Tag Archives: spinach

Hot Artichoke and White Bean Dip

Many years ago, a restaurant here in town served an appetizer called Sheep Dip.  I know, not the most appetizing name, but oh my what a delicious combination of hot, gooey deliciousness.  It had tons of cheese and spinach and artichokes.  Yum, yum, yummy!  We ordered it EVERY time we went there.  I have since given up dairy, so no more Sheep Dip for me.  Not that I don’t think about it sometimes.  And THEN!  I treated myself to a new cookbook for the holidays: Vegan Holiday Kitchen.  A beautiful book full of complete menus for every occasion, including a section on appetizers.  One of those recipes looked very, very much like my beloved Sheep Dip.  I just had to try it!  I’m sharing it with you because YES!  Very reminiscent of the original hot gooey deliciousness!

transfer to baking dish top w cheese

Serve it in a bread bowl, serve it in the baking dish, serve it with bread or crackers or crudites….perfect for a party, perfect for just you and your sweetie…or just you!

ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
  • 1 14-oz can artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves (or arugula or watercress)
  • 2 TBSP fresh dill
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella-style grated vegan cheese
  • paprika for topping

Preheat oven to 375F.

Saute onion and garlic in a bit of veggie or No-Chicken broth until the onion starts to caramelize.

saute onions garlic

Place the saute in a food processor along with the beans and cream cheese, process until smooth.

process sauted onions garlic beans cream cheese

Add artichoke hearts, spinach, dill, thyme, salt and pepper.

pulse spinach artichokes and seasonings

Pulse until evenly chopped, but not pureed.

just until evenly chopped

Place in a oven-safe dish, top with grated cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes.

transfer to baking dish top w cheese

Sprinkle top with paprika and serve hot or warm.

Have you noticed I don’t have a picture of the final gooey yuminess?  My guests were already here when I pulled it from the oven.  I was so amazed with it, I sprinkled the paprika, set it on my kitchen island with a flourish and completely forgot to take a picture!  It was delish.  Go make some and see for yourself!

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Filed under appetizer, dairy-free, Food memories, Holiday foods, recipe, vegan, Vegetarian

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.

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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.

ingredients

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.

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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!)

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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

Greens and Garbanzos Pasta Salad

There I was.  On the treadmill watching Food Network.  Kind of ironic, exercising while watching people prepare and eat lots of yummy foods.  Especially so with the abundance of butter, cheese, eggs and meat being served up whilst I have become vegan.  Giada to the rescue!  I caught a “Meat-free Monday” episode!  Yay!  Giada was making this pasta salad to serve cold or room temperature at a block party.  Her version uses oil to saute and is served with cheese, but I’m here to tell ya, totally yummy without either!  Michael thinks it’s as good as the house favorite goulash; high praise indeed!

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Head out to your garden or local produce section for a big ol’ bunch of greens and a few other things:

ingredients

  • 1 pound of small pasta  (I used whole wheat “gnocchi”)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup veggie broth
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 oz Swiss chard, about 2 bunches  (I used rainbow chard, because it’s pretty!)
  • 12 oz spinach, either baby spinach in a package or leaf spinach  (Remove stems if spinach is large)
  • 1 (15oz) can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 to 1 cup pasta water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Prepare pasta as directed, reserving pasta water.

The pretty stems of chard are tough, so remove them after you wash each leaf.  To do this, fold the leaf in half and tear the stem off.

remove chard stem

Add some veggie broth to a large, deep skillet and place over medium heat.  Rough chop chard leaves and spinach.  Add to the pan along with the garlic.  Saute to wilt, adding more veggie broth as needed.

saute greens and garlic

Add tomatoes and garbanzos.  Cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

add tomatoes and garbanzos

Reduce heat to low.  Add pasta, lemon zest and juice.

add pasta and zest

Stir to combine, adding pasta water to thin as needed.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

mix with pasta water and lemon juice

Dish yourself up a bowl and enjoy!

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Warm, comfort food-esque, healthy, fat-free, vegan and yummy!  Meaty garbanzos, savory greens and brightly acidic tomatoes, brightened further with lemon.  I made a “parmesan” from 1/3 cup cashews and 1/4 cup nutritional yeast whirred up in a food processor to sprinkle over the top.  Just the thing.  Yum-yum-yummy hot, especially with it being so cold outside.  I’ve sampled a few bites of cold pasta, while waiting for a portion to reheat for lunch the next day.  Yum!  This pasta salad will be super yummy served cold when summer gets here.

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I confess to being a bit overwhelmed and at the same time underwhelmed with the prospect of going vegan.  Not any more!  I’m finding lots and lots of yummy recipes like this that can be easily adapted.  I feel happier, healthier, have more energy and (!) I’m losing weight.  I hope you’ll follow along on my yummy vegan journey.

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

Dreaming of Warmer Days Salad

Today was my monthly “lunch with the retired ladies” and I was bringing the salad.  (By the way….we three retired ladies are former teachers.  We all taught together at one time in the same middle school before moving on to other schools and eventually retirement.)  Dreaming of warmer days ahead, I selected a salad my friend Louise made for DH and I when we were visiting.  It has all the flavors I associate with springtime in a fresh combination.  This salad is a great side dish, and could be a lunch all on its own.  Besides that, it’s really pretty!  : )

Here are the ingredients for the Dreaming of Warmer Days Spinach and Berries Salad: 

For the Red Wine Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 dry mustard

1/4 tsp onion powder

For the Salad:

1 cup slivered almonds

1 pound baby spinach leaves

1 pound other greens    (I used a head of leaf lettuce)

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1/2 pint fresh strawberries, sliced

1/2 pint fresh raspberries

1/2 pint fresh blueberries

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill weed

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and place almonds on a baking sheet.

Toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes, stirring half way through, until golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

While you wait for the almonds to toast, make the vinaigrette.  Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, crushed garlic, salt, pepper, dry mustard, and onion powder in a bowl that you can whisk in without splashing.  I used a 4-cup measuring cup.  Keep whisking until the ingredients emulsify–come together as a dressing.  Set aside.

In a large salad bowl, combine the lettuce, spinach, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, green onions, dill and almonds.  Toss, attempting to keep the berries, almonds and onions mixed into the greens–they will try to sink to the bottom.

Wait to dress the salad until you’re ready to serve it–just enough to coat the greens, or pass the dressing and allow people to add their own dressing.  Enjoy!

I originally thought the dill was pretty, but was a bit unsure if I’d like it with the berries.  Dill and berries, with the vinaigrette is a super-yummy flavor combination!  Who knew?!  Trust me, try it with the dill, even if your inner-yummy meter is going, “Uh, I don’t know about that….”  Really.  The dill MAKES this salad. 

Berries are already on sale in the groceries.  Pick some up next time you’re there and treat yourself to an early (and yummy!) spring by making this salad.

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Filed under lunch, recipe, salad