Tofu Ricotta and Spinach Calzones

posted in: Main Dishes, Recipes, Various Mains | 13
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I am writing a cookbook, y’all! The idea came to me when I came very, very close to writing to a famous vegan cookbook author and asking when she was going to write a sandwich cookbook. I love sandwiches SO MUCH and would love to have a sandwich cookbook on my shelf. And I didn’t just want it to have sandwiches in it; I wanted tacos, spring rolls, burgers, little handheld appetizers – basically anything you could eat with your hands. Then I thought “but it probably wouldn’t have enough taco recipes in it” and “no one can do spicy the way I do spicy” and realized I wanted to write it myself.
The drawback was the breads. A good sandwich cookbook needs bread recipes in it, I think, or you’re at the mercy of the grocery store. So I set out to learn to make great bread, got that mostly down, but then got off track with the idea of writing a cookbook.
I keep a file of ideas for things to make for the blog, and the sliders and tofu po’boys I made recently were both ideas that were meant for the book.  When they were both successful after the second try each, I was reminded. And so, it’s time.
The tentative title is “Handheld” and will include breakfast sandwiches, appetizers, grilled things, burgers, all kinds of classic sandwiches like  paninis and BBQ seitan, wraps, tacos (yes!), salad sandwiches, and desserts.
My goal is to finalize at least one recipe a day, which means cooking more than one a day. So I’m not going to be blogging as much, and when I do, it might just be a photo, or a link to someone else’s recipe I’ve made as a side dish. Hell, I might start using the blog as a journal. You wouldn’t mind if I vented a bit here, would you?
Also, are there any sandwich-type recipes that you would like to see in the book? I’ll do my best to make ’em! And in a couple of months (my goal is October 1) I’m going to put out a call for recipe testers, but you’re welcome to sign up early if you’re interested.
These calzone recipes won’t be in the book because they rely too much on the tofu ricotta recipe from Veganomicon, but other calzone recipes will be there.

I am sharing this with Meatless Mondays and Hearth ‘n’ Soul.

Dough:
1-1/4 cups warm water, about 105 F
1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup bread or all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups whole wheat flour (or more as needed)
Add water, yeast and all-purpose flour to a medium bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with dough hooks. Combine well with a fork, cover, and let stand for 45 minutes to an hour. The mixture will bubble up and expand.
Add vital wheat gluten, sugar, salt, and olive oil and combine with a fork. If you’re using a stand mixer to knead the dough, start it now. Add remaining flour, stopping to combine the last of the flour with a fork if necessary. Let mixer knead dough for 5 minutes on low, or turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes. If dough is sticky, add more flour as necessary, 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time.
Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for an hour until doubled in size.
Filling:
1/2 cup raw cashews
14 ounces/400 g firm  tofu, crumbled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice – from 2-3 lemons
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 pound/450 g chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
4 or 5 artichoke hearts from a can (about 1/2 a can), roughly chopped
Grind cashews in a food processor until they are powder. (This works great with frozen cashews.) Add tofu, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, basil, salt, thyme and red pepper flakes. Puree, stopping to scrape down the sides once or twice.
Transfer mixture to a bowl. Stir in spinach and artichokes.
To assemble:
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Punch down dough and divide into 6 pieces. Roll out each piece into a 7-inch circle. Divide filling among the circles, placing the filling in the middle. Fold circles in half and press the edges with a fork to seal them.
Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
Serves 6

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13 Responses

  1. Your calzones look wonderful! Thanks for sharing your recipes with the Hearth and Soul Hop. Best wishes with your cookbook! I look forward to hearing about your progress.

  2. Congrats, Claire. Wonderful news! The working title is very clever. These mini pies look delicious – what a creative filling.

  3. Wonderful idea! I know it’s a huge task to write a cookbook, so I wish you well. :) I think it will be awesome.

  4. I’m thrilled to hear that you’ll be writing a cookbook! Especially about sammiches. Because they’re right up there with my favorite things of life, at least in the top 10.

  5. Thanks everybody! After 4 days I have 3 “keepers” so I’m feeling pretty confident. I’ll be checking in with progress, and of course continuing to check out all of your creations.

  6. I have always wanted a sandwich cookbook on my shelf, too. You can count on me to test recipes for you. I’ll watch for your announcement.

  7. Thanks Melissa! I was hoping you’d test recipes for me :-)

  8. Your calzones looks awesome. congrats on your writing a book, best wishes. Thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul hop.

  9. Great idea, vegan sandwiches! I always am looking for better food options when I’m travelling so it is going to very handy. Good luck with the writing!

  10. zephyr

    Good luck! I can’t promise that I’ll be able to try a huge number of recipes due to lack of time, but I’d still love to be a recipe tester! This cookbook sounds perfect for school lunches.

    (Zephyr from VP, by the way. Remember me? :D)

  11. Hi zephyr, yes I remember you! Thanks so much for volunteering. I’m still thinking it will be October when I have enough ready for testing.

  12. My son is entering first grade in September so I’m on the lookout for great sandwich recipes for packed lunches. I’d love to throw my hat in the ring to be a recipe tester — we love sandwiches and all handheld yummies around here.

  13. Thanks Kimberly!

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