Vegan Thanksgiving Strudel

I’ve adapted and veganized this recipe from the Moosewood repertoire.  It’s been a hit at the last four Thanksgivings – vegetarians and omnivores alike give rave reviews.  I’m actually not making it this year, because I thought it was time to try a new recipe (this one, for stuffed Portobello mushrooms), but I’m not lying when I say that I’m a bit sad that I won’t be eating this this year!

Mushroom, “Cheese”, and Vegetable Strudel

Ingredients

Filling:
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (1½ cups)
1 medium red bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 lb. white mushrooms, sliced (5 cups)
2 10-oz. bags baby spinach
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 14-oz. pkg. firm tofu, drained
8 oz. vegan cream cheese, softened (I use tofutti)
1 cup grated vegan cheddar (4 oz.) (I use “Follow Your Heart” brand because they have it in the grocery stores around us!)

Strudel:
¼ cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 lb. whole-wheat phyllo dough, thawed
½ tsp. poppy, sesame, or fennel seeds, optional

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 18- x 13-inch baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. To make Filling: Heat oil in pot over medium heat. Sauté onion, bell pepper, garlic, and thyme in oil 10 minutes. Add mushrooms, and cook 10 minutes, or until wilted. Stir in spinach and nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until spinach has wilted, stirring occasionally. Drain, and cool in bowl.

3. Purée tofu, cream cheese, and cheddar in food processor until smooth. Stir into mushroom mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

4. To make Strudel: Heat oil, garlic, and thyme in small pot over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Cool.

5. Cover bottom of prepared baking pan with 2 phyllo sheets, allowing sheets to overlap each other and hang off sides. Brush with garlic oil. Place 2 more phyllo sheets on top, and brush with garlic oil. Repeat 4 times, until you have a 6-layer bottom crust.

6. Spread Filling in crust, leaving 3-inch edge all around. Brush edges with garlic oil. Fold sides of phyllo over filling. Cover filling with 2-sheet layer of phyllo (4 sheets total), overlapping sheets in center. Brush with garlic oil. Repeat layering 2 sheets at a time until you have 4 layers (16 sheets phyllo total), brushing every second sheet with garlic oil. Tuck under edges. Sprinkle top with seeds, if desired.

7. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until golden. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting into slices.

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