had seconds.

I wanted to make an entirely vegan and whole wheat cake, so I adapted this recipe from Whole Foods’… My adaptations are italicized. Essentially, I wanted to make sure this was a sweet, whole wheat, and fluffy cake – not a dense, heavy, and boring wanna-be dessert.  I was honestly a bit shocked that it turned out as well as it did, and we ate the entire cake (just the two of us) in less than 12 hours. Ha. Maybe I shouldn’t be sharing that with you? 🙂 But I think the key was the vegan chocolate “buttercream” icing and fresh blueberries that made it. (I’ll add the recipe for the icing, from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, at the end.) It’s a delicious cake, but that extra bit of decadence did wonders. Another idea is you could drizzle it in Maple Syrup or powder it with confectioner’s sugar. Whatever do you, enjoy it 🙂

I had a hard time waiting for the cake to completely cool... Plus, a warm cake is just so good. If only it didn't cause the icing to melt! 🙂

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons egg replacer (equivalent to substituting for three eggs, I used Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer) 
  • 1 cup almond or soy milk (I used plain, whole fat, unsweetened, organic soy)
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup expeller pressed canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 a real vanilla bean (removing the beans and leaving the stalk for other use)
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour 
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Method

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray and flour a 9-inch round or square cake pan using olive or canola oil spray. Set aside. In a large bowl whisk together egg replacer, almond or soy milk, maple syrup, oil, vinegar and vanilla until completely combined. In a separate bowl, mix flours, baking powder, salt and baking soda, then add to bowl with milk mixture, stirring to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake approximately 35 to 40 minutes, or until done when tested with a toothpick.

The cake turned out perfectly! (And yes, that's my humble, and mostly obedient oven and yes. It was a late night treat.)

Chocolate “Buttercream” Icing from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World:

1/4 cup vegan margarine, softened
1/4 cup vegan shortening
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons soymilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cream together the margarine and the shortening until well combined. Add the cocoa powder and incorporate well. Add the confectioners sugar in about 1/2 cup batches and beat well, adding a little splash of soymilk after each addition. When all ingredients have been incorporated, add the vanilla and beat until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes with a mixer, 7 minutes with a fork.)