I am always on the lookout for new dishes to sample or vegan-ize, thinking that maybe now I’ll appreciate something that, as a meat eater, I didn’t appreciate. Like spinach. Sure, I could kill a bowl of spinach artichoke dip like nobody’s business but let’s be honest and admit that was mostly due to the gargantuan amounts of cheese in that particular dish. In general though, spinach was one of the few dark leafy greens I could do without or tolerate if I absolutely had to.
But over time my taste buds went from tolerance to a slow appreciate, that I can admit, is still totally situational. You won’t catch me eating steamed spinach with lemon and garlic anytime soon and you won’t find me replacing my beloved salad greens either.
Baby steps, people.
So when one of my Facebook friends shared a video of spinach & cream cheese pinwheels slathered with pig flesh, I thought to myself, “Hey I could totally vegan-ize this!” Since my husband loves spinach, I’ve been making an effort and this was one of the few unprompted spinach dishes I’d made.
Thus, the spinach dish was born.
As a good vegan, it might take you some time to find the a decent puff pastry that’s made with plant butter. This is key to keeping it vegan and here in Romania, it took some time to find one. Only one.
But, I digress.
I used frozen spinach but only because we bought a kilogram package and I wanted to use it before freezer burn took over. So I set it in some cold water for a few hours and then let it drain while I prepped the rest of the meal.
Start with the white beans first. I used cannellini beans because they get really creamy in the food processor and they act as the “cheese” in this dish. Combined with some sun-dried tomatoes, grilled garlic and onions, I tossed it all into the processor until it was smooth. Then I made the mistake of folding the spinach in, which kind of lost the beans in the process. The flavor was AMAZING but I wanted the beans to be the star and they weren’t, so I’d recommend you layer it instead of combining it all.
Sprinkle some herbs down on the parchment paper and then lay the flat puff pastry onto a baking sheet. Slather the bean-spinach mixture until covered and then start to roll it up, the same way you would if you were making cinnamon rolls, only roll it a little tighter so it doesn’t spill over. Now you’re good to go! Pop it in the oven for 25-35 minutes until golden and flaky.
This is another bonus to vegan cooking, you don’t have to worry about overcooking everything else just to wait until the meat has cooked safely.
Now, while the pinwheels are baking in the oven, grab 2 heads of radicchio, chop it up with onions and garlic, saute it with a minimal amount of oil/fat until soft. I added lemon and balsamic vinegar but radicchio is new to me and it was far more bitter than I realized. (So if you have any tips on cooking radiccio, I am all ears!!!)
I added a few kalamata olives as garnish to the dish and swallowed it down with a few fingers of Jameson.
On the rocks.