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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Coconut-Cashew Veggie Curry over Rice Noodles

I just had the most amazing month of eating! I completed the Veg Whole 30! Felt a bit cliché doing a January cleanse, but I loved it! And did it with a group of amazing women, and that always makes everything so much more fun 🙂 The Veg Whole 30 is no-grains, no-dairy, and most importantly No Sugar (of any kind, including stevia and maple sugar!) ! I did eat legumes/soy (which the traditional Whole 30 eliminates) as I wanted to make sure to get enough Vegetarian Protein.

I feel really good and am going to keep this rolling by doing 100 Days of Real Food. I primarily eat this way, but not so strict! So inspiring and excited for more 🙂

As I slowly come off my Whole 30 month I am excited to add things like Rice Noodles and non-refined sugar sweeteners back into my life!!! I used to make a ton of curries and I was inspired to start off with this yummy take on curry! I cooked so much this last month, I feel newly refreshed and inspired in the kitchen!

Michael doesn’t always love coconut milk so I made it a coconut-cashew sauce and it was delicious!!!! I have to say though that after not eating grains for a month, I was SO full after eating this! Very satisfying!!!

I also enjoyed a few pieces of Raw Vegan Not Your Sugar Mamas Salted Caramel Raw Chocolate! Yum! It had been a while 😉

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Coconut-Cashew Veggie Curry over Rice Noodles

  • 1 can Coconut Milk
  • 1/2 cup cashews, plus more for topping
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 a bunch of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 package of extra-firm tofu, cubed
  • red curry paste
  • salt
  • rice noodles (brown or white)
  1. Soak cashews in water for 30 minutes-overnight. Drain and recover with water in a Vita-mix or other blender. Add coconut milk and blend. Add diced tomatoes and blend till smooth.
  2. In a large pot brown the tofu and remove for later use.
  3. In the same pot add coconut mixture above and 1/2 – 1 tablespoon of red curry paste to a large pot over medium heat and whisk. Add chopped veggies (minus the basil and bell pepper) and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes (or until cauliflower and sweet potato are cooked). Add the cooked tofu, bell pepper, basil, avocado and salt to taste. Stir to combine and heat for another 3-5 minutes.
  4. While the curry is cooking, boil water and cook noodles according to directions.
  5. Plate noodles and curry over top. Top with some cashews. Super enjoy! 🙂

3rd Birthday!!!! & Artichoke Pesto Pasta Salad

My amazing & beautiful kiddos turned 3 this last week. Beyond hard to believe but so wonderful to watch them continue to grow and surprise us all the time! We had a fun birthday party to celebrate them 🙂 Just a few food & goodie bag pictures and a yummy Vegan, Gluten-free, Super low-fat pasta salad that we served. FUN!!! Love big celebrations of course!!

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Artichoke Pesto Pasta Salad

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Artichoke Pesto Pasta Salad
Vegan – Gluten-free – Low-fat
Number of servings: 4
Recipe adapted from blog.fatfreevegan.com

1 cup basil, packed
1 can quartered artichoke hearts (packed in water)(I used 1/2 water, 1/2 marinated in oil)
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 tbsp. vegetable broth
1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
salt, to taste
8 ounces whole wheat pasta, cooked (I used quinoa brown rice pasta)
1 large tomato, diced
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)

Place the basil, about half the artichokes, garlic, nutritional yeast, vegetable broth, and lemon juice in a food processor and process until it becomes a thick paste. Add salt to taste.
In a serving bowl, combine the cooked pasta with the pesto and mix well. Add the remaining artichoke hearts, the tomato, and the (optional pine nuts) and toss. Serve at room temperature.

 

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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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!!!

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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!

Creamy Avocado Pasta

Sometime you just want a home cooked meal but haven’t planned anything and haven’t gone shopping to cook. The kids are always well fed but sometimes we get left a little behind 😉 This is a great meal that took literally the time to boil pasta to create with all ingredients I always have at home. Super simple and deelish, the best!

Creamy Avocado Pasta

 

Creamy Avocado Pasta
4 servings

2 avocados
Juice of 1 lemon + lemon zest to garnish
1-3 garlic cloves, to taste
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/2 cup Fresh Basil or Spinach
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lb of pasta
ground black pepper, to taste
Pine nuts, for garnish

  1. Boil water and cook pasta in a large pot
  2. In blender or food processor combine garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil and process until smooth. Add avocado, basil, and salt and blend until creamy
  3. When pasta is done, drain and mix with sauce.  Garnish with lemon zest, black pepper and pine nuts. Serve immediately.

Spanakopita – Spinach Pie

My kids are Obsessed with Spanakopita so naturally I had to make some at home. It was hard to save them some 😉 but we did manage it. I have made this since without the puff pastry because the filling is just so good on its own. Also love my veganized version with tofu, no one would even notice, it is just so good!

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Spanakopita – Spinach Pie

2 – 10 ounce packages frozen spinach, thawed
1 pound extra firm tofu, crumbled
1 teaspoon dill
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup walnuts, ground​
​2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt
pepper, taste
1/4 cup olive oil
dashes of nutmeg, thyme, marjoram, basil and oregano
1 onion, chopped
1 leek, quartered and chopped (cleaned super well!)
4 scallions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed (or phyllo dough)

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Saute the onion with a little salt in olive oil until translucent. Add in the leeks, garlic and scallions, season with salt, and continue to saute until translucent.
  3. Combine the spinach, tofu, dill, lemon juice, walnuts, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, olive oil & spices together and mix well.
  4. Combine onion mixture with the spinach/tofu mixture.
  5. Line a baking sheet with ether parchment paper or aluminum foil. Unfold puff pastry and place on baking sheet. Spread the spinach mixture over the pastry, leaving a border of one inch all around the edges. Keep the spinach flat; do not pile high. Cover with the second sheet of pastry that has been slightly flattened to one inch bigger than the first sheet. (This ensures all the spinach will be covered). Press edges together with fingertips, making sure mixture is sealed well. Brush just the top with non-dairy milk, Cut a few slits in the top with a sharp knife to allow steam to escape.
  6. Bake 30-40 minutes, until golden brown. Can be served hot or at room temperature.

You have options for the extra filling. You can use it like a dip, eat it with a spoon or take another sheet of puff pastry and made deelish spinach pinwheels!

For the pinwheels: Unfold the pastry sheet on the work surface. Top with the spinach mixture. Starting at a short side, roll up like a jelly roll. Cut into 1/2-inch slices. Place the slices onto 2 baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown. Remove the pastries from the baking sheets and let cool on wire racks for 10 minutes.

Fresh Bruschetta with Tomato, Basil and Red Onion

Love SUMMER!!! Fresh farm fresh veggies, picnics, vegan BBQs, pot-lucks and lots of family and friends FUN!

There is something so special about heading over to the farmers market and picking out the best and brightest fresh-picked veggies. Tomatoes are especially the best find since there is nothing like fresh summer tomatoes! Here is a perfect recipe for enjoying those fresh, juicy summer tomatoes. Yum!!

Fresh Bruschetta with Tomato, Basil and Red Onion

  • loaf of fresh bread, sliced (we used olive bread)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 fresh plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped (or the best freshest looking tomatoes you see)
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch of basil, chopped
  • Coarse salt
  1. Rub sliced bread with garlic and olive oil.
  2. Combine tomatoes, onion and basil in a bowl. Add extra olive and salt to taste.
  3. Spoon onto sliced bread and enjoy!

Make it a party and add a fresh Salad, Guac & Chips and fresh summer corn! Even just the thought of fresh summer corn has me ready for the next party! The best!

Zucchini and Green Zebra Tomato Lasagne with Basil-Pistachio Pesto

I have made this dish many times over the last couple of years, sorry for waiting so long to share it with you! It is one of my faves!! And you can use each component on its own in other dishes as well 🙂 SO versatile and deelish! A total crowd pleaser – beautiful and amazing! Plus it has been one of their top sellers at the restaurant for years!

Zucchini and Green Zebra Tomato Lasagne with Basil-Pistachio Pesto
Recipe by Matthew Kenney of Pure Food and Wine
Serves 6

Lemon-Pignoli “Ricotta”

2 cups raw pignoli nuts, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons water

Place the pignoli, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and salt in a food processor, and pulse a few times, until thoroughly combined. Gradually add water, and pulse until the texture becomes fluffy, like ricotta. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.
Tomato Sauce
2 cups good-quality sun-dried tomatoes (dry-packed), soaked in water for at least 2 hours
1 medium ripe tomato, diced
1/4 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon agave
2 teaspoons sea salt
Pinch hot-pepper flakes

Place all ingredients in a Vita-mix or high speed blender, and process until smooth.
Basil-Pistachio Pesto
2 cups packed basil leaves
1/2 cup raw pistachios
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a Vita-mix or food processor and process until well combined but still slightly chunky.

Lasagne
3 medium zucchini, ends trimmed
3 medium green-zebra tomatoes (or other heirloom variety)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Pinch of sea salt and fresh pepper

Garnish: whole basil leaves

  1. Using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, shave zucchini lengthwise into very thin slices, then cut in half crosswise. Cut the tomatoes in half, and each half into thin slices.
  2. Line the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with two layers of zucchini slices. Brush the zucchini lightly with olive oil, spread 1/3 of the tomato sauce over it, and top with small dollops of “ricotta” and pesto, using 1/3 of each. Layer on 1/3 of the tomato slices, and sprinkle with 1/3 of the oregano and thyme. Add another double layer of zucchini and repeat twice more with the tomato sauce, pesto, ricotta, tomato slices, and herbs. Serve immediately, or cover with plastic and let sit at room temperature for a few hours. Garnish with basil. (or make individual portions by layering into square shapes on plates)

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