Virtual Vegan Potluck: Yellow Curry Vegetable Stuffed Burritos

Its Virtual Vegan Potluck time, people!

A whole day where the blogging world is flooded with a variety of delicious vegan recipes is one of the best days ever.  This is my first time participating and I am thrilled to be able to share this recipe.

burrito sliced - edited

I put quite a lot of thought into what I would contribute to the potluck.  I knew that I wanted to create something different from recipes I’ve featured on the blog in the past and I also knew I wanted something that would really represent who I am as a foodie.  It would be a tall order to find the perfect representation of my food tastes, as I like a lot of different things for a variety of reasons, but I do feel that in many ways, this meal does it.  It is full of veggies, packs layers of flavor, includes potatoes (one of the foods I find most satisfying to eat), allows for some flexibility and personal twists to be made, and it gets rolled up in a tortilla.

I love anything that can be rolled up in a tortilla.  Tortillas make life better.  Period.

I stand by that broad, sweeping claim. (I ❤ tortillas.)

Collage

I made my own curry powder for this, which I highly recommend.  It can seem daunting when you look at the long list of ingredients, but the process itself is straightforward.  If you have access to a bulk spice and herb shop, consider paying them a visit.  You certainly can use a pre-mixed curry powder, too, if blending your own powder isn’t your thing.

You’ll also notice that I cook the potatoes separately from the other ingredients.  There is a reason for this extra step, my friends, and that is to give the potatoes a slightly crisp outside, which will lend to textural variety in the burrito itself.  You could cook the potatoes differently.  You could do so.  BUT, you would lose the slightly crunchy, delicious potato magic that happens when you roast them in this way and who wants to lose that?

flat tortilla with filling - edited

I served my burritos with a side of snap peas sautéed up with some Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, garlic, ginger, a dash of sesame oil, and sprinkled with sesame seeds.  I also took leftover burritos for lunch (as I tend to do with leftovers) and they held up nicely.  I would venture to say that the curry flavors may have even deepened upon sitting overnight.

I hope you try them.  I hope you love them.  And, I hope you find lots of goodies visiting all the Virtual Vegan Potluck dishes!

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Yellow Curry Vegetable Stuffed Burritos  rolled burritos on pan 2 - edited

Makes 10 burritos

Ingredients:

For the curry powder:

  • ½ tblspn coriander seed
  • 1/2 tblpsn white peppercorns
  • 1 tspn yellow mustard seed
  • 1 tspn cumin seed
  • ¼ tspn fennel seed
  • 1 tblspn ground turmeric
  • 1 tspn red pepper flakes
  • 1 tspn ground ginger
  • ¼ tspn ground fenugreek
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 4 curry leaves, minced (optional)

For the burritos:

  • 1 cup yellow onion (about ½ large onion), diced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped small
  • 2 large russet potatoes, chopped into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 ½ tblspn olive or canola oil, divided
  • 2 tblspns curry powder (above recipe or pre-mixed), plus more for sprinkling on potatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tblspn fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 tblspns vegetarian fish oil (if you can’t find this ingredient, vegetable stock may be substituted)
  • 10 soft burrito-sized tortillas
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fistful cilantro, chopped

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.  Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment.
  2. To make the curry powder, place first 5 ingredients (all the seeds) into a dry skillet over medium-high heat.  Toast the spices, shaking and stirring seeds often, until they start to pop and become fragrant.  Remove from heat and grind into a fine powder.  I used a coffee grinder for this, but you can use a mortar and pestle if needed.  When ground, add all other curry ingredients and stir together to combine well.  Set aside.
  3. Place chopped potatoes into a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the oil and a hearty sprinkling of curry powder, salt, and pepper.  Toss to combine and coat potatoes well.  Spread potatoes out onto parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer.  Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 25 minutes, flipping once halfway through.  Remove from oven and set aside.
  4. While potatoes are cooking, make the rest of the filling.  Heat ½ tablespoon oil over medium heat in a large non-stick sauté pan or cast iron skillet.  Add onions and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes, until starting to soften.
  5. Add bell pepper, cauliflower, garlic, ginger, and 2 tablespoons of the curry powder to the pan, stir so all ingredients are coated with the curry powder, and sauté for 3-4 minutes this way.
  6. To finish cooking the vegetables, add the vegetarian fish oil to the pan, stir, and cover.  Cook, covered, for 5 minutes over medium heat.  You may want to stir once or twice during this time to prevent any items from burning, but keep covered when not stirring.
  7. Turn off heat and add cooked potatoes to the pan with the rest of the vegetables.  Combine well.
  8. To make burritos, fill each tortilla with ¾ cup – 1 cup of the filling, sprinkle with cilantro, and roll up.

*** Note:  If you want to keep burritos warm while you eat an appetizer or finish any side dish preparations, you can place rolled burritos onto a baking sheet and into an oven heated to 200 degrees until ready to serve.

Click here to see the tasty dish that preceded mine in the Potluck (@ vegan miam):  Go back

Click here to check out the next goodie in the line up (@ Honk If You’re Vegan):  Go forward

 

Foodie Firsts: Ugali (Is it really magical running food?)

wooden spoons-001Foodie Firsts is a Move Eat Create weekly feature focusing on my adventures in the world of food.  Over the course of a few short years, I have transformed from a picky, fearful eater to a curious and open-minded foodie.  In a commitment to continue to expand my culinary experiences, I have started Foodie Firsts.  Each week I will commit to trying something new and sharing that experience with you.  My endeavors may include experimenting with cooking techniques I’ve never tried before, testing a single new ingredient, or drawing upon my creativity to combine foods in ways I never imagined.  Whatever it is, I will eat (or maybe drink) it and share it all with you.  You can decide for yourself whether you, too, would like to try.  Let’s be bold and eat good food!

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If you’re a runner, you may have heard of ugali.  If you’re not a runner, that’s okay, too, because I’m going to tell you about it.

plated - edited

Kenyan runners have been dominating competitions for several years now.  The question of what makes them so good, so fast, and so strong has been asked over and over again, but the answer has yet to be fully articulated.  In fact, one man, Adharanand Finn, wrote an entire book in a quest to answer this question.  In Running With the Kenyans, Finn travels to Africa to live amongst, train with, and learn from some incredible athletes.  I found this to be a highly valuable book, not just from the standpoint of a runner, but as someone who appreciates getting glimpses into cultures different from my own and learning about people in general.  It is an engaging and insightful read and I do recommend it.

But back to the food.  One of the many aspects of Kenyan life examined in the book is the diet of a typical Kenyan runner.  What do they eat?  Do they have a secret food or ingredient that gives them some sort of edge?  The answer (sorry to spoil it for you) is: not really.  A Kenyan athlete’s diet tends to be relatively high in carbohydrates, based in whole, real food found naturally in their environment, and eating quantities which provide nutrition, satisfaction, and fuel for their high training levels, but not to points of excess.

cornmeal - edited

Taken in those terms, it sounds pretty similar to what I eat and how many other runners (and non-runners) eat.  One food that did get a lot of mention, though (besides bananas – which we all know are GREAT runner food), was ugali.  Ugali is a simple dish, really, not to say that it doesn’t serve extraordinary purpose.  It’s made from only 2-3 ingredients (maize, water, and optional salt) and is a staple in many parts of Africa.  If I were to offer a comparison to something that most Westerners may be more familiar with, I would harken it to polenta.  I wasn’t sure what I would think about ugali, but as a runner and a foodie, I absolutely knew I had to give this dish a try.

Ugali is made by combining maize (or cornmeal) with boiling water.  I had read that taking the time to let the cornmeal sift slowly through your fingers into the water was important, so that’s how I chose to do it.  It is then cooked over medium-low heat until the water is absorbed by the cornmeal, creating the thick, mushy pot of ugali.  Ugali is traditionally eaten with one’s hands, so the thickness serves an important purpose.  Once served, you can roll the ugali into a ball, press your thumb into the ball to create a well, and use it to scoop up soups, stews, and other fare.  I gave this a try, but I’ll admit that I eventually put my ugali right into my bowl of stew and ate it together with a fork.  It was totally enjoyable both ways.

I ate my ugali with a version of kitheri (African kidney bean and corn stew).  I was totally unsure of what I would think of this meal going in and I am happy to say that I was blown away with how much I loved it.  The ugali was hearty, dense and provided a perfect base for the chunky stew of beans, corn, zucchini, potatoes, and onions.  It was simple food that tasted wonderful due to quality, fresh ingredients, and not too much fussing to muck anything up.  Perfect.  Plus, I couldn’t get enough of this as leftovers.  I took it to work the next two days, layering some ugali on the bottom of the stew to warm up for lunch.  It was incredible.  The textures and flavors held up remarkably well.

As I said, simple as this dish may be, it is quite impressive in other ways.  To say that ugali is a staple seems to belittle its prominence in African cuisine.  From what I have learned, it is a dish that nearly every family knows how to make and nearly every restaurant serves next to your main dish.  Plus it serves double-duty as a utensil for a variety of stews and provides a warm dose of comfort, familiarity, and reassurance to many Africans with each meal (sounds a bit like white, starchy bread here in the States, doesn’t it?).

There are many moments in Running with the Kenyans, where the presence of ugali is shown to be fundamental to their lives.  Runners needs carbohydrates – lots of them – and ugali provides that in spades, but it was also clear that this dish is more than just nutritional necessity.  It is a food so deeply embedded into culture, family, and life in that community that to attempt to replace it with some other starchy food would be impossible.  The carbohydrates can be made up in other ways, sure, but the connection to the tradition and meaning of that food most certainly cannot.

Notes & Final Thoughts: ugali cooking - edited

Serving Suggestions:

Follow this simple recipe found here at Runner’s World for making the ugali.  Serve with a hearty stew like I did.  I used this recipe for kitheri, though I did modify some quantities to suit my available and desired vegetables.  Delicious.  Eat the night before a long run to fill up those glycogen stores!

Lessons Learned:

I’m not going to run like a Kenyan (surprise!), but I can eat like one.  I can also learn from them.  This may sound a tad bit cheesy, but having read this book and admired what I learned about the culture, I felt a bit more connected to the elite runners when I prepared and ate this meal.  I realized that maybe some of the magic of ugali for them isn’t a special ingredient or a magic carbohydrate ratio, but rather it just may be the feelings and comfort that this food evokes that fuels the runners most of all.

Recipe: Lemony Lentil, Orzo, and Broccoli Bake (Plus, New Beginnings in Old Territory)

I’m starting a new journey today.  Or maybe it’s more apt to say I’m returning to an old one?  I work in human services and for the last year and a half I’ve worked to provide services for seniors and people living with disabilities.  Prior to this role, though, I worked for about 7 years in domestic violence advocacy.  I loved doing anti-violence work.  I have a tremendous amount of passion for it and, frankly, I thought I was pretty good at it.  Plus, the women (and men, but mostly women, if we’re honest) that I got to know in my years doing that work are incredible, both co-workers and program participants.  You see some amazing spirit and humanity in that work.  When I left it a year and a half ago, it was one of the most difficult decisions I had to make.

I left for a combination of reasons.  As much as it pains me to admit it, one of the biggest ones was money.  I don’t work for money the way some people might, but I was flailing with debts racking up, student loan bills growing, and my weekly paychecks stagnantly low (I could write a tirade on the pay rates for people who do that and similar work, let me tell you).  It wasn’t sustainable and I needed to make a move to keep from drowning.

So I did.

Finished in dish 5 - edited

I looked outside of the field, at other focuses within human service work that might allow me to create a more stable economical platform with which to build my life on.  I ended up landing the job with seniors and people living with disabilities.  The financial change was significant and I’ve learned a great deal of valuable information about systems I didn’t know much at all about before, but the truth of the matter is that it doesn’t ignite the same fire in me that my old work did.

But sometimes careers take interesting turns.

The job I’ve been in is part of a larger entity (a government entity, to be precise) and one very small part of that entity is a unit that does domestic violence work.  When I saw a rare opening posted in that unit, I didn’t have much expectation it would pan out, but it has.  So, today, I return to familiar work, in a new environment.

My work will be less direct service than I did before and will involve more time spent supporting others who are doing direct service work.  I’m pretty excited about it, really.  I get to return to a field that really matters to me, maintain a sustainable income, and put a new spin on work that I feel really comfortable doing.  I hope it’s not too good to be true!

On plated with bread 3 - edited

Now, let’s get on to the recipe.  For me, this recipe has some of the same qualities as what I am experiencing with this job change.  This dish is warm, comforting, and something about feels familiar despite this having been the first time I’ve made it.  Yet, it’s also kind of new and exciting.  The brightness from the lemon adds a zing that contrasts (but harmonizes with) the hearty comfort of the dish.  I loved eating this fresh from the oven and for leftovers throughout the week.

I hope you will too.

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Lemony Lentil, Orzo, and Broccoli Bake

Adapted from Vegetarian Times Finished in dish 4 - edited

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 tblspns olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 6 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium head of broccoli, stem discarded (or saved for veggie stock!), chopped
  • 1 tspn red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup dry brown lentils, picked through and rinsed
  • 1 tblspn chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tblspn chopped fresh basil
  • 3 cups low-sodium or homemade vegetable stock
  • 6 oz (1 cup) dry orzo
  • 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • Juice of one medium lemon
  • 1 tspn lemon zest
  • ½ tspn kosher salt
  • ¼ tspn black pepper
  • 1 – 1 ¼ cups hot water
  • 1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tblspns chopped fresh Italian parsley

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 3-quart casserole dish by coating lightly with cooking spray.
  2. In a Dutch oven or other large pot, heat ½ tblspn olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and carrots to pot and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes (stir often).
  3. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring almost constantly, for 1 minute.
  4. Add lentils, thyme, and basil to the pot and stir to distribute.  Add broth and lemon juice.  Bring mixture to a simmer.  Then, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. After 20 minutes, add in the chopped broccoli and stir.  Re-cover and let broccoli soften 2-3 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat.  Add to pot the lemon zest, the drained tomatoes, orzo, salt, and pepper and stir until everything is well combined.  Pour all contents into the prepared casserole dish.  If needed, pour just enough hot water over mixture to ensure orzo is covered with liquid.  Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile combine the breadcrumbs, 1 tblspn olive oil, and parsley in a small bowl.  Mix well.
  8. After the first 20 minutes of baking, remove foil and sprinkle breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top.  Return to oven and bake, uncovered, for 20 more minutes.  Let sit 5 minutes or so before serving.

My Hoarded Life + A Recipe: Vegetarian Lasagna Soup

I have a problem.  I hoard recipes.  Recipes in cookbooks, recipes online, recipes from magazines, recipes snapped with my camera phone – it doesn’t matter.  If I see it and it sounds remotely good, I’m getting it for myself.

This becomes a problem because: A) I do not, in any way, have even remotely enough time to make all of the recipes that I stash; B) I keep stashing more of them anyway; and C) I don’t have the time or energy to organize them into any meaningful system.

As a result I have folders of recipes that I once tried to organize on my computer, random bookmarked recipes that scroll on and on for days also on my computer, hundreds of emails from myself with links to recipes that I’ve found while reading blogs or articles on my iPhone, binders full of photo-copied recipes that I get from library-borrowed cookbooks, a basket stacked full of magazines with dog-eared pages where tasty recipes live, a bookshelf of my owned cookbooks in my dining area, and random scribbled notes and recipes that I’ve printed and written notes on tucked away into various corners of my life.

It’s mad.

It’s really, truly mad.

I need a system and a professional organizer, but it’s not likely to happen soon.  The funny thing is that many recipes are for the same or similar item, but I like to look at slightly different methods and then alter things from various sources to fit my needs and preferences.  So, instead of one cinnamon coffee cake recipe, I have like, oh, maybe 26.

Sometimes, I know I want to make something but I’m so overwhelmed with options, that I simply go with something I’ve just recently seen.  It’s easy to find because it’s at the top of the pile or the bottom of a list somewhere and that can make all the difference in the world when it comes to influencing my cooking decisions.  And sometimes when I do this, I strike recipe gold.

Lasagna Soup - Edited

Such is the case with this recipe here.  I’m not going to type it all out for you because this is one recipe that I followed exactly.  Okay, I added more garlic, but I always add more garlic.  Besides that, I changed nothing.  I’ve made this a couple of times now and just totally love it.  It is one of the single most delicious and satisfying meals I’ve eaten.  I will eat this all year, in any season, because it’s so wonderful, but I wanted to be sure to share the recipe before the last winter days slipped away.  There is something about a bowl of this soup on a cold, dark evening that is utterly magical.

By the way, if you haven’t ever checked out Joanne’s blog (where this recipe hails from), Eats Well With Others, I highly recommend spending some time poking around there.  It’s wonderful – one of my most trusted for quality recipes, for sure – but also just a consistently great read.

Here you are (click through for link to recipe):  Lasagna Soup as found on Eats Well With Others (plus some extra garlic).

Recipe: Cajun Kidney Bean Casserole with Jalapeno Cornbread Topping

For a long while, I associated Cajun food with the sea.  Fish, crustaceans, and other sea creatures always seemed to be involved in any Cajun meal.  Even before I was a vegetarian, I didn’t care for seafood, so Cajun cuisine was something I long avoided.  Something else I shyed away from was cornbread.  Despite my affinity for carbs and bread products in general, most cornbreads I had sampled were sweet – the kind with lots of added sugar or honey and that wasn’t for me.  For these reasons, when I came across a recipe for a Cajun casserole with a cornbread topping in my Everyday Happy Herbivore cookbook,  I was excited at the prospect of trying a Cajun dish and I figured I could tweak the cornbread topping to ensure it was a slightly spicy, not sweet, rendition that would suit my tastes.

cornbread casserole ind piece 4 - edited

I did make a few changes to the original recipe and was more than pleased with the results.  First, let’s take a look at the main part of this dish which is comprised of fairly traditional Cajun flavors.  You’ve got your feature players: beans, tomatoes, bell peppers, and carrots.  All good stuff.  All good stuff that is then brought together happily with a flavorful seasoning blend and  lots of garlic.  This on its own would make for a delicious meal, but it gets even better.

Because then, you see, comes the cornbread topping.

cornbread casserole 2 polaroid edit

As someone who dismissed cornbread for years, it’s funny now how I’ve come to crave it.  I will at times make or request a whole meal solely because it is something that would be served nicely alongside cornbread.  The thing that really excites me about this cornbread is that I wasn’t sure if a quality cornbread topping could be made that was tasty, satisfying, still relatively nutritious, and low in fat, but it was!  I’m sure that you can imagine how pleased I was to discover that this is indeed possible.

Here is the final product.  I present to you a truly hearty dish that oozes the flavors of the south and, served alongside a nice salad, provides a well-balanced, complete meal.

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Cajun Casserole with Jalapeno Cornbread Topping

Adapted from The Everyday Happy Herbivore Cookbook

Serves 6

 

Ingredients: cornbread casserole ind piece 3  - edited

For the Base

* ½ tblspn olive oil

* 1 small onion, diced

* 1 medium carrot, diced

* 2 celery stalks, diced

* 4 cloves of garlic, minced

* 1 bell pepper, diced (I used red)

* 15 oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained

* 1 ½ tblspn Cajun seasoning blend

* 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

For the Cornbread Topping

  •  1 ½ cup cornmeal
  • 2 ¼ tspn baking powder
  • ¼ tspn salt
  • 1 tspn sugar (more if you like a sweet cornbread – I don’t)
  • 1 ½ tspn dried oregano
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup + 2 tblspns unsweetened almond milk (or the type of milk of your choosing)
  • 6 tblspns unsweetened applesauce

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Coat a 3 quart casserole dish with cooking spray.
  2. Heat oil in a skilled over medium-high heat.  Add onion, celery, carrot, and bell pepper and sauté until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté about 1-2 minutes longer.
  3. Mix in drained tomatoes, Cajun seasoning blend, and drained kidney beans.  Stir to combine well.  Pour base into the casserole dish.  Using a spatula or spoon, spread evenly and pat it down, so it is even and compact.  Set aside while you prepare the cornbread topping mixture.
  4. Whisk together cornmeal, baking powder, salt, oregano, and sugar.
  5. Add almond milk and applesauce.  Stir to combine.  Then, toss in the diced jalapeno pieces and gently stir to distribute throughout the batter.
  6. Pour cornbread batter on top of the base layer and spread evenly.  Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the cornbread topping is golden and beginning to crack.  Remove from oven and let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.  Serve with hot sauce, if desired.

 

 

Recipe: “Just Going For It” Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

I love it when I have it in me to just go for it.  I’m a planner and a worrier, so just going for it isn’t something that necessarily comes easily to me, but when I do it, it’s pretty fantastic.

That hill that looks too big to conquer?  I’ll just feel all that much more bad-ass when I run to the top!

That panicky anxiety about speaking in front of a room full of people?  I can get over it – I know how to win them over!

That bridge that drudges up massive fear and images of falling to my drowny-death in a watery, dark abyss??  I gotta’ get over the river and to work somehow! (Wait, I don’t think I’ve told you all about my massive fear of water, but now you know.)

Vegan Mac and Cheese

It’s so easy to back off, slow down, develop other plans, or just give up entirely when uncertainty strikes.  Sometimes, it’s even wise to do so.  But, other times, it’s absolutely wise to just forge ahead.

I’m trying to push myself to forge ahead more often.

This dish is a result of me forging.  Cooking may not seem that daunting, but there are certain dishes that intimidate me and certain days when my confidence with a wooden spoon, pot, and stove top is nowhere to be found.  Veganizing macaroni and cheese was a bit of an intimidating process to me, but I forged on with a bag full of nutritional yeast and a bad-ass cooking mentality, merging researched recipes and adding my own flavors on instinct.

It was so worth it.

This is a new favorite.  As I ate it, I kept verbally expressing my delight (and surprise) at how incredibly delicious and satisfying it was.  I’m making this again.  Often.

How about a cheer for just going for it??

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“Just Going For It” Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

Makes 6-8 Servings

Adapted from Robin Robertson’s Vegan on the Cheap and Chloe Coscarelli’s Chloe’s Kitchen

 

Ingredients: Vegan Mac and Cheese - Single Serving 2

  • 16 oz elbow macaroni or shells
  • 3 tblspns Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine)
  • 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour (or AP flour)
  • 3 cups non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond, but soy, rice, or hemp would work)
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tblspns tomato paste
  • 2 tspns kosher salt, plus more for cooking the pasta
  • 1 tspn garlic powder
  • ½ tspn onion powder
  • ¼ tspn cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tspn turmeric
  • ¼ tspn black pepper
  • 1 tblpn lemon juice
  • ½ tblpn apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tblpns bread crumbs, seasoned with a pinch of cayenne and garlic powder
  • Optional toppings for serving: hot sauce, chopped green onions or chives, slices of tomatoes

Directions:

  1. Prepare your breadcrumbs by mixing them in a bowl with a pinch of cayenne and garlic powder.  Set aside.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray.
  3. Cook your pasta in salted water according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.
  4. In a medium saucepan, combine Earth Balance and flour over medium heat.  Using a fork or small whisk, stir constantly until Earth Balance has melted and has formed a thick paste with the flour.
  5. Add non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast, tomato paste, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, turmeric, and black pepper to the saucepan.  Bring the mixture just up to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer until the sauce thickens – about 10 minutes.  Whisk mixture frequently during the cooking process.
  6. Remove from heat.  Add in lemon juice and apple cider vinegar.  Stir well.  Combine cooked noodles and sauce in a large bowl (or the pot you used to cook the noodles) and mix well.  Pour into prepared pan and distribute evenly.
  7. Sprinkle seasoned bread crumbs across the top of the pasta and bake for 25-30 minutes, uncovered, or until the top is lightly browned.
  8. Let rest for a few minutes before serving with toppings of your choice. Recommended toppings include hot sauce, tomato slices, and/or chopped green onions or chives.

 

Recipe: Pasta with Spicy Greek-Inspired Tomato Sauce

There is a very fundamental truth about me that you all should know.  I love pasta.  I mean LOVE pasta.  Sit me down with a bowl of noodles and some variation of a red sauce in front of me and contentment will invariably kick in.

There are, in fact, only a few foods that really test my limits of portion control.  These are the foods that I have to carefully dish out a proper portion, sit down, and NOT GO BACK for more or I may never stop eating; because no matter how full I am, I will keep plowing on with my fork until these foods are all gone:  pasta, mashed potatoes, donuts.

My vices are all white, starchy carbohydrates.

I suppose there could be worse things.

Greek Pasta 3

The truth is that when it comes to pasta, mashed potatoes and donuts, they don’t even have to be very good.  If not careful, I will eat them all regardless of their mediocrity and then complain later that they weren’t very good.

Lucky for me I have (mostly) developed a wise and sensible ability to eat a reasonably-sized portion and then WALK AWAY.

Also lucky for me (and for you if you like to cook), I don’t have to settle for finding comfort in mediocre pasta, because I can make this pasta.  This pasta is far better then mediocre.

This pasta, in fact, is a tasty twist on a standard tomato sauce, as it veers a bit more toward Greece, rather than Italy, and has a nice kick of spice from a healthy shake of red pepper flakes.

This is definitely a pasta dish that tests my powers of portion control.  But, the up-side of that is that there is then leftover pasta for my lunch the next day.  Yum.

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Pasta with Spicy Greek Inspired Tomato Sauce

Inspired by a variety of recipes I have seen floating on the Internet at random times!

Ingredients:

1 lb noodles of your choice (I used Golden Grain Jumbo Elbows, which were great.)   Golden Grain Pasta

1 tblspn extra-virgin olive oil

2 large leeks, rinsed well and chopped fine

1 small red bell pepper, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

½ tspn ground fennel

28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1/3 cup kalamata olives, chopped

1 tspn dried oregano

1 tspn crushed red pepper flakes

½ – 1 tspn salt (to taste)

1 tblspn red wine vinegar

Feta cheese (I used regular feta, but you can omit this or sub a vegan cheese if preferred), for serving

Directions:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta as directed.  Drain and set aside when done.
  2. Meanwhile, pour oil into a large sauté pan and warm up over medium heat.  Add leeks, bell pepper, garlic and fennel to the pan.  Cook, stirring frequently for approximately 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened.
  3. Add tomatoes (with juices), olives, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and red wine vinegar to the leek mixture.  Stir all ingredients well to combine and then simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
  4. Add cooked noodles to the tomato sauce, stir to coat noodles over low heat.
  5. Serve with feta to be added to individual servings.