Saturday, January 5, 2013

Making strata from Pure Vegan

I just discovered a wonderful new cookbook, Pure Vegan by Joseph Shuldiner. It is a thoughtful book with delightful recipes, well-designed, and featuring inviting photographs. I decided to prepare his recipe for a "Breakfast Strata" and discovered it was one of the few recipes without an accompanying photo. So, I thought I would take photographs of some of the steps in making the strata. While he called it a strata, it felt more like a torte to me, but I am not an expert on baking nomenclature!

Shuldiner's "Breakfast Strata" is layers of vegetables, scrambled tofu, and cashew crema, contained within a pie crust.

After rolling out the pie crust, one drapes it over the springform pan and begins to add the layers of goodies. The first layer is scrambled tofu, which Shuldiner highlights with cumin. I woke up this morning thinking about the delicious tofu ricotta I make with tofu, fresh rosemary, lemon juice, and a little miso. I think next time I might try that instead of the scrambled tofu. 

Next to be added to the strata is a layer of thick cashew cream. Followed by steamed spinach or chard.

The photograph above shows those layers plus roasted oyster mushrooms. Shuldiner didn't explicitly say use oyster mushrooms, but my local Chinese grocery store sells organic oyster mushrooms and I use any excuse to prepare them they are so delicious.  Next comes roasted red peppers, seen below. My son Douglas felt that the strata could have used sun-dried tomatoes, so next time I would add them at this point in the assembly.

Then one works backwards, adding the ingredients in reverse order, so next were added more oyster mushrooms. Then the cashew crema, seen below:


After the cashew crema, the final ingredient of scrambled tofu is layered on top. Then I folded down the dough that had been over the sides, tucking in the ingredients. The scrambled tofu has a little tumeric in, giving it its color, which can be seen below surrounded by the folder down dough.

I topped it it with the remaining dough (at the beginning I had cut the dough into 3/4 and 1/4). When done, I used my thumb to seal the dough:

Shuldiner recommends assembling the strata a day ahead, and then the morning you are serving it, you bake it for an hour, let it rest for an hour. At this point it looks like this:

Then you release it from the springform pan, and voila, a delicious breakfast treat:
I love these Italian plates, which my mother bought back in the 1960s. In the morning sun, they were the perfect plates to feature the many-layered strata.


  1. Nicole, it was delicious... but I think a little too much cumin!

  2. I am opposed to eating meat. I'm vegetarian :)

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