Spring Pasta Salad

Today really felt like SPRING! So amazing outside!!!!! While we were playing outside I got the idea to make a pasta salad! It just felt right, so seasonal and perfect! LOVE!
I normally make things on a large scale but this was just for my kids’ lunch and husbands’ dinner 😉 So if you want to make this bigger, double or triple the recipe! This salad will taste great right away but also will get more tastier as the flavors get to mingle in the fridge! Yum!

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Spring Pasta Salad

1/2 a box of pasta (1/2 pound) elbow or other
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 cup bell peppers, diced
1/2 a cucumber, diced
1/2 a can of black olives, quartered
1/2 a can of chickpeas
1/2 an avocado, chopped
1/8-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8-1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt & pepper, to taste

1. Bring water to boil and cook pasta according to the pox.
2. While pasta is cooking prep and chop all the veggies and place in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and give a good stir.
3. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and cool for a few minutes. Then add to the bowl and stir to incorporate.
4. Chill further and enjoy!

And here it is as lunch for my littles 🙂 Fun!!!

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Veggie Tacos or Lettuce Wraps

I love when meals are 100% success! With little kids this always feels like a big win all around! This was one of those times! Yeah!!! My kids LOVE guac and tomatoes and of course pretty much any toppings! So instead of assembling their tacos for them I opted to bring everything to the table in bowls, where we had fun constructing them (they used sprouted tortilla wraps and I had the lettuce wrap). They were happy, I was happy and the food was amazing! Life is Amazing! Then Michael came home and loved them too! Happy Wife & Mama! I have always loved ❤ lettuce wraps and this was a great family solution!

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Veggie Tacos or Lettuce Wraps
adapted from www.adventuresinanewishcity.com

  • 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2-1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1 medium eggplant (or 2 small), peeled & diced into 1/4″-1/2″ cubes
  • 2 cups mushrooms, diced
  • 3 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 block of tofu, pressed & cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 head of Butter or Bib lettuce, leaves separated to make taco shells &/or tortilla wraps
  • toppings (we used Guac with jicama & jalepeno, Red & Orange Peppers, & Cherry tomatoes, quartered & for me hot sauce)
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic and lemon juice, and cook for 1-2 minutes, making sure not to burn the garlic. Add jalapeno and onion. Cook until onion softens, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir eggplant, mushrooms, and spices into the skillet. Drizzle remaining olive oil on top. Reduce heat to low, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant softens and reduces in size, about 15 minutes.
  3. In a separate pan add just a drizzle of oil and add the tofu. When sizzle to have a nice char on each side before turning, so a few minutes between stirs (I know this feels hard to do, but it makes for the best tofu!) Once good and seared, add to the eggplant mixtures and continue to cook for a few more minutes until ready to serve.
  4. Spoon mixture into lettuce “shells” and add any additional toppings.

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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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

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