Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Vegan Sheppard's Pie

I am of Scottish decent.  I was raised by an Irish step-dad, so I am and always will be a "Meat and Potatoes" kind of woman!  Today while browsing through a recipe website with my boyfriend, David, trying to get some menu ideas for the upcoming week, we ran across a Sheppard's Pie recipe.  David didn't know what this was, but it looked yummy to him!  I explained what it was, glanced through the recipe (pretty standard one) and decided I HAD to make a Sheppard's Pie and I had to make it NOW.

Into the kitchen I went to find the ingredients I needed to make such a delicious concoction.  (I should probably also mention that I already had my own recipe for said pie ingrained in my DNA already lol)  Allow me to share the deliciousness with you!

You should place on a cookie sheet to catch the bubbling over goodies.


- 5-6 medium Potatoes, peeled and cut into 3rds (easier to boil)
- 1/2 small Onion
-1&1/2 cups of Vegetable Stock (I had some homemade I had in the freezer)
-1 Lb. Ground Meat Substitute
-1 can of Carrots (drained)
-1 can of Green Beans (reserve the liquid)
-2 tspn All-Purpose Flour
-1/2 small container of Vegan Ricotta Cheese
-2 tbspns Earth Balance vegan butter
-1/2 tspn Salt
-1/2 tspn Onion Salt
-1/2 tspn Garlic Salt


Boil the potatoes with a generous pinch of salt until they are tender and easily come away when poked with a knife or fork.  In a medium sauce pot, throw all of the meat substitute, Vegetable Stock, Carrots, Onion, Green Beans and Liquid in and set it on medium heat.  Stir occasionally.  Preheat the oven to 350F.  Drain the potatoes when they are done.  Mash them up.  Add the earth balance butter and vegan ricotta cheese, salt, garlic salt and onion salt.  Sprinkle the 2 tspns of flour into the sauce pot mixture and mix it really well. (We don't want globs of flour in this.)  In a 9x13in. pyrex dish (or something of similar size and depth) pour in the stock mixture.  Spoon the mashed potatoes over the top.  You can try to make it look pretty if you want.  I personally like the rustic look as shown in the picture above.  Place your baking dish on a cookie sheet because this dish likes to bubble over.  Bake for 30-35 mins until the top turns a golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 15 mins before serving.

This is a really hearty meal and very comforting!  I really hope that you enjoy it.  It's what I had for lunch and you better believe that I'm going to eat it for dinner too!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Homemade Vegan Pizza

I am a downright pizza FIEND! It is one of my favorite foods, hands down.  So, as much as I adore pizza, it just makes sense to know that I indeed know how to make it vegan... from scratch!

Vegan Mozzarella & Tomato Pizza

How to make the dough:


-3 Cups of All-purpose Flour
-1 1/2 - 2 Cups of warm (not hot) water
-2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
-1/2 teaspoon Salt
-2 teaspoons Sugar
-1/4 teaspoon Garlic Salt
-1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
-1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
-1 package of instant active yeast (about 1 & 1/2 teaspoons of yeast)


Pre-heat the oven to 425 F.  In a large bowl, put all the dry ingredients in a mix around.  Make a little funnel in the middle of the dry ingredients and slowly pour in 1 Cup of the warm water.  Pour the yeast into the water.  Mix it around with a spatula for now.  (We will get our hands in there soon enough!)  The dough should still be be crumbly at this point.  Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil (set aside the other tablespoon for later).  Mix in the olive oil with the spatula or spoon.  Slowly add in a little more water until the dough is no longer crumbly and becomes a little more sticky.

Now its time to get your hands in there.  Make sure they're clean first.  lol  Start kneading the dough, roughly.  Work out some aggression here!  Smack it around, punch it, pinch it, squeeze it.  Do this for only 3 minutes.  Roll the dough into a little round ball. Spray some plastic wrap with non-stick cooking spray.  Put the dough ball in the bowl and cover with the plastic wrap spray-side down.  Place the bowl near the stove so it can get some warmth from the oven.  Let dough rest for 10-15 minutes while you prepare the toppings.

Vegan Mozzarella and Tomato Pizza:

Prepare all of your toppings, making sure to slice very thinly, especially the tomatoes.

Get your dough ball and start gently stretching and pulling at it until it forms a round thin disc to your liking.  Using the pizza pan you plan to cook it on helps in stretching out the dough if you press the dough with your hands onto it and get the shape and size right.  I don't use rolling pins on my pizza dough, just my hands.

Spread a very thin layer of vegan pizza sauce or marinara onto the pizza to 1/2 inch from the edge.  Place veggies in a thin layer.  Place shredded Daiya mozzarella on top. Take the olive oil we set aside and brush the outer crust with it.  Put pizza in the oven and cook for 15-18 minutes.  Remove pizza from oven.  Allow it to cool for a few minutes!  That is important as we don't want the ingredients to slide off while we try to slice it.  5 minutes should be long enough to cool.  Slice pizza and serve.  Enjoy!