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Cornish Pasty here in Phoenix is one of my favorite restaurants.  They have great vegan options, but unfortunately, their amazing soups are not on that list.  So I decided to veganize their Spinach, Mushroom, and Walnut soup (the original has cream in it).  The results turned out delicious!

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When I saw these videos a few weeks ago, I decided I needed to make this entire meal sooner than later…

Here are my results, everything was delicious!  I’m showing you mostly pictures up-front because I hardly changed anything.  You can find the “Smoky Chipotle No-Queso” recipe here.  For the rest, you can check out my map of the “It’s Nacho Business” meal here.

We found a couple of these “love mushrooms”… unfortunately we had to separate them. :/

Enchilada filling: mushrooms, red pepper, onions, and cumin. Everything is better with cumin

Queso, before blending.

Queso complete!

my full plate.

This recipe made 20 enchiladas (two 13×9 pans)

Papaya Salad and Nacho fixings. The salad dressing is at the top of my favorite salad dressings ever.

This was so yummy and hearty. It’s messy, so be prepared with a fork or serve open-faced!

Beer Bread

Beer Bread is so amazing!  It takes seriously 3 minutes to come together and 1 hour in the oven.  The inside is soft and the outside is crusty.  And you don’t have to like beer to like this bread… the beer flavor is there, but subtle.

Follow this Happy Herbivore recipe for 100% whole wheat beer bread.  Some tips:

  • Prep your dough after the oven is preheated!  The dough comes together so fast and you don’t want the leavening to weaken while it’s sitting on your counter waiting for the oven.
  • Consider doing half whole wheat pastry and half regular flour if you are using this for a sandwich as it can be a little dense as is.  Keep it all whole wheat if you are serving this with soup!

Caramelized Onions

  • 4 onions, sliced like this
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • black pepper
  • 1 tsp no-beef bouillon base
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 3/4 cup water

Heat a large pan over medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, whole thyme sprigs, and pepper, and cook until the onions are caramelized.*  Dissolve no-beef bouillon in a small bowl with the wine and water.  Add the liquid to the pan, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium, simmering until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry.  Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.

*Quick way to caramelize onions (Seriously this takes half the time with the same result!):

Start with a dry non-stick pan at medium-high heat… do not add water or oil.  Add onions. Stir once every minute or two with a wooden spoon until the onions release some moisture and then that moisture cooks away.  

When the moisture cooks away, the onions will start to brown and you will see a sticky brown substance start building up on the bottom of the pan.  This is when you want to start stirring the pan more frequently, every 15-30 seconds.  Allow the onions to stick to the pan a little and brown, but do not let them or the sugars on the pan burn.  Now every couple minutes or so, start adding two tablespoons of water to deglaze the pan.  Only deglaze the pan when you fear the sugars on the pan might burn or you will slow down the caramelization process.  When your onions look like this, you are done!

Creamy White Cheese Sauce

Chop the following veggies and steam in a steamer basket in a pot or saucepan:

  • 1 cup yukon potatoes (if using russet, you will need to peel)
  • 1/3 cup red onion
  • 2 Tbsp shallots or more onion

While the veggies are steaming, blend in your blender:

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp or a few drops of yellow mustard
  • a few cloves of garlic (amt. depends on personal preference)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

When steamed veggies are soft, add to blender and process till smooth.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage Cashew Cream and Sauteed Mushrooms, Vegan Sausage, and Greens.

Okay.  I’m just going to say it.  This is the best thing I’ve ever made!  This is omnivore approved and my mom puts it up there with my adapted version of the Vegan With a Vengeance Mushroom and Sun-Dried Tomato Risotto.  Yes it’s that good.  A little involved, but so worth it.

I originally planned to make both orange and purple gnocchi (from purple potatoes)… but the purple just turned to mush when I cooked it.  I was just happy that ANY of this worked given that this was my first attempt at gnocchi. It takes time, but it’s really not rocket science.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Method based on this recipe.

  • 1 lb. garnet yams (about 2 potatoes)
  • whole wheat pastry flour (2-4 cups)

Peel and cut sweet potatoes into bite size chunks.  Steam in a steamer basket in a pot or medium-large saucepan until soft (approx. 20 minutes).

Mash with a potato ricer (the easy way) or a fork (the longer way) until completely lump-free.  Then spread the potatoes across your work surface/cutting board until cool enough to work with.

Pull the potatoes into a soft mound and sprinkle with 1/2 cup flour across the top.  To incorporate, use a metal spatula or a pastry scraper.  If the dough is easily sticking to the spatula or your hands, add another 1/2 cup flour and incorporate.  Then, continue adding 2-3 Tbsp flour at a time just until the point when the dough still feels slightly wet, but is not sticking to your spatula/hands (moist but not sticky).

Gently knead dough a few times to form into a ball.  Cut it into four pieces.  Now gently roll each fourth of the dough into a snake-shaped log, roughly the thickness of your thumb.  Use a knife to cut pieces every 3/4-inch.  Dust lightly with a bit more flour.

To shape the gnocchi, hold a fork in one hand so that the tines are curled toward you.  Using your thumb on your other hand roll each gnocchi pillow from the base of the tines to the tips.  What you’re aiming for is a slight “c” shape, where the back has small ridges to catch the sauce.  Set each gnocchi aside until ready to boil.

This is usually the point when I make my sauce and cook the veggies that will go with the gnocchi.  I thought they benefited from a few minutes of rest.  

When you are ready to cook the gnocchi, bring a pot of water to boil.  Cook the gnocchi in batches by dropping them into the boiling water roughly twenty at a time.  When they pop back up to the water’s surface, give them 10 seconds or so and remove them with a slotted spoon.  Have a large platter ready with a generous swirl of sauce.  Between each gnocchi batch, add a layer of your sauce and other ingredients, like cooked veggies and greens.

Sage Cashew Cream

  • 1 generous cup raw cashews (soaked for 30-60 minutes in very hot water and drained)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 15 fresh sage leaves
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup water + more if needed

Blend all ingredients in a blender till smooth.  Add water until the sauce reaches the consistency of heavy cream.  It should make about 2 cups (add more cashews if sauce gets too thin, more water if too thick).

Sautéed Mushrooms, Vegan Sausage, and Greens

  • 12 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 2 links vegan Italian sausage, crumbled or diced small (I used Field Roast brand, but you could make your own)
  • 2 cups fresh dark leafy greens, however much you like (I used dandelion greens and spinach)

Heat mushrooms and 1/4 cup water on a pan over med-high heat until mushrooms are cooked down a little, about 3-5 minutes.  Add greens, and heat until wilted.  Drain any excess liquid, then add crumbled sausage, and heat until warm.

Serve with a few fresh sage leaves.

Let’s just say my search for the perfect vegan grilled cheese is over.  And I will say the same for this tomato basil soup.  Although, if you’re making the soup for yourself, cut the recipe in half as it makes a lot!  The vegan grilled cheese is based off of VegNews mac and cheese sauce here. The tomato soup is a simplified and veganized version of Ina Garten’s Tomato Basil Soup here.  I have to say, I really love these two together!

I’m not sure if this is three pounds, but it worked out perfectly!

Purchased at Whole Foods… it has a lot of salt in it, so if you’re avoiding that, just use water.

This recipe is a veganized version of Emeril’s Cucumber Soup found here.  The cashew sour cream is a modification of this recipe. 
Ingredients:
  • 6 cucumbers (6 pounds), peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped (12 cups)
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, stem and seeds removed, coarsely chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, minced (I used the seeds out of one of the peppers)
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups plain soy yogurt
  • 1 recipe cashew sour cream (see below)
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • rounded 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • rounded 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp dried thyme
  • for garnish: fresh minced chives and extra batch of cashew sour cream

Directions:

Combine all ingredients except garnish in a large bowl.  Working in batches, puree the ingredients in a blender until very smooth.  Transfer the soup to the refrigerator until well chilled, at least 2 hours.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Serve soup with each bowl with a sprinkle or two of salt and garnished with a dollop of sour cream and some minced chives.

Cashew Sour Cream

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked in 1 1/2 cups water overnight or longer, and drained
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon (1-2 Tbsp)
  • 1/3 cup water

Blend all ingredients in a blender for a few minutes till smooth (you may have to scrape the sides of the blender a couple times to ensure all the cashew pieces are incorporated).

This was both creamy and light, with a little kick! …perfect summer soup.

This nacho cheese was wonderful.  Great consistency and flavor.  Just right.

The recipe is from Happy Herbivore (click here for the recipe).  After making the sauce, I added two tomatoes (diced) and half a mini can of diced green chiles.  Both of these veggies added a little extra liquid, so I had to stir for a few minutes more to re-thicken up the sauce.  The chips are La Reina baked no-salt tortilla chips (from Whole Foods, only $2.19 a bag, only ingredients are corn and lime!).

I think next time I will ALSO add:

edit 7/7/12: I made this again, but omitted the cayenne and added 1/2 a chipotle in adobo sauce (click here to see on amazon) with about 1/4 tsp of the sauce added too.  This added a nice smoky, but mild kick.  If you are a spice lover, I say go for a whole chipotle and a bit of the adobo sauce.