Posts tagged ‘Garlic’

January 6, 2012

Vegan Zucchini “Pasta” with Tomato and Spinach Cashew Cream Sauce

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan 

My number one goal for our vegan bodybuilding challenge is finding healthy, protein-filled recipes that are fun to eat. This is the only thing that will keep me out of the trans-fat laden cheese and potato chips. I’ve been wanting to make zucchini “pasta” for quite some time now, however just never had the energy to cut it up. If you buy a spiralizer, this process will be much easier. As it is, I used a mandolin to cut the zucchini in strips, and then julienned them into small noodle-like strips.

My fiance is trying to go vegan with me for a while. Although I know he isn’t planning on sticking to it 100%, it is wonderful that he’s learning that every meal does not have to revolve around un-healthy meats and dairy products. His favorite sauce just happens to be vodka sauce, so I decided to make a vegan version, sans the vodka. I originally didn’t have high hopes for this recipe and was debating making a dairy version for him separately, however when I took my first bite it was heavenly. I hope he likes it, it’s all he got in his lunch today =).

You’ll need to start the cashew cream before you can begin on anything else. While the cashews are soaking, cut up the zucchini.

Cashew Cream

1 lb raw cashews (imperative that they be raw, unsalted)

2-3 cups coconut water

Seasoning (optional)

Boil regular water in a medium saucepan, enough to cover the cashews. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, remove from heat, add cashews and cover. Set aside for 30 minutes. (Now is the time to start cutting your zucchini noodles.)

After 30 minutes, drain cashews in a colander and put into a food processor, blender or Vitamix. I used a food processor and it worked perfectly, however I’m not sure how well this would come out in a regular blender. Of course, the Vitamix is made for this sort of thing – but I haven’t found a huge need for one as of yet.

Add the first cup of coconut water and blend until all water is incorporated. It will probably be pretty thick still, but this is where your tastes come in. To thin out the cream, keep adding coconut water until you reach your desired texture. I like mine pretty creamy, like a sauce, so I added about 2 ½ cups or so.

Once you’ve reached your desired thickness, now is the time to season. If you’re making the zucchini pasta, you’ll want to add some garlic, a little salt, maybe some pepper. Get creative with it. It doesn’t have to hold full flavor by itself, just have a little kick of savory (or sweet if you’re making a dessert).

Makes about 6 cups cream, depending on amount of water added.

 

Zucchini “Pasta” with Tomato and Spinach Cashew Cream Sauce


2 large raw zucchini squash, washed and dried

4 cups fresh baby spinach

2 cans stewed tomatoes (I use the basil/garlic seasoned kind)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

¼-1 cup cashew cream (recipe above)

While you were soaking the cashews for the cream, you should have been slicing up your zucchini noodles. This is how it should be done, either use a spiralizer (the easy way out) to make noodles from the fresh zucchini or julienne them into long strips. You can use a mandolin to make it easier, cutting the zucchini first into long, wide strips, and then cutting from there into noodles. Set the zucchini aside once cut. 

In a large sauteé pan, heat the cans of stewed tomatoes, minced garlic and spinach over medium heat until bubbly. The spinach should start to wilt. Make sure to stir frequently. Once the mixture boils for 1-2 minutes, add the first ¼ cup of cashew cream and stir generously to incorporate. Taste and keep adding until there is a nice balance, all according to your tastes. Let simmer for another 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly and making sure you scrape the bottom and sides of the pan.

Once it looks nice and thick, add the zucchini noodles. Stir for about 2 minutes and serve.

Makes about four servings.

 

September 9, 2011

Vegan Friday: Tuscan Veggie Bake with Tofu

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

Sometimes craving a hearty meal isn’t detrimental to your diet. Take this Vegan Tuscan Veggie Bake, similar to lasagna, but sans noodles for a filling, healthy meal. Seasonal ingredients, eggplant and tomatoes, are the stars of this recipe, bringing welcome antioxidants and bright colors to your plate. Serving this to children is easy with just a sprinkle of vegan mozzarella cheese on top, Daiya being my favorite choice. A great way to get the whole family to eat their veggies, and like them! Tofu adds protein and additional nutrition to make this a well-balanced, one pot meal that can be made in under 45 minutes.

 

Vegan Tuscan Veggie Bake with Tofu

10 Minutes Prep Time

35 Minutes Baking Time

 

Serves 6

 

1 small eggplant

1 small firm tomato

1 medium zucchini

1 portabello mushroom cap

1 pkg soft tofu

1 tblsp dried oregano

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tblsp garlic powder

1 tblsp dried rosemary

3 cups marinara sauce

Optional: ½ cup vegan mozzarella shredded cheese for sprinkling on top

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the eggplant, tomato, zucchini and mushroom cap into long slices. I usually cut the zucchini and eggplant lengthwise to represent noodles. Drain the water from the tofu, pressing to release as much liquid as possible. Mix the tofu with oregano, salt, black pepper, garlic powder and dried rosemary. In a deep baking pan, layer one layer of vegetables, then one layer of tofu mixture, then a layer of marinara sauce until pan is full. Leave about a ¼ inch space on top for settling and the mozzarella cheese, if choosing to add it.

 

Bake for about 35 minutes or until vegetables are tender with a slight bite. Enjoy!

July 29, 2011

Vegan Friday: Semi-Homemade Italian Basil and Garlic Polenta with Braised Baby Carrots and Red Onions

by ashley

By Ashley Morgan

I think the meatless Monday idea is a great way to encourage the masses to eat healthier and more consciously. It’s also a great way to show omnivores that a meal does not need to revolve around animal protein to be delicious and filling. So along those lines, we’ve decided to startup a “Vegan Friday” campaign, encouraging vegetarians to try eating vegan meals and also some adventurous omnivores who’d like to join in on the fun. Monday was already taken, but even more than that, Friday is a day for celebration. It’s the first day of the weekend and sets a tone to how you’ll spend your days off. What better way than with a healthy, yet indulgent, meal that is not only good for your body, but also good for the world?

 

To kick off our Vegan Friday extravaganza, I made a dish that is a staple in my home: polenta with vegetables. It’s filling, easy (especially when using the short-cut I’ll show you below), and a great dish for easing non-vegans into vegan cuisine. I do make polenta at home normally, but 1) I was lazy this week and 2) I wanted to show busy moms and professionals how to make this dish in a flash.

 

Semi-Homemade Italian Basil and Garlic Polenta with Braised Baby Carrots and Red Onions

1 pkg pre-made Italian Polenta (Basil and Garlic variety)

1 cup organic mushroom broth

1 cup peeled red pearl onions

2 cups rainbow baby carrots (peeled with tops trimmed)

2 tbsp peeled whole garlic cloves

4 tbsp walnut oil (divided)

5 leaves of culantro (different from cilantro, these are long, flat leaves)

Kosher salt to taste

In a large saucepan with a lid, heat two tablespoons of walnut oil over medium heat. Add garlic and red pearl onions, sautéing gently for about 30 seconds. Add one cup of mushroom broth, five culantro leaves, two teaspoons kosher salt (or to taste) and two cups rainbow baby carrots, bring broth to a simmer, lower heat and cover. Allow broth to reduce to half before removing from heat, approximately fifteen minutes.

 

While the broth is reducing, add two tablespoons walnut oil to a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Cut the polenta into ½ inch-thick sections, and once the oil is hot (check by adding a tiny drop of water to see if it sizzles immediately) add the polenta to the pan. Sprinkle with kosher salt to taste. Turn once to brown on both sides.

 

Serves four.

%d bloggers like this: