Category Archives: Pasta

Eggplant

This week’s focus was on eggplant.  This was an easy choice as our garden is overflowing with this glossy purple veggie.  Just when I think we’ve gone through them all there are 3-4 more ready to harvest.

Eggplants have a decent amount of potassium, folate, magnesium, copper, manganese, niacin and fiber.  The skin of eggplant is edible and has been shown to have the potential ability to help prevent against cancer, aging, inflammation and neurological diseases.  

The meaty flesh makes them hearty and filling.  Try roasting or grilling thick slices for a “steak” the healthy way!

Here is how we enjoyed our eggplant this week:

Eggplant Pizzas

Eggplant Pizza 2

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant, sliced into 3/4 inch slices
  • 1 tbsp salt (for drawing out the liquid)
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 tsp dried Italian seasonings
  • 1 recipe Moxerella
  • 2 cups of your favorite marinara sauce

Directions

  1. Place the eggplant slices on a double layer of paper towels and sprinkle both sides with salt. Let the eggplant sit for about 20 minutes to draw out the liquid.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. After 20 minutes, wipe the eggplant clean with a dry paper towel, removing the salt and water.
  4. Place the eggplant slices on the parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes or until just tender.
  5. While the eggplant roasts, make the Moxerella.
  6. When eggplant is done roasting, top each slice with a few spoonfuls of marinara sauce, a few dollops of Moxerella and a sprinkling of Italian seasonings.
  7. Put eggplant under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese is melty and starting to brown.
  8. Devour!

Note:  The Moxerella recipe is so easy.  I know it sounds weird and you probably think it won’t work, but trust me!

 

Vegan Eggplant Meatballs

Eggplant Meatballs

These were delicious and held together really well.

Spaghetti w Eggplant Meatballs

 

Basil Roasted Eggplant with Heirlooms & Balsamic Drizzle

Basil Roasted Eggplant

This was my favorite recipe of the week!! I am a fan of anything with vinegar. I did not use the honey called for in this recipe. I like the balsamic to stand on its own. My eggplants were on the smaller side. One half would make a great appetizer or salad course for a dinner party, a light lunch on it’s own or, if you are like me, you’ll eat 3 of these halves and call it dinner.  If you have bigger eggplants, you can slice each half into quarters for more manageable serving sizes.

Basil Roasted Eggplant 2

 

Eggplant seems to be one of those vegetables that people either love or hate.  Obviously, I love it! Where do you stand?

 

What to do with all that summer zucchini…

If you are anything like me, you find yourself with an over abundance of zucchini somewhere in the middle of summer.  It’s high in fiber and low in calories.  It’s mild taste lends itself well to almost anything from stirfrys to sweets.  Along with zucchini’s antioxidant properties, you will find folate, potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin C among the health benefits.

Here are a few ways we enjoyed our zucchini last week:

Deli Macaroni Salad

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By far our favorite pasta salad for picnics or potlucks.  Read my original post about this delicious vegan macaroni salad here.   I change it up a little every time I make it to incorporate the veggies I already have on hand.  This time I omitted the peas and added shredded zucchini instead.  And I always double the amount of veggies.  Yum!

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Summer Veggie Tart

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I admit I melted a tiny bit of mozzarella on one half for the hubby and kids.  My half was cheese free.  This was great.  I served it with a big salad made of green leaf lettuce, spinach, red pepper strips, fresh from the garden cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and a balsamic vinaigrette.

Zucchini Bread

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Who doesn’t love zucchini bread?  This one did not disappoint.  Sweetened only with dates, it’s super healthy.  I love the addition of the nutmeg.

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Roasted Zucchini with Thyme

We also enjoyed zucchini simply roasted with a touch of olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. I didn’t take a photo of this, but you know what roasted veggies look like, right?  Hubby and I probably enjoy them best this way. Easy and flavorful.

  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix all ingredients together and place on baking sheet in one even layer.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until zucchini is just tender.  We like it best with a little bit of bite left.  Enjoy!

Kids LOVE Red Bell Peppers!

This week was all about red bell peppers. To be honest, every week is all about red bell peppers. The kids just love them. M’s lunchbox last year had raw red bell pepper strips on average 4 out of 5 days. We eat them raw, sauteed in a stir fry, grilled in fajitas, wrapped up in a tortilla, roasted in dips and spreads and the list goes on and on.

Bell peppers just happen to be one of hubby’s favorite foods as well. His favorite recipe growing up (and still to this day) is pepper steak. His mom makes an awesome recipe using red bell peppers instead of green.It’s a nice change and works so well. That recipe contains beef steak, but you can try it using tempeh or seitan instead…or just lots of meaty mushrooms.

Red Bell Peppers are incredibly high in Vitamin C. Just one cup has over 150% of your daily needs. Vitamin A and a few of the B’s are also found in decent amounts in these red beauties. Red Bells also have plenty of antioxidants and anti-cancer benefits.

Peppers of all kinds are super easy to grow at home. My green bells, jalapeno and banana peppers are all doing so great this year. I kept waiting and waiting for my red bells to appear. Upon closer inspection….I forgot to buy a red bell plant. UGH! No wonder they weren’t growing.  🙂

Here is how we enjoyed our red bell peppers this week:

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

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The girls and I really liked this.  Hubby and son thought it was just ok.   The sauce is creamier than a tomato based sauce.  You could always add a little veggie stock to thin it out if you like…or maybe just leave out the cornstarch.  And, if you are in a time crunch, feel free to cheat and use roasted red peppers from a jar instead of charring your own.

 

 

Veggie Tortilla Rollups

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I have made these several times, usually for an appetizer for a party.  They are always a hit!  They also make a great lunch for the littles.  Easy for little hands to pick up and a nice change from the everyday PB&J.

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It also makes a great lunch for a grown up…just cut in half as a wrap instead of slicing into bite size pieces.

 

 

Stuffed Peppers

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I replaced the hummus in this recipe with the leftover bean spread from the Veggie Tortilla Rollups (see recipe link above) and it was delicious. I’m sure the hummus would be great too, I just wanted to use up what we had. Little did I know I would be making hummus the next day anyway.  🙂

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I served it up with a side of fresh sweet corn bought at the famers market that morning. Can’t go wrong there!  Kids and hubby all loved this as well!

 

 

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

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This is so easy.  I just use my favorite hummus recipe and add a roasted red bell pepper (again, you can cheat and use jarred…I won’t tell!)

  • 1-2  garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp  sea salt
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper

Blend all ingredients in a food processor.  Hummus will thicken when refrigerated.  Enjoy with raw veggies, pretzels, crackers, pita chips or a spoon!

 

Is anyone growing red bell peppers in their garden?  How do you use them?  Share with me in the comments section!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

All About Cantaloupe!

This week’s plant based ingredient is: Cantaloupe!

Cantaloupe is really nutritious, high in Vitamins C, A, several of the Bs and K.  It is also high in potassium, magnesium and fiber.

We eat a lot of cantaloupe in this house.  It’s a favorite of the kids and they like to eat it in bite-size cubes.  The beginning of the week almost always finds a container of cantaloupe cubes in the fridge.  A mere 2-3 days later and the kids have licked it clean.  While we did enjoy a good amount of plain cantaloupe cubes this week, I decided to see just what else this juicy orange fruit might be good for.  As it turns out, it’s pretty good in pasta, smoothies, salsa and even bread!

 

Orechiette w/ Cantaloupe and Avocado

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I left out the mozzerella and used walnuts in place of the pine nuts.  I loved it.  A perfect light summer meal.

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Cantaloupe Smoothie

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  • 1/2 medium cantaloupe
  • 2 frozen bananas

Blend.  Enjoy.

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Cantaloupe Quick Bread

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I was intrigued by a recipe I found on Pinterest, but it contained eggs, oil, white flour and 2 full cups of white sugar.  Yikes!  I didn’t think it would be too hard to veganize and I was right.  I replaced the oil with smashed banana and because of the sweetness of the banana, I was able to cut down the added sugar to only 1/2 cup of maple syrup.  I replaced the eggs with “flax eggs” and swapped out the white flour for whole wheat pastry flour.  Here is the new, healthier version.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp flaxmeal (ground flax seeds)
  • 6 tbsp warm water
  • 1 cup smashed ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pureed cantaloupe
  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

Directions:

  1. Mix the flaxmeal and warm water and set aside for a few minutes to thicken.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Lightly grease 2 9×5 loaf pans.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flax eggs, smashed banana, maple syrup, vanilla and cantaloupe puree.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger.  Stir flour mixture into cantaloupe mixture and combine, but do not overmix.  Pour batter into prepared pans.
  4. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool in pans on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.  Remove bread from loaf pans and enjoy.

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This bread is delicious and just sweet enough.  It has gone great with my morning coffee as well as acting as dessert.  The kids all love it too!  You can’t really taste any cantaloupe flavor, however.  This quick bread would be a great use for that overripe cantaloupe you let sit on your counter for one too many days.

 

 

Cantaloupe Salsa

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I’m a huge fan of peach salsa, so when I came across this recipe for cantaloupe salsa, I knew I just had to try it.  It’s light and refreshing…perfect for a summer appetizer.  We ate it with tortilla chips, but if you are an omnivore, check out the link to see how the original recipe was paired.

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And now for an exceprt from my girls’ favorite book (for the moment anyway), What Color Is Your Apple?:

“Fruits and vegetables come in many colors.

Each one a yummy treat!

Red, orange, yellow, purple, green.

Crispy, crunchy, sweet!

What is your favorite color food to eat?”

Vegan Cauliflower Bolognese

When you are eating a vegan, or even a vegetarian diet, its easy to fall back on pasta a lot.  And who doesn’t love pasta?  My kids certainly do and so do my husband and I.  I do, however, like to mix up the type of sauce I serve it with, espcially trying to sneak in more veggies whenever possible.  I found this recipe for Cauliflower Bolognese and thought it would be the perfect substitute for a “meaty” sauce.

Vegan Cauliflower Bolognese

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I used kale instead of spinach because I already had some in the fridge.  I pureed the mixture with a handheld immersion blender, leaving small bits of cauliflower, but no big chunks.  The kids devoured this…even my son who claims not to like cauliflower.  He had no idea it was in there and I wasn’t about to tell him.  🙂  I thought it was really good too!

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I used a 28oz can of crushed tomatoes instead of the 14oz in the recipe and I thought it was perfect.  And we had plenty of leftovers for once…even after everyone had seconds, and in some cases, thirds.

I served it over whole wheat macaroni noodles.  Give it a try!

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Fettuccine with Lentil Bolognese

Here is the recipe I promised from yesterday.  Another “lucky” meal for New Year’s Day.  We ate this for lunch yesterday and enjoyed leftovers today.  Long noodles represent longevity and lentils resemble coins representing wealth.  Health and wealth…who doesn’t want that?!  But, don’t just save this meal for New Year’s Day, it is great eaten all year round.  The lentils make it hearty enough that your carnivore friends won’t miss the meat.

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Lentil Bolognese

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 1 29oz can crushed tomatoes (or tomato puree)
  • 1 29oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine (or veggie stock)
  • 1 tbsp tamari (or liquid aminos or soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 cups cooked lentils (depending on how thick you want your sauce) (I cooked my lentils in veggie stock for added flavor)

Heat the oil, add the onion and cook until onions have softened and are translucent (a few minutes).  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Add the carrot and celery and cook for another 3-4 minutes until veggies start to soften.  Add the remaining ingredients except the lentils, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.  Add cooked lentils and simmer for another 10 minutes to heat through.  With an immersion blender, puree about half of the sauce or to your desired consistency.  If you like a really chunky sauce, you don’t need to puree at all; if you like a smooth sauce, puree until smooth.  If your sauce seems too thick, add veggie stock or water and simmer a few more minutes to heat through.

I served this over fettuccine noodles, but it would be great over any type of noodle or as a sauce for stuffed shells.  Feel free to sprinkle with nutritional yeast if desired.

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Lentils are super nutritious and cook up quickly with no pre-soaking required.  Click HERE to learn how to cook dried lentils on your stovetop.

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Enjoy!

Vegan Bolognese

It was spaghetti night at our house last night.  When meal planning for the week, I almost always plan at least one or two pasta nights since everyone seems to love a good bowl of noodles, myself included.  I came across this recipe earlier in the year and have made it several times since.  Sugo Finto – The Vegetarian Version of a Meat Sauce.  It’s really delicious and super nutritious….chock full of veggies that most likely your picky eaters won’t be able to detect.

ImageBe sure to dice the veggies very tiny.  You want them to form a thick chunky sauce, but you’re not making a primavera.

ImageI sauteed the veggies in homemade veggie broth instead of oil.  It works just as well without the fat and calories.

ImageThis is what the veggies look like after simmering in the red wine.  Don’t worry, the alcohol cooks off.

ImageGorgeous sauce after simmering for about 30 minutes.

Click HERE for the link to the Sugo Finto recipe.

ImageImageDoesn’t that look incredible?  We like it best over spaghetti noodles, but use whichever noodles your family likes best.  Yum!