Category Archives: Salads

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!

Lentils!

This week’s ingredient was lentils because I use them ALL THE TIME.  I love them and they are so versatile.  Lentils are part of the legume family and are high in B vitamins (especially folate), fiber, iron and protein (18g in 1 cup). Lentils can help to stabilize blood sugar, lower cholesterol, increase energy and keep you feeling full.

I often use lentils in place of ground meat when “veganizing” a recipe.  They are great in sloppy joes, tacos, burritos, bolognese, burgers, salads, soups, etc.

Here are a few ways we ate our lentils this week:

Red Lentil Cauliflower Burgers

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These held together really well!  I did end up having to add a bit more chickpea flour, but ultimately, it worked out great.

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Delicious and the kids ate them up too!

Lentil Grape Salad

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I have been making this salad since long before I decided to eat plant based.  It is one of my favorites for potlucks, BBQs or just a big crowd.  The original recipe calls for honey and feta cheese.  You can sub agave or raw sugar for the honey and just leave out the feta.  If you are a salt person (I am not), you may want to add some extra salt to make up for the lack of feta.  Maybe use salted roasted walnuts instead of raw…or maybe add some olives (no idea if that would work,  I despise olives, but they would definitely add that salty flavor).

Massor Dal Tadka (Pink Lentil Stew)

Masoor Dal Tadka

I love lentil soups and stews of all kinds.  I actually wasn’t sure about this one going in.  I usually would chop my garlic very fine…not generally a big fan of bigger garlic slices.  And I was worried about the spice level.  I did use a jalapeno instead of  a Serrano because I have an abundance of them in my garden.  I LOVED this!  I wish I would have doubled the recipe because I ate the whole thing (myself) in one day.  The garlic melts right into the soup and you can’t taste any bits of it or the cumin seeds (another worry I had).  It all just blended so nicely and the seasoning was perfect, not spicy.

Cheeze Lentil Rice Bake

Sadly, I did not photograph this one.  I’ve made it at least 5 times now over the past year and I have not one picture.  Wha?  But, just trust me, you will love this.  My kids all love it too!  In fact, recently, I’ve been doubling the recipe cause we end up eating all the whole thing in one sitting.

In other news:  I am super excited that I have been accepted as a recipe tester for Vegan Richa.  She is a vegan food blogger and working on a new Indian cookbook.  Obviously, I can’t share any recipes with you, but I may post up some pics every now and then about what I’ve been testing.  I’ve already made a few very tasty dishes!!  FYI:  two of the recipes I made this week with lentils were from her blog and I didn’t do that on purpose; I had them on the menu before I even knew of the recipe testing opportunity.  I just really like her food!

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?”

Citrus Farro Salad w/ Golden Beets and Chocolate Beet Cupcakes

I’m so impressed with my kids this week. The girls (2.5 years old) have been eating the Roasted Beet and Walnut Spread like it’s candy. They’ve been dipping crackers, cucumbers, sugar snap peas and spoons into this stuff all week. I have a feeling this is going to go in the rotation quite often. They were asking for more today, but they already ate it all! And my son (6 years old) is asking when we are going to make the Strawberry Beet Smoothie again. FYI: Trader Joe’s sells packaged roasted peeled beets. Obviously, they are more expensive than buying loose beets, but if you don’t have the time to roast them yourself, they are a great alternative. Beets are so nutritious that I say go for it!

I’m wrapping up “Beet Week” with 2 outstanding recipes! The first is a light summer salad and the second a fudgy decadent dessert.

Citrus Farro Salad w/ Golden Beets

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Ingredients:

  • 2-3 large golden beets, scrubbed and trimmed
  • Beet greens, chopped
  • 1 cup orange slices
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups cooked farro

 

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Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cut beets in half or quarters and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Cover with another piece of foil and roast until tender, about 50-60 minutes. Let cool.IMG_1073 IMG_1074
  3. Peel off the skins, then cut the beets into bite-size chunks
  4. In large bowl, combine cooked farro, beets, beet greens, celery, and oranges. Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over the farro mixture and toss well to combine.

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Vegan Chocolate Beet Cupcakes

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I mean, who doesn’t love a good cupcake, right?  And if it’s packed with nutrition, even better.  These do have more sugar than I would normally use, but they sounded so intriguing, I just had to try them.

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Mmmm, fresh out of the oven.  I could ever so slightly taste the beet flavor, but I can pretty much guarantee if you didn’t know it was in there, you wouldn’t taste it.  So, feel free to serve them up to your healthfood adverse friends.

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I have just recently discovered the blog where this recipe came from, The Minimalist Baker. I’m already a fan.  Lots of good looking recipes there, so take a look around after you download the recipe for these cupcakes!

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Are you a beet lover?  How do you like to eat your beets?

Next up will be all about Cantaloupes!  It’s M’s favorite food.  I can’t wait to experiment with all the yummy ways to use it.

 

Broccoli Grape Salad

Picnic and BBQ season is finally among us!!  Here in the midwest, I was beginning to think it was never going to happen. (What was with that snow last Friday?!?!). Now that it IS here, you are going to need some delish dishes to take to all those parties you plan on attending, right?  I have the perfect potluck salad for you!  Just swap the mayonaisse for Veganaisse and you’ve got yourself the most amazing vegan side dish.  I have made this three times in the last two weeks. And I haven’t gone to any BBQs, parties or picnics…it’s just for us. I’ve been eating it for lunch most days or a little afternoon snack.  Its THAT good!

Broccoli Grape Salad

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The Broccoli Grape salad is on the right (don’t forget to use Veganaisse instead of mayo).  On the left is a Three Bean Kale salad, which was also terrific.  I actually mixed the two together one day and it worked out great…so yummy!

 

Vegan “Egg” Salad Sandwich

Think following a plant based diet means you can’t have your egg salad sandwich?  Think again!  Crumbled tofu looks, feels and tastes just like crumbled hard boiled eggs.  It is also sooooo much easier than boiling and peeling all those eggs!  Dress it up with your favorite egg salad fixin’s like Veganaise (mayo), mustard, pickle relish, celery, etc. and you will never know the difference…I promise!  I didn’t really measure anything when I made this, so measurements in the ingredient list below are approximations.  If you really like mustard, then by all means use more..same with the mayo.  Don’t like carrots or celery, leave them out, or swap them out  for your favorites (radish, sweet peppers, green onion, cucumber…all would be good).

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Vegan “Egg” Salad

  • 1 block firm tofu (make sure it’s non GMO), pressed* and crumbled
  • 3 tbsp Veganaise
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tbsp pickle relish
  • 2 stalks celery, diced small
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced small
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place first six ingredients in a bowl and mix.  Drizzle with red wine vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper to your liking.  Mix again and enjoy!

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I toasted up some Ezekial whole wheat bread, added a little extra Veganaise and mustard to the toast, piled on the “egg” salad and topped with tomato slices.  Yum!  This would be great as a snack with whole wheat crackers or stuffed in a pita.

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Using tofu instead of eggs saves you more than 1/2 the calories and 2/3 of the fat and ALL of the cholesterol, but this salad is still high in protein and calcium.

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Take a big bite and enjoy!!

*To press tofu: Place block of tofu on a paper towel lined plate.  Place several more paper towels on top of the tofu and set another plate on top of that.  Weigh down the top plate with something fairly heavy (I usually use a few bags of dried beans).  Leave it like that for at least 30 minutes.  Your tofu is now ready to use!

A great veggie burger recipe!

It was burgers for dinner tonight with a side of potato salad and apple slices (thanks to M’s homework assignment:  eat a red and green apple…can you taste a difference?).  I think I mentioned before how much I love the Thug Kitchen blog…hilarious!  This burger recipe as well as the potato salad recipe came from that blog….and neither was a disappointment.  In fact, these burgers might just go into our regular rotation.  The kids loved them too and didn’t even realize there was tons of spinach, kidney beans and brown rice in there.  Bonus is that they are baked in the oven instead of fried in a pan…less work and less oil…score!  They held together perfectly without any vital wheat gluten…just pure wholesome goodness.  Delish!

Smokey Bean and Spinach Burgers and Fresh Herb Potato Salad

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I topped mine with Veganaise, mustard, avocado and tomato.

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I’ve made a few other delicious recipes lately that I’ve been meaning to share.  This next one is by far one of my favorites since the beginning of this blog.  It seems so simple, but it so yummy.  I’ve been using this spread on everything!  The recipe is for White Bean Vegan Quesadillas and that’s what I made the first night.  Then I used the bean paste to make tortilla roll ups for M’s lunchbox and several times for lunch for me.  I’ve also used the spread as a dip for tortilla chips.  I think it would also be great as a taco topping instead of salsa (or in addition to).  I doubled the bean paste recipe and used half white beans and half refried beans.  I don’t have any pics of the quesadillas I made, but I do have a pic of the rollups I put in M’s lunchbox.

Beyond Amazing White Bean Vegan Quesadillas

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Another good recipe was this soup recipe. Perfect for the cooler autumn months.  You’ll likely be seeing a lot of soup recipes from me soon.  I LOVE soup…all kinds….all year, but especially in the fall and winter.

This recipe is for Red Lentil and Turnip Soup.  I pureed mine with an immersion blender to get rid of the big chunks, but not  so it was silky smooth…there were still some lumps.  I also used regular brown lentils…not as pretty, but just as tasty!

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More Lunchbox Love

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Ham and Cheese on Whole Wheat, Carrot Sticks, Green Pepper Strips, Grapes, Pretzel Sticks and Yogurt Covered Peanuts

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Tortilla Rollups w/ White Bean Spread (see above), shredded carrot and green pepper, Grapes, String Cheese and a homemade vegan Strawberry Thumbprint Cookie (from Forks Over Knives…I used strawberry jam (St. Dalfour brand) instead of raspberry.

Enjoy!

So many great recipes!

Well, I’ve been neglecting my blog lately.  It’s been a very busy few weeks, but I haven’t been neglecting my scrumptious meals. So, here are several to get your mouth watering.

SAVORY

Curried Quinoa and Wild Rice Savory Cakes

These little cakes were pretty good.  I served them with a non-dairy yogurt sauce alongside green peas and roasted carrots.  Easy peasy.

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Southwestern Black Bean Salad and Creamy Coleslaw

I made the Black Bean Salad and used it as a taco filling.  I topped the tacos with a little vegan sour cream and served them in tortillas.  Alongside, I made the coleslaw, which could not have been easier.  Really yummy!!

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Stuffed Pepper Enchiladas

These were great!  And what a great idea to stuff peppers with enchilada filling for a hearty low carb dinner.  I swapped out the zucchini for corn and I used actual dairy cheese….gasp!  I had some in the deli drawer because….well, there is no good excuse really….but since you know better, you will use Daiya shreds or better yet, just top it with some creamy avocado slices and you likely won’t miss the cheese anyway!

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Chickpea Pesto Sandwich

I made this sandwich for lunch today after reading EVERY SINGLE blog post from Thug Kitchen.  He put his sandwich filling between two slices of bread, but I chose to wrap it up in a spinach tortilla with tomato slices fresh from the garden.  I have recently discovered Thug Kitchen and am in love with this blog.  Not only does he post wonderful whole food plant based vegan recipes, but he is HILARIOUS as well.  He uses some choice language, but it’s all in good fun….and in good health!  Check it out and once you stop laughing, go make some of his delicious recipes.

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SWEET

Maple Banana Bread Muffins

Delicious!  These were a huge hit with the kids too!

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Peach Almond Smoothie

I have been drinking this as I write this post.  I don’t have a pic because I was too busy slurping it down, but trust me, it’s great!

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1 cup frozen peaches
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Handful of ice cubes

Blend well and enjoy!

More Lunchbox Inspiration (*Disclaimer, I don’t guarantee that lunches are 100% vegan)

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Whole wheat bagel w/ peanut butter and fig jelly on one…peanut butter and strawberry jelly on the other, string cheese, orange and red bell pepper slices, cubed cantaloupe and 3 small cinnamon shortbread cookies.

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A2Z muffin (from My Beef With Meat), orange slices, green peas and cubed cantaloupe.  I think I served this alongside a small thermos of leftover pasta marinara.

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Spinach tortilla rollups with turkey slices, cheese and bell peppers, raspberries and blueberries, wheat thins, pickle spear (in parchment paper) and cinnamon shortbread cookies.

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Almond butter and banana sandwich on sprouted rye bread, sugar snap peas, red and yellow bell pepper slices, raspberries and blueberries.

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Cinnamon raisin bagel, string cheese, leftover Southwestern Black Bean and Corn Salad (see above post), nectarine slices and a few chocolate chips.

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Almond butter on a cinnamon raisin english muffin, strawberries, cantaloupe, cucumber slices and a small piece of dark chocolate.

Workout

So, I have a confession to make….I haven’t been keeping up very well with my 30 Day Plank Challenge.  I think I got to day 20 and then missed a few days.  I have been running about 2-4 miles 3 days a week, walking 3-4 miles about twice a week and usually once a week I do a TaeBo DVD and full body circuit or tabata workout that I find on Pinterest.  Sometimes, I do those workouts on the days that I walk, so I still generally have 1-2 rest days as well.  But, I would still like to get back to my plank challenge.  So, I think I will just pick up with day 20 today and finish it out from here.  3 minutes is a LONG time to hold a plank and I found I just couldn’t do it the whole time. So, when I felt like I couldn’t hold it for a second longer, I would push up into downward dog for about 5 seconds and then drop back to plank and continue.  That worked out to about 2-3 downward dogs in a 3 minute span.

Happy Monday!

Two Quick and Easy Pasta Salads

Both of these salads are super quick and easy to make.  The Bow Tie Pasta Salad travels great and would make a wonderful potluck addition.  I love the sweetness of the fruits in the Summer Soba.  Both are delicious!

Summer Soba (from My Beef with Meat)

  • 1 12 oz package soba noodles
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1tbsp, plus 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
  • 1 mango, pitted, peeled and cut into cubes (I used a peach)
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled seeded and cut into cubes
  • 1 oz sesame seeds

Cook the soba noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse under cold water and transfer to a large bowl.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, maple syrup and tamari.  Add the sauce to the noodles and toss thoroughly.  Add the sliced and cubed fruits and veggies and toss again.

In a pan over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until browned (watch them closely!).  Sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds over the entire dish.  Serve and enjoy!

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Bow Tie Pasta Salad w/ Peas and Sun Dried Tomatos (from Supermarket Vegan)

  • 12 oz bow tie pasta or similar short pasta
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 5 tbsp prepared balsamic vinaigrette
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatos, drained and chopped, 1/2 tbsp marinade reserved
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

In a large stockpot filled with boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente, adding the peas during the last few minutes of cooking.  Drain and rinse under cold water, drain well again.

In a large bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinaigrette, oil, mustard, reserved marinade, salt and pepper.  Stir in the onion and let stand a few minutes to allow the flavors to blend.  Add the pasta and pea mixture, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil, tossing well to combine.  Let stand a few minutes before tossing again.  Serve at room temperature.

I’ll try to get a picture up soon.