It’s almost Valentine’s Day and maybe you still can’t make up your mind about what plans you’re going to make with your loved one. If by any chance that you prefer a quiet night with your significant other and a candlelit dinner is what you want to do–I’ve compiled a couple of romantic, delicious vegan dinners that you can cook up for this special V-Day.
Spinach Enchilada with Spicy Cashew
For the Salsa Verde:
- 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husks and stems removed
- 1 to 2 jalapeño or serrano peppers, stem and seeds removed
- 2 medium white onions, divided
- 1 bunch fresh picked cilantro leaves and tender stems, divided
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh juice from about 2 limes, plus 1 lime cut into wedges for serving
For the Filling:
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced, divided
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon ground ancho chili powder
- 2 bunches flat leaf spinach, washed and roughly chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (28-ounce) can hominy, drained
For the Cashew Cream:
- 1 cup rosted cashews
- 1 medium clove garlic
- 2 chipotle peppers packed in adobo sauce
- 1/2 cup water or vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 18 soft corn tortillas, warmed and wrapped in foil or stored under a damp dish towel
For the Salsa Verde:
- Combine tomatillos, serranos, and 1 onion (peeled and roughly chopped) in a medium saucepan and cover with water.
- Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to a simmer.
- Simmer until vegetables are completely softened, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure all sides are softened.
- Drain vegetables then transfer to a blender. Add 3/4 of cilantro, a large pinch of salt, and 1 tablespoon lime juice.
- Blend on medium speed until a chunky purée is formed, about 30 seconds.
- Transfer to a bowl, season to taste with more salt or lime juice if necessary, and reserve. Cooled salsa can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
For the Filling:
- Finely mince half of remaining onion.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering.
- Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and light golden brown, about 4 minutes.
- Add cumin and chili powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add spinach in batches, stirring and allowing each batch to wilt before adding the next.
stirring,until excess moisture has evaporated, about 7 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Transfer spinach to a colander to drain, pressing out excess moisture with a rubber spatula. Transfer to a large bowl and fold in
hominy. Set aside.
For the Cashew Cream:
- Combine cashews, remaining garlic clove, chipotle, stock, and vinegar in the jar of a blender.
- Blend on high speed, adding water or stock as necessary to reach a thick, pancake batter-like consistency.
- Continue blending until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and transfer to a bowl.
- Set rack to 12 inches below broiler element and set broiler to high (alternatively, set oven to 475°F).
- Spread 1 1/2 cups of salsa verde across the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch baking dish and transfer the rest to a shallow bowl.
- Working one tortilla at a time, dip tortillas into the bowl of salsa verde, coating both sides thoroughly. Place on cutting board and top with 2 to 3 tablespoons of filling.
- Roll up tortilla and place edge-down in baking dish. Repeat until all tortillas are filled.
- Spread remaining salsa verde over top of tortillas. Spoon cashew cream over the baking dish in a single line down the center of each row of tortillas.
- Transfer to oven and bake until cashew cream is lightly browned and edges of tortillas are beginning to crisp about 15 minutes.
- Thinly slice the remaining half onion and roughly chop remaining cilantro. Sprinkle on top of enchiladas and serve.
Herbed Vegan Cheese Spread
- ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts, soaked for 8 hours, drained and rinsed
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons mellow white miso
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 1 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Mix everything except the chives and parsley in a high-speed blender or food processor. Mix until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrap down the sides if necessary. If the mixture is too thick to blend, add a little more water a tablespoon at a time.
- Pulse in the chives and parsley.
- Chill the cheese spread in the fridge for an hour or two before serving.
Juicy Seitan Steak
- 1 cup / 165 g vital wheat gluten flour
- (3 Tbsp nutritional yeast)
- 1 Tbsp paprika powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ cup / 180 ml cold water
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 5 cups / 1200 ml water
- 3 bay leaves
- Whisk gluten flour with nutritional yeast, paprika powder, and salt.
- Mix water with soy sauce and add it to the gluten flour. Stir and form a dough ball.
- Knead for a minute to activate the gluten. Let the ball sit for a few minutes. Knead it for a tiny bit and then flatten it to a thick pancake.
- Cut the “pancake” into four pieces and massage each piece with your fingers to make them a bit thinner.
- Mix water with bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat, so the water is only simmering but not fully boiling. This is important because that way the seitan will become thick and firm, not spongy.
- Now add the steaks and partially cover the pot. Let the seitan simmer for 30 – 40 minutes, until it’s firmer. From time to time, check the water, so it doesn’t fully boil, but only simmers.
- Drain the seitan and press out the excess liquid from every steak. You can use the leftover boiling liquid for making a delicious gravy.
- Gravy: I pan-fried some onions, then added seitan liquid and then a couple of tablespoons of vegan cooking cream. So good!
- Heat up a pan, add plenty of oil and cook the steaks until crispy on both sides.
- Now put the pan-fried steaks into a bowl and add 2 – 3 tablespoons of soy sauce.
- Cover the bowl with a plate and shake the bowl, so the steaks will be covered in soy sauce.
- Taste and add more soy sauce, if needed. Serve and enjoy!
I really hope that you enjoy your vegan and healthy Valentine’s dinner with your loved one! Happy Valentine’s, everybody!