Tag Archives: baby spinach

Vegan Spanokopita

8 Oct

I love Greek food… and every time I visit my sister we always order from this little Greek restaurant next to her place.  I loooove to order myself a Stuffed Pita Sandwich made with Greek Salad inside.  It’s so delicious I even crave it as soon as I book my flight to FL.

For a while, my sister avoided dairy… and she loves to eat the spanakopita triangles at the Greek restaurant I mentioned above.  So as the big sister, I decided to make her some spanakopitas she could actually enjoy without the side-effects dairy was bringing her for a while.

Here’s my take on cheese-free vegan spanakopitas…


Recipe from KarmaFree Cooking


1 packet of whole wheat phyllo dough – 16 sheets

1 ½ packets frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry

1 container Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese

½ container Tofutti Better than Sour Cream

½ container Tofutti Better than Ricotta

2 yellow lemons – zest and juice

1 sweet onion, chopped finely

½ cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

½ cup fresh basil, chopped

1 tbs Kosher Salt

½ tbs Pepper

About ½ cup Olive Oil, divided

  1. In a large bowl combine the spinach, onions, cream cheese, sour cream and ricotta, parsley, basil and a drizzle of olive oil.  Add the zest of the 2 lemons and follow adding the juice, making sure you avoid getting lemon seeds in the mix.   Season generously with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Combine well and set aside.
  2. To prepare working with phyllo dough I first gather 2 clean kitchen towels and I get them wet and squeeze them dry so now they’re thoroughly damp.  One will be to cover the unused phyllo sheets and the other one to cover the spanakopita pockets after they’re aseembled but before we bake or pack them.
  3. Now that you have your damp cloths or towels, we gather our phyllo dough, olive oil and a teaspoon – the one you eat with, not the one you use to measure recipes.  I work on a large cutting board…  Place one sheet of phyllo dough on the board.  Make sure you cover the unused phyllo sheets with one of the damp towels.  These will maintain them pliable and ready to work with.  If not, they’ll dry out and turn brittle and will be very difficult to work with in this recipe.
  4. Drizzle in a squiggly fashion a teaspoon of olive oil over the phyllo sheet.  Using the teaspoon kinda spread the squiggle trail you made…  Carefully, overlap a second sheet of phyllo right on top of the first one.  Drizzle a very thin stream of olive oil in the same squiggly fashion but on the opposite direction.  For example, the first squiggle you went from left to right.  Now the second one, go top to bottom in front of you.
  5. Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut the phyllo sheet stack you just created into 4 sections or strips.  I cut halfway and then I cut each half in half again.  This doesn’t have to be exact, although you can certainly use a ruler to measure this.
  6. Now, add about a tablespoon of spinach filling and place in the bottom section of one of the phyllo strips, leaving about 1 inch of phyllo below where you place the spinach.  Fold this bottom part of phyllo over the spinach kinda like folding a letter.
  7. Now fold the sides of the phyllo strip inside, kinda like the way you fold in a burrito.  Now, fold the section where the spinach is enclosed onto itself until a small rectangular package is formed.
  8. Place spinach pockets in a baking sheet and cover with damp cloth as you go preparing the rest of the spanakopita pockets.  You should end up with about 32 pockets  over all.  You could also stack up 3 sheets of phyllo to make it even flakier.  Use the same method, you’ll just end up with 20 finished spanakopita pockets overall.

Now… you can either bake them or freeze them.  If you decide to freeze them, just place them in freezer zipper bags in layers separating each layer using parchment paper r even waxed paper.  They will keep in the freezer for a while, and are very convenient.

  1. To bake them…  just turn the oven to 375F and place the spanakopita pockets in a baking sheet that has been sprayed with olive oil spray.  Place them in a single layer and spray once again over the top with a light spray of olive oil spray.  Bake in oven for about 12-15 minutes until they turn golden brown.  Sometimes, I just turn off the oven and leave them there to make sure the filling is nice and cooked when I take them out.

Wait a bit to bite into them because the filling will be H-O-T!!!!

These pockets are a tad larger that the triangles I am used to make.   These are more fitting for a light lunch or even a light dinner.  I bake myself 2-3 of these with a salad.

My sister thought they were delicious and she enjoyed the touch the lemon juice and zest provided.  She did not believe these were dairy-free!!!  The filling turned out creamy and delicious very similar to the original ones we enjoy so much.

Pasta with Marinated Tomato Arugula Salad

15 Sep

This is my attempt to update one of my classic go-to recipes, Pasta with Marinated Tomatoes.

Lately I’ve been splurging on all the different varieties of tomatoes available in the market so I mix the best, most colorful tomatoes I can find and marinate them with arugula and even sometimes baby fresh spinach to make for a great un cooked, wilted salad pasta that’s a whole meal in one bowl.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do…

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2-3 cups of tomatoes – cherry, grape, zebra, any kind of tomato you prefer…
3 tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed
6-8 fresh basil leaves or 1 tbs freeze-fried basil leaves
3-4 handfuls of baby arugula or baby spinach – or a combination of the two – somewhat chopped
2 ounces of goat cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste
3 cups of dried pasta – I use quinoa penne pasta, and the amount should be enough for 4 people


  1. In a large bowl, add the tomatoes either halved or quartered, depending on their original size.  I halve the small ones and quarter the larger ones.  Add the smashed garlic cloves, drizzle olive oil and season with salt, pepper and basil leaves.  Mix well to combine.  Add the arugula leaves and toss again.  The olive oil and juices of tomatoes will wilt the arugula a bit… that’s our goal.


2.  While the tomatoes and arugula marinate and wilt, cook the pasta according to the packages direction.  Remember to salt the water well before adding the pasta to the water.

3.  Toss the tomatoes and arugula once in while the pasta cooks… it should take about 10-12 minutes.  I usually turn the stove off after 12 minutes, cover the pot and leave it covered for about 5 minutes more.  The pasta will turn out perfect every time and you save 5 minutes of electricity each time you make pasta…

4.  When pasta is done to your liking, drain the water saving a bit of pasta water.  I usually just don’t drain it completely… and leave some water in the bottom of the pot.  Return the pasta to the pot you cooked it in.

5.  Remove the garlic cloves from the marinated tomatoes/arugula mixture and add it to the pasta.  Toss well to combine.  Add the goat cheese in small pieces to help it melt with the heat of the pasta and pot.  Season with grated parmesan cheese and a small drizzle of olive oil, if you prefer…


To me this is one of the most satisfying lunches… and it’s great to eat on the days when I train.  It has complex carbs and delicious veggies with some protein from the quinoa pasta and cheeses.  Mmmmmmm…  I might make myself this today again.

Fruit Smoothie with Fresh Baby Spinach

14 May

This was the smoothie recipe we shared at the 3rd KarmaFree Cooking Class recently.  I just wanted to share with the class how easy it is to add nutrition to a fruit smoothie by adding fresh spinach.  The green flecks might be a bit strange, but the vegetable flavor is masked with the sweetness of the banana and berries.

If you prefer not to see any green flecks at all, you can try my Stealth Shake which has darker berries and the spinach is completely masked.

Also, you can boost the power of your smoothie by adding chia seeds, flaxseeds, maca all together or any of them individually.


Breakfast Smoothie for Mom


1 banana
4 strawberries
A handful of fresh baby spinach leaves
½ cup plain yogurt or kefir
1 cup passion fruit juice
A squirt of honey or agave nectar
1 tbs ground flaxseeds
1 tbs chia seeds
1 tbs maca powder
3 ice cubes


  1. Blend all the ingredients in a blender.
  2. Serve ice cold.

Tofu Scramble

7 May

This was one of the main dishes we created for our 3rd KarmaFree Cooking class recently.  We were super excited because we got picked up by the local newspaper El Nuevo Día and we received tons of calls from people interested. We hosted 7 students who are not vegetarian, but are very interested in following a more natural and meat-free diet.  I was thrilled!!

Angie is the expert among us making tofu scramble…  but I made sure the ingredients were colorful, vibrant and easy to find in any supermarket.


Tofu Scramble and Potatoes 1



1 package of extra-firm tofu
1 vegetable bouillon cube with seas salt and herbs
½ red onion, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
1 package of fresh baby spinach
2 cups of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Olive oil
Butter or Dairy-free alternative like Earth Balance
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
½ tsp turmeric


  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil, a pat of butter and add the onions and peppers to soften.  Add the bouillon cube too and dissolve it in the mixture.
  2. Drain the tofu as much as you can.  In a bowl, pat it with a few paper towels.  Mash the tofu and add to the onions and peppers in the skillet.  Miox it well so the tofu starts infusing itself with the flavors in the skillet.
  3. Season with black pepper and turmeric.  Mix well.
  4. Add the tomatoes and spinach to the mixture.  Mix it all well and cover for a few minutes so the spinach wilts .
  5. Uncover and raise the heat a bit so the liquid that most probably accumulated at the bottom can evaporate a bit.


Tofu Scramble with tomatoes, onions, peppers and fresh baby spinach.



Serve alongside these Double Mustard Roasted Potatoes and your favorite toast.

Recap of our 3rd KarmaFree Cooking Class

6 May

Last month we celebrated our 3rd KarmaFree Cooking Class.  The theme was Breakfast in Bed for Mom…

KarmaFree Cooking's Vegetarian Class

We were honored to be featured in El Nuevo Día, Puerto Rico’s largest newspaper.  The turnout was great – many people who do not consider themselves vegetarian yet wanting to learn about a more natural and meat-free lifestyle.  To me that reads SUCCESS because that’s exactly the goal of KarmaFree Cooking…  teaching people that a vegetarian lifestyle is doable and delicious.


I want to share a recap of the recipes shared at the class.  Some are new, some are KarmaFree classics and some are updates on favorites of all of us.

Clase de Cocina KFC #3

 Tofu Scramble with Tomatoes, Peppers and Baby Spinach

Double Mustard Roasted Potatoes

Tofu Scramble and Potatoes 1

Papaya Mango Fruit Salad

Papaya Mango Fruit Cup   KFC

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Yogurt Frosting


Fruit Smoothie featuring Fresh Baby Spinach

We also talked about how to best combine fruits for your fruit salads and juices

If you live in Puerto Rico, hope you can join us for our next KarmaFree Cooking class.  If you are not so lucky to live in Puerto Rico, rest assured we’ll be sharing the recipes here on the blog.  But doing it in person, as part of our group and then tasting the results of your labor is a whole different experience.

KarmaFree Cooking 3rd Class

Thanks a lot to Angie and my mom who always help and thanks a bunch to the class attendants who always make giving these courses a whole lotta fun.


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