Posted in International vegan cuisine, Italian, Pasta, Plant Based, Sauces & Creams, Vegan

Spicy Vegan Red Sauce & Whole Wheat Fusili

Pasta night. One of the best nights of the week. You get carbs, which let’s face it, are amazing. You get veggies and if you’re a person who struggled to get more vegetables into your diet, homemade pasta sauce is definitely one way to get it. You get sauce, which is great. And you can take one simple vegan pasta recipe and tweak it until you have enough pasta recipes to last for months. Check out my recipe for Vegan Seafood Pasta for a new way to enjoy mushrooms and pasta! Or go with my Lemon Broccoli & Vegan Salmon Pasta recipe!

This go round, I went with something simple yet slightly different. Same red sauce only with a spicy twist. Next time I might add capers or olives or even corn to change it up a bit.

While this isn’t a one-pot dish, it is oil free and vegan, but I guess if you were determined enough it could become a one pot vegan recipe.

Quick & easy vegan pasta and red sauce.

I know what you’re thinking, that you don’t have time to spend all night in the kitchen making your own pasta sauce. That’s what you think, and would be wrong. I’m not suggesting you go Old World Italian Nonna and boil your tomatoes and all of that, which would be awesome if you did. And if you know how, hit me up because I could definitely use some tips. I am merely suggesting that you reduce your sugar intake and guarantee you get more veggies–and thus more nutrients–in your system by doing it yourself.

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Posted in Chicken, Grains, International vegan cuisine, Italian, Pasta, Plant Based, Sauces & Creams, Vegan

Vegan Chicken & Penne Arrabiata

When I’m not in the mood to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, I go for something that’s simple and tasty. Not necessarily comfort food, but delicious home-cooked food that’s easy to make. Something that always satisfies.

Like pasta.

Whether you just like pasta or you want to try something new, enjoy this easy vegan fried chicken and penne Arrabiata.

If you love pasta, quick cooking times and delicious vegan tomato sauce, this is a dish you’ll love and add to your roster of old faithfuls.

Continue reading “Vegan Chicken & Penne Arrabiata”
Posted in Grains, Herbs, Italian, Plant Based, Sauces & Creams, Vegan

30 Minute Vegan Pasta + Sauce

Ages ago when I first started to change the way I ate, I turned to Food Network for lessons on cooking, picking out the best quality food and even nutrition. It wasn’t a complete education but it gave me the tools I needed to keep moving forward. And it worked. Back then I was still shoveling animal products down my throat but there was a lot less food on my plate and it was a better quality.

Making the switch to plant based eating meant I needed to re-learn some things, such as how to make a meal complete without meat. Most days I don’t mind spending an hour in the kitchen to whip up a good and healthy meal for us and he doesn’t either, but some days I just don’t have the time. Or the energy.

Enter, quick but satisfying vegan meals in 30 minutes.

Normally I prefer whole wheat pasta, the darker the better. But I found this adorable pasta at Kaufland and it was so big and fat that it called out to me, and like any good vegan, the first thing I did was flip it over to make sure the manufacturer hadn’t snuck in some milk (lactic acid) or cheese. They didn’t.

They don’t look like much in the photo but that is a life-size image on the right so imagine how big they will get while cooking. Because I was cooking for 3 people, I used 250 grams instead of 200 just to be sure everyone got a proper serving. Before you gasp at the amount, keep reading.

One of the keys to making a meal quick and delicious is the ingredients. For this particular pasta dish I kept it simple:

Bell pepper
Crimini mushrooms
Cherry tomatoes
Tomato sauce
Leftover pesto(from the creamy pesto)

Add the onion and bell pepper to a skillet–with or without oil–and saute for a few minutes before adding garlic. Then tomatoes and then tomato sauce. You’ll want to add some herbs & spices for seasoning, including oregano, basil, thyme or rosemary.

Add the tomato sauce and stir, adding seasoning as you go until the flavors are delicious without being too salty.

I added about a tablespoon of pesto to each serving because the pop of color and freshness made the pasta even more delicious.

And it only took 30 minutes!

If you prep everything first, meaning chop all the veggies and put the herbs & spices together, you’ll save even more time.

Make it yourself and the next time someone tells you that eating healthy is too time consuming, give them a knowing smile…

and then prove them wrong.

Guten appetit!

Posted in Grains, Herbs, Italian, Plant Based, Sauces & Creams, Vegan

Plant Based Gnocchi with Squash & Turmeric Cream

Some days you want to whip up something easy for dinner and you reach for one of those tasty vegan burgers that only require you to add your favorite fixings and on other days you feel like channeling your inner professional chef and getting all up in the kitchen and whipping up something wonderful.

Enter, gnocchi. I LOVE gnocchi because I am a potato-a-holic and proud of it. I don’t eat it nearly enough but when I do, I devour it like a starving woman finally getting a meal in her belly. In fact when I bought this gnocchi it wasn’t even on the shopping list but there it was and I knew it would be a perfect meal to whip up when you least expected it. And it sat on a shelf for a week, maybe two untouched.

Then we realized–too late–that we were a day late on a trip to the market and…Eureka! I reminded the hubs that we had gnocchi in the pantry, squash in the veg bowl and plenty of ingredients for at least three different sauces.

Which did he choose? Squash, of course.

In our house we love all types of squash although that wasn’t always true for my husband who used to consider it ‘pig’s food’. One day back in 2006 or 2007 I made a butternut squash soup and he was a changed man. As proof of that, this was one of his dishes.

Hokkaido squash is a small orange squash that is easy to cut with minimal fuss. It tastes delicious and it blends well with plenty of different dishes, savory or sweet. Not to mention it is low calorie (just 80 calories per 1 cup!), high in fiber, potassium and folate which means pregnant ladies should gobble it up all year round!

Once you cut up the squash you can use any cooking method you wish but we boiled it until soft and then added the squash to a food processor along with plenty of herbs & spices. Add a splash of coconut milk to give it the creamy sauce-like texture and you can use this with anything. In fact, this is one of my go-to options when I’m in the mood for vegan mac & cheese.

Since we try to keep meals mostly healthy, this dish had mushrooms, onions and bell peppers because we had a few of each on hand. Saute them up however you like but for this particular recipe the hubs used water because he is dedicated to limiting our oil intake wherever he can. It works like a charm and I swear, unless you love the taste of oil, you won’t know the difference!

Turmeric, basil, salt & black pepper and coconut cream completed the ingredients for the sauce, giving it a thick and hearty taste that’s perfect when the temp drops to the single digits.

Mushrooms are the perfect way to give your vegan dishes a hearty ‘meaty’ feel that will satisfy your appetite without giving you a big fat food baby.

Sadly we didn’t have a cocktail to go with this meal but I think warm tuica or maybe even a mulled wine would be the perfect addition to this dish to keep you warm.