Spinach Artichoke Dip

Artichoke Dip

Spinach artichoke dip is expected to be cheesy, right? That’s right, so just because this is a vegan dish made using only plants, doesn’t mean it cannot trick their tastebuds. This dish will convince others, despite there not being any cheese and no trace of nutritional yeast inside of this dish. (Nutritional yeast is the usual ingredient for plant-based recipes that provide the “cheezy” flavors.) Yet, the plant-based yogurt adds tartness and the cashews and potato add the creamy texture.

My husband loves artichokes, so he was my inspiration for trying out this dish. This recipe caught my eye as I was scrolling through some of Nisha’s YouTube (RainbowPlantLife) Videos. Nisha’s recipes have all been wonderful. I’m not a huge fan of artichokes, but this was very tasty and I look forward to making it again.

Also, be sure to check out the nutrition comparison facts below for the REAL details about how this plant-based recipe is low in calories, low in fat and is cholesterol FREE!

More Inspiration:

There are so many more ways you can use this recipe to create new dishes. See the video at the bottom of this post to see the steps and two additional ways I used this dip.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
  • 12 to 14 ounces of artichokes (can or jar), marinated (or not)
  • 1 cup plain, unsweetened dairy-free yogurt (unsweetened coconut yogurt will make for the creamiest, but I used HEB almond yogurt the first time I made this and it was good.)
  • 1 1/2 TBSP cooking wine (Or even rice vinegar. I used a bit of both. The original recipe used distilled vinegar.)
  • 1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews (soak in warm water if not using a high-speed blender)
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt (may require less if using marinated artichokes)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 packed cup cooked, peeled gold potato
  • OPTIONAL: red pepper flakes, for garnish, pita chips or veggies for serving

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C).
  2. Add the onion, garlic, and 5 TBSP (]water to a small pan over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer, and cook 5 to 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. The original recipe says to add the spinach to the pan in small batches, stirring and tossing the spinach until it is well cooked and wilted before adding the next batch. Repeat until all the spinach is cooked well. This will take about 10 minutes. Turn the heat off. But, since I chopped the spinach using the pulse function of the food processor, I added all to the pan at once and stirred only a few minutes to allow it to wilt. Then I turned off the heat.
  4. The original recipe says to roughly chop the artichokes into quarters. But my artichokes were already quartered and I put them into the food processor to chop even more. This will release lots of liquid, so drain the excess. Squeeze out the excess liquid so it doesn’t end up watery. I used a fine strainer and pressed the artichokes into the strainer using the back of a spoon. Add the artichokes to the cooked spinach mixture, and set aside.
  5. Add the yogurt, vinegar/wine, cashews (soaked if necessary), salt, and pepper to a high-powered blender or food processor. Starting slowly, blend the ingredients. Add the potato also to the blender, blend on high until completely. smooth. Scrape the sides if needed, and blend once more. Pour over the spinach and artichoke mixture and stir to combine well.
  6. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch cast-iron skillet, pie dish, or an 8-inch square baking dish. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until the top looks firm and set and is bubbly. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes. For a kick, add some red pepper flakes on top before serving with pita chips or veggies.

NOTES/TIPS

  • A food processor will make this an easy and quick recipe. I used one to chop and mince onions before cooking. I also used it to chop the artichokes and to chop the spinach (each chopped separately).
  • Look for organic potatoes to avoid pesticides.
  • As always, don’t forget to taste your dish prior to calling it “done” (of course, before baking it)
  • I based this recipe on the one I found at https://youtu.be/_w4YMgSROd4?t=366 (Nisha is one of my favorite vegan/plant-based YouTubers)

NUTRITION COMPARISON FACTS:

Potato Casserole

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound of hashbrowns (or shredded potatoes, see notes/tips below)
  • 8-10 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (or even finely diced)
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, chopped
  • dried parsley flakes (to be sprinkled on top)

Cheezy Sauce:

  • 2 cups plant-based milk
  • ½ cup raw cashews (or use 1/4 cup of cashew flour)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch**
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt (or to your taste preferences)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

**Try to find a NON-GMO cornstarch

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Saute the mushrooms and onions in a bit of water/broth over medium-high heat until tender the onions become translucent and caramelized. Add water/broth as needed to prevent sticking.
  3. Combine the “cheeze” ingredients in a high-speed blender and process until smooth. Taste to make sure it’s to your liking.
  4. Pour half of the blended cheese sauce into the bowl of hash browns and mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Begin to add layers: “cheeze” sauce, potatoes, onions & mushrooms, chopped spinach. Make two layers and top it all off with “cheeze” sauce.
  6. I like to top with more parchment paper (but this is optional) bake for 30 minutes, and then remove the top so that it can brown and the sauce can thicken. (Or you can simply bake uncovered in the oven.)
  7. Sprinkle with dried parsley.

NOTES/TIPS

  • I think the onions are the star of this dish that adds the most flavor. I like to add a splash of balsamic vinegar to help with the caramelization of the onions. (You can use any vinegar you have for cooking.)
  • I like to salt and pepper the potatoes as I layer them.
  • Taste your “cheeze” sauce prior to using it in the dish so that you can make adjustments to suit your taste buds.
  • Look for organic potatoes to avoid added ingredients and preservatives.
  • If shredding your own potatoes, make sure to dry them well – using a kitchen towel or paper towels.
  • I’ve also used sliced potatoes to make this recipe. Use a mandoline slicer for best results
  • This recipe is originally from https://www.plantpurenation.com/blogs/recipes/breakfast-potato-casserole

Tofu Scramble

Tofu Scramble

Tofu scramble is sometimes my Saturday or Sunday breakfast. When I want to take a break from the usual oatmeal I will prepare this dish. It does take a bit more time than a bowl of oatmeal, but it’s well worth it.

The best part is that it contains plenty of vegetables. And incorporating vegetables into your first meal is a great start to any day.  I used the typical vegetables of onions, bell peppers, and spinach in this recipe, but you can add any vegetable you like. For instance, on this particular day, I added celery. Yet, my favorite part is the addition of potatoes. The potatoes are sure to fill you up and prepare you to focus on the work that’s ahead.

But, hey, this could also be a lunch or even a dinner meal. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups of yellow or white flesh potatoes (even red-skinned potatoes), cubed and pre-cooked in the oven if possible
  • 1/2 package of firm or extra-firm tofu (ORGANIC if possible), liquid removed
  • 1/4 to 1/2 of a bell pepper (whichever you like)
  • 1/4 to 1/2  of a small onion (whichever you like, substitute scallions or green onions too)
  • 1/2 – 1 stalk of celery
  • a handful or two of fresh spinach
  • Seasonings (See suggestion below.)

Directions:

  1. Add vegetables to a (preferably non-stick) skillet with a bit of water to begin sauteing (skip the oil, continue to add small amounts of water to prevent the vegetables from sticking).
  2. Once they have softened, continue to cook until the water evaporates and the onions begin to carmelize.
  3. If you have pre-cooked potatoes, go to step 5.
  4. If you have not pre-cooked the potatoes, remove the vegetables from the skillet. Then add cubed potatoes and water (plus salt/pepper if you’d like). Add about 1/2 cup of water at a time and cover the skillet slightly to allow the potatoes to steam and simmer. Add more water as necessary. End cooking the potatoes when they are done and the water is absorbed. Add vegetables back to the pan. Go to step 6.
  5. If you have pre-cooked potatoes, add the pre-cooked potatoes to the pan.
  6. Add tofu and seasonings and stir until well mixed, heated, and until most of the water has evaporated.
  7. Don’t forget to taste

I like to serve with fresh avocado slices and fresh pico de gallo (or simply fresh onions and tomatoes are a good option too.)

Seasoning Mix: The goal is to add some sort of yellow color so that the scramble will resemble eggs. Here is a recipe I found at NutritionStudies.org. You can create this mix and then sprinkle it onto the scramble to satisfy your desired taste.

  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper

Other possible add-ins:

  • Mushrooms
  • Fresh peas
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Tomatoes

Toppings:

  • Tomatoes or Fresh Salsa
  • Avocado or Guacamole

Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potato

Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potato

This recipe is an example of how you can quickly assemble a satisfying meal in 15 minutes or less. If you like “Tex-Mex”, you are going to enjoy this vegan, plant-based recipe. (A video for this recipe is below.)

Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potato Recipe:
(Feel free to use other varieties of the ingredients listed below for onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and even the beans)

Pre-prepared:  2 Oven-baked Sweet Potatoes (or use the microwave to cook the sweet potatoes in less than 10 minutes)

Toppings To cook:
1/4 cup of chopped red onions
1/8 cup of chopped yellow bell peppers
3/4 – 1 cup baby Bella mushrooms
1 – 2 cups of black beans (pre-cooked or canned)

Additional Toppings:
Cashew Cilantro Cream Sauce
Chopped avocado
Chopped cilantro
Sriracha sauce  (At home we use this brand that is preservative-free. You can likely find it at your local grocery store.)

Directions:

  1. Add onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms to a pan over medium heat. Add 1-2 TBS of water or broth to begin the cooking process. Continue adding a little water or broth as needed to prevent the vegetables from sticking. Cook until slightly caramelized.
  2. Add the black beans to the pan with the veggies and allow them to heat up.

To Serve:

  1. Cut each baked potato in half length-wise.
  2. Add vegetable toppings
  3. Add any additional toppings that you would like.

Note: I have also added wilted Kale to this recipe. If you like Kale, you will like the addition of it in the recipe also.

 

Salad Made Easy

This technique makes creating a mid-day lunch or dinner snack easy.  It also helps with creating a variety in your meals.

What I like to do is put various toppings together into containers and add the salad dressing too. Ideally, choose any ingredients that you would like to marinate in the salad dressing. For me, this is everything other than nuts and soft lettuces, but I will add kale and cabbages because they are tougher lettuces.

Toppings in this photo:  beans – edamame and chickpeas, fresh sweet corn, zucchini, artichokes, bell peppers, and olives.

There are so many vegetable toppings for you to choose from. For more ideas download the “Delicious – ‘No Fail’ Salads” Guide. Also, check out these delicious oil-free salad dressings.

Chickpea Tortillas (Wraps)

chickpea tortilla

Tex-Mex is my favorite without a doubt. I really enjoy corn tortillas, and my preference is organic corn tortillas. Yet, it’s so difficult to find organic corn tortillas or the right organic cornmeal (masa) to make my own tortillas (still looking though). But this chickpea tortilla recipe is just as satisfying.  It’s very mild tasting so it would make a good wrap for anything you wish to put inside. This is my go-to recipe for making tortillas/wraps.

TIPS

1. The original recipe that I used when I first began making these tortillas is from Elavegan, but it uses chickpea flour.  One day when I didn’t have any chickpea flour I decided to try fresh, cooked chickpeas instead – and it worked! I use fresh chickpeas all the time now. I think fresh chickpeas adds better taste and texture. Also saves money! (See below for a cost comparison.)

2. Substitute cassava flour for tapioca flour. Use only 1/4 cup cassava in the following recipes.

3. Add any additional seasonings/herbs you would enjoy to these recipes.

Recipe Options:

Recipe 1  uses fresh chickpeas and it requires rolling out dough or using a tortilla press if you have one.

Recipe 2  uses chickpea flour and it also requires rolling out dough or using a tortilla press if you have one.

Recipe 3 uses chickpea flour and as the original recipe recommends, it allows you to create a pourable dough. So these are actually cooked in the same manner as pancakes.

Recipe 1 – Using fresh chickpeas (Video Below)

Note: When pressing the tortillas I either use plastic food storage bags (as shown in the video for recipe option 2 below) or parchment paper to prevent the dough from sticking. If using parchment paper you can remove the paper from one side and lay that side down onto the griddle). Then once that side begins to cook, you can easily peel the parchment paper from the top and then flip the tortilla to cook the other side. (I like the ease and convenience of using parchment. See the video for recipe option 1 below).

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chickpeas, rinsed (they should be cooked until very tender, or canned)
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 – 1/3 tsp salt (Definitely optional.)
  • Any additional seasonings/herbs you would enjoy
  • Start without any water/liquid/chickpea water (They probably contain enough moisture already.)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat stove-top griddle/pan to medium/high heat.
  2. Add chickpeas to a food processor, and process until very grainy.
  3. Add tapioca starch and pulse to mix in, adding water or aquafaba (chickpea liquid) as necessary to form a soft dough. 
  4. Divide into 5 or 6 balls (about 55 g each). Then roll/press the dough into tortillas. 
  5. Cook on the griddle. Depending on how hot the griddle is it may take as look as 1 minute per side.

Recipe 2 – Using chickpea flour (Video Below)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup water (If you add too much water, you can add more starch.)
  • 1/4 – 1/3 tsp salt (Definitely optional.)
  • Any additional seasonings/herbs you would enjoy

Instructions:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor and begin to process

Recipe 3 – Using chickpea flour to create a POURABLE BATTER  (Use this method if you do not have a tortilla press or a rolling pin.)

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2  – 3/4 cup water/chickpea water (aquafaba) – If you add too much water, you can add more starch.
  • 1/4 – 1/3 tsp salt (Definitely optional.)
  • Any additional seasonings/herbs you would enjoy

Instructions:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a bowl, start with 1/2 cup of water adding more slowly as needed. Mix with a handheld blender or use a spoon/whisk.
  2. Pour the batter onto a hot griddle/pan to the desired size. You may need to spread a bit with the back of a spoon or spatula.
  3. Cook until bubbly on top (just like pancakes) and flip over to cook the other side.

Pourable batters or rolled/pressed dough will similarly provide a very flexible tortilla/wrap!

LINKS TO PRODUCTS ON AMAZON:

Tortilla Press: https://amzn.to/2GIinsT

Chickpea Flour: https://amzn.to/3jRCnYk

Tapioca Flour: https://amzn.to/33OyqOq

Cassava Flour: https://amzn.to/2Nw6U2J  (Tapioca Flour Substitute)

Video: Recipe Option 1 – Using canned (cooked) chickpeas

 

Video: Recipe Option 2 – Using chickpea flour

Please subscribe to be notified when new videos are posted.

Cost Comparison:

Each of the recipes listed here uses 20 cents of chickpea flour (1 – 1lb bag of tapioca flour at $3)

Option 1 – Using chickpea flour = $1.53/recipe

1 lb flour at $3.99 yields 18 tortillas, 6 tortillas will cost about $1.33

$1.33 + .20 (cost of tapioca flour) = $1.53

Option 2 – Using canned chickpeas = $1.00/recipe

1 can at 80 cents = 1 1/2 cups of chickpeas yield 6 tortillas

.80 + .20 (cost of tapioca flour) = $1.00

Option 3 – Using 1 lb dried chickpeas to prepare chickpeas at home = 40 cents/recipe

1 lb dried chickpeas at $1 = 8 cups of chickpeas which would yield 30 tortillas, 6 tortillas will cost about 20 cents (1/5 of the recipe)

.20 + .20 (cost of tapioca flour) = 40 cents

Sweet Potato Coconut Milk Curry

I prepared this in my InstantPot. But I’m sure a pot on the stove top will work just as well. This was quick and easy. The perfect warm and satisfying meal for the cold night on which I prepared it. (Note: this recipe was based on a recipe I saw at Pinch of Yum, but I added a few things.)

Ingredients:

  • 4 green onions (about 1/3 cup), chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, minced (add depending on the spice level you want)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup garbanzo/chickpeas, cooked
  • 1 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup water for InstantPot or up to 1 1/2 if on stove top
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon curry
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped peanuts (or cashews)
  • 2 x 2 strip of Kombu for added minerals
After cooked:
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (or cashew butter) You can also take some of the soup broth and blend with peanuts (or cashews) to thicken the soup.
  • 1-2 cups kale, stems removed, chopped (or any other dark leafy greens: collards, chard)
  • 1 – 2 tsp miso paste (for added flavor)
Directions:
  1. Place all ingredients in InstantPot and cook for 10 minutes or add to a pot on the stove top and cook until potatoes are tender.
  2. Add the “after cooked” ingredients. If using InstantPot, after quick or natural release.

Carrot and Flax Seed Crackers

I’m going to give you the basic recipe…then some ideas on the add-ins to achieve different flavors

Ingredients:

Dehydrator – Before


1/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup psyllium husks
2 carrots
3/4 cup water
1/8 tsp salt
Directions:
  1. Place all ingredients into a high speed blender such as a Vitamix and blend until smooth.
  2. Spread onto teflon sheets of a dehydrator and follow dehydrator’s instructions. I set my Nesco dehydrator at 135 degrees F. 
Note: Sometimes I set higher … depending on how quickly I want to eat these. These can be dehydrated at a temperature lower than 115 degrees F to preserve enzymes and if you still want to consider the crackers to be RAW.
Add-ins for flavoring:
  • ginger and turmeric about (1/8 – 1/4 tsp each)
  • stevia (1/4 tsp), agave*, coconut sugar* or honey* for sweetness (1 tsp)
  • garlic powder and Italian seasonings (1/8 – 1/4 tsp each)*
  • curry and ginger spices (about 1/8 – 1/4 each)
  • taco seasonings (1/4 to 1/2 total in spices) – use a mix or cumin, garlic, chili powder, etc *
  • whole seeds sprinkled o: sesame, chia, sunflower, flax & pumpkin (shown in photos)
*High FODMAP food – remove from ingredients to achieve a Low FODMAP recipe.
Crispy Carrot and Flax Seed Crackers

Zucchini Noodles and Spaghetti Sauce

I cannot seem to get enough of zucchini noodles.

Today I had zucchini noodles and sauce.

Here is the recipe:  I made the sauce in the Vitamix.  I made just a few changes from the “Fresh Tomato Sauce” recipe in the Vitamix Whole Food Recipes Book. This recipe is for one serving.

Step 1.  Place the following ingredients into the Vitamix:

  • 3 Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 small red onion
  • 1/2 small carrot
  • 1 TBS tomato paste
  • 1/2 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp RAW honey
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • dash of smoked paprika (to spice it up a bit, optional)
Step 2.  Process on high speed for about 3 minutes.
Step 3.  Pour into saucepan ans simmer for 30 – 40 minutes.
Step 4. When sauce is just about done, use Spiralizer to make noodles using 2 small to medium size zucchinis.
Step 5.  Pour sauce over noodles and add fresh basil and parsley.

It was a good serving size.  It looked like a lot, but it tasted so good that I finished the plate and found the serving size to be just right.

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