Monday, November 18, 2013

Vegan Pot Pie

My non-vegan daughter had asked me for a chicken pot pie the other day.  It got my mouth watering, not for a chicken pot pie, but for a veggie pot pie.  So last night, I whipped up two pies - a chicken one for the non-vegans in my life and a vegan one that was MINE!!! ALL MINE!!!  
To call this an actual recipe would be a stretch, but I will try.  It was an adaptation of my favorite chicken pot pie recipe and, I think, was soooo much tastier than the original!  Two nights ago, I made a mushroom-red wine gravy with my husband's third harvest of our oyster mushrooms that was utterly delicious.  I knew it would make the best base for a pot pie when I was putting the leftovers in the fridge.  

Also, this recipe makes a small pie.  I used a small round stoneware dish.  If you want to make a regular sized pie, you could double the filling amount.  

Vegan Pot Pie with Mushroom Gravy


1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked lentils 

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 large white potato, cut in a small dice, about 1/2" cubes
1/2 package of frozen mixed vegetables or fresh chopped veggies (carrots, celery, peas, etc) - whatever you like
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried rosemary (I didn't have dried, but I did have fresh, which is even better!)  

1 1/2 cups Mushroom-Red Wine Gravy (recipe to follow)

Vegan Pie Crust (recipe to follow) 

Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Sauté onions and garlic until starting to caramelize.  Add diced potato and any uncooked fresh vegetables you may be using, like diced carrots or celery.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the outsides of the potatoes start to brown.  Add frozen veggies, if using, herbs, and 1/2 cup water.  Bring to a simmer and cover.  Cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes, until vegetables are soft.  

Stir in the cooked lentils and the gravy.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper.  Place filling into prepared pie shell and cover with the remaining dough.  Brush with a little plain, unsweetened soy milk.  Vent the top crust in a few spots with a knife.  

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly.  

Mushroom-Red Wine Gravy

This recipe is an adaptation of Fat Free Vegan's "Impromptu Mushroom Gravy" recipe, which has become my go-to gravy recipe.  

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, minced 
8 oz mushrooms, sliced (I used oysters only for this recipe and probably closer to a pound)
4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 cup red wine 
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons unbleached flour 
salt and cayenne pepper to taste (even just a touch of cayenne makes everything better!)

Saute' onion and garlic in olive oil until soft and just beginning to caramelize.  Add mushrooms and saute' until mushrooms are cooked, about 3 minutes.  Add herbs and cook another 30 seconds.  

Add red wine and turn the heat up to medium-high to reduce and burn off the alcohol.  When the wine is almost completely absorbed, reduce heat to medium-low, add flour and stir constantly, cooking for about 2 minutes.  Add vegetable broth and cook, stirring constantly until gravy is thickened.  Add soy sauce and taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.  

Vegan Flaky Pie Crust

This recipe makes enough for a double crust for a large, deep dish pie pan.  I had enough for a regular pie pan and my small stoneware dish, double crust on each.  

3 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, chilled and cut into cubes
1 tbsp white vinegar (this makes it even flakier, but can be omitted if you wish)
1/4 to 1/2 cup cold water 

Mix flour and salt in a large bowl.  Cut in margarine with a pastry blender or your hands until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Mix vinegar and 1/4 cup cold water.  Add to flour mixture and stir with a fork until it just comes together.  If you need more water, add it slowly, 1 tbsp at a time.  

Divide dough into two equal pieces.  Place on floured surface and roll out as thinly as possible.  Place in pie dish.  

I do pre-bake my pie crust for a pot pie just to keep it from getting soggy on the bottom.  You don't have to do this and I have made pot pies before without pre-baking.  When I make a pie for guests or to bring to someone's house, I do not pre-bake it simply because the crust edges are so much prettier when you put it together raw dough to raw dough.  But this time, it was just us and I made a more rustic "dough hanging over the edges of the dish" kind of a pie, so it didn't matter.  It's up to you.  If you wish to pre-bake, prick the bottom of the shell with a fork and place in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.  Fill and top with the second pie crust.  Remember to cut some slits in your top crust to vent your pie before putting it in the oven regardless.  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Camping with the Vegans

My husband and I used to camp all the time, especially after we had kids.  We loved camping.  It allowed us to see lots of interesting places on the typical young family budget.  As the kids got older, we didn't go as often.  Now that we live in the Pacific Northwest with so much to see and do, we wanted to get back into it.  This was our first camping trip in a while and my first one since becoming vegan almost four years ago.

I did some searching online for camping menus for vegans and such and didn't find a whole lot.  But I'm a list-maker and made up a menu and a packing list and went with it.  Food went GREAT for our short four-day trip!

Since we were car camping and not backpacking, it made it a little easier as weight and space were not issues.  Here are my menus:

Breakfasts:  Oatmeal, fruit, and coffee.  I brought some instant packets (I like Better Oats) that just took water.  We had bananas and apples.  I used the Starbucks Via packets and individual shelf-stable soy milk to make my soy lattes in the mornings.  Hubby added just water and those little liquid flavored creamer pods.

Lunches:  Sandwiches or wraps.  I had two tortillas in the fridge that begged to be used and also brought a loaf of bread to add with Field Roast Wild Mushroom Deli Slices, lettuce, and cucumber slices for two days, left over veggie patty and grilled onions on another day.  We also brought hummus and veggies that we never even touched because we had so much food.  And, if you have sandwiches, you need chips.  Kale chips, that is!  These were yummy!  Even the poodles wanted some!

Dinners:  #1.  Veggies and Field Roast Sausage kabobs.  Before we left, I cut up one really enormous zucchini and two bell peppers, tossed them in a Ziploc bag with a package of mushrooms I'd washed, and poured in about a cup of balsalmic vinaigrette salad dressing.  At the campsite, I skewered the veggies and the "sausage" chunks, although I had way more stuff than I had skewers, so after we did the nice and neat skewers, I tossed the rest in the grill basket and just occasionally stirred it around.  When I looked at the very full gallon bag of cut veggies plus the four links of "sausage," I thought we would have leftovers for days!  But it must be true what they say about camping and appetites.  We polished off every single bite!

#2.  Burgers and baked yams.  I brought two pre-made veggie burgers (Masala Patties from Trader Joe's) and my non-vegan hubby picked up two gourmet patties from the grocery.  We had them on flat sandwich rounds rather than risk buns being squished in transport.  We had brought vegan aioli (also used for our lunches), mustard, and ketchup and added some lettuce and cucumbers.  I also had some red onion that was sliced and bagged up and I sauteed that in a pan.  I cooked my burgers in my onion pan and the husband cooked his meat over the fire.  We wrapped two smallish yellow-fleshed sweet potatoes in layers of foil and baked them in the coals.  We put them on first, as we knew it would take at least 30-45 minutes for them to be done.  I brought along some vegan "butter" and mixed some demerara sugar and cinnamon in a tiny plastic container in case the sweet potatoes were bland.  They weren't.  Mine was super sweet and didn't need any added sugar.  

#3.  Pasta and sauce.  Nothing fancy here.  Just stuff from the store.  The plan was to toss in some leftover veggies from the kabobs, but we scarfed it all down.  I put some stinky Parmesan cheese in a little plastic container for the husband as well.  I also brought wheat rolls to wrap in foil and warm over the fire.  I bought sturdier rolls that wouldn't get squished.  

Snacks:  Raw nuts and seeds, dried fruit (I just brought some of what we had in the pantry - cherries, apricots, and ginger), fresh apples and individual packets of nut butters, some jerky and cheese wedges for the husband, loads of Larabars, and, of course, fixings for s'mores!  I found some vegan graham crackers, my favorite Theo dark chocolate bars, and Dandies marshmallows.  They toasted up so nicely and we did warm our crackers and chocolate over the fire.  Don't you just hate it when the chocolate doesn't melt in your s'more?  No worries here!  Ours were drippy and gooey and we were a grand mess!  I also brought apple cider mix for the husband, who loves it, and tea for me and we had that at night when it was a little chilly.

The Husband and The Girls

We had a wonderful time rediscovering our love for camping.  We realized it was our first camping trip without children since having children.  Definitely in a different stage of life now that our youngest is 17.  It was also our Girls first camping trip.  They did great!  Just like camping with little kids, camping with poodles AND camping when you're vegan just takes a little planning and forethought.

Sunset at Ruby Beach along the Pacific Coast of Washington.  

Our next challenge - an overnight backpacking trip!  I can't wait!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Tex-Mex Tofu and Rice Skillet

I love my Pampered Chef "29 Minutes to Dinner" cookbooks and have adapted many of the recipes over the years.  This is the lasted omni to vegan redo.

1 tsp plus 1 tbsp vegetable oil, divided

1 can (11 oz) Mexican style corn 

15-20 oz pkg tofu (my favorite is Wildwood Organics SprouTofu Super Firm, vacuum pack)

1 tbsp Pampered Chef Southwest Seasoning Mix (you could substitute packaged or homemade taco seasoning)

2 cups uncooked white rice (you could also use brown rice - just adjust liquid amount and cooking time accordingly)

2 cups vegetable broth

1 1/2 cups salsa verde

2 tbsp snipped fresh cilantro

1 cup vegan cheese, shredded, if desired 

Drain tofu and slice into 1" thick slices.  Press tofu between absorbent toweling for at least 20 minutes.

Add 1 tsp of oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Drain corn well and pat dry with paper towels.  Add corn to skillet in a single layer.  Cook without stirring for 5 minutes or until caramelized on one side.  Remove corn from skillet; set aside.

Sprinkle tofu slices with seasoning mix; press into tofu to adhere.  Cut into cubes and place in a heavy baking sheet that has been sprayed or brushed with oil.  Bake at 400 degrees, stirring occasionally for even browning, for 15-20 minutes or until desired doneness.  Alternatively, you can saute' the tofu in a pan with a little oil if you prefer that method.  

Add remaining 1 tbsp oil to skillet.  Add rice; stir until coated with oil and slightly browned.  Add broth and salsa; bring to a simmer.  Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.  Add rice, cilantro, and tofu and stir.  Add vegan cheese if desired; cover and let stand 5 minutes for cheese to melt.  

Per serving (without cheese): 

481 cal
69 g carbs
12 g fat
23 g protein

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Linguine with Clam-Free Sauce

When I saw this recipe in the December issue of Vegetarian Times, I knew it wouldn't take long for me to make it!  It looked delicious, but as a former linguine and creamy clam sauce lover, I was quite skeptical!  I am happy to say this recipe met all my expectations with the exception of one - it didn't make enough for leftovers!  The recipe says it serves 6, but four of us made quick work of it.  (Morgan abstained - she has decided she doesn't like mushrooms.  Blasphemy, I say!)

Linguine with Clam-Free Sauce

14 oz. uncooked linguine

2 tbsp arame (I couldn't find this particular sea vegetable in my local grocery, but they DID have generic "dried sea vegetable" sheets in addition to the nori sheets, so I tried it and it worked quite well.  I found it in the Asian section of my grocery store.)  

2 tbsp olive oil

6 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and cut into 1/2" cubes (I just sliced mine)

1/2 cup dry white wine (or you could use veggie broth or just water - I used wine because I had some opened for another recipe)

1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

1 1/2 cups unsweetened soy, rice, or macadamia nut milk (I used soy)

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

2 tbsp Earth Balance margarine, optional (I used it)

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (I didn't want the flakes, so I subbed 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper)

3 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

4 tsp pine nuts

Cook pasta in salted, boiling water according to package directions.  Drain.

While pasta is cooking, soak arame in 1/2 cup hot water.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add mushrooms, wine, and lemon juice; saute' 5 minutes adding up to 1/4 cup water (if needed) to prevention sticking.  (I sauteed the mushrooms for a few minutes before adding the wine and lemon juice.  I wanted them to have a little color and caramelization on them first.)

Add soy milk, nutritional yeast, margarine (if using), red pepper flakes, and arame with soaking liquid; season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Divide linguine among four plates; top with sauce; garnish with parsley and pine nuts.  

Per 1 1/2 cup serving:  

386 calories
16 g protein
9 g total fat (1 g sat fat)
65 g carbs
0 mg cholesterol
114 mg sodium
5 g fiber
7 g sugars

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Anything With Ginger Just Has to be Good!

I love ginger. Fresh, dried, candied, dipped in dark chocolate. And, no, I'm not swayed because I AM Ginger!

This is a Woman's Health recipe that I found in an article on FlipBoard. It is quick and easy and perfect for a rainy fall Seattle supper.

Gingered Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1 cup vegetable broth (plus extra for thinning soup, if needed)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
8 medium sized carrots, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp fresh finely chopped or grated ginger root
Plain vegan yogurt or sour cream (optional)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp (or more) cayenne pepper

Heat oil in a stockpot.  Add onion and cook on medium-low heat until the onions are caramelized.  Add stock plus 2 cups of water; add sweet potato, carrots, and ginger.  Bring to a boil; reduce to low and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.  

When the vegetables are tender, puree soup in small batches in a blender or food processor.  Be careful to vent the top if using a blender or you'll end up with burns on your arms and soup on the ceiling.  (Ask me how I know.)  

Return soup to the stockpot.  Season with salt and cayenne pepper  Taste and adjust if necessary.  Serve with yogurt or sour cream if desired.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sweet Potato and Bean Burritos

When I saw a recipe entitled "Amazing Sweet Potato Burritos" on the Safeway website, I was intrigued.  The ingredients combined sounded quite odd, but appealing in a way.  I put it on my radar for "recipes I want to veganize."  The other day at the store, I picked up some enormous sweet potatoes that just happened to be calling my name and made this dish based on the Safeway recipe.  Brooke liked them.  Steve liked them.  Morgan didn't even taste them.  Okay, I'll take two out of three rave reviews.  I loved them!  The combination of the spicy bean mixture and the sweetness from the potato was very satisfying.  I did pick up some Daiya vegan cheddar cheese shreds and used them for the original recipe, but not for my leftovers.  I went cheese-less for my leftovers (regular dairy cheese for Steve) and preferred mine without.

The only photo I remembered to take was with my phone, so please forgive the poor quality of the photograph.  I need to keep my Canon SLR out and handy.

Sweet Potato and Bean Burritos

1 tbsp oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

6 cups of beans (Okay, the original called for 6 cups canned beans, drained, then 2 cups of water.  I used 6 cups of cranberry beans that I had cooked and frozen.  I thawed them and used them with their cooking liquid.  They had been cooked without salt or other seasoning, so I did season the beans to taste for that reason.  The cranberry beans made the refried bean mixture very silky in texture, which is one reason I love cranberry beans, but I think black beans would also be very tasty in this dish.  Play around with what you have on hand or what you like.)  

3 heaping tbsp chili powder (I used ancho chili powder)

2 heaping tsp cumin

4 tsp prepared yellow mustard

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)

3 tbsp soy sauce (if you salt the dish, do so after adding the soy sauce)

4 cups cooked sweet potatoes, mashed with 1-2 tbsp of vegan butter to keep them from being dry (I had "baked" three enormous sweet potatoes in the microwave until tender.  They definitely yielded more than 4 cups, but in this house, it was not a concern.  We now have no more sweet potatoes left.)  

12 10-inch flour tortillas, warmed (I used multigrain tortillas)

8 oz shredded vegan cheese (or regular cheese for the non-vegans in the house) or no cheese at all, if that is your preference

Saute' the onion and garlic in hot oil until softened and starting to caramelize.  Add beans and mash.  Stir in seasonings, mustard, soy sauce, and stir to combine.  Taste to check seasonings and adjust if necessary.  

To assemble, place a few spoonfuls of beans, a few spoonfuls of sweet potato, and a sprinkling of cheese (if using) on a warmed tortilla and roll up burrito style (I fold my ends in to make it less messy to eat).  Place burritos side by side in a baking dish and place in a 350 degree oven for 12 minutes or until warmed and cheese is melted.  

You can serve these with additional shredded cheese, vegan sour cream, salsa, or the hot sauce of your choice if you wish.  We ate them "naked" at our house.  They were delicious!  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Lentil Enchilada Casserole

This is my adaptation of a family favorite from my Pampered Chef "29 Minutes to Dinner" cookbook. My husband and kids love the original made with beef but I wanted a substitute I could eat. I like using lentils in place of ground beef. This dish is pure Tex-Mex comfort food.

You may be tempted to not use all the sauce because it will look too wet, but don't. The liquid is absorbed and if you cut back, your dish will be too dry.

Make sure you do not substitute flour tortillas for the corn. I am not fond of corn tortillas as a general rule, but they work best in this dish. Flour tortillas turn to mush. :::shudder::: Trust me on this one.

Lentil Enchilada Casserole

3-4 cups cooked lentils, drained
1 10-oz can enchilada sauce
1 tbsp Pampered Chef Southwest Seasoning or taco seasoning mix
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup chunky salsa
12 yellow corn tortillas
1/4 cup snipped cilantro
1 cup shredded vegan cheese (optional)

Combine cooked lentils, seasoning, salt, enchilada sauce, water, and salsa. Simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Cut tortillas into 1" pieces (I stack them up and cut them with a pizza cutter).

In a microwave safe baking dish, arrange half the tortilla pieces, top with half the lentil mixture, half of the cheese, if using, and 2 tbsp of cilantro. Top with remaining tortillas, lentil mixture, and optional cheese. Microwave for 5 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Top with remains cilantro. Serve with vegan sour cream, if desired.

I have never used a vegan cheese in the recipe, not for any particular reason other than I rarely eat it. Tonight I felt like something "creamy cheesy" but as usual didn't have any vegan cheese. I did, however, have vegan cream cheese. I mixed about 1/4 cup with a little taco seasoning and spooned it on top of the first layer of lentils. It was just the "creamy cheesy" element I was craving!