Creamy Spinach and Portabella Pasta

 

Creamy Mushroom and Spinach pasta

I haven’t been doing much cooking lately, I am now 39 weeks pregnant and standing up for too long in the kitchen isn’t exactly the highlight of my day.  But I will say that this dish doesn’t take long at all to cook, you just need to prepare the cashews a couple hours in advance by soaking them.  Altogether, this dish took about 15 minutes to cook.  Of course, I used my food processor to chop my garlic and my parsley, so I kind of cheated.  And the cashew cream was made in my Vitamix (which I highly suggest all kitchens have! lol)  But cooking in stock speeds up the process tremendously, while making it 100x more healthy.

I had made this once before and had wanted to put it up my blog but we ate it so fast that I didn’t get to take a picture!  This time around, I made sure to get a picture in before hand, with the help of my mom who is here from NJ waiting for her new grandson to be born.  =)

  • Pasta of your choice (or rice, as my husband had it)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 portabella mushroom caps, diced (keep them diced fairly big, this is the “meat” of the dish)
  • 4 tbsp vegetable broth
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter (For flavor only, feel free to omit)
  • 1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup cashew cream (Recipe here)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley

 

In a saute pan, heat up the vegetable stock until steaming and then add the onions and mushrooms.  Cover and cook  over medium heat for 4 minutes.  After the 4 minutes are over, remove the cover and continue to cook, letting some of the liquid cook off, which should take another 2 minutes or so.  Be careful not to burn off too much liquid or the food will begin sticking to the pan.

Add the garlic, the vegan butter (if using) and the can of tomatoes.  Cook over medium heat another 2 minutes, stirring to mix it all together.  Stir in the lemon juice, the nutritional yeast, and the cashew cream.  Your sauce should turn from a brown liquid to a nice thick white-ish brown color.  When it starts to bubble, lower the heat to low and let simmer 5 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with a side of parsley, and possibly extra cashew cream.

 

 

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Creamy Avocado “Alfredo” (Vegan)

avacado "alredo"

 

This dish was created because I had pasta and an avocado that was going to go bad if I didn’t make it.  After much thought, I figured I would make a nice creamy sauce, and to tell you the truth, I wasn’t sure it was going to taste very good.  I was pleasantly surprised, it came out rich and delicious, and though I don’t usually like cooking in butter (even vegan butter)  I figured one time was worth it.  The garlic is very strong here, so if you have an aversion to very garlic-y dishes, by all means use less.

 

Avocado Alfredo:

  • 6 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 cup unsweetened regular almond milk
  • 2 tbsp basil
  • Juice of 1 large lemon (about 4 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a pan, warm up the butter, and then cook the garlic quickly, keeping it from burning, about 5 minutes.

While the garlic is cooking, place the avocado and milk in a blender and blend until smooth.  Add the avocado puree to the pan where the garlic should be nice and fragrant, add the basil, the lemon juice, and nutritional yeast.   Cook it about 3 minutes, and then season with salt and pepper.

Serve with a slice of lemon.

Cheesy Mexican Chicken Skillet (Vegan)

 

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Its been some time since my last blog post, we were spending some time with family in Wyoming.  Between the steak houses and the family cooking, it was hard to stay healthy.  Of course, vacation is over and its time to get back on track, and this time my husband is totally on board with me.  This is my take on a Cheesy Mexican skillet dish.    To keep this as healthy as possible, remember not to cook your vegetables too long, you don’t want them soggy and over cooked.

 

Vegan Cheesy Mexican Skillet

  • 4 tbsp vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 1 package white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp chili pepper (or less if you don’t want it spicy)
  • 1/3 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup frozen organic broccoli florets
  • 1 package vegan shredded chicken
  • 1 tbsp organic stone  ground mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, diced (let to sit 10 minutes)
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup Monterrey jack vegan cheese (daiya brand)
  • salt to taste (optional)

In a large skillet, heat the vegetable broth up till it starts to steam.  Add the onions and mushrooms, cover and let simmer for 3 minutes over medium heat.  After 3 minutes, uncover it, and add the broccoli, vegan chicken, chili pepper, and oregano.  (At this point, If  it all starts to stick to the pan, add a bit more vegetable broth, but no more then 1 tbsp)  After a minute, add the mustard, tomatoes, green onions, and vegan cheese.    Let the cheese melt into the dish, stirring for another minute.  Add salt to taste (or omit)

 

I served this with fresh organic corn on the cob, and brown rice.

Indian Spiced Coconut Lentil Soup

Indian Spiced Coconut Lentil Soup

Its a cold rainy day today, the kind of weather you would expect in Autumn, or maybe even later winter, definitely not the type of weather you would think of in late June.  Honestly, though, nothing surprises me in Washington anymore.  This soup is a comfort food of mine, full of protein and fiber, and chock full of nutrients.    Make this over rice for a more filling meal, or eat it as I am, as a soup.

Indian Spiced Coconut Lentil Soup

  • 2 cups cooked Lentils (I used Green Sprouted Lentils from TruRoots)
  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable Broth
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 can diced tomotes
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 can coconut milk

Heat the broth in a pan and when it starts to steam, add the onions, cover and cook 3 minutes.  Uncover and let it  cook another minute, adding the garlic and ginger and stirring until it becomes fragrant.  Drain a little bit of the liquid off the tomatoes, and add them into the onions.

While that’s cooking through, add the coconut milk to the cooked lentils, and heat it up over medium heat, about 5 minutes.

Add the onion/tomato mixture to the lentils/coconut mixture, and continue to cook over medium heat, uncovered, another 5 minutes.   Season it with salt.

Green Olive Tapenade over Vegan Cutlets and Pasta

So I mentioned I had bought a whole lot of olives, and besides snacking on them every time I open my fridge, I’ve  been brainstorming up some recipe ideas.  This meal is really quick to make, and its fancy enough to impress any dinner guest!  You can exclude the cutlets if you wish and just server this over pasta, or for my non vegan friends, the tapenade would work wonderfully over white fish or chicken.

I have to say, that the vegan fake meat is not what it used to be.  Its really great for people who are transitioning to the vegan lifestyle.  I have to mention, however, that there is debate about the risks and benifits associated with consuming too much of the soy bean isolate that is used to create these fake meats.  While eating tofu and tempeh, (the fermented version of the soy bean) is excellent for your health, it is hard to digest the soy protein isolate.   I see no reason to forgo the stuff completely, however eat it in moderation, just to be on the safe side.

All fake meat products use vital wheat gluten as one of the main ingredients.  So this is NOT a gluten free food.

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Olive Tapenade:

  • 10 green olives stuffed with red peppers
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 organic vine ripe tomato
  • 1/2 tbsp Olive oil

In a food processor, blend all the ingredients up until its roughly chopped.  It should only take 1 minute.

 

“Chicken”

  • 2 Vegan “Chicken” cutlets (I use gardien brand)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • salt and pepper

Melt the coconut oil in the pan, and cook the cutlets 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.  When its done, season one side with salt and pepper.

 

I served this over regular  pasta (unfortunately I was out of rice pasta which would have been my first choice, but my son is home sick today and I couldn’t run out to the store).  Just place the cutlets over the pasta, then scoop a nice serving over the chicken.

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Garlic Dill Spinach Noodles with Mushrooms and Onions (Gluten-free, Vegan)

Vegan Alfredo

 

  • 2 Packages of Gluten Free Spinach soy noodles cooked according to the package instructions and drained well.  (This is a good brand, I also like the ones in the water that only need to be soaked. – http://www.celiac.com/glutenfreemall/pasta-company-glutenfree-spinach-fettuccine-pasta-frozen-unit-p-2296.html)
  • 1/2 cup Cashew Sour Cream (Recipe here – you need to make it really thick, just add less water when blending it up)
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves, let sit for at least 10 minutes
  • 2 tbsp dry dill weed (or 4 tbsp fresh)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable stock
  • 1 package crimini mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • Fresh parsley

In a blender, take the cashew sour cream, the garlic, dill and salt, and blend it up until its nice and smooth and there’s no garlic chunks.  In a sauce pan, saute the mushrooms and onions, covered, in the stock for 2 minutes.  Uncover it and cook it for one more minute.  Mix the noodles with the garlic cashew cream, then place the mushroom and onions on top.   Garnish with fresh Parsley.

 

 

Cilantro Lime Black Bean Salad

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This is an excellent fresh salad dish to bring to a BBQ, or just whip it up on a hot summer day and have it for dinner.  I suggest getting all the ingredients local and fresh (and organic of course) because it will really make a difference in the taste.  The  tomatoes I used were these gorgeous extra large organic, weirdly shaped green and red tomatoes, and they were the sweetest tomatoes I’ve ever tasted.    Some other ideas to put into this salad are jicama, organic corn, red kidney beans, zucchini, and yellow squash.  The chia seeds in this recipe make the flavors of the dressing pop.  Since they absorb water, any lime juice that may sink to the bottom of the dish to be forgotten are picked up the chia seeds adding  a great burst of flavor while also providing extra protein and omega-3’s.  (Not that there’s a lack of omega 3’s otherwise!)

Cilantro Lime Black Bean Salad:

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed and let to sit at least 10 minutes
  • 1 can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 handful chives
  • 1/2 a large  tomato (or 1 whole small one), diced
  • 1/2 a large red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 a cucumber, diced
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp smoke paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt

Put all the ingredients together and toss it up.   Top it with fresh avocado slices and serve it with sour cashew cream (recipe here)  I drizzled the sour cashew cream right on top, it made it looks really pretty!

Cold Soba Noodles with Healthy Sauteed Asian Vegetables

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Today was an awesome day at the farmer’s market and I got an unexpected find: Bok choy!    I have to admit, I don’t know much about farming, and I’m always excited to see whats fresh and local in these parts of the woods.  I grew up in NJ and I’m pretty good with knowing NJ’s seasonal foods.   Pick your own farms was one of my favorite activities when I lived on the east coast.   So far WA hasn’t really thrown me any curve balls.  Finding organic baby bok choy was like winning the lottery, and it was for one simple reason, this recipe.  It is so good, and simple to make.  Buckwheat soba noodles are completely gluten free (just make sure they are 100% buckwheat as sometimes they are made with wheat as well) so don’t be afraid of the name.   The whole dish comes together in about 10 minutes.

Cold Soba noodles with Healthy Sauteed Asian Vegetables

This makes 1 large serving, but you can easily double it

  • 1 bunch of soba buckwheat noodles (3 indivully wrapped sections come in 1 package)
  • 3 tbls vegetable broth
  • 1 crushed garlic (chop the  garlic ahead of time to release the enzymes, they should sit for at least 5 minutes)
  • 1/4 inch grated ginger
  • 2 baby bok choy bunches, cut the light green stems into 3/4 inch pieces and the leaves into 1/2 inch pieces.  Keep separate
  • 1/2 red pepper cut into 1 inch strips
  • 1/4 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 2 tbls braggs amino acids (you can use low sodium soy sauce but braggs has 13 essential amino acids and it is salty without all the sodium)
  • 1 scallion, chopped small
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • toasted sesame seeds

 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and when ready, cook the buckwheat noodles 4 minutes.  Remove, and run under cold water and set aside.  In a large wok with a cover, bring the vegetable broth to a boil, put in the bok choy stems, and pepper.  Cover and cook 2 minutes.   After 2 minutes, add the stems and the mushrooms and cook another 2 minutes, uncovered.  If you want to mellow out the garlic and ginger you can add these the last minute of cooking.  Now toss the sesame oil, 1 tbls amino acid, and sesame seeds with the cold noodles, and top with the scallions.  The other 1 tbls amino acids is for the veggies.

 

Farmer’s markets are amazing places, if you do not have the money or the room to grow your own food, please go out and support your local organic farmers.  The food is fresher which means its more nutritous, it takes less energy to get to your plate which means less pollution, and you will be helping to keep local businesses running.  Plus, they’re fun.  I got an awesome green juice today made from things I had never thought of  juicing before.  I’ll share that with you guys in a later post, I don’t want to give too much away! LOL  So I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, get out there, buy organic, buy local.  You never know what you’re going to find!

 

 

Mouthwatering Lasagna (Vegan, Gluten-free)

021 I have been going on and on about this vegan, gluten-free lasagna all day long, and let me tell you, it does not disappoint!  I don’t know what it is, the colder-then-I’m-used-to April weather, or the non-stop rain, but a good a Italian meal just puts me in a good mood.   Daiya shredded mozzarella “cheese” is gooey, melty, and tastes just like the real thing.  The noodles are brown rice noodles as I haven’t found any lasagna noodles made from quinoa, but these noodles taste just as good, if not better.    I really hope you enjoy this as much as I did!  This makes a lot, but you can most diffidently freeze it for later.  Just cover it up, and when you are ready to eat it again, reheat it in the oven.

Edited to add, although Vegan Cheese is a healthier option then traditional cheese, it still has  9 grams of fat in 1 serving, which is 31 grams..  While still being considered a low fat food, it is not something I partake in every day.  Please keep in mind that moderation is key when eating meals with a lot of oils.  

Mouthwatering Lasagna:

  • 1 package brown rice lasagna noodles
  • 1 package medium-light tofu
  • 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese (I like follow your heart brand)
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 2 tbls tomato paste
  • 1/2 tbls garlic powder
  • 1 tbls Amino Acids (This is in place of salt and for extra nutrition, however you may use a tsp of salt instead)
  • 1 tbls Thyme
  • 1 Tbls Oregano
  • 2 cups baby spinach or 1 large bag of frozen chopped spinach, thawed.
  • 1 bag daiya shredded mozzarella cheese
  • nutritional yeast

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling water for 8 minutes.  Drain and cool off in cold water.  Set aside.  In a sauce pan add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, amino acids, thyme, oregano and garlic powder.  Cook 5 minutes stirring occasionally to distribute the flavors.  In a food processor, add the tofu and the cream cheese and pulse, you want it to be a bit chunky still.  Remove to a separate bowl, you’re going to need the processor again if using fresh spinach.  For the spinach, bring a pot of water to a  boil and blanch 1 minute, then drain and add to the food processor and pulse 1 minute. In a lasagna baking pan, spread the tomato sauce thinly on the bottom, then add a layer of noodles, then a layer of cheese, then spinach.  Repeat, one layer of sauce, noodles, cheese, spinach.  The next layer will skip the sauce, go straight to the noodles, then the remaining sauce, and the daiya cheese.  Place in the oven, covered loosely with tinfoil and cook 30 minutes.  Uncover the dish, sprinkle on a bit of nutritional yeast, and cook another 10 minutes. Serve and Enjoy!

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Here’s one more picture so you can see how gooey and yummy the daiya cheese is. I really do love this brand.

Vegan Moroccan Stew with Spicy Millet

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The smell of Moroccan spices wafting through your home is something that has to be experienced at least once in your life.   Cumin, cinnamon, cardamon, and ginger, the combination of spices that once were worth more then gold.   In this dish, I once again cook without the use of oil.   Using the Healthy Saute method, and then sticking it  in the oven in a covered casserole dish, or in a crock pot as I did, it is a one pot meal hearty enough for any vegan and non-vegan alike will fall in love with.

Vegan Moroccan Spiced Stew:  (Serves 2)

  • 1/2 Onion
  • 2 garlic gloves
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 sweet potato cut into 1 inch cubes, or there about
  • 1/2 a squash, cut into 1 inch cubes, or there about
  • 2 tbls tomato paste
  • Juice of 1 sweet orange
  • 1/4  cup raisins
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • 11 dried apricots
  • 3 bay leaves
  • a pinch of salt if desired

If cooking in the oven, preheat to 350 degrees.  In a food processor, add the onion, garlic, ginger and  spices (Not the bay leaves)  and vegetable broth.   Pulse until you have a nice smooth liquid.  Its okay if it has a little bit of grit to it.  Add this mixture to a wok and heat it up over medium heat until it becomes aromatic, about 1 minute.  Now add the sweet potato and the squash, and cook it about 2 minutes more, making sure to get all the spice mixture all over the veggies.  Remove it all to a crock pot, and add in the remaining ingredients.  Cook on high for an hour or until the veggies are easily pierced with a fork.   If  using the oven, cook in a covered casserole dish for 1 hour.  Season with salt after tasting.   Serve this with my gluten free side dish, spicy millet.  Recipe Follows.

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Spicy Millet:

  • 1 cup millet
  • 2 1/2 cups water or broth
  • 4 tbls vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 4 tbls tomato paste
  • 1 garlic glove crushed
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tbls cilantro
  • Pinch salt

Cook the millet in the water, 25 minutes.  Do not cover it up.  In a separate pan, mix the remaining ingredients over low heat.  When the millet is finished cooking, add the sauce to it, and mix it up until the millet turns red.  Garnish with extra cilantro if desired.

Millet is a wonderful side dish that cooks like Rice.  It is gluten free so for people who can’t or don’t want gluten, this is a great alternative to  couscous.  In fact, traditional couscous is made from millet, however most vendors in america make it out of the cheaper alternative, wheat.  1 cup of cooked millet gives you 19% of the RDA of magnesium, making it a very heart healthy grain.