Here is our centerpiece—a favorite :)
Vegan Gratitude Pot Pie
Crust (adapted from Lunch Box Bunch):
2 sticks vegan butter, placed in freezer for about an hour (I used Earth Balance)
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat baking flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
water to moisten mixture (about ¼ - ½ cup)
Pot Pie Filling:
3 small potatoes, any kind, cut into small pieces
1.5 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 cup or 3 shiitake mushrooms, diced
1 (or more…why not?) large Portobello mushroom cap, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 3/4 cup water or vegetable broth
1 brouillon cube
1/8 cup tamari, soy sauce, or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1 tsp corn starch
1 package of seitan or pre-seasoned TVP (optional)
seasonings to taste (I used nutritional yeast, dried thyme, dried basil, a little bit of smoke flavor)
salt and pepper to taste
Make the crust first!
1. Remove the vegan butter from freezer/fridge (keeping it cold like that will help make the crust flakier). Put salt, sugar, and flours in food processor* and mix.
2. Add in chunks of the butter and keep mixing, being careful not to overdo it.
3. Slowly add in water until the dough sticks together into a ball.
4. Separate dough into two even halves, and wrap them in plastic and store in the freezer until ready to use.
In the meantime, start making the filling!
5. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook on medium heat.
6. After several minutes, add in carrots and celery and cook until tender.
7. In a separate pan, while the potatoes are cooking, heat oil and add onions.
8. Cook until onions become slightly translucent, then add various mushrooms and garlic and keep cooking. Add seitan or TVP last and simmer for about 5 minutes.
9. Combine contents of pan into the potato/carrot/celery mixture, and pour in water/broth and tamari. Whisk in corn starch slowly, stirring until there are no lumps.
Putting it all together!
10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove dough from the freezer and let soften a little on the counter, if needed.
11. Use some flour or a non-stick surface and roll the dough balls out flat as best you can, making an even layer about 1/4” thick.
12. Carefully peel up one of the flat doughy circles and press into and up the sides of a pie tin; you may need to reshape and squish it in order to have it fill the whole thing.
13. Pour the filling carefully into the prepared crust. Don’t be afraid of the broth/stock – it will thicken while baking!
14. Cover with the other pie crust, and crimp edges to seal (with your hands or a fork for extra reinforcement/added prettiness).
15. Cut a few slits in the center of the top crust to let the vent steam in the oven, and then stick it in!
16. Momentarily check on your pie and make sure that it is not getting burnt; you may also have to re-open the slits you cut into the center of the top crust, as the filling might harden and close them up.
17. After about 40min - 1 hour (depending on your oven), remove pie. The crust should be slightly golden brown on the edges.
Let cool on the counter and then enjoy this compassionate meal with your loved ones!
Whipped up some stuffed mushrooms the other day and they were delicious! “The best I’ve ever had to date,” says Jeff :) Served it with a caramelized onion, Brussels sprouts, and zucchini stir fry, and some raw chopped heirloom tomatoes.
I didn’t keep track of exact ratios for the mushrooms, but here’s a basic recipe:
Yifan’s Stuffed Mushrooms, variation 1
(makes 3-4 large stuffed mushrooms)
3-4 large portobello mushroom caps, with the gills and stems removed and set aside
1-2 slices of bread (I used Food For Life Brown Rice Bread)
1 cup packed spinach leaves
1 cup packed kale leaves
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese* (I used Galaxy Nutritional Foods, which is coconut-oil based, in the chive & garlic flavor)
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 scoop protein powder of choice (optional)
Panko bread crumbs (optional)
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 Tbs Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, soy sauce, or tamari
Generous dash of Trader Joe’s everyday seasoning, or salt & pepper to taste
* if using plain cream cheese or if you really love an extra herby kick, I recommend chopping in chives!
1. Preheat oven to 350. In a food processor, mix bread slices until they become crumbs (don’t have to be perfectly even).
2. Add in spinach and kale leaves and mix until well chopped. Add in the stems and gills from the mushrooms, cream cheese, protein powder (if using), and seasonings, and mix thoroughly until the cream and breadcrumbs are well combined.
3. Scoop mixture into the empty portobello caps. If desired, top off with a thin layer of Panko crumbs.
4. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until stuffing starts to darken and mushrooms look done (will be both slightly shriveled and juicy). I actually didn’t time myself at all and just did this by look and smell, but if this is your first time, 10 min is a good place to start!
5. Broil for 2-3 minutes, then remove from oven. Let cool and enjoy with your favorite sides!
Kale & Mushroom Stuffed Potatoes!
This dinner was inspired by a great recipe on YumUniverse entitled Super-Kale-A-Fragilistic Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes. I happened to have most of the ingredients at hand, and was in the mood to whip up something with sweet potatoes, so did my own take + a side of baked asparagus. Enjoy!
1 large sweet potato + 1 large potato* (or two sweet potatoes)
large bunch of kale
1 cup almonds
1/4 cup cashew
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 Tbs pepitas
1/2 large king oyster mushroom, chopped
3 baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning, to taste
sea salt, to taste
oil for pan (I used Grapeseed oil spray)
* The regular potato may take longer to bake!! The one I used was huge and definitely came out much firmer than I would have liked, even though I kept it in the oven longer than the sweet potato.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. While oven is heating up, rinse off potatoes and poke some holes in them with forks.
2. Prepare two baking pans to stick into the oven: Spray pans with oil of choice, and on the first, place the potatoes. On the second, place the almonds and cashews. Stick both pans in the oven.
3. In food processor, mix kale with a little bit of water until it is fine and pesto-like in consistency.
4. Remove nuts from the oven after about 5 minutes. Stick them into the food processor with the kale, and add spices (cinnamon, cayenne, etc.), salt, and nutritional yeast. Mix thoroughly, adding a little bit of water and scraping down the sides of bowl as needed.
5. In a lightly oiled pan, heat up chopped mushrooms. After about 2 minutes, add the liquid aminos and keep heating on low until mushrooms are nice and juicy. Not much is needed to bring out the mushrooms’ flavor!
6. When 45 minutes are up, remove potatoes from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Carefully slice potatoes in half (or several smaller pieces, if using especially large potato).
7. Carefully remove most of the potato flesh from the potato halves, and add to food processor.
8. Add pepitas to food processor, and pulse until potato flesh and pepitas are more or less chopped into kale-nut pesto mixture.
9. Scoop kale-nut pesto stuffing into potato halves, filling to the brim and beyond!
10. Top with mushroom mixture, and enjoy with your favorite side of veggies.
I had a lot of the stuffing left over, so used some today as a spread for a lunch wrap and still have plenty to spare for future creations!
Jeff & I hosted our second annual Boston Movie Day yesterday, where we have people over for the better part of the day to watch Boston-themed movies (or favorites set in Boston). Last year’s bill included The Departed, Good Will Hunting, The Town, and Boondock Saints. This year, we enjoyed Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, Fever Pitch, and Monument Ave (this one was questionably “enjoyable”).
Of course, I was pretty much as excited about the food aspect of this as I was about the movies. It was a great opportunity to make big batches of veganized Boston favorites to share with my closest pals! Here were the results:
Vegan “Clam” a.k.a Oyster Mushroom Chowder
** Thanks to Kathy at Healthy. Happy. Life for the original recipe and inspiration!! She posted this just a few days ago…what timing. Save for a few modifications, I made the recipe as closely as I could.
(made enough to serve 9; can be halved for a smaller party!)
2 cups soy creamer, plain (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
2 cups soy milk, plain (I used Trader Joe’s Organic Unsweetened)
4 cups soaked raw cashews
2/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
2.5 medium potato, peeled/boiled
2/3 of a sweet onion
1 tsp fine black pepper
Spices/seasonings of choice (I used Trader Joe’s smoked sea salt and all-purpose seasoning, as well as a dash of Emeril’s Essence seasoning)
1-3 cups water (add until desired consistency is reached…I used a little over 2 cups)
Splash of truffle oil
Splash of extra virgin olive oil
Splash of liquid smoke
Mushroom “clam” saute:
Copious amounts of oyster mushrooms, cubed 1/4” thick (I used about 4 cups worth)
2 tsp oil of choice
2 cups celery, chopped
1/3 of a sweet onion
Splash of liquid smoke
Dash of salt or seasoned salt
1. Soak cashews overnight in salted water. Or for the quick soak method: simmer cashews over medium heat in salted water for 25 minutes.
2. Peel and boil the potatoes.
3. I had to do this in two batches given the large portions: Add half of the dry ingredients + a little bit of water to a food processor and process until pretty smooth.
4. Transfer to a high speed blender with half of wet ingredients (except water). Blend until creamy.
5. Repeat with second batch, then transfer both batches to a pot and simmer on low until ready to serve. Add water as needed for desired consistency, and add additional spices and salt as needed.
6. For the “clam saute,” I had to do this in two batches as well: Add 1 tsp oil to pan. Add half of chopped celery, onion, and mushrooms to pan - saute over high heat for about 2 minutes. Add a splash of truffle oil and liquid smoke halfway through the cooking process. Repeat with second batch.
7. Serve soup in soup bowls OR toasted bread bowls. Add a few spoonfuls of “clam saute” over top of each serving dish.
We served these with a side of When Pigs Fly rosemary & hot garlic bread…yum! Next time I might try to make it with one nori sheet blended in for a more “seafood” taste, but loved it as it was!
For Dessert…my best version yet of Vegan Boston Cream Pie!
Bottom layer with creamy filling…
…with top layer…
and finished with the chocolate ganache!
I’ve attempted the BCP a few times in the past, but never quite nailed it (especially the pudding filling). I have been inspired by the likes of Kelly at Vegan Thyme, who based her BCP on the version from The King Arthur’s Flour Baker’s Companion, as well as Kirs at Nom! Nom! Nom! blog’s excellent version. This time, I adapted from several cake recipes and used some of my own kitchen smarts to come up with my best Boston Cream Pie to date!
1 1/2 cups cake flour (I used Softasilk)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup vegan cane sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or soy milk
4 Tbs Earth Balance buttery sticks (or other vegan butter of choice)
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 1/2 tsp of Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with 6 Tbs water
3 Tbs vegetable or other preferred oil
1/3 pound silken tofu (about 1/3 package - I used Nasoya)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup powdered sugar (or ground up cane sugar)
1 Tbs Earth Balance buttery stick
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
Splash of almond milk or soy milk
1. Preheat oven to 350. Cut out a circle of parchment paper to line each of the bottoms of two 9” cake pans, and set aside.
2. Mix together the flour, baking powder and cornstarch and set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, add the Earth Balance, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract and beat together until smooth (I used a manual handheld beater).
3. Add the oil and Egg Replacer to this mixture and mix until smooth.
4. Slowly alternate adding the flour mixture and milk, mixing thoroughly to keep batter smooth.
5. Pour even amounts into the two lined pan, trying to keep top of batter even.
6. Bake for about 15-30 minutes depending on oven, checking every few minutes after you hit the 15min mark. The cake is ready when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and batter-free!
7. While cake is baking, pour all ingredients for filling into a food processor and pulse until smooth. You can also mix by hand. Store in fridge to let it thicken a bit.
8. When cakes come out of the oven, let cool on counter for at least 10 minutes. When cakes have cooled, flip one of them upside down onto desired serving tray/plate.
9. Trim off any uneven parts to leave surface smooth, and then smother the pudding filling on with a knife or spatula!
10. Flip other cake out of the pan and place carefully (bottom down) on top of other lower cake with the pudding.
11. To make ganache, melt all ingredients on low heat in a non-stick pot. Add milk as desired depending on preferred consistency. When the ganache looks smooth and free of lumps, immediately remove from heat and pour onto cake. If you went for a thicker ganache, you will need to spread it over the cake with a knife. If it’s liquidy, wash it slide across your cake and drip off the ends!
12. (optional) Store in fridge to let ganache harden. This will also make the cake more moist because some of the liquid from the pudding will soak into the cake.
This was definitely one of the most non-vegan tasting vegan cakes that I’ve ever made! Not that I mind things “tasting vegan”…whatever that really means. I personally prefer milder tasting desserts anyhow. To put it in better words, what I meant is that my friends with sweet tooth tendencies and a love for rich, buttery cakes were totally fooled, and the cake was a hit! Which made me super pleased!
In the future, I would probably make more batter, as the pans could have accommodated much more and therefore resulted in a bigger cake. Also, for the ganache, I don’t think the buttery stuff was even necessary…melting chocolate chips into a ganache is pretty delish on its own!
Our wonderful friends also brought over authentic cannoli from the North End (not vegan but maybe someday I’ll attempt my own version!), homemade veg-friendly Fenway Franks, Boston beeahs, and a delicious array of movie finger snacks. A great way to spend a Saturday :)
Don’t get me wrong, I actually love a lot of raw foods, but I did miss cooking while on the detox. Here’s part of tonight’s dinner! (with a side salad of spring greens, alfalfa sprouts, pretzel croutons, and nutritional yeast not pictured)
Sesame Mushroom Soba noodles!
- Soba noodles
- A generous amount of shitake & baby bella mushrooms stir-fried with some coconut oil and 4 chopped garlic cloves
- Sesame oil, black sesame seeds, apple cider vinegar, and some hoisin sauce for the sauce
- chopped cilantro, some ground flaxseeds (omega action!), and red pepper flakes as garnishes
- steamed plain bok choy on the side, because it’s delicious