Gluten Free, Vegan Thanksgiving Lasagna

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Hey, I’ve been having a rough time lately. I’m aware I have not been posting much. I finally made an original recipe to share with you all.

I came up with this idea for Thanksgiving because it’s easy to transport for a long car ride, easy to reheat, and has a little bit of everything. Also, since I cannot eat the vegan Thanksgiving roasts like Tofurky and such because they’re made out of pure gluten, I figured this would be even more delicious and satisfying for me.

This recipe contains butternut squash, kale, walnuts, caramelized onions, and vegan ricotta, as well as gluten-free lasagna noodles.

It uses two packages of Kite Hill ricotta, which is a pretty big splurge but so worth it if you can get it. If you can’t, it works with some firm tofu, or you can make a cashew ricotta too.

Here it is:

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chopped butternut squash
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 small Vidalia onions, cut into rings
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ¾ cup vegetable broth
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 16 oz chopped kale
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 ½ cup walnuts
  • 2 packages Kite Hill ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup non dairy milk of choice
  • 1 package Tinkyada Brown Rice Lasagne Noodles (the best gluten free pasta brand, in my opinion, and I’ve tried a lot)

 

Directions:

  1. Place butternut squash in a large saucepan and cover with water.
  2. When water is boiling, set a timer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat when the squash is soft.
  3. While the butternut squash is boiling, prepare the caramelized onions. Place 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan with a cover. Toss the onions in the oil. Keep on medium heat (you may have to lower it later) for 10-15 minutes, stirring every so often. When browned, add in the brown sugar, stir, and remove from heat. Set aside for assembly of the lasagna later.
  4. When the squash is cooked, drain the water and place back into the pot. Mash the squash with a potato masher until smooth.
  5. Stir in the vegetable broth, salt and pepper, nutmeg, garlic, and nutritional yeast.
  6. Prepare the kale by boiling three cups of water in a large covered pot. When boiling, add the kale and cover. Stir every so often until all the kale is wilted, for about 5 minutes.
  7. Prepare the walnuts by placing them in a food processor and blend until pasty. If you like, you can add some additional seasonings to the walnuts before blending.
  8. Prepare the lasagna noodles according to the packaged directions and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  9. Combine the ricotta with the nondairy milk in a medium sized bowl.
  10. Drizzle the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil onto a large casserole or lasagna pan.
  11. Place a layer of noodles on the bottom, followed by half the butternut sauce, half the ricotta, half the walnuts, and all of the kale. Repeat in the same order except this time, place on top with the onions instead of the kale for the second layer.
  12. Cover pan with foil and cook for 30 minutes. Uncover and heat for an additional ten minutes (or less depending on how it’s looking)
  13. Allow it to cool slightly before digging in.

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I hope you have a lot to be grateful for!

 

Vegan MoFo Day 15, Post #11: Obama hypothetically coming to a vegan dinner cooked by me

I saw this prompt (OMG, Barack Obama is coming over because he knows you make awesome vegan food! What are you going to make?) and was really upset that I couldn’t think of anything I make that I truly feel is worthy of serving a president.

I have made things that are really impressively tasty by my standards, like for example, this moussaka. I just have trouble thinking of things to pair it with that I would also make. It’s an extremely agonizing decision.

However, I started to think, and I remembered that when Obama came to Rhode Island, he apparently got advised by people to go to a really gross restaurant in RI that’s pretty famous here, called Gregg’s. When I could eat there, the few times we went there I was really disappointed by my meals. The only thing I really liked from there were their cakes. Here is an example picture of one of their cakes, the death by chocolate cake, so you can get an idea of what I’m talking about.

Since I didn’t have enough time to try and create vegan recipes inspired by Gregg’s menu, I looked at the menu, which is huge, and tried to find a few recipes or ideas for veganizing some of the items. This can give you an idea of what Obama may have actually eaten when he went there, but vegan…of course.

I’m going to start with the desserts, since I’m pretty sure some people only go to the restaurant for that thing. After doing some research on their website, it is 6 layers worth of cake, and covered in mini chocolate chips (good luck with placing the mini chocolate chips all over a cake that size! probably better to randomly decorate it with some bigger sized vegan chocolate chips). So, here’s a recipe that looks good for this (and probably won’t put you into a dessert-induced coma after eating a slice). Vegan Death By Chocolate Cake. I haven’t actually made this one yet, and won’t be because it’s not gluten free, but let me know if you try it and it’s good.

Now, I’m going to try and find at least one recipe from almost all the rest of the categories of the menu (except for drinks, breakfasts, Monday and Tuesday special, daily features, seasonal selections, healthy choices, kids, and platters to go–yes, this menu is huge, I’m taking on a lot work for this and the day to post this is almost over, woops!)

Soups and Chowders:

French onion soup is on the menu. I actually almost forgot I made an amazing french onion soup last year for MoFo. Here it is! 

I feel the need to also include a chowder. This is the one I’d choose to make, though I haven’t tried it personally.

Appetizers:

Rhode Island actually has an official state appetizer. Sadly, it is fried calamari. Yes, it’s on Gregg’s menu. Usually this is done here in an Italian kind of style, tossed with a buttery, lemony, garlic sauce with banana peppers or sliced peperoncino. To make this, I’d actually recommend you buy Sophie’s Kitchen breaded vegan calamari, cook it according to directions, and then melt some earth balance and combine that with at least 2 cloves of minced garlic, pour on top and mix together, then fold in the peppers and dip in marinara sauce. It’ll be a pretty accurate RI vegan rendition of this dish, I believe. I’m not sure if the Sophie’s Kitchen vegan calamari is gluten free, so I probably won’t be trying this and perfecting it myself. Let me know if you try it and how it goes. I did have the vegan calamari awhile ago, but didn’t do much with it. I feel that product needs something fancier done to it, so this should be perfect!

There is also Spinach and Cheese dip on the appetizer menu. I highly recommend this vegweb recipe if that’s what you want. I recommend shredding the Follow Your Heart cheese with a grater instead of the way it’s pictured in the recipe, though.

Sensational Salads

Groan…there’s also a  “Calamari Mediterranean” salad here. Basically, based on their description, it is the same recipe as the appetizer I listed above but on a salad with roasted red peppers and sliced black olives. Add some vegan parmesan cheese to make it fancier.

The salads they list are so easy to make vegan that looking up recipes isn’t actually required. I’m running out of time to post this before midnight, so I’ll do one more:

To veganize the Tuscan salad, grill a portobello mushroom, add some roasted red peppers and greek olives, make some vegan feta out of tofu, and place over greens.

Sandwiches with Style

Tuna Melt- I highly recommend this jackfruit version.

Thanksgiving Sandwich. This recipe from Beyond Meat seems pretty authentic. To make it more like we do in RI, I’d also spread some Just Mayo on the bread.

Traditional Club Sandwiches

There’s actually a veggie burger club on the menu (without the bacon, it even says!) Make it better with your favorite brand of vegan bacon or make your own. Their menu says it’s a black bean and corn burger, which many vegan brands have similar versions of, and I bet you can find a recipe to make as well (in the interest of time I’ll leave that up to you).

Since I bet Obama wouldn’t be too impressed with that as a choice, may I suggest veganizing their Buffalo Chicken Club. Fry up some buffalo cauliflower or tofu (my fave recipe can be found here), put on bread with your favorite vegan bacon brand, maybe add some vegan ranch or bleu cheese dressing (this cauliflower recipe has a sauce that to me is pretty close to bleu cheese dressing!)

Gregg’s Favorite Sandwiches

Apparently all their favorite sandwiches are all on Focaccia bread. There are two on the menu that are easily veganized. The Portobello and Eggplant ones. First, find or make some vegan focaccia bread. I have found some good vegan focaccia at wholesale clubs, such as BJ’s in the bakery section believe it or not. Then, slice it into sandwich bread size pieces and either grill a portobello and top it with roasted red peppers, fresh sliced tomatoes, and greens or make a vegan eggplant parmesan and put it in between the bread. I recommend you melt some Follow Your Heart Provolone sliced cheese on top of the eggplant in the latter.

Burgers and “Steaks” Sandwiches

To veganize the Steak Sandwich, I recommend you make this from a fellow MoFo-er.

Dinner Favorites

Maybe Obama would be cool and choose the French Meat Pie, which is amazingly veganized here (it’s even gluten free, so I can still eat it! And one of my favorites of all time).

Pasta

Keeping with the vegan calamari idea (since they have a Crispy Calamari Pasta), do pretty much what you did with the appetizer and salad recipe, but instead of salad, toss everything (including the roasted red peppers in the salad) with thin spaghetti and some olive oil.

Everyday

Chicken Pot Pie is on this menu. I was surprised to see Trisha Yearwood has veganized this and it looks really good.

Voila! There you have a sampling of the menu of the restaurant Obama visited when he was in my small state of Rhode Island and some tips on how to make it all vegan! 

Although, as an after thought, if we are talking classic RI stuff and he specifically came to me for vegan food, I’d make him my RI Vegan Pizza Strips, serve some lemonade or coffee almond milk, a nice salad (we’ve made this one more times than we can count), and my raspberry lime rickey cupcakes I can’t stop linking to and talking about and making.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, friends! I’m done just in the knick of time…and didn’t want to steal anyone else’s photos…knowing me, if Obama actually came to visit me I’d attempt to make a ton of these items to impress him and stress over it so much, haha.

Vegan MoFo Post #2: Childhood Favorites: sharing a recipe from my zine!

Hey all,

Welcome again to Vegan MoFo 2015!

Today’s prompt is to recreate a meal from my childhood. I’ve actually already done that multiple times, and wrote about the stories behind them, in my zine that accompanies this blog!

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You can buy it from my Etsy shop here. Please keep in mind, that I wrote these recipes earlier in the year, before I went gluten free, so almost all of the recipes are made with gluten, many are not very easily adaptable either. I can no longer eat most of them either. Such sadness.

But, if you can eat gluten, here is one of a few recipes I will be highlighting from the zine this month!

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Vegan Sausage Macaroni Skillet:

This used to be our favorite meal in our family, until my mom became allergic to milk. For awhile my mom would make it for us on special occasions, or if she couldn’t eat. Since going vegan, I remade it! It came out just as good, and healthier of course. My mom still couldn’t eat it because she can’t have soy. And now I can’t either until I find a good gluten free substitute for the Gimme Lean. Maybe that’s next on my recipe agenda…

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Gimme Lean Sausage style
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 15 oz can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp vegan white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup vegan sour cream (I used Tofutti)
  • 1/4 cup plain almond milk or other non dairy milk of choice
  • 1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
  • Oil, as needed

Directions:

  1. Break Gimme Lean up into pieces, and fry in a pan with a bit of oil until browned and a bit shiny. It should become firmer than it was before it was cooked.
  2. In a large skillet over high heat, add some oil and saute onions and peppers until they are shiny and start to become translucent. Add the sausage at this point.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, uncooked macaroni (I promise it’ll be cooked when done), sugar, salt, and pepper.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the vegan sour cream and almond milk.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

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Have fun!

Spinach, Roasted Butternut Squash, Sage and Tofu Ravioli Recipe

I wanted to take a day off after doing Vegan MoFo for the entire month (didn’t miss a day) but my people are requesting my triumphant early return.

I’m going to be making a similar recipe to share soon with a pumpkin filling that is soy free, too. I’m not sure if I will just update this post and alert people to the fact that it’s been updated, or make a separate post. But keep an eye out for it!

I posted this picture on What FAT vegans eat Facebook group and many people requested the recipe, so, here it is.

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It’s easier the bigger you make them. I haven’t quite perfected the technique of forming the ravioli. I don’t actually care if they look slightly misshapen, as long as they’re delicious. That they definitely are.

Here’s a quick set of photos of the process:

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After the dough was kneaded

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The dough broken into 8 pieces

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1/8 of the dough rolled out to form the ravioli. This gets cut in half to make two ravioli.

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On the left is a ravioli in progress. The filling is on the other one, waiting to be formed.

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A mostly formed ravioli

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A finished ravioli (pardon the shadow)

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Some of the ravioli I made

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4 Cooked ravioli

On to the recipe:

Makes 16 ravioli

Ingredients:

For the pasta dough:

  • 1 2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 cup raw baby spinach
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground sage

For the filling:

  • 4 cups chopped butternut squash
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3-6 large fresh sage leaves depending on how strong you want this flavor to be
  • 1/2 cup firm tofu

Directions:

  1. Roast the butternut squash in a dish with the olive oil and pepper in a 400 degree (F) oven for 30 minutes to an hour until slightly browned and caramelized.
  2. Take out a large bowl and place the flour and salt and stir.
  3. In a food processor or blender, blend together the spinach, water, and sage until liquified.
  4. Drizzle the olive oil on top of the flour mix, and then add the spinach, water, and sage liquid.
  5. Stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated and is not stringy or powdery. You may need to add 1-2 tbsp water to achieve this.
  6. Knead the dough on a clean, floured surface for about 10 minutes straight. Do this with a combination of techniques. I like to squish my hands around in the dough, then roll it into a ball, and fold and roll it. Continue until smooth and a little shiny.
  7. Let sit to rest in the bowl covered in plastic wrap for 10 minutes.
  8. Make the filling by blending or processing the squash, sage, and tofu until smooth and fully combined, scraping the sides with the spatula to get everything incorporated.
  9. Now begin to work on the pasta. Separate the dough into 8 even sized balls.
  10. Flour a dinner plate, set aside a cup with water inside, take out a rolling-pin and dust it with flour, and set aside a knife and a dinner fork. Also flour your working surface again.
  11. Roll the 1/8 dough ball as thin as possible. Try to make it in a rectangular shape.
  12. Cut the rectangular shape in half, and place 1 tbsp of the filling on the inside of each piece.
  13. Before folding the dough over the filling, wet water with your finger around the edges of the dough and fold around the filling so that the edges meet.
  14. Smooth them down. Take a fork and pinch around the edges to seal them and add a nice finished look to it.
  15. Dust with a bit more flour, and place on the floured plate.
  16. Continue steps 11-15 until you are done with the dough.
  17. If you don’t intend on cooking them all right away (which would require a pretty large pot, by the way if you do want to cook them all…I cooked mine in batches of 4-8 at a time) you can flour a tupperware container and place them inside and keep them in the fridge until you want them, for no more than a week. You could also place them in the freezer for even longer.
  18. To cook, boil a pot of water. Place in the water when boiling, let them sit in there, adjusting the heat on the stove as necessary, until they float to the top. This will take about 7-10 minutes.
  19. Eat once slightly cooled. They’re so good they don’t need much else, but maybe a creamy sauce would be good.

Vegan Mofo day 24: Worldly Wednesday: Walnut Meat, tofu ricotta, and pesto lasagna

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Hello everyone! I’m very excited today because I just got put up on my college program’s website about the work I’m doing. They interviewed me and I talked about my blog and my future plans of incorporating a vegan project into my education plan.

You can view that article here!

Anyways, on to the food!

This lasagna is quite rich with the walnut meat, and has tons of protein due to the tofu ricotta, and a healthy dose of greens due to the pesto (with basil and parsley!).

This walnut meat here is very similar to my earlier recipe but changed slightly to change the flavor from a hamburger style to a more italian style. The tofu ricotta is also quite similar to the one for the pizza recipe I posted earlier on Sept. 12, but I changed it again because there is a separate basil factor with the pesto, so extra basil in the ricotta was not necessary.

Here is the recipe:

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Ingredients:

For the walnut meat:

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 portobello cap
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes in juice, no salt added, canned
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the pesto:

  • 2 cups basil, packed
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, not packed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the ricotta:

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1 tsp salt free italian seasoning blend
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 3 tbsp water

Other necessary ingredients:

  • 1 & 2/3 cup Tomato sauce, either homemade (your favorite recipe) or store bought (I love Victoria brand marinara)
  • no-boil vegan lasagna noodles
  • 1/3 cup Daiya brand vegan mozzarella style cheese, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare the walnut meat. Place walnuts, onion, garlic and portobello into a food processor and blend until everything melds together but remains chunky.
  3. Place this mushy walnut meat into a bowl, and fold in the remaining ingredients.
  4. On a parchment lined baking sheet, pat down the “meat” into a thin layer with a spatula.
  5. Bake 15 minutes. Take out of the oven and with a spatula, scrape up the “meat” and flip it.
  6. Bake for 15 more minutes and set aside.
  7. Prepare the pesto. First place the basil, parsley, and garlic and chop in the food processor until finely ground.
  8. Add the pine nuts and olive oil into the mix, and blend. You will need to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula to ensure that everything gets properly mixed together and to get a good consistency. Set aside, in a bowl, but leave some of the remnants of the pesto in the food processor for the next step.
  9. Make the ricotta by adding all the ingredients into the food processor and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides with the rubber spatular once or twice to get everything together.
  10. Grease a 9 x 13” pan with cooking spray.
  11. Lay out three dry lasagna noodles (or more if you could not find the no-boil type after boiling them, of course) on the bottom of the pan.
  12. Spread 2/3 cup of the sauce on top.
  13. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta and pesto on top.
  14. Crumble and sprinkle 1/2 the batch of the walnut meat on top with your hands.
  15. Place another layer of dry lasagna noodles on top and repeat steps 12-14.
  16. Place the final layer of noodles on top, and add just 1/3 cup of the sauce and the remainder of the pesto and ricotta (with the ricotta on the top layer!)
  17. Sprinkle 1/3 cup daiya mozzarella on top.
  18. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.
  19. Let sit 10 minutes after taking out of the oven, and enjoy.

photo 1 (4)The pesto

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The ricotta

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The first layer of the lasagna

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Buon Appetito!

Foodie (Photo) Friday! I made a lot! Especially from the cookbook Isa Does It!

This week was a big week for my cooking. Not only did I create my own original recipe for a favorite, typically very non vegan appetizer, but I also tested tons of other people’s recipes.

I mostly tried a bunch of recipes from the Isa Does It cookbook though, which I have not found a single recipe that wasn’t amazing or really yummy yet. My only complaint is that the recipe names are not easy to remember because they are usually named after the ingredients and not that creative/specific so I feel like I sometimes write about them and name them different than what is in the cookbook. So apologies if I am not using the actual recipe names to a T, I am currently too tired and somewhat lazy to go get the book and double check! Woops. How unprofessional of me…

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Sweet Potato Gnocchi w/ Brussels Sprouts and Tarragon Cashew Cream Sauce

The most impressive recipe  I have tried  so far was definitely the Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Tarragon Cashew Cream and Brussels Sprouts. I have made my own gnocchi from recipes before, but it seemed so difficult and was such a long process. Maybe my cooking skills have drastically improved over time and I just do things faster and in a more organized time saving manner, but I still think this recipe is by far an easier and simple way of making you own vegan gnocchi from scratch than the previous recipe I tried. It only really takes awhile because you have to bake the sweet potato (or potatoes…but I found a 1 lb sweet potato that worked out very well). The sauce is also simplistic yet has a very fancy flavor/touch to it with the tarragon. And a cashew based sauce makes almost any pasta recipe rich and luxurious. The Brussels Sprouts were the perfect finishing touch, and add to the dish to make it a complete healthful meal.

I love the bowls so far in this cookbook. I think I forgot to post about the cucumber ranch tofu bowl I made New Year’s Eve? Well that was pretty good. Even better was the pizza bowl, though.

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Not the prettiest looking pizza bowls

I used tofurky italian sausages (Which, to my delight, do not contain soy protein isolate in them which I am really trying to avoid as much as possible now.  My nutritionist said she believes that it is that form of soy that causes the most problems for our hormone balance, and it is very highly processed (and typically g.m.o I think?) so it is good to avoid or eat irregularly. Tofu is fine unless you have digestive/other sensitivities to it, whIch I do not.

Anyways, this was absolutely delicious and comforting. The sauce is really, really good. It reminds me of pink (or vodka cream) sauce, which was one of my favorite sauces before I went vegan and I have found difficult to replicate as a vegan despite trying . Actually now this gives me an idea to try and make an even more authentic version of it! Yay!

Paired with the kale (which I actually seemed to cook right for the first time ever…I typically only eat it raw), rice, sausage, garlic, red onions, olives, etc it is just so wonderfully filling and tasty!

My pictures of it are not the prettiest, but believe me, it is so yummy!

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edamame hummus tofu wraps…before I wrapped them 🙂

I also made the tofu wraps with edamame hummus. It somehow tastes kind of like a Japanese-inspired egg salad wrap to me which I thought was pretty cool. I will definitely be making the edamame based (instead of chickpea) hummus on it’s own again multiple times. The tofu was really good too though! I love anything with sesame oil in it, and it crisps the tofu perfectly. Isa Chandra Moscowitz doesa really good job through writing her recipes teaching people the proper methods of cooking her dishes without having them fail horribly. Hopefully I can get there myself too!

I did not use sprouts because when I buy them they seem to go bad too fast, instead I used greens. When I use up the leftovers tomorrow though, I am probably going to use baby arugula. Yum!

Aside from cooking from Isa Does It, I found this recipe on a facebook group I belong to and was intrigued so I gave it a try. Behold, Green Pancakes!

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not the prettiest again but behold green pancakes!

They look kinda gross, but I felt really good about eating them for my breakfast and do not taste too different from unhealthy versions of pancakes…especially when you add some maple syrup, ha, ha. I kept thinking of Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham and thinking this would make a good vegan story like that, especially for kids while eating these. So it was fun, healthy, and fed my belly all at once.

Finally, I made a really delicious salad today.

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my delicious salad with chickpea “bacon”

The centerpiece of the salad was the Chickpea Bacon recipe from Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! Gosh do I love that book!

I put 2 cups chopped romaine, 1/2 cup baby arugula, 1/3 cup sliced cucumber, 1/3 cup chopped hearts of palm, 1/4 of the chickpea recipe, a slice of red onion that I chopped into smaller bits, 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast, and 2 tbsp Organicville Non Dairy Ranch! I made a similar version for my dad and he really liked it too! He was trying to refuse eating it because of the non-dairy ranch, but now he says I have to make him a salad every day! (Though fat chance…but I will make an extra for him when I have one from now on!)

Ta da! And now you know what I cooked up this week!

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can follow me on these social media outlets where I post related (and unrelated) things to my blog.

Banana Curl, Vegan Girl’s Facebook Page

Follow me on Pinterest (the blog has it’s own board if you just want to follow that)

Twitter

And I think that’s everything for now! I will be adding these to the end of my blog every so often for new people to click on and explore. Also, I love comments and feedback and love it when people spread and share my work I am doing here, so do not be shy about that!