Archive for pasta

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Mexican Pasta Salad

Here is another summer salad that I have been making for years. It was originally inspired by a Moosewood recipe. My kids eat the first bowl alone and then they start using corn chips to eat along the side. They LOVE it! It is quite easy to put together and can be made gluten free by using the pasta of your choice.

Mexican Pasta Salad

1/2 pd. chunky pasta of choice, cooked al dente

1 c. fresh of frozen corn

1 c. bell pepper, chopped ( I like red peppers best)

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 c. tomatoes, I love garden fresh tomatoes if possible, but any sweet cherry tomato works well too

1 c. black olives, chopped coarsely

2 tsp. olive oil

3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. chipotle pepper from adobo sauce, chopped ( these come in a can, found in most grocery stores)

2 tsp. fresh ground cumin

1 tsp. fresh ground coriander

1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Combine the pasta, corn, peppers, beans, tomatoes, and olives in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the olive, oil, lemon juice, chipotle pepper, cumin, and coriander and mix well for the dressing. Pour this over the pasta and vegetables and keep stirring until well coated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with the chopped cilantro. You can put this in the refrigerator to chill everything or just eat it right away!

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Vegan Cilantro Pesto

One of the best things about summer is fresh basil from the garden. I look forward to it all year. Late summer dinners are filled with the yumminess of basil pesto in lots of different dishes, which I will post about later. However, while waiting for the basil to grow enough to harvest and to have enough to make pesto, I have found a great substitute. Where I live, cilantro is sold year round and is often on sale for ridiculously cheap prices. It just screams at me to buy it and create something great and this is just the perfect recipe for it. I found the original recipe for this in Robin Robertson’s Vegan Planet. I  made minor changes, mostly just cutting down on the oil, which I can do without, but if you find this too dry, feel free to add in more. This is super easy and fast to make so I always double this recipe because it keeps really well in the refrigerator and then I can use it for so many dishes. I will post about one of those tomorrow.

Vegan Cilantro Pesto

4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1/2 c. raw almonds

1/2-3/4 tsp. salt

2 c. packed cilantro, washed

1/4-1/3 c. olive oil

Put the garlic in a food processor and pulse til it is well chopped. Add the raw almonds and turn on and process til it looks like almond meal. Scrape down the sides of the processor. Add the cilantro and while it is being processed, add the olive oil. I use less because I want less oil, but add more if that is not an issue. Add the salt to taste. Make sure you keep scraping down the sides so you don’t lose any of that goodness.  Add 1 tsp. to your favorite bowl of pasta and enjoy!


Monday, May 20th, 2013

Stuffed Shells

When I was in college, I had a vegetarian boyfriend for a while and he had the original Moosewood Cookbook. He taught me how to make vegetarian lasagna which I loved! We made it together frequently and I used variations of that recipe for years. However, once I decided on a vegan diet I started to try other ways to create the creamy goodness of ricotta cheese and eggs as a filling with all of the great vegetables in between. Tofu was a natural choice and mixed with garlic and fresh herbs, especially fresh basil, this filling makes for a delicious substitute. It is even better because it is not so heavy. It tastes a little pesto like if you use enough basil. Yum! So I will post about making  vegan lasagna too, but today, Stuffed Shells are on my mind since we made them last night for dinner. This is super easy to make if you have a food processor and if you don’t have one, it is still easy. We ate this with a mix of greens and my family could not eat them fast enough.

Stuffed Shells

1 box of giant pasta shells, cooked al dente.

4 cloves garlic

10-15 big leaves basil, washed and dried

2 pkg. or 2 pds. extra-firm tofu, pressed

juice from 1/2 lemon (about 4-5 tsp.)

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. grapeseed oil

1  c. soy cheese, (I used Daiya mozzarella)

4 cups red sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Start by putting the tofu blocks on top of each other and put a small pan or something kind of heavy on top of it to press the water out. This can sit while you  start the shells and filling. Add the shells to a pot of boiling water. Cook al dente and no longer. Cooking the shells less is better for this recipe because the pasta will turn too soft in the oven. Put the garlic in a food processor and pulse til minced. Add the basil and pulse til it too is chopped. Drain the water from the tofu and add it, lemon juice, salt, and oil to the processor and puree til smooth. This might take a little while. I stopped it a few times to break up some big chunks and also to scrape down the sides to keep the garlic and basil included. Scoop mixture into a bowl and stir in the cheese til well blended.  If you don’t have a food processor, you can mince the garlic and chop the basil and then add them to a bowl with mashed tofu. You can do this with a big fork or with your hands. Put 1/4 c. red sauce in a 9 x 13 glass pan and spread it around to coat the bottom. Once all the ingredients are well blended and smooth, spoon about 2 tbsp. into each shell and put the shell into the pan. Keep going til all the shells are filled. Pour the rest of the red sauce into the pan to surround and cover the shells. If they are not completely submerged in the sauce, don’t worry, they will cook fine, but these are tasty with a little extra sauce on them. Cover the pan with foil and place in the hot oven to cook for about 40 minutes. Take the foil off the top and cook for 10 more minutes. Let the pan cool for about 10 more minutes before eating. This is a big recipe so if you are not feeding a big group, or a few teenagers, cover the leftovers and enjoy them later because they stay great in the refrigerator for a few days.


Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Vegan Frog Eye Salad

We have been having a lot of celebrations at our house lately. This is what we call our birthday season, because we celebrate six birthdays in five months. So I spend more time in the kitchen creating more desserts than normal. Plus, at our house, if its your birthday, you get to choose what to have for dinner. So yesterday was my sons birthday and as part of his birthday dinner, I made one of his favorite salads. The Frog Eye Salad gets its name from the main ingredient, acini de pepe pasta, that is shaped like little round balls, or frog eyes! It is really more of a dessert, because it is so sweet, but we call it a salad so we can still have dessert afterwards. This is a dish that is traditionally made with eggs and so for years I rarely made it. Still, this is not a healthy dish by any means, but for a special occasion, this vegan version is a fun treat. This idea is from Sharlene W. at I only changed it a little bit. And it is not hard to make. I never use pudding mixes, so I was not sure how long to mix it to make sure it would set up in the refrigerator, but it did not take long, and it turned out great. My family loved it and could not tell that the recipe had even changed.

Vegan Frog Eye Salad

1 box acini de pepe pasta, 12 oz.

1 20 oz. can pineapple tidbits, drained, but save 1/4 cup of the juice

1 3/4 c. milk (I used almond/coconut, but I think any kind of milk would work)

1/4 c. sucanat

1  3.5 oz. box instant vanilla pudding mix

1  8 oz. can crushed pineapple,  drained (I used 20 oz.)

2  12 oz. cans mandarin oranges

mini marshmellows ( I did not add these)

I added:

1 c. coconut

2 c. cool whip

Cook pasta in boiling water til al dente, about 8-10 minutes, drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.In a large bowl, add 1/4 c. pineapple juice, milk, sucanat, pudding mix. Beat for about 2-3 minutes. It will be very runny, but don’t worry it will set up in the refrigerator. Add in the pasta, crushed pineapple and the tidbits, mandarin oranges. Stir to blend the ingredients. Cover bowl and chill in the refrigerator for five hours. ( I only did this for just over 2 1/2 hours) Stir in the coconut and the cool whip. Serve!


Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Avocado Cream Sauce

I lived in upstate NY for nine years and while we lived there, we went to the best farmers market every week. It was in Rochester, and the fresh farm produce was amazing. We lived in a neighborhood where the deer ruled anything that was green, so trying to garden vegetables was very frustrating. So the farmers became our friends as we went every week. We miss that place and the cast of characters that we came to know, and now we are looking for a new way to find fresh local produce since we once again have moved to a neighborhood where the deer practically live in our back yard. In the meantime, the local grocery stores are quite competitive and for the past few weeks they have been offering the best deals on avocados! We rarely bought avocados in NY because they didn’t really sell them at the farmers market, duh, and the local grocery stores charged a fortune for them. Plus, they had traveled so far and long to get to the store there, that they were usually terrible once you got them home. So imagine our delight at five avocados for one dollar! And, they are amazing! So we have been eating them as much as we can.  This recipe is heaven. It is straight from Angela, on this page, with only a few changes, and that I list it doubled to feed my crew. It is amazing stuff that even my husband that does not like avocados loves. It is such a creamy sauce that you kind of forget that it is avocado. The beautiful thing about this sauce, is that it is so rich and creamy that a little bit goes a long way. Which is good since we all know the fat content of these little darlings. We eat it as a topping on whole grain pasta, as well as on baked potatoes, and anything else we can think of. It is super fast and easy to make too. Put the leftovers in the refrigerator and enjoy later, because it lasts for a while.

Avocado Cream Sauce

2 medium ripe avocados, pitted

juice from 1 lemon, and zest for garnish if you wish

3-6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 tsp. salt ( I only use 1/2 this amount)

1/2 c. fresh basil, optional  ( I only had about 5 basil leaves and it was great)

4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil ( I used 3 tbsp.)

freshly ground pepper to taste

Place the garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil in a food processor and puree til smooth. Add the avocado flesh, basil, and salt and process til smooth and creamy. Adjust the lemon and add pepper to taste. Use right away or put in a sealed container to keep in the refrigerator until ready to use. Enjoy!




Monday, March 11th, 2013

Asian “Mac and Cheese”

I have only tried making vegan “mac and cheese” dishes over the last year. I had never missed the idea of mac and cheese so I never felt tempted to try a vegan version. However, just for variety, about 1 year ago, I started making different “cheese sauce” recipes and variations of this theme. When I came across this recipe, from Kim Barnouin, that had a cauliflower base I got curious. I love cauliflower and so I had to try it. It was a hit. My family could not figure out what they were eating, but they loved it. It worked for me because it is filling and healthy too.

Asian Mac and Cheese

3 c. cauliflower, cut into small pieces

1 c. light coconut milk

1 c. water

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tsp. white miso paste

1/4 tsp. soy sauce

1/4 Dijon mustard

1/2 salt

pinch of pepper

1 tsp. potato starch

2 tbsp. grapeseed oil

1/2 c. firm tofu, cubed (I used a whole block of tofu here)

2 1/2 c. pasta of your choice

1/2 c. panko

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Lightly oil a 9×13 casserole dish.

Boil Pasta and cook til al dente. In a saucepan, cook 1 cup of the cauliflower in the coconut milk and water on medium high heat til the cauliflower is very soft. Stir in the garlic, nutmeg, miso, soy sauce, mustard, and salt and pepper. Cook for about 3 more minutes. Mix the potato starch with a few tbsp. of water and then add to the cauliflower to thicken the mixture. Then use a stick blender or food processor to puree it til its creamy. In a separate pan, heat the oil and saute the rest of the cauliflower and tofu until its browned. Add the tofu and cauliflower to the creamy mixture and the cooked pasta and put it into a 9×13 pan. Sprinkle the panko breadcrumbs on top and garlic powder on top of that. Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes or til hot and bubbly. Take off the foil and let it lightly brown for about 5 more minutes.