Jesus was not the only one resurrecting himself on Easter. The idea celebrating over sugary hocks of ham was enough to make my stomach turn and spring me to action. Ham is essentially the cousin of my arch nemesis, bacon, so it can’t be a surprise to you that I don’t love it. Now, I obviously know how much people love bacon, but what I did not know, is how much people love ham. I thought that defeating ham during an Easter showdown would be a fairly easy challenge for my first event post hibernation. Oh, how wrong I was. Some people REALLY like Easter ham. I found this out quite quickly when I was chatting when I few friends and jokingly said, “I mean, who the hell even likes ham?!” I quickly received an “Oh.my.god. I LOVE ham. What do you mean, ‘who even likes it’?! Everyone I know loves it.” This is not the first time I have shoved my foot in my mouth (and we all know it won’t be my last). It was then that I realized that getting people to swap their ham and egg based Easter dishes for some vegan fair might be a bit more challenging that I originally thought.
After removing from my foot from my mouth, I was able to ask a bit more what was so appealing about their beloved ham. I realized it was more about the sweet and salty combo than the pink and white spiraled appearance that was the true delighter in the dish. I did some searching on how to recreate this flavor combo and found a great recipe for Citrus Tofu from Vegan Holidays cookbook. In replace of a standard quiche, I decided to make a modified version of the Vegan Holidays Vegetable Spring Tart. I used phyllo dough, in place of the recommended puff pastry which can be a real cal killer, and added some onion spread to spice the dish up. I am happy to report that even after a few month hiatus from wowing carnivores, I still demonstrated some fairly legit skills in the kitchen and transformed some traditional Easter flavors into vegan delights.
Better than Bacon? Verdict
Spring Vegetable Tart: 5 Stars “I’m going to the dark (green) side. Long live Wilbur!”
The tart was a hit! The crunch of the crust, the sweetness of the onion spread and the fresh vegetables all combined together won the hearts.
Citrus Tofu: 4 Stars “Vegan food is great! I’ll take seconds :)”
The “flavor in the marinade was awesome” but the lack of crunch in the tofu knocked down the score. Make sure you bake until crisp so you can get to a 5!
Easter has obviously passed us but these dishes would be great at any brunch or dinner party. Check, check, check the recipes out below!
Spring Vegetable Tart
10 sheets of phyllo dough
1 jar Robert Rothschild Farm caramelized onion balsamic spread
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 red onion, quartered and sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, sliced in thin strips
20 asparagus spears, sliced into 2 inch sections
8oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
5oz fresh spinach
1/3 cup dried sun-dried tomatoes (not oil cured), sliced
2 tsp Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
1. Thaw phyllo dough for 1 hour. Unroll. Place 5 sheets on each side of a large cookie sheet.
2. Preheat oven to 400.
3. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and sauté until both are golden.
4. Add pepper, asparagus and mushroom cooking for ~5 minutes and stirring occasionally.
5. Add spinach and dried tomatoes. Cover mixture with lid and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
6. Spread onion balsamic spread evenly on both sheets of phyllo dough. Add vegetables to top of phyllo dough.
7. Bake for 20 minutes until edges are golden. Cut into squares and serve!
Citrus-Roasted Tofu from Vegan Holiday Kitchen
2, 14oz extra firm lite tofu (half the cals)
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
½ cup organic orange marmalade
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp dried tarragon
3 grinds black pepper
1 cup shredded carrots
½ slivered almonds
¼ teaspoon curry powder
1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Cut both blocks of tofu into 8 slices each. Blot each with paper towels.
3. Combine juices, soy sauce, marmalade, olive oil, mustard, tarragon and black pepper in bowl.
4. Place parchment paper in 9X13 pan. Lay tofu slides in pan and pour marinade over the tofu.
5. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip tofu and bake for another 15 minutes until crisp.
6. In medium saucepan, sauté carrots, almonds and curry powder for ~3 minutes.
7. Plate tofu and top with carrots. Tell ham to suck it :)