There is a good chunk of space in my freezer that’s always filled with little pillows of carby goodness. Making homemade ravioli requires a bit of a time investment, but I love the process and end result and hoping this little tutorial will inspire you to love the process too!
Choose and/or make your filling. Ground vegan sausage, homemade cultured cashew cheese, carrot lox and pumpkin are all good choices. For this batch of ravioli, I made vegan spinach ricotta filling. Whatever filling you decide to use, have it all ready beforehand, set aside at room temp. You can use a teaspoon or fill a pastry bag if your mixture is smooth.Print
A great filling for ravioli! Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag for piping into your ravioli.
for the cultured cashew cheese
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water overnight and drained
- 1–2 probiotic capsules (50–100 billion CFUs)
- 3/4 tsp garlic powder
- 3/4 tsp onion powder
- a few pinches of salt
- 10 oz. spinach (you can also use frozen spinach that has been completely thawed, but squeeze until bone-dry)
- 1/3 cup vegan parm, very finely chopped or grated
to make the cultured cheese
- Place the soaked and drained cashews into a Vitamix. Add just enough water so it covers the cashews (about one cup).
- Puree until smooth, adding a bit more water to loosen, if needed.
- Transfer the puree to a glass container. Stir in the probiotic powder.
- Cover with one layer of cheesecloth and secure with plastic wrap or a rubber band. Place in a dark, warm area to culture for 24-48 hours.
- Once the desired tanginess is achieved, stir in the garlic and onion powders. Add in the salt.
- Refrigerate until ready to use or use immediately.
to finish the mixture
- If using fresh spinach, place into a pot of salty boiling water and blanch for 30 seconds. Transfer the spinach to a bowl of icy water to cool, squeeze until super dry, then chop very fine.
- Transfer the cashew mixture to a bowl and add the spinach and vegan parm. Stir to combine, then transfer to a piping bag with a wide tip or use a teaspoon-size amount for each ravioli.
Any leftover cheese can be slathered over crusty bread or bagels.
Make your dough. I use this recipe from Rouxbe, which turns out perfectly. every. time. I recommend making it the day before, wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerating it. Take it out a couple of hours before you want to make your ravioli so it’s room temp and perfect for working with.
Cut your dough into four pieces (you can wrap the remaining pieces in dough if you’d like to keep them from drying out), then kind of flatten it out into a rectangle. Messy and jagged is fine.
Flour your surface. You can use a pasta maker attachment on a stand mixer, but I’ve also rolled out by hand with a mini roller.
When you start, turn your pasta maker attachment knob to one. Roll it through on the lowest speed a few times. If it gets sticky, fold it in half, dust with a little flour, and run it through again.
The dough should start to feel soft. Turn your knob up to two and repeat, but you don’t need to fold it in half again. It was a little tricky for me to get it to run uniformly through the attachment at first, but got easy with a little practice.
Keep going … now turn the knob up to three. The dough is forgiving at this point, so if you get any folds or crinkles, no worries … just run it through again and it will all get worked out.
Turn your knob up to four. I like this thinness for ravioli, but you could stay at a three or probably go up to a five.
Love it when the dough does this!
Once your dough is twice as long as your pasta mold, cut it in half. Flour the metal portion of the mold, then drape one half over it. Use the plastic part to create a little concave space.
Pipe or spoon about a teaspoon into each well.
Lay the remaining piece over the top, flour side up, or it won’t stick together.
Drape carefully when tucking your ravioli in.
Stretch or move a little as needed.
Use a rolling pin to get a clean edge.
Gently pull the edges away.
Carefully flip the mold over onto your floured surface.
Gently lift the mold up to release the ravioli.
Marvel at how soft and pretty they are!
Using a pasta cutter, roll it along the edges to separate.
I line a baking sheet with a silpat and use a spatula to transfer, one at a time.
Repeat this process with the remaining three pieces of dough.
Leave the ravioli out to dry for an hour or so, then transfer the entire baking sheets to the freezer. Once firm, you can pull them off the silpat and transfer to plastic bags or containers. I label them with their fillings as a final step!
TO PREPARE FOR LATER:
Take out the desired amount of frozen ravioli and allow to come to room temp (I lay them onto a silpat or cutting board for about an hour). Bring a large pot of water to a small boil. Drop in the ravioli one at a time, increasing the heat if the boil drops. Boil for several minutes, then fish out with a skimmer and lay onto a baking sheet lined with a cooling rack. This will allow any water to escape so you don’t have any excess water in your sauce.
Transfer to plates or bowls. Serve immediately and enjoy.
Some great reads, discoveries and little bits of gratitude from the past several weeks:
The Queen’s Gambit
This Netflix series was amazing! Beth’s character was so moving. I never thought I’d be excited to watch a series about chess, but YES! I loved it so much.
The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle
I recently read Eckhart Tolle’s brilliant book, The Power of Now. In it, he described us as having two parts: our true self, which is consciousness in its pure state and that which does not identify with our form. It allows the present moment or the Now to be as it is. We can learn to turn our attention towards this part, and the book guides on how to work towards that. The other part of our self is our ego, which identifies with our mind, and looks to external things to validate its worth. This process can never be satisfied (or controlled, because we can’t control external things or people). This causes endless suffering and keeps one stuck in the past or worrying about the future, and denies the Now.
It describes in great detail how to live in the Now and how to drop all resistance to what is. Although there is a ton more to take away from Tolle’s book, I’ve been focusing on one of the ways he describes how to put this into practice:
If you find the Now intolerable, you can: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally as if you have chosen it—and dropping all resistance. Anything else is insanity.
The Language of Yin, by Gabrielle Harris
I’m currently taking a 200-hour yoga teacher training. To supplement this, I’m also starting to look at Yin yoga, which the author describes as “a practice of undoing so you can let the breath fall away as you practice and become more relaxed.” This book is so simple and beautiful, covering a lot without being overwhelming.
I’ve been babying these Calatheas for several weeks, and they are starting to push out new leaves. This gives me more joy than I thought it would, allowing me to set aside all of the big and heavy things of 2020 for a few moments and remember to notice and feel the small things.
It’s easy to be cynical about the idea of New Year’s resolutions, but there is a lot of undeniable and powerful energy surrounding the idea of change at this time of year. For many of us, that change starts in the kitchen.
Maybe it means resolving to cook at home more often, to keep a well-stocked freezer and pantry, to waste less, or to make slightly more wholesome choices. Maybe, for you, this is the year in which you’d like to give veganism ( or vegetarianism ) a try.
Whether you’re trying to dip your toes slowly into the world of plant-based eating, or you’re ready to make a total shift, it can be helpful to keep a few things in mind.
Some people go vegan overnight, and they never look back. But for many others, a slow transition is more sustainable ( and pleasurable ) than a 180-degree turn. If the idea of going vegan feels daunting, start with a couple of small steps, like a Meatless Monday challenge at home, or switching one of your daily meals to a meatless and dairy-free option. ( You’d be surprised at how easy it is to trade your turkey sandwich for hummus, tempeh bacon, and avocado ).
I’m quick to say that vegan food is just food. While there are a couple of secret weapon ingredients to have on your radar ( nutritional yeast, I’m lookin’ at you ), for the most part a saine appetite for grains, beans, and produce is all you really need to get started. With that said, any dietary shift can be tricky, and veganism is no exception. So, before you get started, take just a little time to go over the basics of plant-based alimentation. Find a useful, all-in-one resource, like Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina’s Becoming Vegan, or Ginny Messina and Jack Norris’ Vegan For Life. At some point, someone will ask you where you get your protein ( or your iron, or your calcium ), and while you could laugh the question off, it’s a lot more powerful to supply a quick, confident answer.
Going vegan expanded my palate dramatically : I learned about all sorts of global cuisines, warmed up to my spice rack, and tried ingredients I’d never considered before. But my culinary repertoire was pretty meager when I made the switch. If you already have some culinary experience, don’t assume that you’ll need to acquire an entirely new bag of tricks to eat vegan or vegetarian.
In fact, one really useful place to start is by looking at some of your favorite dinner recipes and thinking about how you might adapt them to be meatless and/or dairy-free. It may be as simple as removing some cheese ( or replacing it with cashew cheese ). It may mean trading the central protein for beans, soy foods, or even a hearty vegetable, like mushrooms.
Until I went vegan, I had never tried tempeh, soba noodles, kimchi, kabocha squash, nutritional yeast, millet, mulberries, or buckwheat…and the list goes on. Becoming vegan encouraged me to explore new ingredients, and it also introduced me to more global dishes.
A great many dietary folklores around the world are already plant-based, which means that vegans and vegetarians have many rich, exciting culinary folklores to draw upon. If you’re new to plant-based cooking, explore meatless dishes and recipes from other parts of the world ( Indian, Ethiopian, and Middle Eastern dishes are some of my personal favorites ). Dust off your spice rack and add new flavors to your food. Use your transition to plant-based eating as an excuse to try new grains, legumes, and vegetables.
A lot of folks assume that adapting a recipe to be vegan means replacing the meat or poultry with a faux meat, a block of tofu, or tempeh. That’s cool, but it can also be fun to think creatively and imaginatively about how to capture the essence of a traditional recipe without animal protein. No, lentil Bolognese isn’t really Bolognese, but it does capture the heartiness of the original; cashew banana yogurt is a far cry from dairy, but it does evoke the same, sweet creaminess.
Many people are surprised by how easy it is to go meatless. Cheese, on the other hand, is a different story. I myself used to utter the same words I hear constantly from readers, friends, and nutrition clients : ' I’d love to go vegan, but I can’t give up cheese. '
While I won’t pretend that giving up dairy is easy—it’s not, especially because it’s so ubiquitous in restaurant dishes—I will say that I had a much easier time living without it when I learned to make my own substitutes. Store-bought soy and almond cheeses weren’t cutting it ( especially nine years ago, when the options were limited ), and soy creamers and yogurts left me feeling equally flat. Making my first batch of cashew cheese—which authentically captured the tanginess and matière of goat cheese—was a revelation. Homemade nut milk let me create creamy porridge and muesli far more authentically than did store-bought, non-dairy milk.
Over time, I’ve experimented with tofu paneer, tofu feta, and cashew yogurt, and the list is growing. Homemade dairy substitutes are creative, fun, and cost-effective, and I think they’re a big step up from what you can find in the store.
While I’m the first to point out that vegan proteins extend far beyond soy foods—encompassing tons of different céréales, legumes, nuts, and seeds—you really can’t beat tofu and tempeh for ' meaty ' matière and complete protein in meatless dishes. Both ingredients can be either memorable or mundane, depending on how you prepare them. I definitely recommend pressing tofu if you’re not already in the habit; it’ll create a firmer, more toothsome matière that most people prefer.
When preparing tempeh, be sure to use a boldly flavored marinade or sauce to help balance tempeh’s earthy taste, and if you find it bitter, you can steam it before marinating, too.
For the most part, I try to feature whole foods and homemade ingredients in my cooking. But in spite of the fact that I love to create my own dairy substitutes and I’d usually rather eat a scoop of lentils than a block of faux meat, I don’t eschew vegan products, and I think that keeping an open mind about them can really enrich the authenticity of your food.
This is especially important when you’re transitioning and vegan cooking still feels like a brave new world. Nine times out of ten, I’ll opt to use cashew cheese in a recipe rather than Daiya ( a melty, commercial vegan cheese ) ; coconut oil in place of Earth Balance ( vegan butter ) ; or grilled tofu in place of Beyond Chicken ( grilled strips of soy and pea protein that taste shockingly like chicken ).
But when I’m aiming for totally authentic, precise results, vegan substitute products can go a long way, and it’s comforting to know that they’re an option if I feel like taking a shortcut.
Over time, I learned to create vegan food with greater sensitivity to others’ tastes and traditions. I love a lot of really crunchy fare, from the aforementioned raw kale salad to tofu, sprouts, and grain bowls. And I know a lot of other folks who love these dishes, too. But sometimes being an ambassador of vegan food means knowing how to create dishes that feel familiar and appeal to a wide array of more conservative palates, like vegan lasagna, shepherd’s pie, or sloppy Joes.
And, if you’re trying to dispel the idea that all végétaliens eat is salad and prove that vegan food can be filling and hearty, then it’s all the more important to create dishes that evoke a sense of comfort.
Change feels a lot less daunting when you have company. If your family and friends aren’t exploring veganism along with you, then find community in other ways. Explore a vegan meetup or potluck in your community. Become a regular commenter on vegan food blogs. If you do have a friend who’s interested in plant-based cooking, invite him or her over for some recipe testing.
Studies show that failure to stick with a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle is often attributed to feeling ' different ' or isolated. Food is all about community and sharing, so do your best to share this lifestyle with people you care about—even if they’re not making the change along with you.