Foot Loose and Fancy-Free

I have no recipe this week!  Last week I was on vacation and school started on Monday for my dynamic duo so it’s a little hectic.  There’s not a lot of creativity going on in the kitchen. However, I thought it would be valuable to share some of the meals I had while on vacation. I know many of us struggle on vacation to stick to healthy dining options. You have to be disciplined and vacation is supposed to be fun, foot loose and fancy-free, right?  (I’m married so foot loose and fancy-free in this sense means one does as they please as it pertains to food;-)  Well 5 lbs later when you get home you feel the ‘weight’ in many ways – there’s guilt, it’s hard to get back on track, and you realize that number on the scale is not incorrect and you’ve got to do something about it.  When I am away from my regular routine I choose restaurants that have menus that can cater to a healthy diet.  Let me also state that I’m not knocking ANYONE for enjoying food the way they want to.  Since a healthy lifestyle should be a lifetime commitment, this is just my way of demonstrating how I’ve been able to enjoy myself with my vegetarian lifestyle while on vacation.  Here are just a few of the dishes I had and thoroughly enjoyed.

Huevos Rancheros – I used the omelet station at our hotel to order scrambled egg whites and omelets, but I also had this delicious dish. I ordered it with egg whites, light on the cheese and no sour cream. huevos rancheros.jpg

Veggie burger with side salad – I don’t eat just any veggie burger; I always ask if they are house made and what the ingredients are.  This burger was made from beets, black beans, brown rice and other grains. It was great and very tasty.  I am a sucker for hand cut fries so I don’t deny myself certain pleasures in life but the fries that accompanied this were frozen so why bother.  I’d rather have an extra glass of wine instead.

veggie burger.jpg

Harvest Saladthis was a yummy blend of beets, grapefruit, white asparagus, farro, goat cheese, mixed greens, kale, and white balsamic dressing on the side.  One day I asked to add avocado because it was on the menu in another dish.  If the ingredient is found elsewhere and it’s something you want, just ask for it! harvest salad.jpg

Pasta – Pasta is always flexible and versatile if looking for a healthy food option.  Restaurant portions tend to be large so just half it, stick with a tomato based sauces and use cheese in moderation. We dined at two different Italian restaurants and at both I asked for a pasta with a tomato sauce and whatever green vegetables they had.  The first restaurant kept it fairly basic yet delicious with a Penne Arriabbata and spinach; the second restaurant gave me fresh cavatelli with chard and spinach in a tomato sauce.  (not pictured) Perfetto!

penne ariabbata with spinach.jpg

Asian Food – There are always great vegetarian options at Asian restaurants and where we were vacationing had several Thai and Japanese restaurants that had something for everyone in my family.

Pad See-ew Noodles is a Thai dish pictured below.  If you’ve never had this before it is a flat rice noodle served with broccoli, a sweet brown sauce and your choice of protein.  It is delicious.

pad see-ew

 At a Japanese restaurant I had Buddha’s Delight which is sautéed vegetables with garlic brown sauce with the protein of your choice.   It is pictured below served with tofu (lightly fried) over brown rice.

buddhasdelight.jpg

 Are you hungry now?  I am!  Going to the kitchen now that I’m inspired by recalling all these wonderful dishes!

Feed the wellness in you!

Quinoa Tabbouleh

 

Quinoa Tabboulleh

I got an email from my children’s school advising where to find their school supply list online along with other back to school information.  As much as I tried to deny it, the summer break is coming to an end. How is this possible? Where did the time go? I still have summer heavy on my mind. What’s great about DC is that it can reach the 80 degree mark in October and some pools are still open. One local pool that I go to has a fabulous brunch with several vegetarian options. One of the options is usually a traditional tabbouleh with bulgur but this past weekend they did it with quinoa. I liked the substitute.  Ironically they lessened the parsley which I don’t know if that technically makes it an entirely different dish because how can tabbouleh not have parsley?  With many more weeks of summer and the desire to eat nice cool salads,  I thought I should make tabbouleh and post a recipe.

There’s so many things that are great about tabbouleh.  I love the smell of fresh parsley and the lovely taste of the lemon and mint combined.  I was excited about trying it with quinoa.  Both bulgur and quinoa are great grains but quinoa has 50% more protein which I always need to seek extra of on a vegetarian diet.  Another thing I like about this dish is that it is easy to prepare.  Besides cooking the quinoa, everything else just gets chopped and when the quinoa is cooled just put all the ingredients together and mix well.  That’s it!

Traditional tabbouleh has way more parsley than it does grain.  Parsley is an amazing herb with almost every vitamin, lots of minerals and fiber.  Keep tabbouleh in mind at the salad bar  as an add-on ingredient to your salad.  It’s one of those items that adds great texture and flavor to salad, eliminating the need for dressing.

I hope you enjoy my take on tabbouleh.  I kept the spices light yet interesting, and used a higher ratio of lemon juice to olive oil.

Feed the wellness in you!

 

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Prep Time: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes

It is recommended to let the tabbouleh sit for 4 hours before serving hence the long total preparation time.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 c fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbl garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cucumber (if you you can find one, use a whole Persian cucumber), chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bunch chopped italian parsley (1.5 cups) washed and dried thoroughly
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint washed and dried thoroughly
  • 2 chopped scallions washed and dried thoroughly
  • 1/4 tsp Allspice
  • 1/4 tsp Powdered Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cloves

Instructions

  1. Cook a cup of quinoa according to the package directions. Let cool then put in a large bowl.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well.
  3. Let sit for 4 -6 hours or ideally overnight before serving.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/quinoa-tabbouleh/

 

Curried Cabbage and Carrots

Curry Cabbage and Carrots

Several weeks ago I ordered take out from an Indian restaurant and thought that we would have enough left over the next evening for dinner. Have you ever looked at the left overs the next day and wondered what you were thinking the night before?  I was having one of those moments, scrambling to figure out what to prepare to accompany the left overs and pulled out some cabbage from the refrigerator. I had to make it in a way that was in sync with the other Indian food so of course I thought of a curry instead of a lightly seasoned dish.

I really love cabbage.  As a kid I despised it – it was prepared by boiling it, it had an odd smell, and the final result was this unappetizing lump of a mushy substance on my plate.  As an adult I love the variety of cabbages and like most green vegetables it’s a great source of vitamins, minerals and fiber.  I enjoy it raw as well as cooked but only slightly – you don’t have to cook cabbage for more than 5-10 minutes to get it the right texture.  If you don’t already do this, try tossing shredded cabbage in your salad greens to get an extra boost of vitamins and crunch.  It soaks up any dressing you would use very nicely.

Back to the recipe…Since my first hurried attempt weeks ago, I’ve made this dish a few times now and each time I added ingredients until I got it ‘right’.  The first time I was rushing and used what I had on hand which was cabbage with curry, turmeric, cumin, garlic, a dash of cayenne and lemon juice.  I added ingredients the second time to include ginger, onions, and garam masala.  As they say, the third time is a charm because on the third attempt it truly became THE curry dish I would want to share with everyone.  The addition of the sweet carrots with the slightly crunchy cabbage was a great union; there are a lot of spices but they all complement each other yet you can taste them on their own; the black sesame seeds add a nice flavor and color balance; and the lemon juice adds just the right acidity and zest.

I’m not too happy with the picture I have alongside this recipe – I tried taking it a few times and the yellow of the curry and turmeric would not convey as I liked in most of the pictures so this was the best I could do.   I hope my description at least conveys that you should try it and that you will enjoy it!

Feed the wellness in you!

Curried Cabbage and Carrots

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serving Size: 4

Have all of your ingredients lined up and ready because you have to move fast in order to prevent the dry ingredients from sticking in the pan.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 large head of cabbage, shredded
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 c red onions
  • 1 tbl chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tbl curry
  • 1 tbl turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper or cayenne
  • 1 tbl black sesame seeds
  • 1/4 c lemon juice
  • Cilantro (optional)

Instructions

  1. Saute the carrots, red onions and garlic for 10 minutes on medium heat with 2 tbl of olive oil.
  2. Add your ginger, curry, turmeric, cumin, garam masala, and black sesame seeds with another tablespoon of olive oil. Mix quickly and add your shredded cabbage.
  3. Pour the lemon juice on top and stir well so the dry ingredients are integrated into the vegetables.
  4. Add your pepper and continue to mix. Turn to low heat and let cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat, stir and let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.
  6. Sprinkle cilantro on top and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/curried-cabbage-and-carrots/

Toasted Grain Pilaf

 

Toasted Grain Pilaf.jpg

I celebrated my birthday almost two weeks ago and one of my wishes was to have a ‘staycation’ – lay poolside, read a book, and relax.  Once my children are in a body of water and swimming, I don’t hear from them unless they are hungry and when they have a room number to charge to I am out of the equation.  There are only a few hotels in town that provide these options so as I was looking at hotels and their menus (always important for me to make sure they have good vegetarian options or adaptable dishes) I came across a dish named Toasted Grain and Endive Sauté.  The ingredients listed seemed to be quite tasty combined – black rice, farro, cauliflower, baby  bok choy, endive, capers, golden raisins, smoked almonds, sesame oil, lime.  I immediately jotted the ingredients down and was glad that I did since we didn’t eat at this restaurant.

When I returned home I made what I thought would be done with these ingredients as described.  I stuck closely to the ingredients listed except for the black rice which may have been a nice contrast in color for the dish.  I loved the idea of combining cauliflower, endive and bok choy.  Toasted Grain Pilaf Veggies.jpg

Because of the use of grains and the crunch of the almonds it seemed like an interesting spin on rice pilaf to me and not a sauté as the name originally implied, therefore I named my dish aptly, Toasted Grain Pilaf.

I enjoyed what I did with it and it turned out to be a hearty dish that I felt could be eaten alone or as a side dish.  I loved the use of lime and I thought of adding some cilantro and a touch of heat which gave it great flavoring.  Enjoy!

Feed the wellness in you!

 

Toasted Grain Pilaf

Yield: 3-4 servings

Ingredients

  • Vegetable Stock
  • 3/4 cup Farro
  • 2 cups roasted cauliflower
  • 2 baby bok choy, chopped
  • 1 endive, chopped
  • 2 tbl capers
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup red onions
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup smoked almonds chopped
  • Sesame Oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • 2 -3 limes
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup cilantro

Instructions

  1. Cook the farro according to the directions in 1.5 - 2 c of vegetable stock. Should be 25-30 minutes. Set aside to cool
  2. Roast the cauliflower in olive oil, dash of sea salt, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder. Takes approximately 30-35 minutes.
  3. Sautee the red onions and minced garlic in 2 tbl of olive oil for 3 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Add the roasted cauliflower, bok choy and endive and cook for 5-7 minutes.
  5. Fold in the farro, capers, and 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper; mix well.
  6. Squeeze the juice from the 2 -3 limes into the dish. If they are large limes, use 2.
  7. Mix in the golden raisins and 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro. Add salt to taste.
  8. Drizzle sesame seed oil on top.
  9. Sprinkle the smoked almonds on top, the remaining cilantro and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/toasted-grain-pilaf/

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/

Quinoa and Spinach Quiche

quinoa and spinach quiche.jpg

Despite my love for cooking I do not enjoy being in the kitchen in the summer. I love the warm weather but I don’t like going from the heat outside to a hot stovetop.  So right now I am doing my best to prepare meals in as little time as possible.  I got a lot of mileage from my mini frittatas last week and was able to enjoy them over a few days so I thought it would be helpful to create another dish that would provide me with the same benefit.  A dish with a few ingredients, minimal preparation with protein and vegetables that I could have for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner!

The combination of the quinoa with egg whites was seamless and of course a great source of protein.  The texture was great and the simple flavors of it paired with spinach and reduced fat feta was perfect. Opt for reduced-fat feta cheese to lower your intake of saturated fat by about one-third. Use just a small amount of feta cheese. Because it has such a strong flavor, it only takes a tiny bit to get the flavor of the cheese. What really tops this quiche off, literally, are the Campari tomatoes.  The Campari has a great taste, firm skin, and sweet flavor.  slice of quinoa and spinach quiche.jpg I served it with roasted broccoli and a salad for dinner, then just on its own for breakfast the next day.  Enjoy!

Feed the wellness in you!

Quinoa and Spinach Quiche

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 1 quiche pie

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups of cooked quinoa with 1/4 cup of green onions
  • Vegetable broth or boullion
  • 4 oz baby spinach
  • 3/4 cup of crumbled reduced fat feta
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 3 Campari tomatoes
  • 16 oz egg whites
  • 9 inch pie crust (I used an organic whole wheat crust found at Whole Foods)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook 1/2c quinoa with 1/4 cup of green onions in 1 cup of vegetable broth or water with a vegetable boullion.
  3. Follow the package cooking directions which could vary between 20-30 minutes.
  4. When cooked measure 1.5 cups of quinoa and transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool
  5. Saute the baby spinach in olive oil for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Transfer the spinach to the large mixing bowl and let cool.
  7. Add the egg whites and feta cheese, mix well.
  8. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  9. Pour into the 9 inch pie shell.
  10. Slice the tomatoes and place on top.
  11. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until cooked thoroughly.
  12. Remove and lets cool to a medium heat before cutting and serving.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/quinoa-and-spinach-quiche/

 

Mini Egg White Spinach Frittatas

 

mini egg white frittata.jpg

I was away on vacation for the past week and I didn’t post a recipe despite having a few to share. I convinced myself to truly disconnect, enjoy my surroundings and was so glad that I did. Prior to vacation my girlfriend and I co-hosted a Father’s Day brunch for the second year in a row.  It was fun for us to bring our family and friends together again, and our cooking styles are a good match.  I prepare all the vegetarian friendly dishes and she prepares all of the meat and fish which included fried chicken, baked rockfish, snapper and lamb sausages.  There was something for everyone.

I made a baked French toast with croissants – very similar to the Paula Deen recipe made with French bread if you’ve ever tried that. I also made a large chopped salad that I  posted a recipe for a few weeks ago, and lastly I prepared two different mini frittatas – one made with whole eggs, and one with egg whites.

For my egg white frittatas I used spinach, shitake mushrooms, red onions, roasted peppers, feta cheese, salt and pepper to taste.  Lots of flavor with just a few ingredients.  I made them in a muffin tin which makes it easy to prepare and store.  The leftovers can be frozen in sandwich bags and used later as needed.  What I love about these frittatas is that I get much needed daily consumption of protein and vegetables started at the beginning of the day.  So guess what I have for breakfast this week – my mini egg white frittatas!

Feed the wellness in you!

 

Mini Egg White Spinach Frittatas

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 12

Ingredients

  • 14-16 egg whites
  • 1 10 ounce bag of spinach
  • 1 cup of shitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of diced red onions
  • 1/2 cup of roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 1/2c - 3/4c of crumbled feta (depends on how much you desire)
  • 1 tbl of olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt and pepper
  • 12 muffin tin
  • Cooking spray or olive oil to coat the muffin trays

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sautee the spinach, mushrooms, red onions and red peppers on medium heat for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl and when spinach mixture cools, fold into the egg whites.
  4. Add the crumbled feta.
  5. Fill each muffin tin about 3/4 to the top.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until egg is no longer soft.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/mini-egg-white-spinach-frittatas/

No Dressing Chopped Salad

 

No Dressing Chopped Salad

We’re seeing lots of creative salads on spring/summer menus and freshly made salad is the main concept for many of the newer ‘fresh’ casual eateries.  I like to make a batch of salad no matter what season it is that I can use throughout the week.  In order for the salad  to stay fresh all week you have to keep some ingredients separated from others to prevent the salad from becoming soggy.  It’s easy  to toss in the remaining ingredients when you’re ready to sit down for your meal.  Let’s face it, despite salad being a healthy option if we add creamy, sugar laden dressing on top you might as well be eating dessert.  Most of the time when I make a salad, the ingredients I use nullify the need for a dressing.  If I want dressing, I use balsamic vinegar alone hence the reason why I’ve added a little to this recipe.  I thought it would be helpful to share the way I create a salad with a variety of ingredients to minimize the need for heavy salad dressing.

I like a lot of crunch so instead of lettuces I use a coleslaw mix of cabbages and carrots along with chopped spinach.  When I thought about the salad I would make for the week, along with my ‘go to’ leafy greens as the base, these are some of the items I decided on while in Whole Foods and a few from my own pantry.

 salad ingredients.jpg

I added a few more items after taking the picture but you get the gist.  A salad is free reign to be as creative as you want and the flavors are endless WITHOUT the dressing.  The main items that give this salad flavor is a little bit of balsamic vinegar, hearts of palm, a little parmesan cheese, your favorite items from an olive antipasti bar, and blueberries.  The items I included from the olive bar are minimal as you can see in this picture, but will add lots of flavor.

 antipasti.jpg

Add a grilled protein of your choice, chop and mix well, and you will have a delicious, low fat salad complete with great protein, iron and fiber.

Feed the wellness in you!

No Dressing Chopped Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4-6

The first nine ingredients serve as the base of the salad and will yield 4-6 servings depending on the size of your servings. The remaining ingredients are added when you are ready to serve the salad. The prep time does not include the recommended 20-30 minutes for allowing the base salad to rest in its ingredients.

Ingredients

  • Whole Foods Organic Cole Slaw Mix
  • 1 pkg of Whole Foods Organic Baby Spinach
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, chopped
  • 7.5 oz (1/2 can) of garbanzo beans
  • 7.5 oz (1/2 can) black eye peas
  • 1 can hearts of palm, chopped
  • Antipasti (items of your choice from olive bar of your choice) chopped - in this salad are 6 pitted olives, two tablespoons of sundried tomatoes, and about 6 gigantes (white beans)
  • 1/4 c blueberries
  • 1/2 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Mini seedless cucumber, chopped
  • 5-6 Grape tomatoes
  • 1 tbl Shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp Crispy onions
  • Avocado (I use at least half but it is optional)
  • 1 tbl pumpkin seeds

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry your baby spinach, coleslaw mix and sugar snap peas. Make sure all vegetables are dry before proceeding as you don't want excess water. Water will make the salad soggy quicker after storing.
  2. Chop your baby spinach, coleslaw mix, sugar snap peas (remove ends) and put in a large bowl
  3. Add your garbanzo beans, black eye peas, hearts of palm, blueberries and antipasti; mix well with balsamic vinegar. Move to a tight lid container for storage. I like to let the salad sit for about 20-30 minutes before serving but it is not a prerequisite.
  4. To serve, place a serving of salad mixture on plate or bowl.
  5. Add the cucumber, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, crispy onions, avocado, pumpkin seeds and protein of your choice. Mix well and enjoy!
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/no-dressing-chopped-salad/

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/

Green Curry Tofu and Vegetables

 

Green Curry Tofu.jpg

One of my dear, sweet aunts has been very curious about the vegetarian lifestyle.  She eats no beef or pork and follows a healthy diet but she just can’t imagine how one can follow a strict vegetarian or vegan diet.  She says her wish is to primarily follow a more vegetable centric diet because it will make her feel better.  At 85, she has some general aches and pains and believes that perhaps this diet will help because the doctor’s aren’t coming up with any answers for her ailments (or maybe they’re not telling her what she wants to hear!).  Sometimes she embarks on eating as a vegetarian for a week, and she’ll start by going to Whole Foods on ‘Meatless Monday’s’ to get a platter that will last her a few days.  She was never someone who loved cooking, so that contributes to her inability to commit and be consistent with a vegetarian diet.  Nonetheless, she does give it a try.

So a few weeks ago when she arrived at my home with a case of tofu with one of the twelve packages of tofu missing I wasn’t surprised.    She bought the case at Costco and thought she would put tofu in her salad.  She ended up using very little of the 1st box, leaving the rest to spoil.  The idea of getting through the next eleven boxes seemed impossible to her.  I would also imagine that without prepping the tofu in any way left her with very little to be desired for using eleven more boxes of tofu.

Lucky me (and you!).  Now I have a lot more tofu on hand to get very creative with.  I started with my take on Green Curry Tofu and Vegetables.  I used broccoli and baby bok choy for my vegetables which provides the balance of crunch to the softness of the tofu.  I grew up on Yellow curry which is quite a different taste to the Asian Green and Red curries.  I love them all!

The green curry doesn’t give this dish its flavor, at least not all of it. It’s the marriage of the green curry with other ingredients – light coconut milk, ginger, and mirin, just to name a few.  What really gave this an unexpected boost was fresh basil.  Much like the tofu was gifted to me, as I was walking out of the house last week my next door neighbor asked me if I used basil and if I needed some just help myself to what she had on her porch.  She said they always have more than they can use!  What a win for me.  I told her to infuse olive oil with the basil to get more use out of it but I am also more than happy to take it off of her hands.  The basil coupled with the cilantro I planned for the dish gave it a burst of freshness.  I must be doing something right with these showers of food blessings!

This came together as a great meal served over jasmine rice and can stretch over a few days.  On that note, I will have to make some for my aunt so she doesn’t give up on tofu and perhaps this recipe will give my neighbor another way to use her basil.

Feed the wellness in you!

 

Green Curry Tofu and Vegetables

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 pkgs Extra Firm Tofu, cut in one inch cubes, drained, patted well between paper towels
  • 2 cups Broccoli Crowns
  • 2 baby Bok Choy, chopped
  • 1 can Light Coconut Milk
  • 2-3 tbl Green Curry Paste (I used one with no fish sauce but if you are not a vegetarian you can choose one to your liking)
  • 1 tbl Minced Ginger
  • 1/4 cup Red Peppers, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Yellow Peppers, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Red Onions, sliced
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 tbl Mirin
  • 1/4 cup Chopped basil and cilantro
  • 1/8 cup fresh chopped garlic
  • 1 tbl red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and roast the tofu for 30 minutes.
  2. In a large dutch pan, saute the peppers, garlic and onions in 1 tbl olive oil on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the broccoli, tsp of sea salt, and sautee for 5 minutes.
  4. Add another tablespoon of olive oil then add the bok choy, minced ginger, mirin, stir well then turn to low heat.
  5. In a small sauce pan combine the coconut milk and green curry paste, mix and keep on low heat until combined well for approx. 10 minutes.
  6. In the large dutch pan, add the tofu when done.
  7. Slowly fold in the Green Curry and Coconut Milk mixture.
  8. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  9. Add the chopped basil and cilantro.
  10. Serve over white or brown jasmine rice.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/green-curry-tofu-and-vegetables/