Rasta Pasta

Rasta Pasta

A few months ago I was in Jamaica and had a dish the chef named ‘Rasta Pasta’. One of the many things I love about Jamaica is the variety of food and the inclusion of vegetarian options. Due to the Rastafari movement, 8 to 10% of the population follow the ital diet which is a strict vegetarian – often vegan – way of eating.  Rasta Pasta is a simple dish of penne, callaloo (a dark, leafy green similar to spinach) and Jamaica’s national treasure, Ackee.  It had a garlicky taste and was a nice addition to the menu.  Like other greens, callaloo is rich in iron, Vitamin C and calcium.

Upon returning I made my own version and added a pesto sauce.  It offers a great way to jazz up the dish and another way of serving pasta.  Enjoy!

Feed the wellness in you!

 

Rasta Pasta

Ingredients

  • 8 oz of penne (fusilli or any tube like pasta will work well)
  • 3 cups of callaloo, washed and chopped (found at Caribbean markets)
  • 1 can of Ackee, drained
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup diced garlic
  • 2-3 tbl pesto sauce
  • 1 tsp red pepper
  • Parmesan Cheese to taste (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cook the penne according to directions.
  2. Mix in the pesto sauce and red pepper flakes; set aside.
  3. In a large dutch pan, sautee the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent.
  4. Add the callaloo and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes (until soft).
  5. Add the penne to the vegetables and mix well.
  6. Slowly fold in the ackee. Do not mix briskly because the ackee is soft and will get mashed.
  7. Top with parmesan cheese to taste and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/rasta-pasta/

 

Meatless Skillet Lasagne

Meatless Skillet Lasagne

I haven’t shared recipes using meat substitutes because I don’t want to convey that meat eaters won’t miss meat by using a  substitute. My goal is to always provide a healthy alternative to meat dishes and show you ways to incorporate more fruit and vegetables in your diet.  I’ve found that when you introduce meat substitutes to the carnivore community, there is a lot of noise about how hypocritical it is to even mention the word ‘meat’ as a vegetarian.  I don’t argue that meat doesn’t taste good. I ate meat off and on over the years and at one point increased it to help with my anemia.   I became a vegetarian four years ago to assist with an overall holistic wellness plan to combat an issue I had  and it worked.  Since then, there is a noticeable change in my wellness and I attribute it (in addition to regular exercise), to removing meat and hormones from my diet.

I’m not going to tell you that a meat substitute is a 1:1 comparison for meat but it does taste good when well prepared and you desire the texture of meat.  WP_20151027_06_32_12_Pro 1Perhaps it is the brand that I use and that’s why it’s enjoyable.  If you try this recipe or are looking for a ground beef substitute try Lightlife ‘Smart Ground’ crumbles.  It is really easy to incorporate in a dish, even easier than regular ground beef because it is already prepared.

I like the idea of a one pan dish for simplicity.  Skillet lasagna seems like a lazy excuse for lasagna but have you ever had a ‘free form’ lasagna at a restaurant?  This is very similar. Just get a few additional ingredients along with the protein crumbles and you will have this in very little time. WP_20151027_06_53_38_Pro 1 What’s great is that you can use no boil lasagna noodles and prepared marinara to speed up the timing without losing the overall look and taste.  I found a great organic whole wheat no boil lasagna noodle named Delallo.

My favorite prepared marinara sauce is Rao’s – highly recommended for its robust taste in this dish.  I never miss an opportunity to add vegetables in a recipe so this has baby spinach in the sauce.  I also added capers to my sauce which is not a typical lasagna ingredient.  My paternal grandmother was an amazing cook and one of my favorite dishes she would make was lasagna.  She traveled all around the world so I’m not sure where she learned the use of capers in her sauce but WOW, what a nice addition.

Feed the wellness in you!

Meatless Skillet Lasagne

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Serving Size: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg of Protein Crumbles
  • 1-25 oz jar of Marinara Sauce
  • 8-10 sheets of no cook lasagna noodles
  • 1-5 oz bag of baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 8 oz fat free Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 tbl oregano
  • 1 tbl basil
  • 1 tbl thyme
  • 1 tbl onion powder
  • 1 tbl fresh chopped garlic
  • 3 tbl capers

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet or dutch pan, sautee the fresh garlic in 1 tbl of EVOO on a medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add another tbl of EVOO and add the protein crumbles and turn the heat to low. Break up the protein crumbles and lightly brown for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Pour in the marinara sauce and mix well.
  4. Add the dried seasonings (oregano, basil, thyme, onion powder), then place spinach on top of mixture.
  5. Cover and let it cook on a low heat for 10 minutes.
  6. Mix the spinach in with the sauce then add the capers and Ricotta Cheese. Stir well.
  7. Add the 8-10 sheets of no cook lasagna noodles. You will be placing them individually and pouring the sauce over each noodle so all are coated.
  8. The noodles should cook in 20-25 minutes(per the directions on the box) so cover the pan and cook on low heat for that period of time.
  9. Uncover after 25 minutes to stir lightly confirming the noodles are cooked and well integrated in the sauce.
  10. Top with the shredded parmesan cheese and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/meatless-skillet-lasagne/

Pappardelle Marinara with Chard

pappardelle marinara with chard.jpg

In January, I received the sweetest present from a dear friend. Her family made a New Year’s resolution to embark on the spiritual gift of giving on at least a monthly basis and I was one of the first recipients. She bought me a 1-year subscription to Vegetarian Times so I continue to be inspired and to share my recipes. This occurred just a few weeks before I started this blog so it was very timely. I often read the online version and let my subscription lapse some time ago.  I received my first issue in April and  always reading  cover to cover.  The September issue features a beautiful Pappardelle with butternut squash, browned butter and chard.  It looks absolutely delish but when the magazine arrived in August with references to the fall, I wasn’t quite ready to digest the idea of anything to do with the fall.  So I tucked it away for a later date.

However, while on vacation a few weeks ago my eyes would gravitate to Pappardelle pasta if featured on a menu.  I ordered it once and upon my return home immediately sought it out in the grocery store.  Not may brands carry Pappardelle; I was able to find only one on this day.  As I stated in previous posts this summer, I am still trying to spend a limited amount of time in the kitchen during the summer months so I grabbed two bunches of Red Chard and considered whipping up a pasta in my go-to, simple marinara sauce that is featured in my post Pasta Marinara with Roasted Spring Vegetables on 6/10/2015.  Chard is filled with antioxidants and rich in biotin to keep your skin, hair and nails healthy.

I am not inserting the standard recipe template in this post because once you prepare the sauce as described in the referenced post, you’re just a few steps away from completing this dish.  After the sauce is prepared, in a separate pan you sauté 2 bunches of chopped Red Chard in olive oil with 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped garlic, 1/4 cup fresh chopped oregano, salt to taste. The Chard is cooked in no more than 10 minutes.  Prepare an 8 oz package of Pappardelle al dente and drain.  Mix the Chard with marinara; fold into the Pappardelle.  Never forget topping with fresh chopped basil with a little cheese, if you please and serve!

Feed the wellness in you!

Spaghetti Mangiafuoco

 

Spaghetti Mangiafuoco.jpg

One of my favorite shows is Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  This would be my dream job if I weren’t a vegetarian.  I love the different places food takes Guy to and I enjoy his enthusiasm for food.  I’m also pretty certain I know when he REALLY loves a dish and when he thinks it’s just ‘okay.’  If he’s not grunting and moaning with his first bite then he’s not in love.  His passion for food is authentic and he gives these chefs and restaurant owners so much joy.  My whole family gets a kick out of Guy and his adventures.

Last week Guy was on a “road trip” to Florence, Italy. He and the Triple D crew must have been in road dawg heaven. It was a culinary dream and so many great dishes experienced, but one that caught my attention was a simply made pasta, Spaghetti Mangiafuoco.  As I stated last week, I’m looking to spend as little time in the kitchen in the summer so this quick flavorful dish was etched in my consciousness.

The restaurant was in Collodi, Italy and run by a husband and wife team.  The husband was a very gregarious host that spoke English; the wife was the chef and from what I could ascertain spoke minimal English.  But the little she spoke and demonstrated cooking this dish made the flavors emanate through the television.  I’ve made similar pasta sauces before but this simply made sauce with fresh cherry tomatoes, herbs and spices infused in the olive oil then tossed in pasta has quickly become a ‘go to’ pasta base for me.  As I’ve emphasized in the past, you just can’t underestimate the power of herbs, and fresh basil and oregano should always be in your tomato based pasta dishes.  The chef used fresh parsley (which I didn’t find out until after I made my version) and anchovy paste which I obviously did not use as a vegetarian.  I added shitake mushrooms and along with the chef’s use of red pepper flakes, fresh garlic, and capers for a boost of flavor, I think I captured the essence of an authentic Spaghetti Mangiafuoco.  Mangiafuoco means fire eater in Italian – not sure about eating fire but you will bring the heat to the table with this dish!

Feed the wellness in you!

Spaghetti Mangiafuoco

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Serving Size: 2

Ingredients

  • 25 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup shitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 -1 tsp of red pepper flakes (dependent on your taste)
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 1 tbl chopped garlic
  • 2 sprigs fresh basil
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano
  • whole wheat spaghetti

Instructions

  1. Cook two servings of pasta according to directions.
  2. Set aside and add about 1 tsp of olive oil (I used infused olive oil with garlic, basil and red pepper that I keep on hand)
  3. In a large sauce pan, on medium heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add red pepper flakes, garlic, and capers and saute for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the cherry tomatoes and shitake mushrooms; saute for an additional 5 minutes on a low heat.
  5. Fold in your pasta and mix well.
  6. Add your basil and oregano leaves.
  7. Mix and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/spaghetti-mangiafuoco/

Pasta Marinara with Roasted Spring Vegetables

Pasta marinara with roasted vegetables.jpg

The name of this recipe doesn’t bring much imagery to mind but there is something key that makes this more delicious than you can imagine.  It has homemade Basil Garlic Oil.  A few years ago after experiencing Chef Scott Conant’s fabulous restaurant, Scarpetta, I fell in love with his simply made Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce.   My husband bought me Chef Conant’s Scarpetta recipe book and I found the secret.  He infuses olive oil with garlic, basil and red pepper flakes which is then added to his fresh tomato sauce.  Since then, I make and keep infused oil handy at all times and use it in all of my tomato based pasta dishes.

To make enough Basil Garlic Oil for this recipe only, heat a small saucepan over low heat with 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 5 whole cloves of garlic, 12 basil leaves and 1 tsp of pepper flakes. Keep the heat on low to allow the ingredients to warm slowly and release their flavors. When the garlic is lightly browned, turn heat off and let cool for 10 minutes. Let the oil sit so the oil is well infused. Strain the oil, discarding the solids.  Make this in advance of preparing this pasta dish and I strongly recommended doubling or quadrupling this recipe to keep for future use.  If you make a larger batch of oil don’t discard the solids – I leave them in for added flavor until ready to use.

This Pasta Marinara is based on Chef Conant’s recipe.  He uses fresh plum tomatoes and I have done this before according to his recipe, however for this dish I used canned San Marzano tomatoes which are delicious when prepared as I’ve described.  And much less complicated!  Fresh tomatoes requires a process of taking the tomatoes from boiling to cold to remove the skin and although it is worth the effort, I rarely have time to do that with all I have to juggle at home.  Please note this recipe yields 4-6 servings of sauce so you can make your pasta servings fresh the next day or freeze the sauce to use at a later date.

Chef Conant uses spaghetti – I use whole wheat linguine.  He serves without any accompaniments and is just fine with me!  However I’m always looking for ways to incorporate vegetables so I added roasted vegetables.  Although it feels like summer it is technically still spring so I used a chock full of spring vegetables to roast; zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus, broccoli.  Complemented with shitake mushrooms and fresh basil it provides bold, intense flavor.  And top off anything with Parmigiano-Reggiano always helps make me smile.

Feed the wellness in you!

Pasta Marinara with Roasted Spring Vegetables

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Two cans of tomatoes will yield 4-6 servings so if you don't want so much sauce just half the recipe. I always cook two cans to have over a few days or to freeze and use later.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of San Marzano whole tomatoes
  • 1 box whole wheat linguine
  • 1/2 cup zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 cup yellow squash, sliced
  • 1/2 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup asparagus tips
  • 1 cup broccoli crowns
  • 1 cup Parmigiano - Reggiano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • Garlic Basil Oil (already prepared)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh Basil sliced thinly (about 4 leaves used per serving)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Wash and pat dry the vegetables and mushrooms. Toss them in a bowl with 1 tbl EVOO, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder.
  3. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, lay the vegetables out evenly and roast for 20-30 minutes. Turn the vegetables over midway.
  4. In a large, wide pan add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes and a tsp of sea salt. Cook for 15 minutes. Mash the tomatoes and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  5. While the tomatoes are cooking, cook half of the box of pasta according to its al dente instructions. Half the box should yield 2-4 servings.
  6. Once pasta is cooked, transfer one serving of pasta to a smaller pan.
  7. Add about 3/4 cup of the tomato sauce and stir.
  8. Add 4 basil leaves, 1/4 c Parmigiano - Reggiano and a tsp of garlic basil oil. Mix well and transfer to plate
  9. Top with some roasted vegetables and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/pasta-marinara-with-roasted-spring-vegetables/

Bean Pasta Primavera

 

 Cannellini Bean Pasta Primavera.jpg

 

Classic pasta primavera consists of fresh vegetables with pasta in a light sauce. If you search for a pasta primavera recipe on the internet you will find thousands. The typical recipes include various vegetables –  broccoli, green peas, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, peppers – and if protein is added it is usually chicken or shrimp.    I can’t count how many times this dish has been offered to me as the vegetarian option at a catered meal. It makes sense – it is a very simple, inexpensive and quick dish to make, and can be quite tasty.  Unfortunately, I’ve  had to experience the versions made with frozen produce but also have had those made with fresh ingredients and creativity.  Just a little creativity can go a long way.

Instead of giving you what’s been tried and true, I decided to make a primavera with beans.  This dish is not of Italian origin (it’s Canadian!) so I think I have the right to be non traditional yet keep some tradition.  Primavera means spring so I thought to maintain some of the classic essence I would use fresh green peas since they’re in season; peppers (I used three types), onions, and fresh herbs.  What I decided to add for a twist was a bean because the legume is one of my main sources of protein.

I went with the cannellini bean (also known as the white kidney bean) which is very popular in Italian cuisine so I figured it would be a great compliment. In addition to the typical bean benefits of being low in calories, high in fiber and protein, it has uber antioxidants.  Remember, antioxidants are thought to protect your skin and the rest of your body from free radicals, and destructive atoms that invade and damage cells.  I read that these super white beans provide zinc, copper, and along with the protein can also help fight premature wrinkling of the skin….need I say more??

Feed the wellness in you!

Bean Pasta Primavera

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Serving Size: 2-4

Ingredients

  • 1-15 oz can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1.5 cups fresh green peas
  • 1/4 cup red onions
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbl capers
  • 1/2 large red pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 large orange pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 large yellow pepper, sliced
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp tarragon
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 -2.5 cups Vegetable Broth
  • Shredded Romano Cheese (optional)
  • 1/2 Box of Whole Wheat Fusilli Pasta (approx. 8 oz)

Instructions

  1. Sautee the onions, garlic and peppers in olive oil on medium heat for 7-10 minutes.
  2. Add your cannellini beans and turn to low for 5 minutes, then to simmer.
  3. In a small pot cook the peas in 2 cups of broth on a medium heat until it comes to a boil then add to the cannellini bean mixture.
  4. Add your white wine, capers, tarragon, parsley, fresh thyme. Cook on a low heat for 15 minutes while you prepare the pasta according to the directions for al dente pasta.
  5. In a large pan add the pasta and the bean primavera. Mix well and serve with Romano Cheese
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/bean-pasta-primavera/

Vegetable Pasta with Mung Beans

Vegetable Pasta with Mung Beans2

Vegetable Pasta with Mung Beans

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Serving Size: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2-3 portabello mushrooms, cut lengthwise
  • 2 bunches of Swiss chard, cut lengthwise
  • 1 cup dried mung beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 c san marzano tomatoes
  • Vegetable stock
  • 2 tbl sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4c red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 box Whole Wheat Spaghetti
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cook the mung beans in 2 cups of vegetable broth for 45 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Using a peeler, shred your zucchini, carrots and yellow squash in long pieces, much like spaghetti. Wash and cook in vegetable broth (enough to cover the vegetables) for 10 minutes on a medium heat.
  3. In a large sauce pan, sautee the portabello mushrooms, Swiss chard with red onions and garlic for 10 minutes on a medium heat. Add the san marzano tomatoes, the leaves from the sprigs of thyme and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
  4. Combine all ingredients (the veggies along with vegetable broth) and stir well. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes, before removing from heat.
  5. In another sauce pan, add the amount of pasta you desire with some of the sauce.
  6. Top with parmesan reggiano cheese if you wish and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/vegetable-pasta-with-mung-beans/
I’ll get straight to the point – Mung Beans.  I have been eyeing this caper-looking bean in the dried bulk section for quite some time. I consider myself to have a diverse palate but I had never seen or heard of it in any dish I have ever had.  I’m in the bulk section regularly so I finally I decided to satisfy my curiosity and purchased some.Mung Beans

Since I’m always looking for sources of protein I figured the mung bean  would serve its purpose, but needed to research it before creating a home for it in a meal.  I had to give it a warm welcome.

I was surprised to learn that mung beans have been around for thousands of years and originated in India, and later cultivated throughout Asia.  When the mung bean is germinated, it creates the bean sprout.  Who knew?  Like most beans it is low in calories, high in fiber, a good source of iron, and delivers vitamins B, C, and K.

I looked for how mung beans are used in recipes and naturally due to it’s Indian origin, I found recipes for curries and stews.  I will keep that in mind for the very near future, but in the interim I decided to go a bit lighter in flavor and add it to a vegetable pasta. Beans are a great addition to vegetables in pasta, and in my quest to deliver alternatives for a  balanced meal to your plate, I’m pleased that this provides vegetables, protein, and whole grains all in one dish.

The beans need to be washed and soaked overnight.  Cooking time for the beans was approximately 45 minutes.  I shredded all of my vegetables to simulate pasta and also included whole grain spaghetti but the ratio of vegetables to pasta was 2:1.  Once all of the vegetables and beans are prepped, it is very simple to combine the few herbs and spices to complete the dish. As with most pastas, if you desire a protein just toss it in.  Enjoy!

Feed the wellness in you!

Vegetable Pasta with Mung Beans

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Serving Size: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2-3 portabello mushrooms, cut lengthwise
  • 2 bunches of Swiss chard, cut lengthwise
  • 1 cup dried mung beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 c san marzano tomatoes
  • Vegetable stock
  • 2 tbl sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4c red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 box Whole Wheat Spaghetti
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cook the mung beans in 2 cups of vegetable broth for 45 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Using a peeler, shred your zucchini, carrots and yellow squash in long pieces, much like spaghetti. Wash and cook in vegetable broth (enough to cover the vegetables) for 10 minutes on a medium heat.
  3. In a large sauce pan, sautee the portabello mushrooms, Swiss chard with red onions and garlic for 10 minutes on a medium heat. Add the san marzano tomatoes, the leaves from the sprigs of thyme and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
  4. Combine all ingredients (the veggies along with vegetable broth) and stir well. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes, before removing from heat.
  5. In another sauce pan, add the amount of pasta you desire with some of the sauce.
  6. Top with parmesan reggiano cheese if you wish and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/vegetable-pasta-with-mung-beans/

Lentil Ragu

Lentil Ragu

Lentils along with other legumes are a vegetarians best friend.  They accompany practically anything and can be used in a side dish, main dish, salad – they are sure to satisfy.  I love the ability to use it in numerous ways across many cuisines.  I had to think long and hard about how to introduce my creative side into a lentil dish and I know I came up with a winning introduction.  Let’s start with a few facts about the beloved lentil.

Lentils have a long shelf life, low cost, and excellent nutritional content.  They are low in sodium and cholesterol and high in beneficial nutrients such as thiamin, phosphorous, copper, vitamin C, folate, iron, manganese, and dietary fiber.

There are also a wide variety of lentils – brown, yellow, red, black, green, and French green, with just slight differences in nutritional benefits.

I call this dish Lentil Ragu because a typical meat-based Ragu is comprised of at least two different meats, generally beef and pork or veal, and sometimes a little pancetta is added to the combo.  This lentil dish features three of the most common lentils – brown, green and black.   I’m using these three together because they are sprouted lentils.    The benefits of the sprouting process results in increased vitamins and minerals being retained.  It also reduces the cooking time tremendously.  If you cannot find sprouted or choose not to use sprouted then use brown and black lentils.  They can be easily found in the grocery store, they have the same cooking time of approximately 30 minutes, and they maintain their firmness and shape after cooking.  Red lentils are easy to find but they soften quite a bit and are better utilized in a curry or soup; Green lentils maintain their firmness and shape but take longer to cook, in upwards of 45 minutes.

I love the smokiness of the fire roasted tomatoes in this dish, the sweetness of the shallots, the freshness of the basil, and the mild heat of the red pepper flakes.  And the red wine could only result in a good thing!  The richness in flavor and color it adds is beautiful.  The aroma is enticing.  I included goat cheese as optional so this would be vegan friendly but I must say that if you can add a sprinkle of goat cheese it’s  mild enough to balance the other robust flavors and adds just a touch of creaminess.  Lastly, combining the lentils with shitake mushrooms really makes this a hearty main dish or as a side dish with other proteins and vegetables.  I paired it with whole wheat spaghetti but I would also consider it over polenta.

Enjoy!

Feed the wellness in you!

Lentil Ragu

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Serving Size: 4-6

The cooking process for the sauce (without the lentils) should be long and slow because it takes time for the red wine to absorb into the sauce. Use a slow cooker for an even better result and cook for 4 hours.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of sprouted lentil trio (Try Whole Foods for the 'Accent' brand)
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbl of olive oil
  • 2 tbl of tomato paste
  • 1 cup of sliced shitake mushrooms
  • 2.5 cans of fire roasted tomatoes (14.5 ounce cans)
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • Chopped fresh basil
  • Whole Wheat Spaghetti
  • 2 tbl of Goat cheese per serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Sautee the garlic, shallots and shitake mushrooms in olive oil for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the 2.5 cans of fire roasted tomatoes, 2 tbl of tomato paste, sea salt, red pepper flakes and cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Fold in the cup of red wine and cook on low heat for 1 1/2 hrs.
  4. Cook 1 cup of lentils in vegetable stock.
  5. Add the lentils to the other ingredients after they have fully blended at the end of the 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Turn off and let sit until ready to serve.
  7. In another pan add one serving of cooked spaghetti and blend the lentil ragu generously.
  8. Serve with a sprinkle of chopped basil on top as shown in the picture, and individually plate.
  9. The goat cheese is optional but highly recommended!
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/lentil-ragu/

Vegetable Lasagne with Polenta

 Vegetable polenta

 

A few weeks ago while in London with my family we grabbed a quick bite to eat at the restaurant, Jamie Oliver Italian. I’m a big fan of Chef Oliver’s “better food” education efforts because it was sorely needed.  However, I really had no intention of making his restaurant a destination while in the UK. I thought it would be difficult for a ‘chain’ restaurant (there are 37 locations in London) to maintain his personal stamp and I really wanted to explore other dining options (given the chance I would’ve eaten Indian food everyday!). We were in the midst of sightseeing between attractions and the children were suddenly starving.  If you have children you know you need to resolve that right away!  Chef Oliver has four children of his own and is known to have great kid friendly dishes. With 37 restaurant locations the opportunity easily presented itself to see what Jamie Oliver Italian had to offer.

There were a decent amount of vegetarian pasta options on the menu and I chose the Vegetable Rotolo Al Forno that is a dish comprised of seasonal pumpkin, squash & spinach. ‘Rotolo Al Forno’ seems to translate to ‘Baked Roll’ and there were pinwheels of pasta (about half the width of a lasagna noodle) filled with the pumpkin combination and topped with tomatoes, ricotta and a little parmesan cheese. The description also had ‘herby breadcrumbs’ which seemed to be Chef Oliver’s topping on several dishes. I couldn’t foresee how breadcrumbs would help the dish so I asked for the pasta without it and they obliged.

I really enjoyed this savory blend! The combination of the vegetables and cheese really worked for me and I immediately thought of incorporating it in a dish when I returned stateside. So I did! I made some changes using polenta instead of pasta, butternut squash only with no pumpkin, in addition to spinach I added collard greens, and lastly instead of using parmesan cheese I used parrano cheese. I’m really pleased with the flavors and I hope you are too!

 

Vegetable Lasagne with Polenta

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes

Serving Size: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 16 oz Chopped Collards
  • 12 oz Baby Spinach
  • 20 oz Butternut Squash, cubed
  • 2-24 oz tubes Polenta
  • 8 oz San Marzano Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup Rao’s Marinara Sauce
  • 64 oz Vegetable Stock
  • 24 oz Ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Onion Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Garlic Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons Dried Basil
  • Shaved Parrano Cheese
  • Sea Salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put collards in a large pot with enough vegetable stock to just cover the collards about 1/4 inch.
  3. Season with the onion powder, garlic powder and 2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning.
  4. Bring to a boil then turn to low and cook for 1.5 hours.
  5. Add spinach and sea salt to taste.
  6. Cook until the spinach is the same dark green color as the collards. The spinach should not be just wilted and bright green. It should be soft and dark. This may take approximately 30 minutes. The collards and spinach should be very soft and the same consistency.
  7. Drain the liquid and set aside.
  8. In another pot, cook the butternut squash similarly; cover with just enough vegetable stock and cook for about 20 minutes or until they are soft. No seasoning is added. Mash them to a soft consistency and put in a strainer to release the liquid.
  9. Slice your polenta (I like the Sun of Italy brand) in even ‘disk’ sizes. You should have at least 20 slices but you should not have more than 2 rows and 2 layers of polenta when it is all assembled.
  10. Mix your ricotta cheese with the dried basil and a dash of sea salt to taste.
  11. In a baking dish (I use size 9x13), pour the marinara sauce to cover and coat the bottom of the dish.
  12. Add a layer of polenta (about 8 - 10 slices).
  13. Top with the butternut squash and spread evenly.
  14. Add the collards and spinach and spread evenly on top of the butternut squash.
  15. Top the butternut squash with the ricotta and spread evenly.
  16. Top the ricotta with the remaining polenta slices.
  17. Add the San Marzano tomatoes evenly on top of the polenta.
  18. Bake for 40 minutes.
  19. Add Parrano Cheese and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/vegetable-lasagne-with-polenta/

 Vegetable Polenta1I prefer Parrano cheese but you can use Parmesan or Pecorino Romano also.  All of them are delish!