Vegan, Soy-free Spinach Artichoke Dip [V, GF]

Vegan, soy-free spinach artichoke dip from The Spoon + Shovel

After all of the holiday hustle, we had an open can of artichoke hearts left over in the fridge. Spinach artichoke dip sounded awesome, but I didn’t have a go-to vegan recipe. We went poking around for other vegan recipes; all of the ones we saw called for tofu, so I thought I’d put together a soy-free version. I think the end product disappeared in less time than it took to prepare!

Prep time: 15-20 min
Bake time: 25-35 min
Yield: 8-12 servings

One 8oz. bag of spinach
1 small onion, chopped
2 T. olive oil
½-1 t. sea salt
1 T. minced garlic (can be substituted with an additional ½ t. dried oregano in the cashew cream)
1 C. artichoke hearts, chopped
⅓ C. Vegenaise (other vegan mayos will work, but I think Vegenaise is the best flavor complement here)
⅓ C. Daiya mozzarella shreds
Cashew cream:
1 C. raw cashew pieces
2 T. olive oil
¼ C. vegetable stock
1 ½ T. nutritional yeast
½ t. dried basil
½ t. dried oregano
2 t. apple cider vinegar
Juice from ½ of a lemon (2-3 T.)
Salt and pepper to taste

-Preheat your oven to 400 F.
-Measure out the cashew pieces into a microwave-safe bowl and fill to cover with water. Microwave for 5 min. and then let sit while you prep the spinach.
-Wash and dry the spinach, discarding any wilted or slimy pieces.
-Place spinach in a large mixing bowl, add ½ t. sea salt and tear leaves with your hands. Add the other ½ t. as you tear if the leaves need more salt to wilt, or if you like a saltier dip.
-Strain the cashews and place in a hand mixer or food processor.
-Add the oil, stock, nutritional yeast, basil, oregano, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper and process until very smooth and thick.
-Put a large skillet or pan on the stove on medium heat and add the olive oil.
-Chop the onion and add to the skillet with the minced garlic (optional). Cook, stirring regularly, until translucent and beginning to brown around the edges, 3-4 min.
-Pour off any water in your mixing bowl and then add wilted spinach to the skillet and mix. Stir regularly as the spinach cooks down, 5-7 min.
-Pour the spinach mixture back into your large mixing bowl, add the cashew cream, Vegenaise, artichokes and mozz shreds. Mix well and pour into one or more small baking dishes; we use a 5”x8” dish to get a nice crisp top with ~2” of dip beneath.
-Bake for 25-35 min. or until the top is started to turn golden brown and the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and let cool for 7-10 min before serving.

Vegan, soy-free spinach artichoke dip from The Spoon + Shovel

Caramelized Onion and Artichoke Tarts [V]

Caramelized onion and artichoke tarts from The Spoon + Shovel

Here is another vegan take on a classic French appetizer, onion and anchovy tarts. I needed to swap the little fishies out for something salty, so my first thought was artichoke and luckily it worked out perfectly. These little hors d'oeuvres are sweet, savory and salty all at once -perfect for holiday entertaining!

2 T. olive oil
½ T. fresh thyme, minced
1 C. white onion (~2 large or 3 medium), halved and thinly sliced
1 T. sugar
1 t. red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
10-15 black or kalamata olives, pitted and minced
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
5 artichoke hearts, quartered
Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish

Prep time: 35-40 min
Cook time: 20 min
Yield: 18-20 tarts

-Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
-Sauté onions with thyme until soft and beginning to caramelize, ~20 min.
-Turn up heat to medium high, add vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.
-Cook until caramelized, 10-15 min. Stir regularly and make sure the onions don’t burn.
-Remove from heat and immediately add olives, combine, cover and set aside.
-Heat oven to 400 F.
-Cut puff pastry into ~3" circles or squares - you can use a round cookie cutter if doing the latter. 
*Note: round tarts are more aesthetically pleasing, but square ones get more out of your puff pastry. 
-Place pastry on parchment paper-lined baking sheets and poke each a few times with a fork or knife.
-Cover with a second sheet of parchment paper and another baking sheet, so the pastries are sandwiched between them.
-Bake for 15 min or until they begin to brown, then remove the top baking sheet and parchment, and bake 2-3 more minutes.
-Cut artichoke hearts into quarters, starting at the tender base and cutting downward. 
-Remove the pastry from oven and add a spoonful of the onion mixture to each. Top with a sliver of artichoke heart and garnish with parsley.

Caramelized onion and artichoke tarts from The Spoon + Shovel

Vegan Rugelah [V, GF Option]

Vegan rugelah with homemade cashew cream cheese from The Spoon + Shovel

This is one of the few recipes I have that I can trace back to the “old country,” Czechoslovakia (now known as the Czech Republic and Slovakia). These rugelah were THE Christmas cookie for my grandmother (Mom’s mom), and I would spend at least one Sunday every December in her little kitchen in Middleburg Heights helping her assemble them. She would always fret over the bigger apricot pieces in the preserve and any nut pieces that required further grinding. It was serious business. Getting this recipe just right was definitely the feather in my cap I was looking for this holiday (baking) season. Enjoy, and happy holidays!

1 C. (8 oz.) vegan cream cheese; I used this recipe to make my own
2 C. flour (gf options here)
½ C. coconut oil
½ C. dairy-free butter
2 T. sugar
1 C. walnuts, very finely chopped or processed
½ C. sugar
1 T. ground cinnamon
Apricot preserve (peach jam works too)

Prep time: 1 hour 30 min
Cook time: 20-30 min
Yield: 64 cookies

-Soften cream cheese and butter on the counter.
-Combine cream cheese and butter, then add sugar and flour.
-Divide into 4 equal pieces; I take a large knife and cut it vertically down the middle, then again horizontally.
-Roll each between floured wax paper into a 10-12” circle. Make sure to not let the dough stick to the paper. Refrigerate for 1 hr.
-Preheat the oven to 375 F.
-Chop the walnuts as finely as you can, then combine with the sugar and cinnamon.
-Remove one of the prepared dough portions from the fridge and peel the wax paper from one side then the other.
-Spread a thin layer of preserve over the dough, leaving a ¼” edge clean. 
-Spread ¼ of the filling evenly on top of the preserve.
-Cut dough vertically, then horizontally, so the dough is quartered, then quarter each section so you have 18 slices.
-Roll each slice from end to tip. Place tip-down on a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough.
-Bake for 10-12 min. or until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a rack.

Vegan rugelah with homemade cashew cream cheese from The Spoon + Shovel

Celery Root Remoulade [V, GF option]

Vegan celery root remoulade from The Spoon + Shovel

Here's a plant most Americans probably haven't eaten - celery root (also known as celeriac). It has crisp pale flesh like parsnip and a strong but not overpowering celery flavor. The traditional French recipe calls for raw egg yolk, which would've turned me off even when I ate eggs, so swapping it for a plant-based remoulade is definitely more my speed. It may seem a little offbeat, but don't knock celery root til you try it!

1 large celery root (about 1 ½ lbs.)
1 T. nutritional yeast
2 t. flour or brown rice flour
½ t. arrowroot powder
Pinch of kala namak (Indian black salt)
1 t. vegan butter
1 ½  T. Dijon or stoneground mustard
½ C. olive oil
3 T. fresh lemon juice (roughly one half lemon)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 T. flat-leaf parsley

Prep time: 10 min.
Cooling time: 30 min.
Yield: 8 servings

-In a medium bowl, combine nutritional yeast, flour, arrowroot, kala namak and melted butter with a whisk.
-Whisk in the mustard and then begin adding the olive oil 1 t. at a time, whisking vigorously, until the mixture is thick and smooth.
-Whisk in the lemon juice until combined and cool in the refrigerator.
-Peel celery root.
-Using a mandolin or sharp knife, slice thinly (~⅛”).
-Julienne the sliced celery root, leaving them ⅛-¼” wide, like little veggie matchsticks.
-Toss in a large bowl with the sauce, cover and chill in the refrigerator for roughly 30 min. before serving.
-Mince the fresh parsley and garnish each serving with it when plating.

Vegan celery root remoulade from The Spoon + Shovel

Cherry Ribbons [V, GF option]

Vegan cherry ribbon cookies from The Spoon + Shovel

This past weekend was my parents’ annual holiday open house, and as usual, my mom and I went overboard on the cookie prep. I made double batches of chocolate crinkles and triple ginger, as well perfecting a cashew cream cheese rugelah recipe (which I’ll post soon) and a Christmas staple I’ve been making since college: cherry ribbons. These icebox cookies are as festive as they are delicious, and it’s not Christmas without gorging on a handful of them! 

½ C. dried cherries
⅓ C. cherry preserve
1 T. sugar
⅛ t. almond extract
2 C. flour (gf options here)
¼ t. baking powder
¼ t. salt
¾ C. sugar
⅓ C. coconut oil
⅓ C. dairy-free butter or margarine
1 flax gel egg
2 ¼ t. vanilla extract
½ t. almond extract

Prep time: 30 min. + 90 min. in freezer
Cook time: 10-20 min.
Yield: ~ 3 dozen

-Combine cherries, preserve and 1 ½ T. sugar in a food processor until you have a relatively smooth paste.
-Cook cherry mixture in a small saucepan on high until bubbling, 5-7 min, stirring constantly. 
-Remove from heat and add ⅛ t. almond extract. 
-Transfer to a bowl and cool in the freezer while you prepare the dough.
-Combine the coconut oil, butter and sugar in a stand mixer until smooth.
-Add the flax gel, vanilla and almond extract and mix well. 
-Add the baking powder, salt and flour and mix well.
-Remove dough from mixer and divide into 4 equal pieces; I take a sharp knife and cut the dough in half vertically then horizontally.
-Line a 4”x8” loaf pan with a piece of aluminum foil, then cover foil with wax paper.
-Spread one portion of dough into the bottom of the loaf pan, then cover with ⅓ of the now-cooled cherry mixture. Repeat twice more, then spread the final piece of dough evenly across the top.
-Fold the wax paper over the dough, then the foil. Place in the freezer for at least 90 min to set; I often freeze it overnight for convenience.
-Preheat your oven to 350 F.
-Remove the dough from the freezer and take off the foil and wax paper.
-Place the dough on a cutting board and cut off the sides using a sharp knife; you can cut these to size and bake, they’re just not as aesthetically pleasing as the rest of the batch.
-Cut the dough in half longways, then vertically at ¼” increments.
-Place strips on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 10-14 min or until edges are beginning to turn golden brown.
-Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a rack.

Gratinéed Trumpet Mushrooms (Vegan Coquilles St-Jacques) [V, GF option]

Gratinéed trumpet mushrooms (vegan Coquilles St-Jacques) from The Spoon + Shovel

A few months ago, Meghan and I started talking about a theme for S+S for the winter: veganizing traditional French cuisine. It’s been eye-opening already, as I thought I had a grasp on it, but I've seemingly only scratched the surface of my favorite cooking style thus far. I have wanted to work with trumpet mushrooms, as I've seen them used to mimic scallops. I was never a big fan of shellfish in general before going vegan, but I came across various recipes for Coquilles St-Jacques and thought it’d be fun to try my hand at a vegan version. Spoiler alert: it was fun!

1 C. mushrooms (button or baby bellas work best), minced
6 T. vegan butter or margarine, divided
2 medium shallots, minced and divided
2 T. minced parsley
1 T. tarragon, minced, and additional whole leaves for garnish
*note: if you do not have or can’t find fresh tarragon, you can substitute fennel (root or tops)
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 trumpet mushrooms
½ C. dry vermouth
1 C. vegetable stock or water
1 bay leaf
2 T. flour (gf options here)
½ C. unsweetened nut milk (I used soy)
1 T. nutritional yeast
1-2 T. fresh lemon juice

Prep time: 35-45 min
Cook time: 10 min
Yield: 6-8 servings

-Mince and cook mushrooms, 4 T. butter and ⅔ of the shallots in a pan over medium heat, 15-20 min.
-Add parsley and tarragon (or fennel), season with salt and pepper, and mix well, making sure nothing burns.
-Divide the mixture equally in 6-8 small oven-safe dishes (make sure they have a raised lip).
-Add the vermouth, bay leaf, stock or water, remaining shallot and a pinch of salt to a saucepan on medium heat.
-Wash and chop the trumpet mushroom stalks at 1-1 ½” increments and add to the liquid. Cook until just slightly tender, 4-6 min.
-Remove mushrooms and place one on each filled dish
-Turn up the heat to high and boil for ~10 min until it has reduced to ½ C. of liquid.
-Remove from heat and strain.
-Turn your oven broiler on high.
-Heat 2 T. oil in a small saucepan on medium. Add flour and cook until smooth, 2 min.
-Add the reduced liquid and cream, whisk until thickened (4-7 min.)
-Add nutritional yeast, lemon juice, more salt and pepper, and whisk until no lumps remain.
-Spoon sauce over each "scallop" and broil until tops are browned, ~3 min.
-Garnish each serving with a tarragon leaf or fennel green.

Gratinéed trumpet mushrooms (vegan Coquilles St-Jacques) from The Spoon + Shovel

Lentil sloppy joes [V, GF]

Vegan lentil sloppy joes from The Spoon + Shovel

As the days have grown shorter and the nights colder, the warm comfort food meals have become more frequent. No one’s complaining here, though, and I wanted to share my take on lentil sloppy joes. They’re pretty tasty, if I’m allowed to say so.

1 C. dry lentils
1 t. ground cumin
½ t. ground mustard
¼ t. ground coriander
¼ t. paprika
½ t. ground black pepper
½ t. or more salt (to taste)
6 T. (3 oz.) tomato paste
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 T. olive oil
4-6 dashes liquid smoke
2-3 T. liquid aminos or soy sauce
1 T. apple cider vinegar
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. nutritional yeast
1 C. vegetable stock (recipe here) or water

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 30-40 min
Yield: 4-6 servings, ~4 C.

-Rinse lentils thoroughly in a strainer.
-Fill a stock pot with water and add lentils; cook on medium-high heat for ~20 min or until lentils are softened but not mushy.
-Place a large pan over medium-high heat and add cumin, coriander, mustard, paprika, pepper and salt; brown spices, 2-3 min, stirring with a spatula or wooden spoon regularly.
-Add olive oil and chopped onions, and sauté until translucent.
-Add celery and carrot, stirring evenly to coat.
-Add lentils and remaining ingredients; stir to combine and let simmer uncovered on medium/low-medium heat for ~20 min. Stir occasionally as the liquid cooks down and the veggies soften. Taste to see if you’d like more salt or liquid smoke. It’s pretty hard to go wrong once everything is simmering, so play around a little (just save some room for dinner).

Meghan particularly likes this recipe paired with homemade cashew cream mac & cheese, and we’ve also had it over mashed potatoes and on burger buns. The sky’s the limit!

Vegan lentil sloppy joes from The Spoon + Shovel

Vegan Chocolate Crinkle Cookies [V, gf option]

Vegan chocolate crinkle cookies from The Spoon + Shovel

I used to make these every Christmas with my mom for my dad and sister (the chocoholics of the family), and got away from them until Meghan and I moved in together. I made them our first Christmas together and she lost her mind! They went back on the list of essential holiday recipes and were the first cookies I made for her after she went vegan (I followed a couple months later). Long story short, Meghan says these cookies are “the bomb dot com.”

4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
2 C. sugar
½ C. vegetable oil
2 t. vanilla
4 flax gel eggs, 14 T. or 2 T. less than 1 C. (recipe here)
2 C. flour (gluten-free options here)
2 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
½ C. powdered sugar (for rolling)

Prep time: 20 min + 2 hr in fridge
Cook time: 10 min
Yield: 3-4 dozen, depending on size

-In a double boiler, melt the baking chocolate, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
-In a stand mixer, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla and flax eggs. 
-Add the melted chocolate and combine.
-Add the baking powder and salt and combine.
-Add the flour and combine.
-Cover and cool in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.
-Preheat your oven to 350 F.
-Spoon out the cooled dough into 1-2” balls, roll in powdered sugar and place on a baking sheet.
-Bake for 10 min or until top is crinkled and edges are firm. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack.

Vegan chocolate crinkle cookies from The Spoon + Shovel