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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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!!!

Tomato-Vegetable Pas

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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!

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.

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