Spanakopita – Spinach Pie

My kids are Obsessed with Spanakopita so naturally I had to make some at home. It was hard to save them some 😉 but we did manage it. I have made this since without the puff pastry because the filling is just so good on its own. Also love my veganized version with tofu, no one would even notice, it is just so good!

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Spanakopita – Spinach Pie

2 – 10 ounce packages frozen spinach, thawed
1 pound extra firm tofu, crumbled
1 teaspoon dill
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup walnuts, ground​
​2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt
pepper, taste
1/4 cup olive oil
dashes of nutmeg, thyme, marjoram, basil and oregano
1 onion, chopped
1 leek, quartered and chopped (cleaned super well!)
4 scallions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed (or phyllo dough)

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Saute the onion with a little salt in olive oil until translucent. Add in the leeks, garlic and scallions, season with salt, and continue to saute until translucent.
  3. Combine the spinach, tofu, dill, lemon juice, walnuts, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, olive oil & spices together and mix well.
  4. Combine onion mixture with the spinach/tofu mixture.
  5. Line a baking sheet with ether parchment paper or aluminum foil. Unfold puff pastry and place on baking sheet. Spread the spinach mixture over the pastry, leaving a border of one inch all around the edges. Keep the spinach flat; do not pile high. Cover with the second sheet of pastry that has been slightly flattened to one inch bigger than the first sheet. (This ensures all the spinach will be covered). Press edges together with fingertips, making sure mixture is sealed well. Brush just the top with non-dairy milk, Cut a few slits in the top with a sharp knife to allow steam to escape.
  6. Bake 30-40 minutes, until golden brown. Can be served hot or at room temperature.

You have options for the extra filling. You can use it like a dip, eat it with a spoon or take another sheet of puff pastry and made deelish spinach pinwheels!

For the pinwheels: Unfold the pastry sheet on the work surface. Top with the spinach mixture. Starting at a short side, roll up like a jelly roll. Cut into 1/2-inch slices. Place the slices onto 2 baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown. Remove the pastries from the baking sheets and let cool on wire racks for 10 minutes.

Vegan Peanut Butter Mousse

Addictive does not even describe how good this is! You are lucky if it makes it out of the blender to serve. Have fun with this and change up the toppings or get super creative and make a pudding pie or cake with the mousse.

This one is so super easy to whip up but be careful, not sure we should have mousse EVERY day 🙂 ENJOY!

Vegan Peanut Butter Mousse

1 cup peanut butter
16 oz firm silken tofu (not the vacuum packed kind – I used Nasoya)
1/2 cup agave
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

Blend tofu and peanut butter in blender or food processor until smooth. Add cream cheese and blend more, scraping down the sides. Add agave and vanilla and blend again.

Assemble with toppings or just enjoy alone (maybe even straight out of the blender :))

Toppings Ideas

bananas
strawberries
other fruit
granola
banana bread crumbles
chocolate chips

Vegan Pizza with homemade dough

Who doesn’t appreciate a good slice, especially here in NYC where pizza is so very important and such a point of contention – even for vegans! Our favorite place to order from is Viva Herbal Pizzeria where we can get spelt or gluten-free crusts with daiya and even vegan sausage as toppings (our personal fave combo!) Pala Pizza also has great vegan options and that brick-fired pizza taste, yum!

Sometimes it is easy to buy dough and tomato sauce quickly whip up a pie at home, but if you are interested in making your own dough, here is a great recipe! My mom made the dough and I added the homemade sauce (thanks mom!!).  It was really very very good!

Check out here for some of my other fun pizza nights 🙂 Flatbread Pizza with hummus, green olives, cherry tomatoes and za’atar (this is a raw one and Well Worth the effort!), Raw Eggplant Pizzas and the quick at home whipped up kind with purchased dough.

Vegan Pizza with Homemade Dough & Daiya Cheese

Pizza Dough Recipe

  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon dry yeast (1 packet of dry yeast)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water
  1. Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees (if using a pizza stone – place in the oven to get hot and heat for an hour)
  2. Mix together the warm water, sugar and yeast. Put aside to get foamy. If it does not foam then the yeast is not good – redo this step.
  3. In a separate bowl mix all of the other ingredients. Add in the yeast mixture and mix well until dough forms a ball. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough – Use the palm of your hand and keep pressing in and folding it over and repeating for about 5 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into 4 – one pound balls. Place these dough balls into containers and cover the container with anything that will keep the air out. Set the dough to rise in a warm spot for at least 45 minutes. (you can freeze any unused dough after rising*)
  5. Prepare your topping. Stretch out the dough and aim for it to be even thickness all around. Top your pizza and place in the oven. Bake for 8 minutes. Let it rest. Add any herbs to your pizza afterwards.

*If using frozen dough – allow dough to defrost in fridge 12 hours

  • Either use a jar of Marinara Sauce or make your own

Basic Sauce Recipe

  • 28 ounce pureed tomatoes
  • sugar to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 3-6 finely grated fresh peeled garlic cloves

Mix all the ingredients together.

Topping Suggestions:

  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Fresh or Roasted Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet Corn
  • Peppers
  • Olives
  • Fresh Tomatoes
  • Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • Grilled/Fried/Baked Eggplant
  • Grilled Zucchini
  • Roasted Red Pepper
  • Capers
  • Saute Spinach
  • Pesto Sauce
  • Artichokes
  • Soy Pepperoni or Soy Sausage or Tofu/tempeh
  • Daiya Vegan Cheese or other vegan cheese
  • Herbs

Unbaked Pizza

Babette’s in East Hampton

I was super excited to read about Babette’s in East Hampton. They offer many different vegan dishes. When we went we were happy to get an outside table but I was a little astounded by the prices for the kind of food it was. But hey, its the Hamptons, I get it. The Lentil Vegetable Walnut burger with avocado and soy cheese was decent, but we liked the one at Banzai Burger better. We also had the vegan Tempeh Reuben which was super yummy. The sweet potato fries and smoothies were good too 🙂 I would go back but maybe try some of the other vegan options. I love that there are many! Fun!

Italian Potluck Night!!

As you know I LOVE Potlucks! And now we have a pretty regular Vegan Themed Potluck Party happening 🙂 Last nights theme was Italian Night! (last month was Asian) SUPER YUM! Not kidding this meal was out of control. We didn’t end up having dessert, but we all happily had seconds of the deelish food!

Lisa Dawn made this OUT of this world lasagna! We have seen her amazing Ricotta Cheese in her Stuffed Shells, but to taste this you would think that this was gourmet ricotta cheese made in Italy. But happily it was Vegan (but still super gourmet :)) And the homemade tomato sauce was also deelish!

Joey made this amazing pesto pasta sans cheese of course. It was so gorgeous with the fresh grape tomatoes and basil! Beautiful and super tasty!

I made my favorite Raw Crisp Caesar Salad with Pinenut parmesan and Artichoke Guacamole with mulit-grain pita chips. Yum!!!

On a side note, I can’t help but brag about Lisa & Paul’s overly impressive and adorable son Luke! Lisa had this great deck of cards with all the US Presidents pictures on them. Luke was able to go through all of them and name them!!! SO CUTE!! And he is under 2 years old!

Such a super great night with friends and deelish vegan food!

Amazing photo courtesy of Lisa's fabulous husband Paul!

Baked Freekah Risotto

I just recently tried out Freekeh “free-kah”. To me it was a new product but I have read that it has been around forever originating in the Middle East. It used to be only found in Middle Eastern markets but now it is popping up in restaurants in NYC and can be found in Whole Foods. Freekeh is a roasted green wheat and can be used in place of rice, bulgur or any grains and substituted in recipes for salads, pilaf, tabbouleh, or soup. I made a baked risotto with the freekeh and it came out sooo good! I used the whole grain version (instead of the cracked) which had a really nutty flavor and texture.

Baked Freekah Risotto

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
zest of one lemon
1 medium onion
sea salt
1 1/2 cups freekeh
1 cup tomato sauce
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 recipe Pinenut Parmesan (below), divided or Nutritional Yeast
1 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped

Pinenut Parmesan from Raw Crisp Caesar Salad Recipe

1/2 cup pinenuts
1/2 cup whole cashews or macadamia nuts
2 teaspoon good oil or fresh water
6 tablespoons nutritional yeast
pinch dried garlic granules or powder
pinch Celtic or sea salt

In a food processor or blender: Chop pinenuts and cashews into a fine meal. Drizzle in a touch of oil or water. Chop in pulses until moist and ground. Add nutritional yeast, dried garlic and salt and chop in pulses until crumbly.

 Baked Freekah Risotto

  1. Preheat oven to 400F, with a rack in the top third. Spray non-stick oil over a 8×8-inch baking dish and sprinkle with lemon zest.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat combine the olive oil, onion, and a couple pinches of salt. Cook until the onions soften up and begin to become translucent, a few minutes. Add the freekah, stir until well-coated, and cook for another minute or two. Stir in the tomato sauce and the broth. Bring just to a simmer, remove from heat, and stir in about 3/4 of the Parmesan. Carefully taste a bit of the liquid, and adjust the seasoning if needed. Transfer to the baking dish, cover with foil, poke a few slits in the foil, and bake for about 55 minutes or until the grains are cooked through. Uncover and add remaining Parmesan a cook for a few for minutes.

Lisa Dawn’s Vegan Stuffed Shells with Cashew Ricotta Cheese!!

I am super excited about having my amazing friend Lisa Dawn Guest Blog!! She has just started her own fabulous blog, Lisa’s Project:Vegan with deelish vegan recipes which almost all take less than a half hour to make! She was the inspiration behind the Coconut Lentil Soup, which if you tried I know you loved! The Vegan Stuffed Shells with Cashew Ricotta Cheese below looks out of this world. I know I will be making this soon myself!! Thanks Lisa!

About Lisa Dawn: I am a vegan mom and wife and I love to cook. I became vegan over four years ago for several reasons – the health and welfare of the animals, myself, and that of the world. My husband has been vegan since he was a teenager and together we are raising our son vegan. It is a challenge to do so in this world but it makes it that much more fun to be creative and to cook delicious meals that people really enjoy. Everyone who joins us for a meal leaves fully satisfied and with a handful of recipes!

My cashew ricotta cheese is outstanding and I use it in a lot of dishes. But nothing beats stuffed shells! You can vary the filling (e.g., you can use butternut squash or just plain cashew ricotta). My family loves it! It is not as hard as you think to make this and it is very satisfying!

Stuffed Shells

Cashew Ricotta
1 lb cashews (soaked overnight)
water
salt
nutmeg
fresh lemon juice
Stuffed Shells
1 box shells (to make it gluten free, use rice pasta shells)
1 small bag frozen spinach
garlic powder
1 jar of tomato sauce (or make your own)
Cashew Ricotta
Soak cashews overnight.  In the morning, drain them and then place 1 cup at a time into the in the food processor.  Process the nuts until fine and then add 3/4 cup of water, a pinch of salt, a pinch of nutmeg, and a dash of lemon juice.  Process and then place in strainer (with very small mesh) over a bowl to drain excess water.   Repeat until you finish all of the cashews.  Let this strain for a few hours.  The top might get slightly hard but don’t worry, just mix it back in.  When it seems like all the excess water has drained out, place in a container and use it when ready.
Stuffed Shells
Preheat oven to 350.  Boil up shells according to package directions.  Use lots of salt in the water to season the pasta.   While they are boiling, place frozen spinach in small pot with a little water and set on a high flame to defrost quickly or do this ahead of time.  Either way, make sure you drain all of the water out.  Mix the spinach with the cashew ricotta.  Add some garlic powder and mix.  Taste it and decide if you want any more seasoning, e.g., salt and pepper.
Coat the bottom of a baking dish with tomato sauce.  When the shells are done, carefully strain them.  Assemble your shells by stuffing them with the mixture and placing them into the baking dish.  Pour tomato sauce in between and around the shells.  Place in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes so they are thoroughly heated through.

Enjoy!

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