Tag Archives: cheese

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.

Top 10 Mom’s Favorite Recipes

7 May

I love my mom to death… we disagree on many things, we argue, but we also have tons in common.  We both love to travel, to shop, to decorate, work on home projects, and we have also a mutual love for yoga, meditation and the spiritual lifestyle.

And what do you do to honor and celebrate someone who has giving you everything but also has everything she needs??  You cook for them… because everyone is bound to get hungry sometime and especially if they ask you for something in specific.

Sometimes, when my mom and I go to The Boys Farmer’s Market in Florida, she will see products/ingredients and tell me, “Madelyn…  Why don’t you make this tonight?”

So to honor all my mom’s cravings I want to share some of her favorite recipes in KarmaFree Cooking.  The ones she requests over and over and over again.  Maybe YOUR Mom will enjoy them as well.

My mom's favorite recipes published in KarmaFree Cooking


Spinach Pinwheels

Cottage Cheese Dip

Tofu with Snow Peas and Bean Sprouts

Quinoa Pasta with Fresh Baby Spinach and Lemon

White Lasagna with Spinach

Spinach-filled Mushrooms

Tomato Bruschetta

Asparagus Tart

Whole Wheat Bread Budín

Pumpkin Cuatro Leches

Apple Crisp


This is a list of 11…  but the cottage cheese can’t be called a recipe, but believe me, If I have cottage cheese and chips and my mom passes by, she will undoubtedly stand guard in front of me and eat my stuff until I tell her to stop.

Green is for Spinach…

2 Mar

I did not grew up eating “greens” …  I only knew spinach was something “kinda gross” that Popeye ate out of a can to become strong and powerful.

I can’t recall when my perception of spinach changed, but I am thankful it did.  Spinach is now my go to salad green, especially baby spinach, that’s so ready available in every supermarket nowadays.

So in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to celebrate my love for spinach.  Cooked, raw, frozen and thawed… all this recipes take advantage of the goodness of spinach.  I hope that if you’re still on the fence about spinach, to give a few of this recipes a try… they might change your mind too.

Spinach Recipes Collage 2015 - ENG


Spinach Salad with Strawberries

Spinach Salad with Figs, Blue Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Spinach Fried Quesadillas

Spinach Pinwheels

Spinach-Stuffed Mushrooms

Spinach Croquetas

Smoked Gouda Rissotto with Mushrooms and Spinach

Bucatini with Goat Cheese, Spinach and Tomatoes

Spinach and Almond White Lasagna

Kick-butt Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna

Quinoa Pasta with Baby Spinach and Lemon Vinaigrette

Sweet Plantain Canoes Filled with Creamed Spinach and Pine Nuts

If I had a Valentine… what would I cook for him?

15 Feb

I love going out to dinner to a nice, fancy restaurant as much as the next girl… especially, if someone special is inviting.  But experience has taught me that on Valentine’s Day or around that date, it’s the WORST TIME to go out to dinner.  There may be some exceptions, of course…  but usually during this time, restaurants are extremely crowded, putting extra pressure on all the staff.

To me,  it’s more romantic to plan something special at home.  Make something you know you’re extremely good at and that you know your partner will love – for the awesome flavors, but also for the effort and care you put into it. Besides, when you have dinner at home… dress code is optional. ;)

Unfortunately, this year, I am spending Valentine’s weekend with a nice construction crew who’s remodeling my tiny, little kitchen into a very chic and modern tiny, little kitchen. And to top it all…  no romantic Valentine for me this year.

But… let’s play pretend.  If I had a romantic Valentine to invite over for dinner, what would I cook for him to let him know how much I care?

This is my menu…

Vegetarian Valentine 2015

Start with a Spinach, Arugula, Figs and Blue Cheese salad with a Balsamic Vinaigrette

Main course would be the exquisite Baked Pasta with 4 Cheeses,  that usually floors anyone who has it for the first time.

On the side, and because we’re in Puerto Rico, I need to have sweet plantains with vanilla and cinnamon.

And for dessert, I would make a batch of Carob Syrup to dip some strawberries in…  I would even add a pinch of cayenne to keep things interesting.


Do you like my menu??  What are your go-to dishes if you want to show someone you care?

Fried Mushroom Tacos

2 Dec

Tacos can be made much more interesting if you play around with the fillings and cheese… and making the tortillas golden brown and crispy.  I have never been a fan of the hard pre-made taco tortilla shells, but I do enjoy crunchy things.  So using the magic of olive oil and a skillet, tacos can become a much more interesting dish.

I used mozzarella and parmesan cheese here… but you can certainly use your favorite cheese combination.  I have also used goat cheese, manchego cheese and even the trusty cream cheese.

This is another recipe available in Spanish on the Qué Rica Vida website… If you’re interested, you can read the recipe in Spanish here.

Tacos filled with Mushrooms, Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese


3 organic sprouted corn tortillas
1 cup white button mushrooms, chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup grated mozzarella or Italian blend cheeses
½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Kosher Salt
Freshly grated Black Pepper
Olive Oil

You’ll be able to make 2 tacos at a time using a large skillet, but you need to make them in staggered steps.  I consider 3 tacos is a good serving portion for one, but if you think you are better off with 4, just add one more tortilla and adjust the rest of the ingredients.  This is more a method than a recipe…

  1. First we cook the mushrooms in advance – in a large non-stick skillet over medium-hi heat add a drizzle of olive oil and place the chopped mushrooms  Toss them well so they coat themselves with the olive oil.  Organize them in a single layer so they all have the chance to caramelize well.  Grate the 2 cloves of garlic on top of the mushrooms.  Strip the leaves of the thyme sprigs and add them to the skillet too.
  2. After they’ve browned well on one side, toss and move them around so they get a chance to brown on a different side.   After they’re browned and have shrunk considerably in size, add salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside and wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel to get rid of small pieces of mushrooms.
  3. Return the pan to the burner, add another drizzle of olive oil and place one tortilla… flip it over on both sides so there’s some of the olive oil on both sides.
  4. Place some of the shredded cheese on top of the tortilla.  Now place about 1 tablespoon of cooked mushrooms over the cheese.   Place little bit of Parmesan cheese over mushrooms.
  5. Carefully, fold tortilla in half so you end up with a half moon filled with mushrooms and cheese.  Flip the tortilla a few times so that it gets golden brown on both sides.

While one taco is getting golden brown to the side of the pan, you can use the remaining space to heat up tortilla #2 and #3 and so forth.

Fried Mushroom Tacos


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