Polenta Shepherds Pie

When the temperature drops we just want warm and cozy foods (yet I am always happy with a Kale Salad!).  This one was great and warmed us right up!

Michael has always apprecaited a good Shepherds Pie so I have made a few Veg variations on them over the years. This one was super good because of our shared love of polenta!

Polenta Shepherds Pi

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Polenta Shepherds Pie

Filling
1 lb veggie crumbles
1 onion, chopped
3 cups mushrooms, chopped
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
2 cups mushroom gravy – recipe below
cumin, salt & pepper, to taste

Polenta

1 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup polenta
1 tablespoon Earth Balance
2 tablespoons fresh herbs (I used basil, parsley, oregano)
salt, to taste
havarti or parmesan cheese (optional)

  1. Saute onion until translucent, then add veggie crumbles and mushrooms and cook 5 more minutes.
  2. Add frozen veggies and cook until thawed. Add cumin, salt & pepper and gravy.
  3. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low.
  4. Meanwhile begin polenta, bring almond milk, water, earth balance and herbs to a boil.
  5. Slowly whisk in the polenta and continue to stir until thick, a few minutes. Remove from heat. If adding cheese do so now, stirring till melted.
  6. Oil a casserole dish and pour filling mixture in.
  7. Top with polenta and smooth with a spatula.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 deg oven. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Mushroom Gravy

3/4 cup white or button mushrooms, chopped
1 yellow or white onion, chopped
1/4 cup earth balance
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons tamari
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp each of sage, thyme and marjoram
salt and pepper, to taste

  1. In a large skillet, melt the earth balance and add onion and mushrooms. Saute for just a minute or two over high heat.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add vegetable broth and tamari. Slowly add flour, stirring well to combine and prevent lumps. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat.
  3. Add spices, salt and pepper, stirring regularly for 8-10 minutes until gravy thickens.

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Spinach Rice Gratin

This made a awesome weeknight meal! We used pre-cooked and leftover rice which made this super easy and quick to throw together. The whole family loved this! It went fast so we didn’t even get a pic of it cut into slices!

Spinach Rice Gratin

Spinach Rice Gratin
Recipe adapted from 101cookbooks.com
gluten-free

2 1/2 cups leftover/pre-cooked brown&/or white rice, room temp
1 1/2 cups cups well finely chopped spinach
8 ounces firm organic tofu, crumbled
15 black olives, chopped
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1/2 cup pine nuts or almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup shredded Manchego cheese (or Parm, or Gruyere)
5 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Rack in the top third. Grease a 10-inch round baking dish, casserole pan, oven-proof pot with a bit of olive oil.

In a large bowl combine the rice, spinach, and tofu. Stir in the olives, and red onion, pine nuts and olive oil. Now stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, and salt. Fold the eggs into the rice mixture, pour into the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until the casserole is set, and the top toasty and golden. Remove from the oven, and sprinkle with remaining onions, olives, and nuts. Sprinkle with a bit more salt before serving – or taste and get a sense of whether you need any.

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VeggieGirl’s Banana-Butternut-Pecan Bread

Anything that I have ever made from VeggieGirl’s site always comes out super awesome! I figured as much when I doubled the recipe to make 2 loaves of this awesome dessert bread! It came out deelish and the second loaf froze great for later use :)

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VeggieGirl’s Banana-Butternut-Pecan Bread

(**Adapted from the Lower-Fat Banana Bread recipe in the Veganomicon cookbook**)

  • 3 overripe bananas
  • 2 cups steamed butternut squash cubes
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons molasses
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup pecans, crushed (**plus more for sprinkling on top of the batter at the end)
  •  Nondairy “milk” of choice, added to the batter as needed

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly coat a 9″x5″ loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, thoroughly mash three of the bananas along with the steamed squash. Then, add in the applesauce, grapeseed oil, turbinado sugar, and molasses. Mix well.

In the same bowl, add in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and pecan pieces. As the mixture starts to thicken up/combine, add as much nondairy “milk” as you need (but not too much) so that the batter is mixable.

Pour mixture into the 9″x5″ loaf pan (coated generously with nonstick cooking spray), sprinkling some more pecan pieces on to of the batter (press them lightly into the batter so that they will stick better).

Bake for about 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

 

Tomato-Vegetable Pasta Sauce

This is a basic outline for creating a quick sauce that includes lots of veggies and can be done with most of the veggies you happen to have in your home. We used onions, broccoli, carrots and corn but I bet cauliflower, peas, squash, spinach, eggplant, peppers and mushrooms would all work great! :) Perfect for CSA’s! We chopped all the veggies up small as we were using a food processor for the fun of pushing buttons. The kiddos were LOVING this and the before and after veggies, but this also helped everyone eat more veggies too! Love that! Super easy and fun to make your own sauce! Enjoy!!!

Tomato-Vegetable Pas

Tomato-Vegetable Pas2

Tomato-Vegetable Pasta Sauce
1 can 28 ounce crushed tomatoes
2 onions, chopped (or in our case in food processor, the kiddos LOVED to press the buttons)
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 ears of corn, cut from cob
1 tablespoon of sugar
bit of fresh basil, cut (we only had a bit but you can add more if you have it!)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
dash of dried basil (I only had a little bit of fresh basil, so wanted to add a bit more)
dash of oregano
2 teaspoons of salt
dash of garlic powder
dash of cumin
1 lb pasta (we used gnocchi tonight, but that is just because the kids pulled it out of the pantry and requested :))
*(optional) greek or soy yogurt

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook onions for 5 minutes. Add broccoli and carrots and cook stirring occasionally another 5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, corn, sugar, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and spices (reserving the fresh basil till 5 minutes before serving).
2. Simmer for a few minutes or up to a half hour depending on when your pasta is done or when you want to serve dinner :)
3. While sauce is simmering cook the pasta and combine when done.

*Optional – add greek or soy yogurt to the sauce for extra creaminess.

Super Fast Avocado Pasta

I am all about cooking with the kiddos whenever possible :) Today for lunch we made our Avocado Pasta, similar to This One that I make for them normally that they love, but this time we did it all in one bowl (and a pot) :) They loved it and were even super happy to take turns mashing (and tasting!) Lunch was deelish but cooking together and smiles around (and green mouths!) makes it that much sweeter!

Super Fast Avocado P

Super Fast Avocado Pasta
2-3 servings
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Vegan, no cook/raw sauce

2 avocados
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon dried Basil
1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Flax seed oil
12 ounces- 1 lb of pasta (we used Trader Joes Fresh Rice Pasta – made it even faster, cooks in 2 minutes!)
ground black pepper, to taste
cherry or grape tomatoes, cut

  1. Boil water and cook pasta in a large pot
  2. In a bowl combine avocado, garlic, lemon juice, oils, salt, basil, pepper and oregano. Mash with a fork till creamy.
  3. When pasta is done, drain and mix with sauce.  Garnish with tomatoes. Serve immediately. YUM!

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese: Healthy Vegan Cheese Sauce Yum!

So this was awesome!!! We are lucky that our kids eat a ton of veggies but this was still an awesome way to serve them! Everyone loved it! Enjoy this tasty and super healthy dish!

Cauliflower Mac & Ch

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese – Healthy Vegan Cheese Sauce Yum! 
Gluten-free, Vegan

1 cauliflower, cut into florets
handful of baby carrots
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
1/4-1/2 teaspoon pepper, to taste
pasta of choice (we used GF penne pasta)
Fresh parsley, for garnish

  1. Add cauliflower & carrots in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a low boil. Once boiling, cook for another 8-9 minutes until super tender. Drain.
  2. At the same time boil water for pasta and cook as instructed by package. Drain when done.
  3. In a high-speed blender (we use a Vitamix) blend the cashews and a 1/4 cup of water for 30 seconds. Then add the cooked and drained cauliflower & carrots, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Blend until a super smooth.
  4. Add sauce & pasta into a pot and stir, till just combined. Salt, to taste
  5. Serve with parsley sprinkled on top

One Pot Gluten Free Vegan Mac-n-Cheese

I have wanted to try this one for a while and it was really great. After too many leftover meals in a row this was super welcome and I had all the ingredients already at home! This was so quick and so good, I know it will become a regular!

One Pot Gluten Free

One Pot Gluten Free Vegan Mac-n-Cheese
Serves 4
Recipe adapted from www.pure2raw.com

4 cups water
2 cup quinoa

  1. In small saucepan over high heat bring the water to a boil. Once boiling add quinoa and return to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes *There might be some water left over, but that is okay.
  2. Remove from heat and pour the quinoa into a bowl and set aside.

The cheezy sauce

1 1/2 cups coconut milk (I was a little short so I used some almond milk mixed with coconut milk)
6 tablespoons nutritional yeast
4 tablespoons tahini
4 tablespoons arrowroot
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Using the same pot that the quinoa was in, place it back on the stovetop over medium heat and add coconut milk and tahini. Whisk together. The tahini will melt into the milk. Then add remaining ingredients and whisk. Raise the heat to be medium high. It will start to thicken, takes about 1-2 minutes. Once it starts getting thick pour the quinoa back in the pot and stir till well combined.

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