It has been storming like a mofo for weeks up here on our little island. Every morning, we wake up and it’s pitch black outside…and then two hours later, it’s still as dark as evening. Sure, it’s very cozy drinking coffee with whipped almond milk and reading the news online…and listening to the rain on our tin roof. But it’s also very hard to drag oneself out of the cozy nest of our enormous, dog-filled bed.
Indeed, the only thing that drags me out of bed of late (and I should add it’s mid-morning) is the promise of a new vegan recipe.
For the past couple of days, I’ve been experimenting with a Thug Kitchen ravioli recipe, but, as you’ll learn from the account of my experiment below, the version that uses wonton wrappers, instead of vegan whole-wheat dough, works much better. However, James and I have been calling it “Wanton Ravioli” because a few years ago, Em worked at a Thai restaurant in Dublin, and one of the items on the menu was “Wonton Soup”….but it was spelled “Wanton Soup.”
The manager asked Em to proofread the menu, and she pointed out the diction error (among other small errors). And all of the other errors were corrected..but “Wanton Soup” continued to appear on the menu (even after she explained what the word means).
Our theory is that the soup must’ve had a sordid past.
In any event, we now call it “wanton soup” in tribute to the story, so, of course, the wonton ravioli has become “wanton ravioli.”
This particular recipe is the perfect kind of comfort food for dark, rainy fall days…for evenings in front of the wood stove. I did think it needed a few adjustments though, so I’ve posted my adjusted version of the recipe.
First off, the sauce.
Now, the Thug Kitchen three-part recipe includes one for a marinara sauce, but I like mine better, so here it is…
Quick, Delicious, and Low-Fat Marinara Sauce
Spray a pan with oil and saute:
- 1/3 cup finely diced onions
Add the following to the food processor and blend:
- 1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 3 cloves chopped garlic
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 tsp dried chili peppers
Once blended, add the above to the pan with the sauteed onion.
Next, add to the pan:
- 1/2 cup white wine
Let it all simmer for half an hour or so.
The next step is the filling. I was surprised at the texture of this filling, which is very much like a ricotta cheese. Honestly, I think if I didn’t know better, I would think it was the real thing. I found the original Thug Kitchen recipe a bit bland, however, so I added a few things (specifically, sauteed onions, fresh oregano leaves, vegan parmesan, and freshly ground pepper). The result is really very good–you can taste the pepper and oregano!
Tofu Ricotta (for the ravioli filling):
Place in food processor and run until the seeds are in tiny bits:
- 1/4 cup hulled sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
Next, add the following and mix until smooth:
- 1 pkg. firm tofu (squeeze as much water out as you can beforehand)
Turn the above into a bowl and mix in well–use your hands!:
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 1/4 cup sauteed chopped onions
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 TBS lemon juice
- 1.5 TBS chopped garlic
- 1/4 tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup vegan parmesan (see below–you’ll be using this as a topping as well!)
(very slightly adapted from Thug Kitchen 101):
Throw the following into the Vitamix:
- 2 tsp sea salt (Thug calls for only 1/2 tsp, but it ain’t enough)
- 1 cup almonds (eh, I used whole–not blanched–almonds, which improves the colour!)
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup chickpea/fava flour (you can use any kind of flour, but I used this to get more beans into my food!).
- 1 TBS garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
This is THE BEST vegan parm I’ve ever tasted or made. The recipe also makes a ton. I put it in a sprinkly-type container and use it constantly.
Oddly enough, when Em decided to become a vegan at the tender age of fourteen, I used to spend a fortune on rice parmesan, and it was not only expensive, but hard to find and, frankly, terrible. I can’t believe that all that time I could have been making my own for a fraction of the cost!!
Finally, the dough for the pasta: I followed the Thug Kitchen recipe to the letter, and even used my pasta maker to process and thin the pasta…
The ravioli looked great, and the sauce and filling were both delicious, but the pasta was too doughy and the whole-wheat taste too profound.
So…I decided to try the entire enterprise again with another recommendation from Thug Kitchen: wonton wrappers! These are made from rice flour and are much thinner and work MUCH better than the vegan pasta dough:
The only thing you have to watch for is that the wrappers are VERY thin, so I didn’t realize that I had accidentally doubled them and had to peel the extra wraps off my little raviolis.
You cook them in the same way as the whole-wheat pasta recipe: drop into boiling water a few at a time, and they’re ready when they rise to the top. This will take only a moment or two. They seem to be quite delicate, so I drained them onto a cloth in a colander. I did a trial run, and they turned out very well indeed!
I’d say four of these big raviolis would make a meal…five at the most. Here’s a picture of one (if I do a whole plateful, the picture just looks like a mass of sauce:
Ultimately, however, I decided using two wonton wrappers made the raviolis a bit too big and unwieldy, so I used one wrapper per ravioli, and it turned out very well indeed!
So the experiment was a success, but only after I changed the dough from the whole-wheat homemade pasta to the won ton wrappers.
And here’s a sweet picture of Em with her cousins–apparently, they came second at a pub trivia night last week.