Thursday, January 8, 2009

Spinach, Sun-Dried Tomato, and 'Parmesan' Rolls

My cooking magazine suggested making this tasty phyllo roll-up as an appetizer. That would certainly be delicious, but I actually think a couple slices of it make a delicious vegan dinner, similar to spanakopita (a Greek spinach-and-cheese pie).

For vegan phyllo dough, try the Fillo Factory brand - I have mentioned in previous posts that it is vegan, trans fat-free, cholesterol-free, and in all other ways wonderful. Just make sure you read the thawing instructions in advance - if you buy Fillo Factory, you need to set it in the fridge for 7-8 hours first, then room temperature for another couple hours, so don't forget to remove it from the freezer in advance! Also, since the original recipe called for smaller phyllo sheets (14x9 inches), cut the ones from Fillo Factory in half cross-wise, as they measure 14x18.

First, though, bring 1/2 a cup water to a boil and combine in a bowl with 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (packed without oil) - let stand 30 minutes until the tomatoes rehydrate. Drain and chop.

Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 a cup chopped onion, 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, 1/2 tsp. dried basil, and 2 minced garlic cloves. Saute 4 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, along with a 10-ounce package of frozen spinach (thaw it, drain it, and press it dry with several layers of paper towels ahead of time).

Cook for one minute, then remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes.

The original recipe added ricotta cheese and Parmesan cheese here. For the ricotta, crumble firm tofu to equal 1/2 a cup plus 2 tablespoons. For the Parmesan, try shredding the vegan mozzarella block from Galaxy Foods to equal 1/4 cup.

Stir you 'cheeses' into the spinach mixture, along with 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. black pepper and the equivalent of one egg using egg replacer (such as Ener-G).

Time to work with the phyllo! Do so as quickly as you can without going so fast you make mistakes, to prevent the individual sheets from drying out.

Starting with one (14x9-inch) phyllo sheet, coat it with cooking spray and sprinkle it with a teaspoon and a half of dry breadcrumbs. Repeat the layers with phyllo sheets #2, 3, and 4. Top with phyllo sheet #5. Press the layers together slightly, and coat the top sheet with cooking spray.

Spoon the spinach mixture along one long edge of the phyllo, leaving a 2-inch border from all sides. Fold the short ends up to cover 2 inches of the spinach on each end. Starting at the long edge, roll it up jelly-roll style - be gentle so as not to tear the phyllo! Place the roll, seam-side down, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cut 5 diagonal slits, evenly spaced, along the top of the roll, and lightly coat the top with cooking spray.

Bake at 350 degrees for 22 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting along your slits, into 5 equal pieces. Each piece makes an appetizer of 140 calories, but again, I say double your portions for an entree.

The quantities in this recipe do double or triple easily, so if you prefer to serve the rolls appetizer-style at a party, just make extra batches! Pass around on pretty trays.

sun-ried tomatoes without oil $2.39
frozen spinach $2.49
firm tofu $2.19
phyllo dough $3.69
cooking spray $6.39

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance