spinach

Completely Board Post #13: Spinach Tortillas

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014

 

I may or may not have cheated a bit and added this pin after I decided to go with this theme.  I really don’t remember.  It may be that it’s just the one that pushed me over the edge in making the theme decision.  Either way, I’ve been looking forward to trying these Spinach Tortillas from Allergy Free Alaska (non-vegan site, vegan post).

I’m way too lazy to roll out tortillas by hand, so I made mine a little smaller and used my handy tortilla press (I got 14 tortillas).  If you’re a taco fan, and don’t have a tortilla press, please for the love of all that’s good, get one.  I got mine on sale at a kitchen store for about ten bucks, so it’s not a huge investment.  Not only am I a taco fan, I’ll stick pretty much anything inside a tortilla and eat it.   A hot tortilla with just Earth Balance?  Also a winner.  Daiya cream cheese and grape jam? I’m there.  But I digress…

I love corn tortillas, but I’ve been trying to find a tortilla that isn’t corn based and doesn’t crack to pieces when you roll or fold them.  Guess what?

Spinach Tortilla

I was holding it closed in this picture, and the tortilla was hot and fresh, but look…it rolls without cracking.   When it’s cold, it cracks, but what about just warming it up?

I had these simple Beyond Meat “beefy” crumble and avocado tacos for breakfast this morning.  I put the tortillas, one at a time, over the beefy crumble as it was cooking in the skillet to heat it up. And then tried it out.

Spinach Tortilla Taco

It folded.  It didn’t crack.  Yes, I had tacos with a side of tomatoes for breakfast.  Don’t judge.

I did have to add more water than the original poster said.  I had to add 7 Tbsp after the setting of the dough.  But it was easy to work with and had a nice pliability from the psyllium husk powder.  I also never got any “bubbling” to know when to flip it.  For me, 30 seconds a side was perfect.

This is definitely the best non-corn tortilla I’ve had.  After I had my first bite, I had to get a non-gluten-freer to take a bite because I thought it might have a weird chew to it.  Yeah, not weird, it’s just that I haven’t had a flour tortilla in over seven years and I forgot they had a chew to them that corn tortillas don’t have.  Because it was new, I was standing there trying to decide if I liked it while I was searching for the Earth Balance in the fridge.  By the time I found it (in the crisper drawer?!) that tortilla was gone. I guess I liked it.

This tortilla was a little thick compared to what I’m used to (and I think mine were a bit thinner than the nickel-thickness suggested), but I think at this thickness, it could completely work as a flatbread or even a pita replacement.  In fact, I had a couple for dinner slathered in homemade hummus.

I am looking forward to getting out the mama wooden tortilla press and trying to make a real burrito one day.

Slow Cooker Meal: African Inspired Peanut Stew

Last Christmas, my sister gave me a copy of Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson.  I’ve stuck to soups so far just because I don’t have a big rotation of soup recipes I like and I want to add to it.  We had a grey misty day today so it seemed like the perfect day to have a nice heavy stew.

Enter African Inspired Peanut Stew.  Since the two of us eating have different tastes, I used an orange pepper instead of a green one, used a very light amount of ginger and only put a dash of cayenne.  Since my broth wasn’t really salty, it ended up a tiny bit bland with those changes.  So I added a little salt and more cayenne in my own bowl and it was great. I really enjoy the combination of sweet and hot.

I served it with millet, my favorite substitute for couscous.  Do take the extra step of toasting the millet before cooking it.  It’s worth the time to amp up the millet’s flavor.

African Inspired Peanut Stew

In my slow cooker, even on low, it only took about 4½ hours after everything made it’s way into the pot.  I checked it at 3½ because I had gotten a late start, and the sweet potatoes were already getting soft. So I added spinach and let it cook that last hour.

It has flavors that are different from what I’m used to, but it is warm, filling and delicious.  Because it’s not trying to be like any dish containing meat, I think it would be a great option for someone who is new to veganism or is just trying to add more veggie meals to their rotation.  While I wouldn’t want it in the middle of summer, it’s definitely a make again item for fall and winter.

You Can Thank My Mom for This Post: Veggie Calzones

Years ago before my going vegan/gluten-free, my mom and I used to go to this little pizza place for lunch regularly. But we rarely got pizza. We almost always got the calzones. The crust is crispy, but still soft. It was saucy and cheesy and full of all kinds of yumminess. But the day I had to go gluten free, those lunch trips stopped. I haven’t had a calzone since. Until today.

My mom, sister and I regularly have Friday night dinner together. During MoFo, it’s been assumed that I was cooking Friday night. So, yesterday when I was talking to mom, she said “How about calzones? Those are stuffed.” Well, to be honest, calzones were on my brainstorming list, but somehow got dropped from the schedule (I use that term very loosely).  There wasn’t really a reason for it.  I like them.  It would be something new and different for me to make, but I just hadn’t thought about it much.

Mom was pretty emphatic about it though.  I acquiesced.  It went something like this…

Mom: “What would you put in it?”
Me “Onions, tomatoes, peppers for me and B…”
Mom: “And, mushrooms?”
Me: “Really?  Of course, I’ll put mushrooms!”  (hehehe…my plan is working)

That nailed it.  Mom wanted to try mushrooms another way.  Third time in a week after being a mushroom hater previously.  I’m so proud of her spirit of trying things in the name of MoFo!

“Ok, mom, I’ve never made them before.  But, I make pizza sometimes, so I’ll try them.”

I don’t remember the last time I was so glad that I cooked something just because someone else wanted it.  Gone are the days of missing our pizza shop lunches.

Veggoe Calzone Cut Open

Veggie Calzones

Makes 3

  • 1 recipe of calzone dough (below)
  • 3/4 recipe of veggie calzone filling (below)
  • 4½ – 6 oz Mozzarella Style Daiya Shreds
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • 3 pinches of garlic salt

Preheat oven to 500F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Divide the dough into 3 equal balls.  Using garfava flour, lightly flour your hands and the outside of each ball of dough so that it’s easier to work with.  On a floured piece of parchment paper, roll out 1 ball of dough into a circle about 1/8″ thick (approx 8-9 inches in diameter).  After you’ve rolled your circle, take it off of the parchment paper and turn it over (This is just to ensure that it’s not too sticky to come off the paper.  Wouldn’t want to lose dough after you filled it, right?)

Put filling on 1/2 of the dough, leaving some room around the edges for closing it up.

Filling the Calzone

Put 1½-2 oz of Daiya on top of vegetable filling.  Fold dough over and pinch the edges closed.  Get as tight a seal as possible.

Pick up the folded calzone and put it on the parchment-lined baking sheet.  Repeat with the other two calzones.

Brush the top of each calzone with a thin layer of olive oil and sprinkle on a pinch of garlic salt (or more, to taste).

Calzones ready to go in the oven

Bake for 9-11 minutes on a middle rack (or slightly below middle, but not all the way at the bottom) until golden brown.

Veggie Calzone

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Veggie Calzone Filling:

  • 1 large red onion, sliced in thin half moons and separated into strips
  • 8 oz sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 8 oz grape tomatoes
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut in strips
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 oz fresh spinach, chopped
  • Double batch of Vegetarian Times’ Quick Pizza Sauce

Preheat oven to 375. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Place all vegetables except spinach on baking sheet.  Drizzle the olive oil over vegetables.  Toss to coat evenly.  Roast for 30 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, make the sauce.  (When the sauce is ready, it’s a good time to start making the dough so it can rise)

After roasting for 30 minutes, take the vegetables out of the oven.  (Depending on the time you have left for your dough, you can either turn your oven off and then back on to preheat for the final calzone baking or you can turn it up to preheat to 500F)

Mix the roasted vegetables and chopped spinach into the sauce until well combined.

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Calzone Dough:

This is a very slight variation of my pizza dough (and would work great for pizza) that I adapted from this recipe.

1 cup garfava flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour
3 tbsp almond meal (see note 5 below)
1 Tbsp gluten-free yeast
4½ tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup warm water (around 110F)
1½ tsp canola oil
1½ tsp apple cider vinegar

Add all dry ingredients together in a kitchen stand mixer with a dough hook or food processor with S blade and combine well.  Add in liquids and mix until a stiff dough forms.  Using your hands, gather all the dough together.  (At this point, it will probably be a blob)  The dough is a bit sticky so put a very small amount of garfava flour on the outside as you form it into a ball.  Flatten it into a thick disc (about 2 inches).   Let the dough sit on a small piece of parchment or waxed paper 20-30 minutes to let the yeast work a little magic.  You won’t see as dramatic a rising as you might expect from a gluten dough, but it makes a big difference in the texture of the crust.

Notes:

1. I find rolling pizza/calzone dough a little easier with one of those little handheld pastry rollers, but a regular rolling pin should work just fine.

2. The dough recipe only makes 3, but there’s enough filling for 4. This was my first time making them so I didn’t know exactly what I needed. But that filling takes exactly 2 recipes of sauce. I’m thinking the leftover would be really good thinned down with pasta water and served over pasta. Or you might want to make just 3/4 of the veggies that I made, and mix it with 3/4 of the sauce. Then thin out the remaining sauce a little for dipping.

3.  Yep, that’s a full size dinner plate.  I couldn’t eat it all at one sitting.

4.  Mine opened up just a little bit at the seam while baking.  I could have probably prevented it with a bit less filling, but I thought it was perfectly filled.  So make your own call on whether you want more filling or none of the filling peeking out.

5. I’ve always used the store bought almond meal from Trader Joe’s in my pizza crust and it works fine.  But, it leaves little brown specs. I made my own from blanched slivered almonds tonight and the crust is prettier.  It’s just an aesthetic thing, but if it matters to you, buy the meal from blanched almonds or make your own.

6.  This is a very thick dough.  I always use my food processor.  Don’t use a hand mixer.

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Fig-Cashew “Goat Cheese”-Spinach Pinwheels

I’m so glad that this year Vegan MoFo is in September so that I could catch the end of fig season.  One of my favorite salads is spinach, topped with tangy “goat cheese”, sliced figs and a sweet red wine vinaigrette.  I wanted to see how I could combine some of those flavors in slightly different way.

This is actually one of the first things I attempted this month, but for some reason I have been putting off posting.  Procrastination stops here.

I’ll tell you up front that the dough was a little harder to work with than average, but the final result was well worth it.

Mildly sweet, mildly tangy, and dare I say, buttery.  These pinwheels give you something a little different with every bite.

Fig-Cashew "Goat Cheese" - Spinach Pinwheels | Veg-am

Fig – Cashew “Goat Cheese” – Spinach Pinwheels

The Filling:

Prepare ahead the Vegetarian Times “Goat Cheese”: Do steps 1 and 2 as written.  Follow step 3 up until the point of aging time.  About 5 hours is enough here as long as it doesn’t still have liquid dripping out (mine usually only has a couple drops drain out anyway).  No need to chill or bake.

Mix the “goat cheese”, spinach and almond milk.  Set aside.

Wash and thinly slice the figs.  Set aside.

The Dough:

  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp Garfava Flour
  • 3/4 cup Tapioca Starch
  • 2 tsp Gluten-Free Yeast
  • 1/2 Tbsp Xanthan Gum
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 3/4 cup Warm Water (about 110F)
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

In a stand mixer with a dough hook or a food processor with an s-blade, mix the dry ingredients.  Mix the wet ingredients and add to dry.  Mix/process until it starts to form a ball.  Remove from processor/mixer and set out to rise 20-30 minutes.  The dough will be sticky.  If you’ve done a lot of gluten-filled baking, it will seem that it’s too sticky and you should add more flour.  Don’t be tempted to do that.  This is harder to work with, but more flour will make it heavy and dry.

The Pinwheels:

Preheat the oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To roll out the dough, you’ll need a wax paper working area.  Flour it well (use the garfava). Also do a dusting of flour on the ball of dough, your hands and your rolling pin.  As you roll out the dough, you will get some stickiness from the inside dough.  Sprinkle a little flour there too if it’s starting to stick to your pin.  Evenly roll out into a rectangle 1/8 thick.  (Sorry – I forgot to measure it, but I think it was about 12×14)

Spread the “cheese”-spinach mixture evenly across the dough.  (Don’t go all the way to back edge or it will squirt out when you roll it.  If that happens though, no big deal, just wipe it away with a paper towel. )

Evenly distribute the fig slices on top of the spinach mixture.

Using the wax paper, working from the long side of the dough, lift and roll toward the filling.  Peel the wax paper off the portion of the dough that has been rolled (this is where that initial flouring step is important).  Then continue rolling/peeling the wax paper off until you have completely rolled the dough up jelly roll style.

Slice the roll in about 3/4″ slices.  Place each slice on the parchment lined cookie sheet.  Because the dough doesn’t seem that substantial and the filling is a bit runny, you may need to shape the pinwheels with your hands a bit once you get it on the parchment.  (I honestly thought at this point that they mightn’t turn out as they were a bit flimsy)

Bake at 425F for 22-25 minutes until golden brown and filling set.  Let it cool a few minutes and then serve warm.

 

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Reality Check: Microwave Spinach Quesadilla

Before you get the crazy idea that I spend hours in the kitchen every day and don’t ever make anything super quick and easy (and that would be crazy talk), I’ve decide to post a little bit of every day reality. The microwave spinach quesadilla is a good ol’ standby in my kitchen.

Microwave Spinach Quesadilla | Veg-am

 

Microwave Spinach Quesadilla

  • 1 Brown Rice Tortilla
  • Fresh Spinach, chopped (or just torn by hand works too)
  • Mozzarella Style Daiya (or whatever non-dairy cheese you like)
  • Hot Sauce, optional

Notice there are no quantities.  The point is to make it the fast and just the way you like it , so just use what feels right.

Lay out the tortilla on a plate.  To prevent the spinach from drying out, put a little water in it, and then squeeze out the excess.  (I usually just take a handful of spinach and run water from the tap over it.  If you don’t use your tap water, you can put it in a bowl of water for a  a short bit and then squeeze out the excess).  Put spinach on half the tortilla.  Top with non-dairy cheese.  I use 2-3 oz, but again, use what you want.

Leaving the tortilla open, microwave until cheese is melted but not crispy.  For me this is 1:00 to 1:30, but it varies with microwave.

Add in a couple dashes of hot sauce if desired.  Texas Pete is my hot sauce of choice.

Microwave Spinach Quesadilla | Veg-am

Fold empty half of tortilla over cheese.  Cut into 4 wedges and you’re good to go.

Reality check #2:  I don’t usually bother with cutting in wedges.  That was just for you.  I usually just take it whole and tear it into pieces as I eat.


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1 food 5 ways, Navy Beans, Way #4: Breakfast Scramble

One of my favorite easy meals to eat pre-vegan was egg scrambles. I can only assume I’d love tofu scrambles too. But, since I can’t have that, what to do? I do consider navy beans to be the tofu of beans. So…it was a natural jump. This may seem pretty simple to some of you, but it actually took me until this year to realize I could make a scramble out of navy beans. If you haven’t tried it yet, do it! It’s totally yum!

You can put whatever you want in it, but I’m a one scramble kinda girl. In fact, I fancied it up a bit for you by actually using onion and garlic this time. It was good, I think I’ll add it to my usual. Of course, the likelihood that I’ll ever measure it again is pretty slim.

I call it a breakfast scramble, but I eat breakfast for lunch and dinner too. Eat it whenever you want. Call it whatever you want. It’s ok by me.

Here it is pictured with my latest failure of a biscuit. Biscuits seem to be my arch nemesis. But one day, maybe I’ll get it. Finally, the flavor was decent, but they were a crumbly mess.

But I digress… Don’t let the scramble’s homeliness fool you, it’s tasty!

Breakfast Scramble

Ingredients:
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/2 tsp crushed garlic (approx equiv 1 clove fresh)
1-1/2 cups navy beans
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp black salt, plus extra for sprinkling at the end
1/2 cup large dice tomatoes
1 cup loosely packed spinach leaves, chopped
1/8 nutritional yeast
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Directions:
Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add beans and water. (The water is useful for keeping the beans from sticking, for making the beans a little creamier and making a bit of a sauce with the nutritional yeast). Add in the 1/2 tsp black salt and mix throughout the beans. Cook for a minute or two until about half of the water has cooked out. Add tomatoes and spinach and stir to combine well. Cook for a minute or so until warm throughout. Stir in the nutritional yeast until well mixed. Sprinkle on any additional black salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste. Eat up!

1 Food 5 Ways, Kale, Way #1: Not-so-mean Green Juice

I have to admit, until about 2 years ago, I was one of those people that heard the word “kale” and turned my nose up at it. How times have changed. There is rarely a time when I don’t have kale in my fridge or on my grocery list. It is one of my favorite vegetables and is much more versatile than I ever imagined. And it’s so nutritious! Check out kale on World’s Healthiest Foods for more information on just how good it is for you. When you’re done being amazed, check out way #1 for using kale – JUICE!

I’ve recently started juicing and I quite like this one that I made up to use some fruit and veg hanging around my fridge. The kale is much less obvious in juice than I would have expected even though it makes up the bulk of it. And don’t forget, it packs a powerhouse of nutrients! I would typically drink this as one serving as a light meal or a snack, but if you’re serving it along side a full breakfast breakfast, it could serve two.

Not-so-mean Green Juice
  • 1 cup spinach, packed
  • 3 cups curly kale, packed
  • 1 large granny smith apple (If you like your juice sweeter, use a fuji. If you like it really sweet, use two)
  • 5 large strawberries
  • 30 green grapes
Put all ingredients, preferably cold, through the juice extractor (some juicers suggest you put greens through first, but follow your juicer’s instructions). Stir final juice, pour and enjoy. It’s most nutritious right away, but can be stored in a glass container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Sometimes I’ll put it in the freezer just long enough to chill it. Don’t let it freeze – glass WILL break.
If you can’t convince someone of this juice’s sweet, fruity goodness because of its vivid green color, pour it into a cocktail glass and garnish it up! Maybe that’ll help. If it doesn’t…more juice for you! :)


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