Meatless Monday, Valentine’s Edition: Heart-shaped wonton recipe (vegan or vegetarian)

Oh man. That title almost makes me swoon with how incredibly yupster I am. Oh, you made homemade wontons? Well mine are slightly healthier, and have both a vegan and a sweet option. And dig this; they’re heart shaped. They’re almost barf-worthy, except that they’re so delicious and topical, as Valentine’s day is this week. So, if you’re having a Pinterest-worthy party, add these to your menu. They’re not that much work, kind of soothing, and you can change the level of healthiness and deliciousness to suit your needs.

Time: 30 minutes — an hour, depending on how many you’re making.

Ingredients (savory):

  • Wonton wrappers: found at health food stores and more and more chain stores, in the ‘Asian’ section.
  • Cream cheese or mashed avocado
  • Vegan filling (optional, see below)
  • 1-3 cloves garlic, diced (2 cloves will make about 18 wontons)
  • 1-3 large mushrooms, diced (1 large baby bella will make about 18 wontons)
  • Artichoke hearts, diced (1 will make about 18 wontons)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cup of water for sealing
  • Pesto (optional)
  • Shredded spinach (optional)
  • Egg, beaten (optional)

For vegan filling: combine sauteed garlic and artichoke hearts in a blender with spinach and blend until fairly smooth. This won’t have the creamy texture of avocado or cream cheese, but if you hate the taste of heated avocado (I do!), it’s a tasty option.

Ingredients (sweet):

  • Fresh berries (you may substitute jam, but it won’t be as healthy!)
  • Cream cheese (a little over a cup will make about 18 wontons)
  • Sugar/stevia/sweetener of some kind, to taste
  • For vegan, substitute any cream cheese alternative or use cashew cream
  • Beaten egg (optional)
  • Powdered sugar (optional)

Combine all the sweet ingredients except the sugar in a blender and blend, slowly adding sugar/stevia/honey until desired sweetness is attained.

Process:

If you’ve ever made wontons before, you kind of know the drill. Sautee some garlic, dollop cream cheese, imitation crab, garlic and salt and pepper onto a wrapper, seal with water, brush with egg, fry or bake. These are basically the same, but with a twist.

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Sautee your garlic and mushrooms together lightly in olive oil, adding salt and pepper to taste. Then, take a wonton wrap and dollop your fillings into the middle. You want at most a tablespoon of stuff all told, or it will leak out the sides. (Some of mine always leak, I just can’t help over filling!) For savory, I suggest 1 tsp cream cheese, mashed avocado, or vegan filling and a sprinkling of mushroom-garlic and a little bit of shredded spinach. Feel free to add pesto, but go easy; pesto is very oily.

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Pesto, cream cheese, mushroom and garlic

There’s a few ways to make and seal the wonton, but for the heart shape, check out my quick video:

An option is to simply cut off the sides into a more rounded shape, resealing with more water. But I kind of liked the origami heart effect. I made this demo with just plain cream cheese, because I ran out of other stuff and didn’t want to make a whole new batch for just one heart.

If desired, you can beat one egg and have it in a bowl, taking a basting brush and brushing egg over the wontons. This will add crispiness, but take away vegan-ness and add calories. And these are super calorific anyway. If you are not using an egg wash, you can use pesto as a filling; I don’t suggest using them together, because of the oiliness of the pesto.

Optional for the sweet versions: after the egg wash, sprinkle powdered sugar over the hearts.

Once you have your desired number, pop them all onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Or you can try depending on the pesto oil to sort of leak out and grease the pan for you if you’re lazy and foolhardy resourceful like me. Then stick in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

There you have it! It’s a little bit time consuming, but fairly easy once you get the hang of it. And it’s delicious. Try substituting mozzarella for the cream cheese, and add fresh basil. Or blintz filling, to make little mini heart blintzes! The twee possibilities are endless!

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