Thursday, June 24, 2010

Piccolini Pasta With Fresh Veggies

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This is the pasta dish I made for Mother's Day, with the help of my niece, Taya. She even chose the pasta shape: mini wagon wheels! I really like how the sauce of this dish turned out, using the diced tomatoes, balsamic and tamari. This recipe will probably lend itself to many different vegetable variations in the future! And, the leftovers tasted even better the next day!!


16 ounces pasta, I used Barilla piccolini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 large red bell peppers, seeded and cut into strips
1 lb frozen broccoli florets, thawed
2 (10 ounce) packages sliced mushrooms (white button or baby bella)
2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes (fire roasted is nice if you have them)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce
1 (14 ounce) can cannellini beans (white beans)
1/2 cup basil leaves (chiffonade or chopped)
salt, to taste
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

1.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.
2.  In a LARGE saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
3.  Add onion slices, and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
4.  Add garlic, mushrooms and italian seasoning and cook another 4-5 minutes, or until mushrooms begin to soften.
5.  Next, stir in the peppers and broccoli and cook for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables turn bright and soften. I usually add a little salt here as well.
6.  Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente, about 7-8 minutes.
7.  When the vegetable are just about done to your liking, add the diced tomatoes, balsamic, tamari and cannellini beans and simmer until pasta is ready.
8.  Drain pasta and toss with veggies and sauce, garnish with fresh basil and crushed red pepper, if using.

Tomato Basil Bruschetta
My niece and I also made crostini: Baguette toasted in the oven with olive oil and garlic, then topped with grape tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic and olive oil!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bacon with a Vegan - Part II

  BLT minus the

At long last, I have finally made Tempeh Bacon! My bacon adventures began back with Tofu as the main ingredient. This time, I decided to use the new, and slightly improved, Tempeh Bacon recipe found in Vegan Brunch (If you haven't checked it out yet, is probably one of the best cookbooks EVER)!

The ingredient list for the marinade is very basic: soy sauce, liquid smoke, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, garlic and some veggie broth. I sliced my tempeh nice and thin, and mixed up the liquid carefully, letting the strips marinate overnight. I then fried the stips in a little olive oil, adding a bit of the marinating liquid as I went.  The strips browned up nicely, but made one MESS of my stainless steel pan, probably from the maple syrup in the marinade, and the fact that I used ketchup in place of the tomato paste.  Carmelized sugars are nothing to fool with, but it was nothing a bit of simmering warm water and vinegar couldn't fix. 

Anyway... the jury is still out with me on whether I like these tempeh bacon strips on their own. I can't say that the flavor on these, (straight out of the pan), blew me away like the tofu bacon did.

BUT, but, but...

the leftovers make a MEAN BLT sandwich!!! It actually ended up being a B&L sandwich, as I was fresh out of tomatoes, but you get the idea! There was something about these smokey, crispy tempeh strips on top of crunchy wheat toast which had been spread with Veganaise and topped with some nice romaine lettuce...

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I think I'm in love... I had one for dinner every night until the strips were all gone ;)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Quick Vegan Pasta Alla Vodka

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Pasta and red sauce can be a quick and easy weeknight meal, but why not try something a bit more interesting.

This version of vegan vodka sauce is so simple to throw together, and lends itself to MANY spice variations, or veggie add-ins!

Pasta alla Vodka - Vegan style
16 ounces whole wheat pasta (I used rotini)

24 ounces tomato sauce
12 1/2 ounces silken tofu
2 ounces almond or soymilk
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 ounces vodka or red wine vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
*If you are using plain tomato puree instead of a sauce, I suggest adding some garlic or garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and a few hits of crushed red pepper.
1.  Prepare pasta according to package directions.

2.  Meanwhile, heat tomato sauce in a saucepan over low to low-medium heat.

3.  Blend tofu, soy milk, and nutritional yeast in blender until smooth. Feel free to also add about a tablespoon of olive oil or additional soy milk, until the consistency is like thick alfredo sauce.

4. Add tofu mixture to the saucepan with the marinara sauce. Stir in vodka or vinegar. Add salt and pepper and any other seasonings you like, to taste. Continue to simmer over low heat until pasta is ready.

5. Toss with drained pasta and enjoy!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

Simple and yummy and vegan! (and totally "old skool") These cookies are chewy and delicious, and full of peanuty flavor. Enjoy these with a big glass of almond milk, or dip half in dark chocolate and let dry, for an extra decadent dessert.

The recipe below calls for ground flax seeds and water. Flax seeds are a excellent substitute for eggs in baking, and add fiber and omega 3s.


1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
3 tablespoons water
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
3/4 cup natural-style peanut butter
1/2 cup margarine, non-hydrongenated (I use Earth Balance)
3 tablespoons almond milk, unsweetened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 dgrees.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Whip the ground flax seeds and water until thick and creamy.
In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, peanut butter, butter, milk and vanilla.
Beat at medium speed with a hand mixer until well blended.
Add flax seed mixture and beat until just combined.
Add flour mixture (and ground peanuts or chocolate chips if using) and mix until just blended.
Drop 1 tbsp of the batter onto cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.

Flatten slightly in a criss-cross pattern with the tines of a fork
(I use a pasty cutter, and roll it across the cookies, works better than a fork I think).

Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes or until set and just beginning to brown. Do not overbake.
Remove from oven and let cool on the sheet for 3-5 mintues before tranferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Peanut Butter Cookies