Creamy Avocado Pesto Pasta
When life gives you lemons, you could make lemonade. Or you could get some serious meal-spiraton from us and make this lemony Avocado Pesto Pasta, instead! This creamy dish is packed with flavor but comes together super easily - you can even make the pesto ahead for an easy instant meal builder. It's the perfect dish for welcoming in warm, spring weather and the recipe is easily doubled for family-sized meals or lunch-leftovers. Top it with a sprinkle of hemp seeds for a bit of texture, and of course serve with fresh lemon slices- they add a ton of fresh flavor when squeezed over the top!
Before we get cooking, just wanted to let all my Orange County pals know that my vegan, organic baked goods are now being sold at Green Bliss Cafe in downtown Fullerton! This week they've got Oatmeal Cream Pies and Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies from our NEW Homestyle Vegan Cookbook (available for pre-order!!), as well as matcha-glazed and maple-glazed donuts! And if you need a custom baked goods order, let us know! We're happy to help bake and deliver whatever goodies you may need. Any questions? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Now let's get cookin'!
1 1/2 cups fresh basil
1/4 cup hemp seeds (shell-free)
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium avocado, halved and seed removed
16 ounces spaghetti noodles (or any pasta you prefer!)
lemon slices, for squeezing + garnish
hemp seeds, for garnish
In a food processor or high speed blender combine the basil, hemp seeds, lemon juice, garlic, pepper and salt. Drizzle in the olive oil and scoop the avocado into the mixture and process until creamy. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the noodles until al dente, then drain.
Pour the avocado pesto sauce into the pasta and toss to coat evenly. Garnish with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of hemp seeds. Serve + enjoy!
Leftovers last in the fridge up to about a week.
Tomato Basil Spaghetti Squash Bake
When I started brainstorming this recipe, it came from a combination of laziness (I'm not ashamed) and a desire to cut my own work load. Cooking a spaghetti squash, shredding it, and then warming up spaghetti sauce, chopping up tomatoes and basil from our garden, stirring, and serving....well, it just seems like a lot! And the dishes it produces- far too many, if you ask me. I knew I could make it easier on myself. How exactly? Well, think of this as a 'one pot' meal, where all you really need is a squash. And maybe a baking sheet.
The beauty of this is that you really do just throw all the ingredients into your hollowed squash halves and bake for about an hour- easy peasy! Once its ready just remove it from the oven, shred the squash with a fork, and serve. Your guests will love the taste, and you'll love the easy clean-up. Its healthy, light. and full of fresh (from our garden, in this case) veggies. So lets give three cheers for a lack of dishes and more time to eat, 'cause thats the ultimate goal. Lets do it!
1 medium-sized spaghetti squash
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup basil, chopped
salt & pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice the stem off the top of your squash, then turn on it side and slice it in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and innards, and toss in the compost. Drizzle each half with olive oil, a little over a tablespoon each, and sprinkle each side evenly with minced garlic. Pour about 1/4 cup of sauce into each half, then top each side evenly with sliced cherry tomatoes, basil, salt & pepper. Cover in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet to catch any drippings. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until mixture is bubbling and squash is fork tender.
Once ready, remove from oven and use a fork to separate squash strands. If you want, you can scoop mixture into a bowl and stir, if you like more room to work. Otherwise, use a fork to toss the squash pasta and tomato basil mixture together right in the squash halves, and serve immediately. Sprinkle with fresh basil and nutritional yeast to garnish. Makes 6-8 servings. Saves well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!
Spinach & Wild Mushroom Lasagna with Basil Almond Cream
On weeks I work a lot, I like to make giant pots full of something to bring for lunch all week. I like it full of protein to keep me from snacking, be easy to reheat if I get the chance, and if not- taste good enough cold to enjoy. After weeks of chili and potato based soups, I was craving something a little different. With plenty of dehydrated mushrooms from late summer gathering and lots of fresh spinach in the fridge, I got to work using up those GF lasagna noodles I picked up so long ago. We were pleasantly surprised with the amount of flavor in this dish, and loved the almost meaty texture of the mushrooms. Topped with a little homemade parmesan cheeze, it was a serious treat as leftovers for three days before we'd gobbled up the whole pan. And don't worry- we give instructions for regular 'boil' noodles and the often criticized (but equally delicious in our opinion) 'no-boil' noodles. Let's eat!
Basil Almond Cream Sauce:
1 cup soaked almonds
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
3 tablespoons dried basil OR a heaping 1/2 cup fresh basil
1 cup water
Soak 1 cup almonds in warm water for at least an hour. Drain the almonds, set aside, and save 1 cup of the soaking water for blending.
Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor until a creamy consistency is reached, about 30 seconds to a minute. Scoop into a bowl and set aside to use later in the lasagna.
Spinach & Wild Mushroom Lasagna:
1 box (about 9 ounces) gluten-free no-boil lasagna noodles*
25-30 ounces of pasta sauce (about 3+ cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 ounces of dried, wild mushrooms OR 8 ounces fresh wild mushrooms, roughly chopped**
4 packed cups fresh spinach
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon dried oregano
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 recipe vegan parmesan cheeze OR about 1/2 cup of your favorite parmesan substitute
*If using noodles that require boiling, cook to instructions on package, drain, and use in place of the noodles in our recipe. Also, remove about 10-15 minutes earlier than the total cook time of about 45 minutes that ours requires.
**You can use your favorite mushrooms from the grocery store, too. Button, cremini, and chanterelles would all be great here.
If you haven't already made the Basil Almond Cream Sauce, do that (recipe above.) If you have, start here:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a 9 x 13 in. baking dish.
Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet and toss in onions and garlic, and cook until onions are softened and turning slightly translucent. Add mushrooms, water, and spinach by the handful, stirring to wilt spinach and help mushrooms absorb the water. Cover with a lid and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5-8 minutes or until spinach is wilted and mushrooms have absorbed all the liquid and onions are beginning to caramelize. Add in spices and simmer one more minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
Now, pull out that lightly greased casserole dish and spread about 1 cup of pasta sauce across the bottom. Top with noodles, about 4 per layer, spread evenly across and covering the sauce. Next spread about 1/2 of the Basil Almond Cream across the noodles, top with half of the spinach & mushroom mixture, sauce, and more noodles. Do another round of Basil Almond Cream, cooked veggies, and noodles, saving the last of the sauce to cover the top layer of noodles and prevent them from burning. Finally, sprinkle the top with your parmesan cheese, cover with a lid or aluminum foil, and bake for 45-50 minutes, until sauce is bubbling and cheese is slightly browned. Let cool, slice, and enjoy! Saves well in the fridge for about a week.
Spaghetti Squash Pasta
On one of our more recent grocery store trips, I bought a spaghetti squash. I had never had it before, and had no idea how to eat it, but it sounded interesting. It was a gorgeous sunshine yellow on the outside, free of any blemishes. I sort of assumed it would be like regular squash...and I'm so glad I was wrong. Spaghetti squash is this amazing winter vegetable that when baked and forked mimics actual spaghetti pasta. It leaves you with these great strands of squash that taste however you season them (extra garlic-y for me!) and have a texture reminiscent of pasta- but way better for you! My favorite part about spaghetti squash is that at only 43 calories in a 2/3 cup serving, so you can totally pig out on it without feeling guilty! Its full of potassium, fiber, Vitamins B6+C, and low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
You can use this recipe in place of any pasta dish, but if you're adding an acidic tomato sauce to it, let the squash cool a bit first or it'll break down and get mushy.
We first published this recipe back in February of 2012. Since then, we refined the cooking time and added specific ingredient amounts. For some reason some of the earliest recipes I blogged were pretty numberless and vague and encouraged total creativity. I realize now that while most people have a pretty good cooking sense, not all do- and it can be really confusing and frustrating to try and guess if you're not totally comfortable in the kitchen. We hope this version is a little clearer and easier to understand, and a little more enjoyable to look at, too.
1 Spaghetti Squash of any size, halved
2-4 cloves of garlic, minced
2-4 teaspoons olive, grapeseed, or coconut oil
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. It can be easier to cut off the stem end first, then use a large, sharp knife to slice lengthwise through the squash. Scoop out the goop and seeds and toss 'em in the compost.
Place the two halves face-up on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle halves with about 1-2 teaspoons of oil each.
Sprinkle with minced garlic, salt and pepper. Place into the oven and cook for about 40-50 minutes, until squash is fork tender and easily separates from the skin.
Let cool about 5 minutes, then carefully run a fork through the squash, separating strands, and scoop into a serving dish. Scoop out all of the squash and dispose of the leftover skin. Serve in place of spaghetti for a gluten-free option or just to sneak in an extra serving of vegetables. Great topped with sauce or all on its own!
Refrigerate leftovers for 3-4 days. Enjoy!
VEGAN MAC' AND CHEEZE
I scream, you scream, we all scream for MAC' N CHEEZE!
Especially those of us with food allergies, dietary preferences, or just a healthy appreciation for health.
It can be hard to find meals as satisfying as the ones you used to remember eating. You know, like when you were six and ate tacos for breakfast and waffles for dinner. (Okay, I'm exaggerating: I'm almost 23 and I still do that.)
But seriously- I MISS MAC' N CHEESE. Like, the super gross kind you could heat up in the plastic cups in the microwave (cancer, anyone?). But since I can't justify that awful snack, I decided to create a slightly spicy, flavorful, much healthier recreation of the old favorite.
Loaded with secret ingredient goodies like nutritional yeast, tahini, and turmeric, its worth more than you'd expect, too. The cheezy sauce is chock full of B vitamins and anti-inflammatory power just waiting to be gobbled up!
This dish makes me forget why I ever ate cheese in the first place. With alternatives this good, what was I waiting for?
The cheeze sauce is a little tangy, with just enough spice added to give you a few extra layers of flavor. Whenever I make this dish, we finish the whole pot in a day. Never any leftovers, here.
And sometimes-maybe its the B vitamins, or maybe its that cheesy flavor- I just crave a spoonful of nutritional yeast. And though I certainly don't mind just going for it, it can be a little dry.
This is a way better alternative.
Did I mention this was a two step recipe? Blend, stir. Enjoy.
Seriously though, you're gonna love me for this. You're only fifteen minutes from a big, warm bowl of childhood memories...ready, GO!
12 ounces gluten-free pasta elbows
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup unsweetened milk substitute of choice (we've used hemp, almond, and walnut-all delicious!)
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons tahini
3 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne red pepper
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Gluten-free pasta, especially when brown rice based, tends to absorb more water than normal, so be sure to add extra water to the pot before boiling; it usually takes a few extra minutes for GF pasta to reach the al dente stage, too. And be sure to add a little salt to the water before boiling- it flavors the pasta.
As pasta cooks, combine the raw cashews and nut milk in a blender or food processor. I never soak mine before hand- I prefer the slightly thicker sauce that results from not soaking them in this recipe.
Once combined, add the rest of the ingredients. Yup, all of 'em.
(Told you this recipe was easy!)
Blend until combined. Set aside.
Once pasta is al dente (literally meaning "to the bite"; leave a little texture in that pasta! Don't boil it into mushy submission.), strain, rinse, and put it back into the pot. Pour in the cheeze sauce, using a wooden spoon to gently toss and coat the pasta.
Turn the burner back onto low and continue to cook the pasta and cheeze sauce together about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens to the noodles.
Serve with a garnish of fresh basil or cilantro, avocado, or a little hot sauce for the best grown-up vegan mac' n cheeze you can imagine.
To reheat, simply warm the pasta in a pan with a little non-dairy milk, stirring 'til creamy.
Saves well in a refrigerated space for about a week.
Caprese Pasta Salad
This is a very simple and delicious recipe, one of my favorites!
about 1 cup hemp seed basil pesto
organic, whole wheat rotini pasta (enough for two!)
1-2 tomatoes, chopped or 1 cup cherry tomatoes
'teese' mozzarella cheese for sprinkling
Once your pasta is fully cooked, add enough pesto to coat all of the pasta. If you would like to serve this dish cold, allow the pasta and sauce to cool before adding the tomato and vegan cheese. However, if you want this to be more of an ooey-gooey-cheesy goodness kind of dish, feel free to add the cheese and tomatoes while it is all still warm and mix it all together!
If you can find vegan mozzarella that is not shredded, feel free to use it! The big hunks of cheese add a nice contrast to the bite-sized chunks of tomato and pasta. Be creative and have fun with it. The best dishes come from a simple recipe that you make your own!