Tag Archives: asparagus

Potato, Spinach, and Summer Squash Gratin AND Becky’s Famous Roasted Asparagus!

My non-vegan friends are often curious about what I can and can’t eat.  “I’d miss eggs!”  “I couldn’t do without cheese!” are the most common responses.  I admit, the first month of being vegan, I did miss both.  But now with recipes like this, those cravings are a thing of the past.  I found myself drooling just now while editing the images for this post.


Today’s post is based on this recipe from The Fat Free Vegan.  A few weeks ago, I made it very similarly to the original, subbing broccoli and kale for the broccoli rabe (because that’s what was in the fridge!).  It was love at first frittata-y, gratin-y, quiche-y bite, and I knew I’d found more than a recipe; I’d found a method I could apply to many of my former egg custard type recipes.  Oh stratas, how I’ve missed you!  Anyway, if you’re already vegan, you probably have what you need in your fridge.  Sub in whatever veggies you like/have on hand.  The potatoes make it hearty and filling, so I’d recommend keeping them to serve this as a main dish.


For the Gratin:

  • 1 pound small red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste for each layer
  • a small package of baby spinach, blanched
  • 1 smallish yellow squash, cut into half-moons and steamed
  • 1 smallish zucchini, cut into half moons and steamed
  • 1 (12 oz) package extra firm tofu, drained but not pressed of all its liquid
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup plain non-dairy milk
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • 1 heaping TBSP potato or corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp chipotle chile powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil or 2 tsp fresh chopped basil

For Becky’s Famous Roasted Asparagus:

  • 1 pound trimmed asparagus
  • cooking spray
  • sea salt

Preheat oven to 400F, and spray a 2 qt casserole or gratin dish.  Wash and cut the potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes and arrange in a single layer on a parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes, stirring once after 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside until ready to assemble your gratin.

chop and bake potatoes

While potatoes bake, cut squash into half-moons and steam until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes.  Blanch the spinach in boiling water until just wilted and drain.

slice and steam squash

In a blender, combine the remaining ingredients and process until smooth and pourable, adding additional non-dairy milk as needed.

tofu etc in blender

Assemble the gratin, starting with the potatoes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

layer potatoes first

Next, layer on the spinach, season with salt and pepper.

layer blanched spinach

Then layer the squash on top of the spinach.  Separate by color if you like or mix them.  Again, sprinkle salt and pepper.

layer steamed squash

Pour the tofu mixture over the top, and using a spoon, gently move the veggies around without mixing the layers to allow the tofu mixture to get in between.  Smooth the top.

pour tofu mixture

Bake 40-50 minutes, until the liquid has thickened, feels firm and is golden brown on top.  Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.

bake til firm and golden

While the gratin bakes, prepare Becky’s Famous Roasted Asparagus.  Lay trimmed asparagus in  single layer on a parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet.  Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with sea salt.  While the gratin rests, bake the asparagus for 10-15 minutes–until you can smell it and the tips start to brown.

spray, salt and roast asparagus

Serve up wedges of gratin with roasted asparagus on the side.  OMGosh, so, so yummy!  The smooth, gooey, almost cheesy texture and consistency of the gratin is very reminiscent of those eggy, custardy favorites.  The asparagus is a favorite around here, especially in the spring when it can be stalked and harvested in the wild in the fields between Becky’s and my house.  Her method also works with green beans (I added pressed garlic–yum!), and Brussels sprouts.


My son, currently not-vegan, thought the squash version was better than the broccoli version and suggested it would also be yummy for breakfast.  And it was!  He had his with an over-easy egg and cheese on top, Michael and I enjoyed it as is.  (Michael’s with hot sauce, as usual!)


What will be in your gratin/quiche/fritatta/strata?!




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Filed under breakfast, comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, Gluten-free, lunch, Potluck, recipe, Vegetarian

Crustless Vegan Asparagus Quiche

Asparagus is my absolute favorite spring-time veggie.  It grows wild on our property, but won’t be up for a while yet.  Lucky me, though-it has started appearing in the grocery store!  Hurray!  But….quiche always comes to mind when I see asparagus–what’s a vegan to do?  You go to your new friends, the authors of vegan cookbooks and blogs and get a tasty solution!  While this quiche is not exactly the same as a custardy quiche, it has the eggy-cheesy yum factor of  quiche.  Enough that I crave the leftovers as much as I ever did.  Served up with a savory tomato soup, it’s one satisfying meal.  Happy, happy tummy.


This recipe is now a go-to when I have tofu in the fridge; it’s adapted from The Everyday Happy Herbivore‘s Greens Quiche.


  • 1 lb firm or extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flake (optional)
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into bite-sized pieces and steamed (half of the bunch shown)
  • 1 large shallot, chopped and sauteed  ( I have 5 little ones from last years’ garden–I have a tendency to use the big ones up first.)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly spray a shallow 8 or 9 inch pie pan with cooking spray, set aside.

Prepare and steam the asparagus, saute the shallot in a couple TBSP veggie broth until soft and translucent.

Combine everything else in a food processor.

everything but asparagus and shallot

Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

blend til smooth

Remove the blade and stir in steamed asparagus and sauteed shallot.

add asparagus and shallot

Pour and spread evenly into the prepared pie pan.

pour into prepared pan

Bake 30-40 minutes; until golden and firm in the center.  (Not mushy)  Allow to cool 10 minutes before cutting.


Cut into 6-8 wedges and dish it up!  Very quiche-y, super yummy paired with this savory tomato soup.


So wonderful warmed up the next day.  You’ll be so glad you made it.  Especially when you know 1/6 of the quiche costs you only 84 calories with only 1.2 grams of fat, 10.7 grams carbs and a whopping 9.2 grams of protein!  (A regular egg and cheese asparagus quiche comes in at 260 calories with 17 grams of fat, 18 carbs and 7 grams of protein.)  Happy tummy and healthy me.   🙂


Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, lunch, recipe, side dish, Vegetarian

Mushroom Ravioli with Asparagus and Parsley Pesto

Oh Spring, how I love your warming weather, the trees greening up, flowers blooming and especially asparagus doing its asparagus thing!  The first fresh-picked asparagus of the season deserves a special meal to help celebrate it!

Amazing yumminess comes from just a few ingredients!

  • wonton wrappers
  • 8 oz mushrooms (I used pre-sliced baby bellas)
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 large shallot, chopped 
  • 1/2 cup parsley pesto
  • asparagus, cut into bit-size pieces and steamed
  • chopped walnuts (optional)

Place a large pot of water on the stove to boil.

Saute mushrooms and shallots in 1 TBSP butter and 1 TBSP olive oil.

When mushrooms soften and shallots are transluscent, place in a food processor and give them a rough chop.

Add ricotta cheese and process to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place 1 tsp-ish of the mushroom mixture in the center of a wonton wrapper.

Wet the edges with water on your finger, fold in half and seal, then fold the long points over, pressing together with water to seal.

Continue with the rest of the mixture.  You’ll end up with 24-30 cute little packages.  Place them in the boiling water. 

When they rise to the top, scoop them out with a spider, allowing them to drain.  Place in a bowl.

Dilute the pesto with a ladle or two of the pasta water and pour over the ravioli.  Top with the steamed asparagus and chopped walnuts if desired.  My parsley pesto is made with walnuts, so I thought they’d add a layer of yummy crunchiness to this otherwise very tender dish.

Place ravioli on plates, top with grated parmesan and enjoy!

These were so spring-time yummerific and totally easy-peasy.  The perfect smooth combination of mushrooms and cheese in tender little pasta packets with a sauce that complimented the raviolis and the asparaus perfectly.


 There were even enough for a yummy lunch the next day!  What flavors remind you of spring?

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Asparagus, Prosciutto, and Mushroom Pasta

I admit it.  I’m a Food Network junkie.  The engaging chefs/hosts make me feel like I, too can create beautiful culinary creations that will wow my family and make me the rock star of the potluck.  So it was just another day, and I was listening to Anne Burrell describing the best gnocchi recipe ever(!) with the perfect sauce.  The sauce made me say, “mmmmmm!”  I couldn’t help myself!  I decided I could adapt her recipe to what I had in my garden and could find at the store without compromising the essential idea or the yummy factor.  I was right.  I was too lazy the other day to make the gnocchi and served it over linguini instead–I already had it in the pantry–but I’d like to try the gnocchi one of these days. 

  • 1 1/2 cups asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • olive oil–enough to cover the bottom of a large skillet
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • pinch of red pepper flake
  • 1/4 pound prosciutto, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 2 cups cleaned and sliced mushrooms  (Go for some fancy-schmancy ones–my grocery had shitakes–yummy!  A little note–shitake stems are tough and need to be discarded or saved to flavor a broth, but should not go into a recipe.)
  • salt
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • parmesan, finely shredded, and chopped chives to garnish
  • 1 package pasta, cooked according to package directions

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Blanch asparagus in salted, boiling water until cooked, but still crispy and green.  Immediately remove to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

Add mushrooms, lightly salt them and cook until tender, an additional 3-4 minutes.

Add asparagus and chicken broth.  Cook until broth is reduced by half.

Add butter and swirl through the sauce until melted and combined.

Add cooked pasta to the pan and toss to coat with sauce and distribute asparagus, prosciutto and mushrooms.

Serve on plates, garnish with parmesan and chives.  Enjoy!

Yummy!  This sauce comes together in about the same time it takes to cook the pasta–starting after the asparagus is blanched.  We had enough for 5 generous servings. 

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