April 12, 2010

vegan creamy spinach and biscuits

For St. Patrick's day, Eric made a traditional Irish soup which consisted of steel cut oats and leeks (his mom sent him a recipe from the Chicago Tribune). I must say that I was rather skeptical of the idea of a savory oat soup because I previously associated oats with sweet breakfasts. But oats are actually really good at the savory act. They make this gelatinous thick and creamy goo that combined with onions is like a tasty vegan gravy.

When I decided that creamed spinach would be on this weeks menu, I thought about buying organic heavy cream or making it vegan with a cashew sauce or soy milk... but I just wasn't enthused about the options until I remembered the potential of steel cut oats. Hence this take on creamed spinach.

I of course had to make biscuits too. I have been sort of obsessed with figuring out biscuits. From my experience so far, it seems that the most important factors for making my ideal biscuits are a rough ball shape, buttery drizzle, and low protein cake flour. Let me know if any of you out there have any other delicious biscuit suggestions.

Makes: 3 servings of spinach and 2 large biscuits

Vegan Creamy Spinach Ingredients:
1 c. yellow onion, diced
2 T. olive oil
1 c. water
1/4 c. steel cut oats
3/4 lb. spinach, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
dash of nutmeg
salt to taste
black pepper to taste

Vegan Biscuit Ingredients:
1 c. cake flour
3/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 t. sugar
3 T. vegetable shortening
6 T. soy milk
1/2 t. apple cider vinegar
1 T. melted margarine

For the creamy spinach, cook the onions in olive oil and salt over medium heat in a medium stock pot until the onions are translucent. Add water and steel cut oats and bring to a boil. Covered, simmer for 40 minutes or turn off the heat and let it sit for several hours (the second option is Eric energy-efficiency-approved but probably not food safety approved). Add the remaining ingredients and cook over low heat with a cover for about 20-30 minutes or until the spinach is a desired texture.

In the mean time, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Use a fork to mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and shortening. There should be clumps of shortening but nothing should be larger than pea-sized. Mix in the soy milk and apple cider vinegar until it is just combined. Don't over mix. Get some fresh flour on your hands and on the counter. Grab half of the dough, form a ball, drop it on the floury counter, roll it around a bit, and toss it back and forth between your hand a few times to form a roughly powdered ball. Plop it on a greased baking sheet. Repeat and plop the next biscuit right next to the other one. If you were making a party's worth of biscuits you would cram them onto the baking sheet. This encourages them to grow upwards not outwards. Drizzle some melted margarine over the tops of the biscuits. Put them on the top rack of your preheated oven and cook for about 15 minutes.


  1. Great recipe. Good idea with the oats. Might try this out for a light dinner this week.

  2. Oh wow! That looks great! I love spinach.

  3. I've had rave reviews over my vegan biscuits, especially from non-vegans who can't get their biscuits to come out half as nicely (nyah nyah! ;)). The trick is using self-rising flour and cold vegan margarine (I like Earth Balance) cut in using a pastry cutter--no shortening at all. Don't over knead (just 8-10 times, no more!) and roll out to 1/2" thick and cut with a glass. Do not twist the glass when you cut them or they will not rise properly and don't over-roll the dough. Cut as many as possible from the first rolling. The second rolling won't be as fluffy, but they'll still be edible. :) With these tips, your biscuits should rise super-high and be sooo yummy you can hardly stand it. :) For the full recipe just look on the side of the bag of Red Band Self-Rising Flour. I just veganized it and used the above techniques to make them. They need no additional butter (I hate greasy topped biscuits, personally), just some blackberry jam (or homemade lavender jelly! You'll have to bug my best friend, Darcy, for that secret recipe.) Yum!