Vegan Pumpkin mustard

Vega Pumpkin mustard
250 g pumpkin pulp
200 g sugar
1 lemon
10 g fresh ginger
1 tablespoon mustard (beans or powder)

Macerate the pumpkin for 12 hours with sliced sugar and ginger, zest and lemon juice.
Boil everything, let it cool and repeat the operation two more times. Finally add the mustard.
Mix everything and … taste!

Vegan Wines & Vegan Wineries

When considering wine one would think that all wines are vegan and vegetarian since they are produced from grapes. That is not always necessarily true and not always the easiest to find out. The winemaking process is what mostly defines whether wines are vegan or not vegan. In addition, it is also important to take a look at what types of fertilizers are used in vineyards as some may be animal based.

Some winemakers choose to let a wine take its natural slow process of self-clarifying by allowing the solids and sediments to sink to the bottom of the tanks. Other winemakers choose to add what are called “fining agents” to the process. There are animal derived products used as fining agents that include egg whites, gelatin, casein and isinglass. These agents when added bind to the molecules, such as proteins, tannins and phenolics. This makes them easier to be removed. These fining agents all play their own part in either brightening, clarifying the wines or removing “off” flavors.

There are vegan friendly agents that vegan wineries can also choose to use such as charcoal, silica and bentonite, which is clay based. Some of the aforementioned agents like gelatin are now also being produced from peas to become vegetarian. Plus, the cost of animal-derived fining agents is on the rise. It is possible more winemakers will move towards agents like bentonite.

So how does one determine whether a wine is vegan or not? There are some wine bottles that are labeled as “unfined” and “unfiltered”. Even natural or organic wines are the ones you’ll want to gravitate to. Since not all wines are clearly labeled as such it’s best to ask for recommendations. You can check with a knowledgeable wine shop or do some research online prior to a purchase. TuscanyWineClubTime is a respected directory online that will help guide you in the right direction.


Jennifer Martin

Vegan Cooking Recipe, part 2

You are just come back from your Vegan Vacation in Tuscany, well so  it’s time to relive your vacation again with wonderful Vegan Recipes!

  1. Pesto di Cavolo Nero (Kale Pesto)

A simple Vegan pesto, this option is simple to prepare and extremely taste! We use pine nuts, almonds and natural yeast to mimic the flavors of traditional pesto. This pesto is also excellent on bread as a spread for crostini. First, remove the stalks from the kale, and steam the leaves. In a mortar, put together the kale, pine nuts, almonds, and garlic (if you like it!). Add some (about 50 grams) of natural cooking yeast, salt, and lots of olive oil to achieve a smooth consistency. This pesto is good for two to three days in the fridge, so be sure to make an ample batch.

  1. Vegan Carbonara

Vegan carbonara is possible and can be achieved with the use of our favorite seitan, together with soy cooking cream. First, cut the seitan into tiny pieces and set aside. Do the same with some zucchini, and in a non-stick pan, heat some garlic in olive oil. Remove the garlic from the pan and add the seitan pieces together with the zucchini. Add some pepper and cook all together over medium heat. In the meantime, cook the spaghetti leaving it al dente. Put the soy cooking cream in a bowl and add turmeric. Mix them together so they are in a homogeneous sauce. Drain the spaghetti and put it into the pan with he seitan and zucchini. Add the cream with turmeric mixture together with some fresh thyme and mix well. Your carbonara is complete!

  1. Tempeh Ragu

Another option for a Vegan ragu is to make it with tempeh, instead of seitan. Tempeh is a protein made from the fermentation of yellow soy beans, and is rich in fiber, vitamins, and of course protein. As we did before, prepare a soffritto with onion, carrot and celery. Let it cook before adding the tempeh, and then clearing the pan with some white wine. Once the wine has cooked away, add the tomato, and let it cook down for 20 to 30 minutes. Add a little salt, and then choose what pasta you want to make! This sauce is really great with anything, and is also excellent on crostini, so make a lot and invite your non-vegan friends to see how vegan ragu can be just as good as the real deal.

These are just some suggestions to get you started with your vegan cooking adventures. There are lots of ways to eat meat-free, and we are here to help with ideas whenever you need them. Be sure to enjoy your pasta with an excellent vegan wine!

Vegan Cooking Recipes, part one

You can experience creating these and many other Vegan Recipes in our Vegan Cooking Course in Florence, available daily in a charming country house in the hills with beautiful views of Florence. You will learn to cook vegan delicacies as Tuscans have been doing for centuries!

Part 1

Vegan Sauces: 2 Recipes to Try

Those who love first courses know that the right sauce can transform a simple plate of pasta into a true gourmet dish. To make a dish special, it’s fundamental to choose the right sauce. Seasonal vegetables, aromatic herbs, plant-based oils, and even seitan, tofu or tempeh are the main ingredients that will help you prepare an excellent vegan sauce for your pasta (and other things!), to enjoy every day at dinner or even on the holidays. Here are 2 recipes to try!

  1. Vegan ragout with seitan and apples

Ragout is the number one go-to sauce when it comes to the holidays, and it is ideal for any form of pasta, including lasagna. Why give it up when you can make a vegan version of this Italian classic using seitan protein and apples? This recipe calls for you to first make a normal soffritto base of carrots, onion and celery. Cook the soffritto in olive oil before adding some water and then the tomato, as you would with a normal ragu. Add the seitan, chopped in pieces, and let it all cook down for about 15-20 minutes. Finally, when there are just a few minutes’ cooking time left, add the chopped apple. This ragout will surely wow your friends and family, alike!

  1. Vegan zucchini spaghetti with white seitan sauce

Another recipe with seitan as the protagonist, due to its versatility and high protein content. Seitan particularly lends itself to making sauces, since its texture mimics that of the meat normally used to make traditional sauces. In this case, we make a sauce that is without tomato, and suggest adding walnut pieces for crunch. Here, instead of noodles or pasta, make zoodles – zucchini is a great stand-in for egg-based pastas since their texture is similar after boiling. Clean the zucchini and, using a knife, remove both ends. Cut each one in half and then cut into strips. Finally, cut them into 3 or 4 mm ‘noodles’ before boiling them in slightly salted water. Cook them for a few minutes before draining and setting aside. For the ragu, put some garlic in some oil and turn on the heat. Add the pre-chopped seitan to the pan and add a little salt. Crush the walnuts and add them to the pan. After about ten minutes, add some chopped parsley, then toss in the zucchini and heat through on a low flame. Enjoy this healthy, vegan alternative to spaghetti!


Vegan holiday meal

It’s easy to prepare a vegan holiday meal

This holiday season, we want to encourage you to respect our animal friends, and the planet, as you prepare your festive holiday meals. Of course, it’s always nice to celebrate tradition, but it can also be really fun and exciting to try something new, especially if it will diminish your carbon footprint! Not only will the animals thank you, but your guests will benefit from healthy alternatives to the traditional holiday dishes. As you most likely know, food and wine are obsessions in Italy, and naturally more so at this time of year. We gather with friends and family every chance we get to share meals and celebrate, and plan the next meal!

Vegan dinner recipes

Vegan appetizers with vegan cheese

Beginning with the antipasti, instead of serving cheese, try cashew cheese, instead! You can buy it pre-made, or make it yourself at home. All you need are 150g of natural cashew nuts,
1 ½ tablespoon of food yeast, ½ lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of mustard, 1 pinch of salt, 1 pinch of garlic powder, 1 pinch of pepper, 30g of cranberries and 20g of pumpkin seeds.

Put the cashews soaked in hot water for 2 hours, then drain, and pour into the food processor adding the yeast, lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Blend everything well until you get a homogeneous mixture, transfer it into a bowl and add 20 g of very coarsely chopped cranberries. To shape the “cheese,” cover a low and wide bowl with a film and pour the cashew mixture over it. Press the edges together with the film and place it in the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Once ready, remove it from the bowl and remove the film, then decorate the surface with the remaining cranberries and pumpkin seeds. Serve it on a tray or on a cutting board accompanying it with crackers and breadsticks. This lovely vegan appetizer will be appealing to all!

Vegan home made pasta with broccoli

For the first course, we suggest you stick to pasta. While traditionally in Italy the first course is a lasagna with meat sauce, it is simple to switch it up and make a vegan lasagna. We love this recipe for vegan lasagna with pumpkin and cime di rapa or broccoli. The bechamel sauce can be made with oat milk instead of dairy.

You will need 300g pasta without egg, 500g cime di rapa (or broccoli), 400g pumpkin, 1 garlic clove, 1 rosemary branch, and a pinch of cinnamon. For the bechamel sauce, you’ll need
500 ml unsweetened oat milk, 40g type 2 flour, 20g olive oil, 20g sunflower oil, 1 spoonful of yeast, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

Vegan béchamel

First, make the bechamel.

Put the flour and two types of oil into a small pot and mix well with a wooden spoon over a small flame. Once the roux begins to form, add some warm oat milk as you continue to mix to avoid the formation of lumps. Continue to mix and let boil for two minutes. Turn off the heat and add salt, pepper, nutmeg and yeast.

Next, roast the pumpkin. Clean the pumpkin by removing fibers and seeds, remove the skin, and cut it into thin strips. Place it on a baking sheet with oil, salt, pepper, cinnamon and rosemary and bake for ten minutes at 200°C. While the pumpkin roasts, cook the broccoli  or cime di rapa. Clean the stalks and cut it into pieces. Please it in lightly salted boiling water for a few minutes to blanch. Drain it, and then pan fry in some olive oil with garlic. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble the lasagna, boil the pasta in salted water for three minutes, then drain and let rest on a tray. Cover the bottom of a pan with some of the bechamel, then a layer of pasta, more bechamel, and then a layer of pumpkin followed by a layer ofcime di rapa or broccoli. Proceed with another layer of pasta, pumpkin, andcime di rapa or broccoli, until all ingredients are in the pan. Finish with a layer of veggies covered in bechamel. Then, put the whole thing in the oven at 180°C for twenty minutes. Once the time is up, let rest ten minutes before serving.

Vegan secondo: spezzatino with seitan

If your guests are still hungry after the antipasto and primo, you can always prepare a spezzatino with seitan, instead of beef, and leave things traditional! Spezzatino is a traditional Italian beef stew, made with potatoes, peas and carrots, Substitute beef stock with veggie stock, and the beef with seitan to make this classic stew vegan-friendly! For dessert, keep it simple with fresh, seasonal fruit!

Be sure to accompany each course with a vegan wine. We suggest a bottle for every two guests. Look for wine bottles labeled “V OK”, meaning they don’t contain any animal products whatsoever.

We wish you and your loved ones the best this holiday season, and we hope you enjoy a cruelty-free meal with the help of these easy suggestions!