Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach and artichoke dip is one of those classic appetizers that never gets boring to me. I crave it on cold wintery nights. It’s the quintessential dinner party appetizer because it’s easy to make and is a real crowd pleaser. It’s also kid friendly. I prefer it with some salty, crispy tortilla chips but it goes so well with a fresh baguette. You really can’t go wrong with this creamy, flavorful, and rich recipe. The decadent texture comes from the combination of vegan cream cheese, vegan sour cream, and vegan mayonnaise. The nutritional yeast and lemon give it a cheesy and tangy flavor that’s irresistible.

I prefer it hot but it can also be served cold. This recipe can be made ahead and heated up on the stove top or oven before serving. It’s a great vegan appetizer for game night, book club, or a holiday party. It’s addictive…I really couldn’t stop eating it after I made it! I prefer to use fresh baby spinach and canned artichokes instead of their frozen counterparts but frozen would also work. I like to add a spicy kick with crushed red pepper. The shallot adds a lot of flavor but you can make this dish without it and it will still be very tasty. There’s no need to bake it, but if you prefer a golden brown crust, sprinkle some extra nutritional yeast on top and bake at 350F for about 15 minutes. The leftover dip is delicious on a bagel, veggie burger, or even with pasta. I could eat this scrumptious dip every day! If you make Vegan Spinach and Artichoke Dip make sure you take a picture and tag @thefriendlyepicurean on Instagram and Facebook or pin the recipe on Pinterest!

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 12 oz fresh baby spinach, chopped (about 8 cups)
  • 1, 14oz can of artichoke hearts
  • 1, 8oz package of vegan cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup vegan sour cream
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 2 tbs)

Directions

Heat olive oil on medium heat in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add shallot and cook for about 6-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Next, artichokes and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add chopped spinach 1 cup at a time and cook until wilted. Add salt, crushed red pepper, black pepper and stir to combine. Lower heat and add cream cheese and stir until melted. Next, add sour cream, mayonnaise, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice and stir to combine well. Transfer to a serving dish and serve with French bread, tortilla chips, or crackers. May store in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

This recipe was inspired by the New York Times recipe by Alison Roman: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1018248-spinach-artichoke-dip

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Fig and Arugula Flatbread

It’s almost the end of fig season. I wasn’t expecting it to last this long but I’m not complaining! I saw some at the store and had to get them. Figs have two seasons – early summer and then fall. There are several varieties but the three most common varieties that I find at the grocery store are mission (black), adriatic (green), and turkey (brown). They have slightly different textures inside. They are sweet, chewy, and have tiny little edible seeds in the center. Figs are highly perishable and prone to injury! Make sure you take time to pick the best ones at the store. I always look at them carefully to see if they are over-ripe, sticky, or are damaged. You can remove the stem, wash them thoroughly, and eat them raw for a delicious snack. Figs go really well in savory and sweet dishes. They are wonderful in salads as well. Their unique flavor is great in breakfast items like yogurt, oatmeal, or chia seed pudding.

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Flatbread is easy to make and so versatile. You can make the dough for this flatbread pretty quickly because it doesn’t require yeast. I used purple cauliflower because it has a wonderful color but white cauliflower will do just as well. The flavors in this flatbread are just scrumptious! The garlicky, lemony cashew cream sauce, spicy arugula, and sweet, chewy figs are a really tasty combination. This recipe makes a beautiful and delicious appetizer. You can easily double the recipe or make two if you are having a dinner party. You can also use this crust and sauce with pears and walnuts as a topping instead of figs. The topping combinations for this crust and sauce are endless. This go-to vegan crust recipe can be used to make any type of flat bread. It’s so easy!

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This recipe does require you to soak cashews overnight or for at least 6 hours. If you don’t soak your cashews long enough, your sauce will end up tasting gritty. You will also need a high-powered blender or food processor to blend the cashews into a creamy sauce and also to make “rice” the cauliflower. Make sure to knead the dough well with your hands to make sure all of the ingredients are well combined. Use a rolling pin to create an oblong or circular shape for your crust. It’s easier to transfer the crust if you roll it out on a piece of parchment. Sprinkling some flour underneath will help keep it from sticking. I used a fork to pierce the dough so that it didn’t warp or bubble up in the oven. You will most likely have some leftover cashew cream sauce which is delicious on top of pasta or roasted vegetables. Make sure you take a picture and tag @thefriendlyepicurean on social media if you make this recipe!

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Purple cauliflower flatbread dough

Fig and Arugula Flatbread

  • Servings: 3 to 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

    For the purple cauliflower crust:
  • 3 cups purple cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 flax egg (mix 1 tbs flax powder in 3 tbs water and let sit for 10 minutes)
  • 1 tbs olive oil + more to brush dough with
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • For the cashew cream sauce:
  • 1 cup raw cashews soaked in 1 cup water overnight and drained
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Toppings:
  • 3 fresh figs, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup baby arugula

Directions

For the crust: Prepare flax egg by whisking together 1 tbs flax powder in 3 tbs water in a small bowl. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before using. Preheat oven 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper – sprinkle with flour and set aside. Place cauliflower florets in a food processor or high powered blender and process until they reach a rice like consistency. Remove cauliflower from food processor and place in a clean towel or cheese cloth and squeeze out excess water. Place cauliflower, flour, flax egg, olive oil, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Use your hands to mix together thoroughly and form dough into a ball. Let dough rest for about 5-10 minutes. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough lengthwise (on parchment paper sprinkled with flour) to about a 1/2 inch thickness. Prick dough with a fork all over. Brush dough with olive oil. Bake at 375F for about 30-35 min. For the sauce: Place cashews, water, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt in a food processor or high powered until smooth and creamy. Add 1-2 tbs of water to thin sauce if needed. Remove pizza crust from oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Spoon cashew cream sauce over crust and top with arugula and sliced figs. Best if consumed immediately. May store leftover flatbread in the fridge for one day. May store cashew cream sauce for up to 3 days in the fridge.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate calories per 1/7 flatbread: 215 cal

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Teff Jalapeño Bread

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This is my first time cooking with Teff flour. I’m excited for this recipe because I’ve wanted to try Teff for a long time but couldn’t find it anywhere. I finally found it at Whole Foods. Teff flour is used to make Ethiopian Injera bread as well as other Ethiopian staples. It’s nutrient dense and gluten free. It’s also high in protein and fiber compared to other grains but, most importantly, it’s rich in iron. A serving of Teff flour contains 5 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of your daily iron requirement – which is why it’s considered a superfood. Warm jalapeño bread seemed like a great idea this time of year and a great way to incorporate Teff flour into my baking. If you can’t find Teff flour, you can make this recipe using all purpose flour or gluten free flour. Because Teff flour is light brown in color, this bread – which is actually a type of cornbread, doesn’t have the typical yellow color.

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Teff is nutrient dense, which makes it a little higher in calories vs. traditional all purpose flour. This bread is buttery, slightly sweet, and melts in your mouth. It goes really well with vegetarian chili or any soup. It also makes a healthy, filling snack on its own. It’s soft, a little crumbly, and not too dense.This recipe is great as a vegan, gluten free appetizer at your next dinner party. It’s so good fresh out of the oven – when it’s still warm. If you really want to indulge, add a small pat of vegan butter. If you make Teff jalapeño bread make sure you take a picture and tag @thefriendlyepicurean on Instagram and Facebook or pin this recipe on Pinterest!

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Teff flour is high in iron and has a light brown color.

Teff Jalapeño Bread

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups Teff flour
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened (such as Earth Balance)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 flax eggs (mix 2 tbs flax powder in 6 tbs water and let sit for 10 minutes)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbs minced jalapeño
  • 1 tbs sliced jalapeño for garnish
  • olive oil spray

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray an 11 inch x 7 inch pan with olive oil spray and set aside. In a large bowl, combine Teff flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In a medium sized bowl combine almond milk, vegan butter, applesauce, flax eggs, maple syrup, and minced jalapeño. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir to combine. Pour batter into greased baking pan and smooth the top. Top with jalapeño slices and bake at 350F for 47-50 minutes. Bread is ready when it springs back to touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. May store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate calories per 1/12 serving of bread: 224 cal

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