I’m not really sure which teams are in the Super Bowl. Well, now I am. I just googled it. 49ers and Ravens. While I love to watch college football (Michigan Wolverines, in particular), pro football just doesn’t interest me much. But I do look forward to the clever commercials during the Super Bowl. And sometimes there’s a decent halftime show.
Mostly I just like that the Super Bowl is a great excuse to get together with friends and munch on good food while feigning moderate interest in the game. And by good food, I don’t mean Doritos and Cheetos. I mean Creamy Artichoke Spinach Dip, Peanut Butter Crispy Rice Treats, Hummus with Toasted Pine Nuts, Veggie Quesadillas, Fresh Guacamole, Vegan Buffalo Bites and Mushroom & Spinach Pockets. That’s right. I know how to party.
It took me a while to warm up to tofu. I think it was the texture and more importantly, the stereotype that scared me off. When I saw it listed in the ingredient list of a recipe, I often moved on to a different one. But last week I found a vegan, gluten-free lemon bar recipe that called for tofu and I went for it. It was AMAZING. In fact, I can’t wait to share the recipe with you. Stay tuned.
Moral of the story? I was missing out.
So if you’re a tofu-phobe, don’t let this recipe scare you off. Just give it a try. No one will ever know it’s tofu. Not to mention, I wouldn’t steer you wrong. Hubs is still a little leery of tofu. He didn’t know these tasty little pockets had tofu in them – and he loved them. Honestly, I think you could put just about anything inside a pocket of phyllo/fillo dough and it wouldn’t suck.
This recipe comes from Allyson Kramer at Manifest Vegan. With two gluten-free, vegan cookbooks under her belt, a very successful blog and 10,000+ Facebook fans, she’s “kind of” a big deal. I don’t own her cookbooks yet, but I want to! If this recipe is any indication, I’m guessing they would be worthwhile purchases (especially for anyone trying to juggle a v/gf diet). Ironically, this recipe is vegan but not gluten-free. It seems to me that a good vegan AND gluten-free puff pastry or phyllo dough has not yet been invented. From what I can tell, you can find plenty of recipes for one or the other, but not both. I’m sure someone somewhere is working on it, though.
Allyson’s recipe is actually a Mushroom and Spinach Strudel made with puff pastry. I decided to change it up by using vegan phyllo dough to make smaller, individual “pockets” instead of two larger strudels. It worked beautifully!
YIELDS about 20 pockets -or- (2) 10″ x 3″ strudels
10 oz mushrooms (any variety), sliced (I used 8 oz)
1½ handfuls fresh spinach, chopped (I used 2)
5 cippolini onions or any small sweet onion, thinly sliced (I chopped half of a medium sweet onion)
½ cup mushroom broth (I used vegetable broth)
1 pkg silken tofu, extra firm
5 Tbsp Tofutti “Better than Cream Cheese”
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 pkg Fillo Factory vegan fillo dough, thawed overnight in refrigerator (or if making strudel, then 1 pkg vegan puff pastry sheets such as Pepperidge Farm, thawed)
½ cup coconut oil, melted (not necessary for strudel)
If making fillo dough pockets, preheat oven to 400ºF. If making strudel, preheat oven to 375ºF.
Sauté onions in broth until caramelized. Add mushrooms and cook until almost all liquid is gone (I actually had to add a little more liquid). Lightly salt to taste. Add spinach and let cook for about 45 seconds, or until wilted and bright green. Set aside.
With fork, mash silken tofu. Cream tofu with “Better than Cream Cheese”, olive oil, tahini, about 1 tsp salt, and pepper (I used a hand mixer for this step).
Mix tofu mixture with mushroom mixture and set aside.
If making fillo dough pockets, click here for pocket making process. Bake at 400ºF for about 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Allow to cool slightly on racks. Serve warm. Leftovers reheat well in a toaster oven.
If making strudel:
(Photo courtesy of Manifest Vegan) Roll out one puff pastry on lightly floured surface just slightly bigger than the size it came packaged in. While rolling it out, try to keep it fairly square. Spread mushroom mixture on half of pastry square, leaving a 2″ border on each side. Roll up, starting with filled side, making sure to keep taut while doing so. Pinch edges and fold down to seal. Repeat with second pastry. Using a very sharp knife, score the top of the pastries with 5 diagonal slits each. Bake at 375ºF for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving. To retain crispness, it is best served shortly after baking. (I’m guessing leftover strudel would reheat well in a toaster oven.)
I LOVE working with phyllo/filo/fillo dough. It’s kind of like gift wrapping, which I also love to do. As delicate as the dough can be, it’s also quite forgiving. Truth be told, I forgot to thaw it overnight so I nuked the whole roll for just 30 seconds and let it sit out while I prepped the rest of the recipe. I DO NOT recommend this because the sheets stick together and they tear when you try to separate them. With some patience, I managed to rescue most of the sheets. It’s really no big deal if there are a few small tears/cracks here and there. By the time you fold a sheet twice to make the initial strip, wrap up the pocket and bake it, you won’t even notice it. So, don’t sweat it if your dough or technique is slightly flawed. Especially since it will still TASTE amazing!