Several weeks ago, a friend of mine made a delicious brunch that included this very simple topping of crushed walnuts and cilantro over a bed of steamed kale. I’d never had anything like it and weeks later, it’s been hard to forget it. So, I started to think of other ways to incorporate it into a meal and, one late night after work when I was too hungry to go grocery shopping and had to make do with what was already in the house, this is what I came up with. This recipe has definitely replaced my standard, too-lazy-to-cook-“pasta and sauce”-go-to and is now living comfortably next to my smoky mac and cheese recipe on the list of easy, quick, comfort meals.
I love the unique flavor of this dish, how filling it is without being overly heavy like most pasta dishes, and how easily and quickly it’s put together. The flavor isn’t overly powerful, but it’s present, if that makes sense. It’s pleasantly delicious, somewhat creamy without using cream, and sure to hit the spot if you want to make a pasta dish that isn’t your standard red sauce and grain meat and cheese variety, but is still comforting.
All the ingredients are healthy, vegan pantry basics and easily found in your standard grocery store. They are also easy to substitute for a gluten free version. Even better yet, this recipe is a two for one deal: the walnut, mustard, and cilantro mixture itself would make a nice dip for crackers, if you’re so inclined. Personally, for that purpose I’d go with a cracker that’s just a simple base–like a rice cracker–to highlight the flavor of the dip.
Raw ingredients and final product!
I’ve been having a really nostalgic weekend. It seems, that even my dreams are just old memories. So, it’s stranger still when I’m in the grocery store, having no clue what to make for dinner, and I end up with a basket full of foods to make a meal that I once shared with someone five years ago when I hated (and was terrible at) cooking. Back then, someone else always cooked, and I always just ate. Sure, it sounds lovely, but it really isn’t that great. I like to have a say in what goes into my food.
I wasn’t vegan then, but this dish was and it’s just as good now as it was in the old days. I don’t remember all the specific ingredients quite that well, just the ones that stood out and that it was based off a Rachel Ray dish. So, I decided to update it for the present time, adding my own touch, perhaps to signify the coming on of years, the maturity that time bestows with age. It’s only too funny that the person who once made this for me, who I hadn’t seen in a year, called me while I was in the process of cooking this. The world works in mysterious ways, my friends.
This dish is sure to please the garlic lover in anyone. It’s pretty straight forward, there are no fancy spices — just salt, pepper, and oregano. And the combination of fresh herbs and white wine with garlic is just divine. Also, this one’s totally gluten free! But of course, you can use any kind of pasta you want. I just really enjoyed making something a little lighter in content and the green of the spinach pasta was a good combination for the other bright colors of this meal. Oh, and it may look like a lot of work, but this actually only took about 30 minutes. Enjoy! Continue reading
I’ve recently been told that my food is “fancy.” I’m not sure if I’m to take this as a compliment or as a comment on having “complicated” or “involved” recipes. Or maybe the people who say this just eat veggie dogs and Amy’s frozen dinners, I don’t know. I’ve certainly never thought that the recipes I’ve posted are at all fancy or involved, otherwise I probably wouldn’t be making them. I just don’t have that kind of time…or know-how! I just like to cook. And I like to take pictures that aptly depict the wonderful taste of the food. Sometimes that involves a wine glass in the background, I guess.
In any case, here’s a very un-fancy dish. I promised myself I wouldn’t post “basic” recipes because I feel like most people who want this kind of food can easily find it elsewhere by doing an internet search. I also want to try to avoid using prepackaged vegan meat substitutes because some people can’t find them easily and they’re not exactly typical of a healthy vegan diet and can be misleading to non-vegans. Nonetheless, here’s a satisfying quickie for all you busy moms, hungry students, and just plain ol’ lazy bones like me: American Chop Suey.
It’s been a rough week. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but this much needed week long vacation just couldn’t come soon enough. I recently had a death in the family and after days of funeral/wake attendances and seeing my family mourn, I just needed some serious comfort food. Baked macaroni and cheese is my most favorite food in this category. Growing up, I was a big fan of the blue Kraft box and had no clue one could bake mac and cheese. Now I know better than to eat that junk and make a healthier, just as tasty (or tastier – depending on how you look at it) version. Of course, there’s no animal based cheese in this meal, but you will easily be fooled and won’t even mind that it’s not there! And perhaps, you won’t get that bogged down, tired feeling one gets after eating dairy. If you do, well, kick back and get comfy and rejoice in knowing that your comfort is not at anyone else’s expense. Continue reading
When I was younger, I used to tell myself (and everyone who asked) that if I was on death’s door and could have one last meal, it would be, without question, my mom’s meat lasagna. Growing up, there was nothing she produced out of her kitchen that I loved more, and trust me, there were many things to chose from. When I first had a traditional Italian lasagna, I was baffled. What’s this ricotta cheese? My mom doesn’t use that. Where’s the meat?! And more importantly, why isn’t this being served with a side of white rice?
That’s how my mom’s was different. It had meat, no ricotta, and a lot of Dominican flavor (heavy on the oregano, know what I’m sayin’?). And…we ate everything with rice. When I went vegan, about a year ago, I thought it was all over. I thought for sure I’d be having oatmeal before dying. And not too soon after, I forgot all about mom’s lasagna. While I was in Portland, OR this summer, I made the mistake of having lasagna at a restaurant. It was good. But it wasn’t what I was used to, and flavor-wise, it just didn’t bring me back home, or anywhere for that matter. That’s when I knew that I had to tackle mom’s lasagna when I got home and make it vegan.
So this is it, my basic lasagna recipe – mom’s lasagna, veganized. I decided I like the traditional “ricotta” cheese idea a lot, and my mom’s version had a lot of mozzarella cheese so, this is my way of making up for that in a much kinder, healthier way. The ricotta recipe is from the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen blog. All credit goes to the lovely Susan V. for creating it! My version has less spinach since there is a layer of fresh spinach in the lasagna already. Don’t tell anyone the ricotta is made of tofu and they won’t even know.
This recipe is very easy to make and very filling. But if you’re feeling ambitious, serve it with a side of white rice.