Sometimes recipes write themselves. And if recipes were writers, this, my friend, is a Nobel laureate! Well…maybe it isn’t serving the greatest benefit to all of humankind, but it’s definitely a tasty benefit to your taste buds! And it might be something new for you. I love toasted ravioli. It was one of my guilty pleasures, especially on a football Sunday, it was also created here in my hometown, or so the story goes.
A little taste of midwestern Americana, most accounts of toasted ravioli trace its origins to The Hill, a predominantly Italian-American neighborhood in South St. Louis. Supposedly, a guy named Chef Fritz accidentally dropped a ravioli into the fryer at the legendary Mama Campisi’s. “Mickey Garagiola, older brother of Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer Joe Garagiola, was actually at the bar during the mishap and was the first to witness and taste the accidental treat. Other people have tried to take credit, but being a passionate Cardinal fan, I’m going with the Garagiola’s on this one!
Traditionally toasted rav’s are served with a tomato meat sauce for dipping. And if you’ve never had them, I highly recommend eating them that way at some point. However, we will lightly pan fry them for this recipe and drop them right into a decadent creamy, cheesy fondue and finish them in the oven.
The fondue is also a treat to be savored! An apres-ski pleasure in the Alps, Swiss fondue is essentially a mixture of cheese, wine, and flour. You can use it as a sauce over pasta, a dip for veggies, and of course, as a base for these yummy ravioli. So whether you’re congregating after a day on the mountain with friends or just looking for a rich, velvety cheese sauce that cannot be matched, this recipe is for you. Oh, and don’t forget to top it with your favorite vegan parmesan!
So yummy and easy to make, these toasted ravioli can be served with a simple marinara, or dressed up and served in a creamy cheesy fondue! Make sure you use an oil with a high smoke point (over 400°F.) meant for frying.
1 (12 oz) pack of Nasoya Vegan Won Ton Wraps *see note
1 package of vegan plant-based Italian sausage (I only use Hungry Planet) **see note
1 package of vegan mozzarella, crumbled into 1″ pieces (I like Miyoko’s) ***see note
1 sweet onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup plant-based milk
2 tablespoons of egg replacer (I like Just Egg, but you can also use aquafaba)
3 cups frying oil (I use safflower oil–510°F, or peanut oil–450°F)
1/2cupdry white wine (for non-alcohol, 1/4 cup white wine vinegar to 1/4 cup water)
1clovegarlic, whole peeled
3cupsvegan white cheese I used Violife feta, Daiya Farmhouse (block) Jalapeno, and Miyoko’s mozzarella (vegan parm and nutritional yeast would work well too)
1 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoons Kirsch (or cherry juice)
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice (if using vinegar in place of wine, skip the lemon juice)
1 teaspoon dried basil, 2 teaspoons if using fresh
Dash of paprika
Dash of garlic powder
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of white pepper
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
I like to make the fondue first. You can assemble the ravioli in advance, but if not eating them the day of, put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place them in the freezer.
Rub the inside of an enameled cast-iron casserole with the garlic clove; discard the garlic.
Combine the grated cheeses with the wine and tapioca starch.
Add lemon juice, basil, paprika, and garlic powder to the pot and cook over moderate heat, occasionally stirring until the cheeses melt about 5 minutes.
Add the kirsch, vegetable stock, and a generous pinch each of pepper and nutmeg and cook, stirring gently, until creamy and smooth, about 10 minutes; don’t overcook the fondue, or it will get stringy. Remove from heat.
Turn on the oven. Set to broil.
Warm a medium-size nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and 1/4 water. Saute onions until they soften and become translucent (about 8 minutes).
Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
Add sausage, oregano, and salt/pepper. Saute until the sausage begins to brown if ingredients start to stick at 1-2 tablespoons of water.
Add mozzarella cheese and stir until melted.
Remove from heat and set mixture aside.
TOOLS–(Pastry brush, a small bowl of water. A ravioli cutter is helpful but optional)
To assemble ravioli, lay half the won ton wrappers on a flat dry surface. (Make sure you only have one).
Add 1 tablespoon of filling to the middle of each won ton wrap.
Dip a pastry brush into water and lightly brush the perimeter of the won ton wrapper.
Using the other half of the wraps, brush one side of the wrap with a small amount of water and lay the wet side down directly on top of the meat-filled wrap. Repeat until all 24 are sealed. I like to start at the top and work my way around sealing the edges with my fingers. You can apply slight pressure to the middle and press down around the filling. Take a little water and smooth it down with your finger if it tears. Make sure they are sealed well. If using a ravioli cutter, press down until ravioli is cut and well sealed. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Combine milk and egg sub in a small bowl. Place breadcrumbs in a pie pan or shallow bottomed bowl. Dip ravioli in milk mixture and coat with breadcrumbs.
In a large, heavy pan, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches. Heat oil over medium heat until a small amount of breading sizzles and turns brown. Fry ravioli a few at a time, 1 minute on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
To a medium casserole dish, add fondue and place ravioli on top. Spoon fondue sauce onto ravioli to coat. If the sauce is too thick, add 1/4 cup of water or vegetable stock to thin.
Place in oven and bake until fondue is bubbly and slightly browned. About 2-3 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese and basil!
To serve, place ravioli on a plate and drizzle with fondue. Top with parsley and additional parmesan.
*One pack of won ton wrappers makes 24 ravioli.
**I’ve tried a half dozen or so plant-based sausages, and nothing compares to the flavor and texture of Hungry Planet. It also has a whopping 17g of protein and zero fat!
***I like whole block vegan cheeses. I’m not too fond of shredded cheeses because of the taste. The anti-caking ingredients give it a strange flavor.
I tend to go with the flow regarding cooking (and most things in life). Never really having a set menu for the week, most of my ideas come from random places. The other day I saw a beautiful bunch of white asparagus and purple Brussels sprouts and loaded up my cart. I’ve also been known to buy things with absolutely no idea of what I will do with them. Other times I’m inspired by the beauty of food photographs. But most of the time, dinner is mood and taste-dependent!
Lately, and for obvious reasons, I’ve been craving warm comfort foods.
When I think of autumn, I think of hearty soups and stews. Enter the Smoky Poblano Corn Chowder. It has nearly all my favorite ingredients, corn, potatoes, chili peppers, coconut milk, and Mexican spices. I mean, who doesn’t love cumin and coconut milk? I made a tasty bouquet of roasted corn, sprouted lentils, and microgreens seasoned with the same spices as the soup for a garnish.
I love that it comes together quickly and that it tastes so damn good. You can skip the garnish if you are so inclined; however, it’s a major flavor bomb, it’s also gorgeous, and I highly recommend it. And don’t forget to give each bowl a light dusting of chili powder.
I wanted some texture, but I also wanted thick and creamy. Some recipes use corn starch to thicken, but I’m not a fan. So when the chowder was done cooking, I took about a third of it (about 3 cups), put it in the blender, then added it back into the soup. It worked perfectly. This recipe serves 4-6, but it is easily doubled and will keep in the freezer for up to two months.
As always, tag me and let me know if you liked it.
Mix all ingredients well in a small bowl and set aside.
Warm a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat, add onion, celery, carrot, chili, and 2-3 tablespoons vegetable stock. Saute for 4-5 minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Add garlic and spices cook for 1-2 minutes.
Stir in broth, scraping the bottom of the pot to remove any browned bits.
Add potatoes and corn. Stir, bring to a simmer, and reduce heat to medium-low.
Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are fork-tender. Reduce heat to low.
Add coconut milk and whisk into the soup mixture.
Adjust seasonings. Careful with the oregano as it can make the soup bitter.
Ladle into bowls and garnish.
Do not use canned corn if possible. Canned vegetables have a metallic taste and are often loaded with sodium (preservatives). In the winter frozen organic corn is best.
So I spent most of my winter break after Christmas in bed. I’m pretty sure from burning the candle at both ends and running in the rain, I wore myself down and ended up with a nasty case of bronchitis. My husband who somehow managed to avoid it insisted that I rest and took over as my personal chef and nurse. He made me this fantastic soup, and I figured it was well worth writing up a recipe! Sometimes the only thing (besides a Z-Pak) that makes you feel better is a lot of TLC and a good old-fashioned bowl of warm noodle soup.
The ultimate comfort food, this recipe uses tofu rubbed with poultry seasoning and baked until firm. It was so good and hit the spot. He drained and pressed the tofu and then pulled it apart by hand to give it that irregular shape like pulled chicken. He dredged it in a little bit of olive oil and tossed it in poultry seasoning. We use Trader Joe’s chicken-less seasoning, but alas, it’s discontinued. I liked TJ’s seasoning because it had turmeric, a great anti-inflammatory and antioxidant! But never fear. Here is another excellent poultry seasoning with turmeric that will also work! If you can’t find a seasoning mix with turmeric, be sure to add a teaspoon to your soup!
He baked the tofu for 25 minutes, turned it once, and baked for another 15 minutes. He also used egg-free ribbon noodles. But if you’re feeling somewhat nostalgic, you can use spaghetti broken into quarters for a more Campbell’s soup kinda feel.
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (I use Bragg’s Liquid Aminos)
8oz. pasta of choice, broken into bite-sized pieces if applicable
Preheat the oven to 350° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drain the tofu package, and press the tofu for about 20 minutes while the oven preheats. (We use a tofu press, but you can also wrap the tofu in a clean towel and stack something heavy like a cast iron pan on top of it).
Break the tofu apart into irregular shapes, or roughly chop it, add to a bowl.
Toss tofu in olive oil and sprinkle with poultry seasoning, coating generously.
Place the tofu pieces on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, flip the tofu and bake for another 15-25 minutes, or until firm and slightly crispy. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Warm a large saucepan over medium heat, then add 1/4 cup of vegetable stock.
Add the onion, celery, and carrot, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally. If the vegetables start to brown, turn the heat to medium-low and add additional stock one tablespoon at a time. Saute vegetables until the onions and celery are translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the garlic, dill, red pepper flakes, thyme, black pepper, and stir. Cook until fragrant, 60 to 90 seconds.
Add the broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir in the soy sauce, pasta, and baked tofu chunks. Continue to cook for 10-12 minutes or until the pasta is tender.
Add additional salt and pepper if necessary.
Garnish with fresh thyme, dill, and parsley, if desired.
Super easy and you can skip the pig! I like this on a BLT! Be sure to let it get nice and crispy. But be careful, it can burn!
8 oz pack extra firm tofu, drained, and sliced into 1/8” thick slices
1/4 cup avocado or grape seed oil (or another neutral oil)
2 Tbsp tamari
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp liquid smoke*
1 pinch sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
While tofu is draining whisk avocado oil and remaining ingredients to a large shallow baking dish, preferably one that has a lid.
When tofu is ready cut into 1/8” slices and add to marinade.Marinade for at least 20 minutes,or preferably over night.
Preheat skillet over medium heat.Add oil to a pan.When oil is shimmering, add tofu.
Cook tofu on each side about 6 minutes per side, or until golden brown.Flip and cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until tofu is crispy and golden brown. Watch carefully in the last minutes of cooking and be careful not to burn as it can go from brown, to burnt, very quickly.
It’s nice to be back in the kitchen! I’ve been super busy the last couple of weeks, and I am excited to be working on a few new recipes. Before I became a vegan, one of my favorite things to eat was fish at the local VFW hall on Fridays during the Lenten season. Though I’m not a Catholic, there are a few of their traditions that I really enjoyed! I tried using hearts of palm and other substitutes for fish. However, using banana blossoms has proved to be hands-down the best option! I like to add a bit of ground seaweed to the beer batter, which gives it a nice fishy flavor. I also love the minty mushy peas as a side! And last we cannot forget the chips! Large russet potatoes cut into thick batons and lightly fried make this girl super happy! 😋
Banana blossom, also known as a “banana heart,” is a fleshy, purple-skinned flower, shaped like a tear, which grows at the end of a banana fruit cluster. They are very flakey, making them a perfect substitute for fish. The family to whom banana belongs is called Musaceae as banana blossom, represent a valuable source of potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, minerals, fatty acid content, flavonoids, saponin, essential and non-essential amino acid, tannins, glycoside, and steroid. Banana flower is also a good antioxidant source.
There is a little bit of prep that needs to be done ahead of time. So be sure to read through the whole recipe first. You can make the peas and tartar sauce as early as much as a day ahead. This is a perfect meat-free meal that even your fish-eating friends will love! Enjoy!
There is some prep for this recipe. You will want to rinse the banana blossoms and get them in the freezer while you make the other ingredients. Make the peas and tartar sauce first. And then make potatoes and the fish last.
1 cup rice flour (used as pre-coat; can use regular flour if needed)
1 teaspoon kelp powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup beer (I used an IPA)
3/4 cup seltzer or sparkling water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Malt vinegar, for serving
4 russet potatoes, sliced each into 8 wedges
1/4 cup olive oil
3 teaspoons garlic powder)
2 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons salt, (adjust to your tastes)
1/2 teaspoon black cracked pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley (garnish)
Vegan Tartar Sauce:
¼ cup (58 g) vegan mayo
1 tbsp (10 g) minced cornichons (small pickles)
2 tsp (20 g) caper, roughly chopped
1 tsp (5 ml) white vinegar
½ tsp dijon
1 tsp (2 g) fresh dill, chopped
Pinch salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate immediately.
Bring 6 cups of generously salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the frozen peas and mint and cook for 4 minutes—Reserve 3 tablespoons of the hot cooking water. Drain the peas and mint and return to the pan. Immediately add butter, lemon zest, and cooking water—season with salt and pepper. Roughly mash the peas with a potato masher or food processor. Cover and set aside. You can use the peas in rough purée form, but if you want a very fine, smooth purée, push the mixture through a fine sieve. (I like to save about 1/4 cup of whole peas to add to puree).
Preheat oven to 400°. Wash the potatoes (I did not peel mine) with cold water to remove some of the surface dirt and dry well. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise, slice each half in half again and then slice each half in half again. You should have a total of 8 slices per potato. Blanch the potatoes in hot (not boiling) water for 10-12 minutes to release their starches. You can skip this step, but your potatoes will not be as crisp.
Drain potatoes, shaking well to remove excess water. Lightly pat them dry and add potatoes to a medium-size bowl. Add olive oil and toss well. Combine spices in a small bowl and sprinkle over potatoes. Toss well to coat. Place potatoes cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet or in an *air fryer. (Depending on the size of your pan, you may have to use two baking sheets. If so, rotate pans when you pull them to flip the potatoes at the halfway baking point, about 30 minutes)
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and, using a spatula, carefully flip the potatoes. Rotate pans if you used more than one.
Return to oven and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes. (You can reduce the oven to 200° and keep potatoes warm while fillets cook).
Sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.
Heat oil in a dutch oven or wok to 345° F. Turn oven down to 200° F. Whisk together flour, baking soda, kelp powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. Pour in the beer, sparkling water, and lemon juice and mix just until combined (do not over-mix). Keep the batter refrigerated until ready to use.
Drain the banana blossoms, then shape them into filets. Wrap the blossoms in clean kitchen towels and squeeze out all of the brine.
Cover and place in the freezer for 1 hour.
Remove from the freezer and sprinkle the blossoms with salt and pepper. Coat the blossoms in rice flour and then dip into the batter to completely coat. Carefully swish the blossoms partway into the oil for a few seconds before completely releasing. Once the coating starts to set on the first fillet, you can add another battered fillet into the oil. Fry until the blossom is puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 5 minutes for thin fillets or 7 minutes for thick fillets, and then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Cook the remaining fillets and sprinkle with salt.
To serve, reheat the mushy peas if necessary. Serve the fish with chips, mushy peas, and malt vinegar on the side.
*If using air fryer bake at 390°F for 12-15 minutes. You will have to do this in batches so whey they’ve cooked you will need to place them in a low (200°F oven) to keep warm.
I have an obsession with tacos, and my love for them is deep. Before I became a vegan, my absolute favorite taco was a simple Carne Asada taco with cilantro and white onion. A traditional Asada is made with flank steak. But alas, with those meat-eating days behind me, I’ve searched long and hard for a reasonable substitute. Enter the mighty portobello mushroom.
Mushrooms work great in this Asada because they love to soak up the flavor of a marinade. And flavor they shall have! My first version of this recipe used a whole chipotle pepper that I minced and added to the marinade. As a girl who likes her food spicy, I have to say the heat overshadows the mushrooms’ delicious umami flavor. So I cut back on the heat and kept it simple. This recipe goes down as one of my all-time favorite taco recipes using fresh cilantro leaves, freshly squeezed orange and lime juice, cumin, and chili powder.
If you don’t like cilantro, no worries, you can use epazote, another aromatic herb with notes of oregano, anise, citrus, and mint. You can find it at most Hispanic grocery stores or, of course, on Amazon! You can use a steak portobello mushrooms or I just used some sliced Cremini mushrooms that I already had. I will make these again when the weather warms up and throw some marinated portobellos on the grill! Enjoy!
Yummy Mushroom Asada tacos! I used a pineapple jalapeño salsa as a topper and it was divine!
16 oz sliced portobello mushroom caps, or cremini mushrooms, stemmed and cleaned
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, or epazote
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Tamari, or liquid aminos
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lime
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Whisk cilantro, orange juice, lime juice, aminos, olive oil, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper in a large bowl or shallow dish to combine.
Add the mushrooms and gently toss until they’re fully coated. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to an hour. (These can be made up to 24 hours ahead). Give the mushrooms a good toss every 10 to 15 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, remove mushrooms and reserve 1 cup of the marinade.
Heat a cast-iron or other large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is heated, add olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, place the mushrooms in an even layer and cook, making sure not to touch them until most of the moisture has cooked out of them, about 10 minutes.
While the mushrooms are sautéing, warm the tortillas on a comal or other small non-stick skillet on the stovetop. Once tortillas are warmed and slightly browned, cover with a paper towel and place on a baking sheet in a low oven, or use the “warm hold” feature on the microwave.
When most of the moisture has evaporated, add 1/2 cup of the marinade and stir. Continue to cook and repeat with remaining marinade, stirring often for another 5 to 10 minutes. The mushrooms should be caramelized and slightly crisped around the edges.
Serve on warm tortillas and top with salsa, cilantro.