Middle Eastern Pomegranate & Eggplant Melange

Middle Eastern Pomegranate & Eggplant Melange

This is a guest post by Betsy DiJulio, author of The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes.

“Middle Eastern Pomegranate & Eggplant Melange”

This versatile Middle Eastern-inspired mash-up is equally addicting as a creamy dip, stuffed in a pita or baked pepper, or piled atop a grilled flatbread.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion (or 1/2 of a medium), diced
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 medium eggplant, stemmed and diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine (a Merlot is nice)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Optional: 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses or tamarind syrup (available at Middle Eastern/Mediterranean markets)
4 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
1/4 cup Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
Optional: 1 tablespoon tahini (sesame paste; available on the international aisle of grocery stores)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon mild curry powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Zest of 1 large lemon

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high. Add onion and a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring frequently, until onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Add eggplant, garlic, and another pinch of salt plus a pinch of pepper, and sauté, still stirring frequently, until some color develops, about 3 minutes.

Add wine, balsamic vinegar, and optional molasses or syrup, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes or until eggplant is fairly soft. Mash firmly with a potato masher. Stir in tomatoes and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes. Mash the mixture again.

Add Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream, and optional tahini, and cook, stirring, until melted and completely combined. Stir in all remaining ingredients until heated through and flavors are well-combined. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve as a dip, stuffed in a pita or baked pepper, or piled atop a grilled flatbread. Garnish, if desired, with olives, fruit (fresh or dried), fresh herbs, nuts, etc.

Optional garnish: olives, fruit (fresh or dried), fresh herbs, nuts, etc.

Yields 6 servings.

Visit Betsy at www.TheBloomingPlatter.com.

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Vegan Lasagna with Creamy Swiss Chard Filling

Vegan Lasagna with Creamy Swiss Chard Filling

This is a guest post by Betsy DiJulio, author of The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes.

“Vegan Lasagna with Creamy Swiss Chard Filling, Walnut Pesto, and Fresh Roma Tomato Sauce”

In this lovely summer lasagna, a fluffy and creamy Swiss chard filling finds its perfect counterpoints in rich walnut pesto; zippy, pleasantly acidic, lightly cooked fresh Roma tomato sauce; and a crunchy topping. Perfecto!

Creamy Swiss Chard Filling

sea salt
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
6 dried lasagna noodles
1/2 pound (about 3 large) fresh Roma tomatoes, unpeeled, stem end removed, and halved
3 tablespoons loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup walnut pieces
1 large garlic clove, halved
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

Make the creamy Swiss chard filling in food processor, transfer mixture to a medium bowl, set aside, and rinse out bowl of food processor.

Lasagna noodles:
Fill a large pot (4-quart) 3/4 full with water, add a tablespoon each of sea salt and olive oil, and bring to a gentle boil. Add lasagna noodles, partially cover, and simmer 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente, lowering heat if necessary. Drain and arrange noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet, covered with a kitchen towel to prevent drying out.

Fresh Roma tomato sauce:
Place Roma tomatoes in food processor with basil and a pinch of sea salt and process until smooth. Transfer to a medium (2-quart) saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens and most of watery moisture has evaporated; lower heat if necessary to prevent scorching and sticking on the bottom. Remove from heat.

Walnut pesto:
Rinse and dry bowl of food processor and add the nuts, garlic clove, and about a 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Pulse until finely chopped and, then, with motor running, drizzle in 1/4 cup of olive oil to make a thick paste. Set aside.

Cruncy topping:
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large cast iron skillet, add bread crumbs and toast, stirring occasionally, until crumbs begin to turn golden brown, lowering heat if necessary. Add nutritional yeast and continue toasting and stirring for another minute or until crumbs are golden and yeast is fragrant. Remove from heat.

Assembly:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil the bottom and sides of two 5 x 9″ metal or ceramic loaf pans. Trim all of the lasagna noodles to fit the length of the pans and then cut the trimmings in half.

Line each of the pans with 2 overlapped lasagna noodles, spread each with 1/4 of the creamy Swiss chard filling, and cover the surface of each with small dollops of 1/4 of the walnut pesto. Top each with a single lasagna noodle and 1/2 of the noodle trimmings tucked along the sides if desired (or you may discard these). Repeat layers, ending with a final single lasagna noodle. Spoon half of the fresh Roma tomato sauce over each, sprinkle with half of the bread crumbs, and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes, slice with a sharp serrated knife, and serve.

Tip!
If you are watching your calories, this lasagna is equally as successful and delicious without the last lasagna noodle layer. Simply spoon the tomato sauce over the second and final walnut pesto layer, top with crumbs, and bake as directed. In this case, you will need only 6 lasagna noodles.

Creamy Swiss Chard Filling:
1/2 pound stemmed Swiss chard leaves
14 ounces extra firm tofu, drained
8 ounces Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
Juice and zest of 1/2 large lemon
2 large cloves garlic
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon Bragg Liquid Aminos
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon turbinado sugar (or any granulated sugar)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to taste

Finely chop Swiss chard in the bowl of a food processor. Transfer chard to a medium bowl, set aside, and rinse out bowl of food processor. Place all remaining ingredients, including Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, in the food processor bowl and process until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Transfer to bowl with Swiss Chard and fold together until completely combined.

Yield 6 servings.

Visit Betsy at www.TheBloomingPlatter.com.

*Note: This is NOT an official recipe from Tofutti Brands, Inc.

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Garlic, Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Garlic, Spinach and Artichoke Dip

“Garlic, Spinach and Artichoke Dip”

This is a guest post by Jennifer M. Hulett of Hope Café & Catering.

YYou better slice up some chunks of bell pepper, celery, and carrots—you’re going to need them! This dip is loaded with tomatoes, spinach, artichokes hearts, and other tasty veggies to dig into. Made with Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream and Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, this dip tastes extra good with fresh, organic vegetables. Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 medium white onions, chopped
1 large tomato (equal to one cup; optional)
9 oz. fresh baby spinach
2 15 oz. cans artichoke hearts (packed in water)
3/8 TSP salt, divided
10 grinds of fresh black pepper, divided
1 dash (approximately 1/16 tsp.) cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp. fresh minced garlic
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 Tbsp. dairy-free margarine (e.g. Earth Balance)
8 oz. Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, softened
8 oz. Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream

Directions

On medium heat, add the dairy-free margarine, chopped onions and 2 Tbsp. minced garlic to a large frying pan. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Season the onions and garlic with 1/8 Tsp. salt and 5 grinds of fresh black pepper. Decrease heat to medium-low and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the onions are caramelized.

While the onions cook, add the softened Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream, and cayenne pepper to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

Drain the artichoke hearts and cut in half long-ways. Next, Julienne each half and add it to the cream cheese and sour cream mixture. When onions are finished cooking, drain and cool then add them to the mixture as well.

Place the large frying pan back on the stove. Turn to medium heat and add the 2 Tbsp. olive oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the Spinach and season with 1/4 Tsp. salt and 5 grinds of fresh black pepper. Sauté the spinach until it is completely wilted, usually about 4 minutes. Add to the cream cheese mixture and stir well to combine all of the ingredients.

Preheat Oven to 350. Transfer the mixture into an 8” square or 8 or 9” round baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are bubbling and the top is golden brown.

While the dip cooks, dice your tomato until you have one full cup.

Allow dish to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Top with diced tomatoes and serve with chopped veggies or warm corn chips. Enjoy!

Visit Jennifer at Hope Café & Catering.

*Note: This is NOT an official recipe from Tofutti Brands, Inc.

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Gluten-Free Spinach Pie

Gluten-Free Spinach Pie

“Gluten-Free Spinach Pie”

Made with caramelized mushroom and red onion, fresh cooked spinach, capers, mint and garlic. Topped with Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese garlic mashed potatoes! This hearty dish will satisfy your cravings for “cheesy” comfort food, and it’s gluten-free . . . so no need to worry about tummy problems.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Ingredients

Cooked spinach:
2 lbs. fresh spinach

Place about 3 inches water in large soup pot and bring to boil. Add 1/3 of the spinach, submerge, then add the rest, turning and submerging till the spinach wilts. Cook, turning often until tender and still bright green. Drain in colander.

When cool enough to handle, gather in a ball and squeeze repeatedly to remove all moisture, or place in a tofu towel, twist and squeeze untill as dry as you can get it. Chop finely on cutting board and set aside.

Ingredients

Pie Filling:
16 oz. pkg. extra-firm water-packed tofu, rinsed (gluten-free)
1 t. salt
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. dried dill weed
1/2 t. turmeric
2 T. sm. capers plus 1 T. brine from jar
2 t. liquid smoke
2 T. whole grain mustard
2 t. light brown sugar
1/4 t. red cayenne pepper
1/8 t. ground nutmeg
2 T. cornstarch
8 oz. container Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese

Either cover tofu block with several layers of paper towels or place in tofu towel and twist and squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible. Tofu should look like dry curd. Place in large bowl.

Add remaining ingredients up to and including nutmeg. Mash with potato masher after each addition to evenly distribute ingredients.

Place cornstarch in a wire mesh strainer over the bowl and sift onto the tofu. Immediately mash into the tofu to distribute evenly throughout.

Now add Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese. Mash and stir to completely incorporate into the tofu. Set aside.

Ingredients

Saute:
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. white, button mushrooms, cut into no larger than 1/2 inch cubes
1 lg. red onion, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch squares
1 t. salt
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. onion powder
1/8 t. ground allspice
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 rounded T. gluten-free soy bacon bits
4 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
chopped spinach
1/2 t. additional salt
1 t. additional garlic powder
1/2 t. dried mint.

In extra-large skillet, over medium-high heat, melt olive oil. Add mushrooms, red onion and salt. Saute till water begins to release from mushrooms.

Add garlic and onion powders, ground allspice, black pepper as desired, soy bacon bits and fresh garlic. Stir well, reduce heat to medium, then saute, stirring occasionally, till mushrooms reduce significantly in size and onion is soft and sweet.

Add the chopped spinach, additional salt and garlic powder, and mint to the skillet. Using the sharp edge of a pancake turner, chop the spinach further, while evenly dispersing it throughout the mushrooms. Lift and turn the mixture repeatedly while it cooks to evaporate as much liquid as possible. Turn off heat and set aside.

Ingredients

Potatoes:
2 c. boiling water
1 t. salt
1 t. garlic powder
2 c. instant mashed potatoes (Idahoan brand is gluten-free and is what I used for this recipe with excellent results)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
dash nutmeg
4 oz. Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, at room temperature (half a container)

Combine boiling water, salt and garlic powder in large bowl. Stir to dissolve. Immediately add instant potatoes. Stir well with fork till all potato flakes are thoroughly moistened. Add black pepper and nutmeg; stir to evenly distribute.

Place Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese in separate bowl. Using the back side of a spoon, mash and stir till fluffed up and creamy. Add to potatoes, mashing and stirring to completely incorporate into the potatoes till smooth and potato ‘dough’ forms a ball.This will take a few minutes. The potato ‘dough’ will be thick. Form into a smooth round ball in the bowl and set aside.

Assembly:

You’ll need 1 T. gluten-free margarine, paprika for garnish, and lemon wedges for garnish.

1. In an 8 x 8 inch baking dish evenly spread one half of the spinach/mushroom mixture.

2. Top evenly with all of the tofu mixture.

3. Then top the tofu mixture evenly with the remaining spinach/mushroom mixture.

4. Place the smooth ball of potato ‘dough’ on board. Using fingers, gently and evenly flatten dough to form a square the size of the top of the baking dish, pushing a little more ‘dough’ to the edges, raising it like you would do with a pizza dough, while keeping the entire surface smooth.

Wet a pancake turner; slip it underneath the dough around all sides to loosen it from the board, then slide your hands and lower arms under the dough. Lift and place on top of casserole, form-fitting it to the inside of the dish.

5. Melt 2 tablespoons gluten-free margarine. Brush gently over all surfaces. Bake uncovered in preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Then, put it under the broiler for a couple minutes longer till liquid from the margarine evaporates and top becomes golden. Watch carefully that top doesn’t burn.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with paprika, then let set about 10 minutes before cutting or spooning to serve. Garnish each plate with a lemon wedge to squeeze over each serving.

Note: Because the potato ‘dough’ is thick and smooth, it won’t spread evenly without dislodging the pie layers, thus the reason for forming the dough before placing it on top of the pie.

Serves 6-12.

Created exclusively for Tofutti Brands, Inc. by Sharon Lee Davies-Tight.

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Vegan Tacos with Chipotle Tofu

Vegan Tacos with Chipotle Tofu

This is a guest post by Betsy DiJulio, author of The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes.

“Vegan Tacos with Chipotle Tofu”

Believe it or not, this recipe was inspired by a “bean bowl” I enjoyed from a southwestern concession at the Atlanta airport.

I ordered their orange tofu version with grilled veggies, black beans, cilantro, and salsa, and the combination was outstanding, and not just because I was starving for something fresh on a day of travel!

I love to saute tofu—but you could also bake or even grill it—for stuffed soft tacos, the aforementioned bean bowl, a burrito, an enchilada, or however your heart desires.

Vegan Tacos with Chipotle Orange-Marinated Tofu
Chipotle Orange-Marinated Tofu (recipe follows—prepare the day before you plan to use)
1 14 oz package of extra firm tofu (chopped)
1 can rinsed and drained black beans (I like to have these ready to go in advance, and I like to saute a small onion in a tablespoon of oil, add beans, heat through, and lightly mash leaving some beans whole)
8 6 inch corn tortillas
Approx. 2 cups tightly packed fresh, raw, stemmed kale leaves, finely chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
Chipotle Orange Sour Cream (recipe follows)
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
Approximately 5 tablespoons lightly salted and roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Lightly warm each tortilla shell in a dry skillet over medium-high for a few seconds on both sides. Fold and place two on each serving plate, folds touching. Fill each with 1/8 of the beans, kale, tofu, and tomatoes. Drizzle with Chipotle Orange Sour Cream, and tuck in 1/8 of the tofu leaves. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and serve immediately.

Chipotle Orange-Marinated Tofu
Juice and zest of one large navel orange
Juice and zest of one medium, lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle chilies in adobo), or to taste (it’s got some heat!)
1/4 cup olive oil
Sea salt to taste (don’t skimp!)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
14 ounces extra firm tofu, pressed and drained between paper towels, and cut into 12 cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil

Whisk together all ingredients together, except tofu and oil, in a non-reactive bowl or carton, taste and adjust seasoning, add tofu, turn over a couple of times, and marinate over night, covered, turning occasionally if you think about it. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high, add tofu cubes and half of marinade (reserve remaining marinade), and saute without disturbing two to three minutes on one side or until lightly golden brown.

Flip, and cook two to three minutes more on the opposite side. (It is not necessary to brown all 6 sides.) Check, occasionally to make sure that tofu isn’t browning too quickly but, if it is, adjust the heat. When cool enough to handle, cut each cube into quarters.

Chipotle Orange Sour Cream:
Reserved Chipotle-Orange Marinade
1/3 to 1/2 cup Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream

Whisk together an refrigerate, covered, until serving time. Yields 8 overstuffed tacos (2 per serving)—eating in the airport optional.

Visit Betsy at www.TheBloomingPlatter.com.

*Note: This is NOT an official recipe from Tofutti Brands, Inc.

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