butternut squash stuffed shells.

STUFFEDSHELLS.jpgButternut squash. I want to use it, but don’t always know how. Pasta. The possibilities are endless. I absolutely love this meal – I was able to prepare the filling items over the weekend, making it a pretty quick meal to throw together during the week. Will be making this again and again! These came out creamy, garlick-y and sweet. Super delicious!

Here is the original recipe.

  • 1½ cups cubed butternut squash
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 16 jumbo shells
cashew cream
  • 1 cup raw cashews (soak ahead of time if you dont have a vitamix)
  • 3/4 cup fresh water
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 3½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
filling
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup crumbled firm tofu
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 cup cashew cream (from the recipe above)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the butternut squash with a drizzle of olive oil and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Roast until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Make the cashew cream: Blend together the drained raw cashews, fresh water, garlic, lemon juice, and generous pinches of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  3. Make the filling: In a medium skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add the spinach in increments, along with a pinch of salt, and sauté until all the spinach is incorporated and wilted. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Squeeze out any excess liquid and chop. In a medium bowl, combine the the spinach with the crumbled tofu, oregano, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and 1 cup of cashew cream. Season generously with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the shells and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Drain.
  5. Assemble the shells. Spread ¼ cup of the reserved cashew cream on the bottom of an 11×7-inch baking dish. Fill each shell with some of the filling and a few cubes of butternut squash, and place into the baking dish. Drizzle a little olive oil over the shells and bake for 15 minutes, or until browned on top and heated through. Remove from the oven and serve with the remaining cashew cream.

 

 

 

skillet pasta sauce.

skilletpasta
One thing that seems to do well in my garden is tomatoes. And this year, like year’s past, I got alot of them.  In the past,  I’ve roasted them, made sauce in the crockpot,  and even added them to salsa.  This time I made a skillet pasta sauce and it turned out really delicious!

1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
Dried pasta noodles
1 tspn olive oil
1 small onion, diced
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 Tablespoons nutrtional yeast
2-3 cups diced fresh tomatoes
3-4 handfuls spinach
3/4 cup packed fresh basil, finely chopped
2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
salt/pepper

1. Place cashews and almond milk in vitamix and mix until smooth. If you dont have a vitamix, you will probalby need to cover your cashews with water and soak for a few hours; drain them and then put in blender with almond milk. set aside.

2. Prepare your pasta. While that is happening heat a wok with 1 tspn oil.

3. Add onion and garlic to wok, saute about 5-10 minutes.  Add tomatoes and continue to cook for about 10 minutes or so. Add spinach and cook until wilted.

4. Stir in the cashew cream, nutritional yeast, basil tomato paste, salt and pepper and cook for about 5-10 more minutes.

5. Add drained, cooked pasta to the wok and stir to combine the pasta with the sauce. Cook for a few more minutes, or until heated through. Season with more salt and pepper and add more basil if desired.

blackened tofu tacos.

tofutacos

Tacos! Who doesn’t love them?! We sure do, and we made this recipe twice now. The avocado crema is divine.

1 package extra firm tofu, pressed
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons conrstarch
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
corn tortillas

Cabbage Slaw
1/2 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
salt

Avocado-Lime Crema

1 avocado
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
2 garlic cloves
juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper

Instructions

  1. P the oven to 400°F. Begin preparing the slaw by combining the cabbage with the vinegar and salt in a large bowl. Massage it with your hands for a few minutes then set it aside to marinate.
  2. Once the tofu has been pressed, dice it into 1-inch cubes and then transfer to the baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes on each side until it’s light golden brown.
  3. Meanwhile mix together the spices (paprika to pepper) in a large bowl. Using your hands, lightly coat the tofu with one tablespoon of oil and then transfer it to the bowl with the spices. Coat each piece evenly then sprinkle the starch on top. Mix with your hands or a spoon until each piece is coated with the starch as well.
  4. Warm the remaining 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat and then saute the tofu on for about 5 minutes on each side. Depending on the size of your skillet, you might have to do this part in two steps, using one tablespoon of oil at a time.
  5. Allow the tofu to sit in the skillet on warm then prepare the avocado crema by placing all of the ingredients in a food processor and blending until smooth.
  6. Warm the tortillas (I usually microwave them for 15-20 seconds) then place tofu inside. Top with cabbage and avocado cream and serve immediately.
  7. Tofu and cabbage can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. The avocado crema can be stored for up to 2 days.orginal recipe found here.

curry.

curry
you guys, I MADE A CURRY! and it tasted good!!!

I have the hardest time with curries, every so often i get the urge to make one and its just so bland, so I’ve pretty much given up on it. But something inspired me to try it again. After looking at a few recipes on the internet, I got the basis down and decided to go my own way and just make something up.

Feel free to use whatever vegetables are in season or you have on hand.

I package tofu, pressed and drained
Coconut oil
1 medium onion
Large chunk of fresh ginger
4-5 garlic cloves
1 can coconut milk (i used light)
2 1/2 tpsn madras curry powder
salt
Green beans
brocolli
red bell pepper
kale/and or spinach (i used both because I had a little of both on hand)

cashews, lightly roasted or pan fried
Cilantro
1/2 lime
Rice or quinoa, or grain of your choice

First – Prep your tofu. Set your oven to 400 degrees; cut into 1 inch cubes, put on baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. flip over and bake 10 minutes more. set aside.

Finely chop your onion, garlic and ginger Using about 2T coconut oil, sautee them in a large pan or saucepot. Once onions start to soften, add the curry powder and a 1-2 T water to deglaze the pan so nothing burns. Add the bell pepper and green beans and saute for a few minutes. pour in the coconut milk and add the tofu and let simmer for about 3-5 minutes. Add about 1/2 tspn or so of salt to help bring the flavors out in the vegetables. Add the brocolli and greens and cook for a few minutes more, until your vegetables reach your desired firmness. Squeeze the juice of half a lime over the curry. Let stand for a few minutes to let the flavors meld.

Spoon on top of some rice, and top with cilantro and cashews.  I sprinkled some simply asia ginger and garlic seasoning on top of mine.

Definitely adjust the seasonings to your liking, and feel free to customize with any you might think are good. This is a great recipe to start with and build on to make better and better each time.

roasted acorn squash & sweet potato soup.

soup

It got really cold really quick here and I’ve been on a big soup kick! This is a really easy and delicious soup I found here, and once you roast your squash and potatoes it comes together in no time!

  • 2 -3 lb acorn squash, sliced lengthwise in half and seeds removed
  • 3 small sweet potatoes (1 lb)
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4-5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2/3 cup light coconut milk
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the acorn squash in half (lengthwise) and remove the seeds and guts–place cut side up on a large baking sheet, drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Slice the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, drizzle and rub the cut side with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on the baking sheet along with the acorn squash.
  2. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, or until both the potato and acorn squash are fork tender and very soft. Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle, remove the squash from the skin and set aside in a large bowl. Discard the skin.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in medium-sized soup pot. Add the onion and saute over low heat until soft and completely translucent.
  4. Add the ground ginger and garam masala and cook for an additional minute or two, stirring constantly, until fragrant. Add the vegetable broth, roasted squash, and sweet potato.
  5. Bring to low simmer, cover, and cook for an additional for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Puree in a blender (in batches, if necessary) and return to heat. Add the coconut milk and stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

tofu and black bean enchiladas.

enchiladas

I struggle with making enchiladas; they always come out dry and just not right. I really love Trader Joes black bean and corn enchiladas. They are saucy, full of vegetables and satisfying. So on a whim, I decided to try to recreate something similar, and I think i succeeded.  I wish I had taken a photo, but my lunch leftovers will have to do.

Half a block of tofu, diced small
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small zuchinni, grated
Few handfuls of baby spinach
One ear of corn, with kernels removed from the cob
1 onion, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tspn cumin
2 tspn chili pepper
black pepper
daiya vegan cheddar cheese (optional)
Corn tortillas (i also did half with flour b/c thats what the husband likes!)
2 10 oz cans enchilada sauce

Preheat your oven to 375.
Add some oil to your pan, and add the tofu. Cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side, then add onions and garlic and continue to cook until the onions start to wilt.  Add the cumin, chili powder and pepper; mix well. Add in the zuchinni, spinach and corn; cook for a few minutes until the spinach starts to wilt; then add in the black beans and cook until beans are heated through.

Coat the bottom of a 9×13 pan with plenty of enchilada sauce. Fill each tortilla with the filling and some daiya cheese if you are using it, and roll tightly.  Top with more enchilada sauce and bake for 20 minutes.

taquitos.

taquitos

Taquitos! These are one of my family’s favorite things that I make so I figure its about time I document it.

1 package uptons chorizo seitan or ground seitan
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 T vegan cream cheese
1/2 red bell pepper
spinach (optional – i add this to sneak some greens into it; i dont add a ton, maybe a few handfuls, chopped really good)
Green onions
2 tspn chili powder
Juice of half a lime
1/3 cup salsa (I  highly recommend trader joes salsa authentica for this)
Vegan cheese (we use daiya)

Flour tortillas

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare a 9×13 pan.

Saute your seitan; when it starts to get warm, add all the rest of the ingredients, except for the vegan cheese. mix well and cook for a few more minutes until the vegan cream cheese is all melted.

Warm your tortillas and line each tortilla with some vegan cheese; Place a heaping tablespoon full or so of the filling. Roll tightly and put into the pan. Continue until you run out of filling. you dont want to fill them too full because you want to be able to make sure to roll them nice and tight.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, flip and bake for about 5 minutes more until crispy.

Top with guacomole, vegan sour cream and more of that delicious trader joes salsa!

seitan tacos with coconut and lime.

seitan tacos

I had originally saw this recipe for pork tacos and I thought I could try to make them, using ground uptons seitan….Lo and behold – I think I just found my new favorite taco recipe. We may or may not have made these twice in one week…..
I prefer to eat mine tostada style, but they make great soft tacos as well. I top them with a cabbage slaw (recipe below), avocado and cilantro. Yum!

1 package uptons ground seitan
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
Cayenne pepper, to taste (i omitted this, since I’ve got a little guy!)
2/3 cups coconut milk, stirred (I used low fat)
3 tablespoons pineapple juice
1-2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, from 1 lime
2 cups or one 15 ounce can cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
Corn or flour tortillas, for serving
1 1 large avocado, diced, cilantro, corn, etc for serving

  1. In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and a large pinch of salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until they’ve softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Push the onion and garlic to one side of the pan, and add the cumin, paprika, oregano, and cayenne. Let sizzle in the pan until they’re toasted and fragrant, about 1 minute, then stir well until the onions and garlic are evenly coated with the spices.
  2. Add the seitan to the pan. Cook and stir occasionally, until the seitan is just cooked through.
  3. Add the coconut milk; simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened, then stir in the black beans, pineapple juice and 1 tablespoon lime juice and cook for an additional minute or two. Taste and add more lime juice if needed. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
  4. Add to tortillas and top with toppings of your choice!

Red cabbage simple slaw
1/2 cup very thinly sliced red cabbage
1-2 teaspoons rice or white wine vinegar
1-2 teaspoons lime juice
a few pinches of salt
splash of agave or a pinch of sugar (optional)

Mix together. Let sit, chilling in fridge for 15-20 minutes or until you’re ready to serve.

vegan gyros.

GYROS

I love vegan gyros. LOVE.

The Chicago diner has the best one to date. Doesn’t mean I’m not going to try to make them at home though!

Vegan eats world has a recipe, and I couldnt wait to try it. I made a batch of the seitan from the book and followed her recipe and it was a huge let down. It wasnt very flavorful. I had half the recipe of seitan left, and I was determined to find something to do with it. I did some research on the internet for other vegan gyro recipes and kind of made up a marinade and gave it a go.

The result?
Delicious.

I love serving these with sweet potato fries, complete with ketchup!

Here’s what I did.
First, make a basic seitan recipe. Slice it thin and set it to the side.

Mix together
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable broth
the juice of 1/2 a lemon
a couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
Salt
pepper
2 tspns or so of dried oregano

pour over seitan and bake in oven at 400 Degrees for 20 minutes.

Serve on warm pita with cucumber, tomato, avocado and some tazkiki!

taziki:1/2 cup plain unsweetened soy yogurt
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced (depending on how garlicky you like things)
1 T dill
salt
pepper
squirt of lemon juice

lentil soup.

soup

It is COLD in chicago. The high today was 9 degrees. When I saw smitten kitchen post this recipe today – and I just happened to have everything on hand to make a vegan version of it…it was a sign that I needed to make it for dinner!  It’s the perfect comfort food when the weather is as cold as it is. Were going to serve it up with some crusty garlic bread and spend the rest of the night under the covers!

Here is my take on it!

olive oil
half a package of uptons italian sausage seitan
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced or diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into half-moons or diced
4 cloves garlic
Kosher salt
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
6 cups water
Freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 cups shredded or thinly ribboned  kale

Heat olive oil  in a large pot on medium heat. When hot, add the seitan, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it starts to cook a little bit (maybe 2-3 minutes). Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, a pinch of salt, and if you like your soup spicy, a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook with the seitan until the vegetables soften a bit, another 5 minutes. Add the lentils, tomatoes, water, more salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. (It might be necessary to add more water if the soup gets too thick.)

When the lentils are cooked, add the kale and cook until the leaves are tender, just a few minutes more.

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