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Italian

Vegan “Meatball” Soup
3 years ago

Vegan “Meatball” Soup

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Gardein brand is my choice for vegan meatballs. The quality of these meatballs are so good, you don’t have to make them from scratch. The soup is so chunky you might be tempted to call it a stew, but the broth is more indicative of soup. This is something that will be loved by vegans and non-vegans because it has all the essential elements of a comfort food – warm, filling, rich and delicious.

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Zucchini Pizza
3 years ago

Zucchini Pizza

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In this recipe, I use fresh zucchini with a pre-made pizza crust and my favorite brand of marinara sauce.  I also made a vegan “cheese” using only two ingredients – pine nuts and salt.  It’s a very quick non-dairy cheese that adds all of the zest of real cheese with none of the cholesterol.

My non-vegan friend, Melissa,  tasted this and told me she would actually order this in a restaurant instead of a pizza with meat toppings – that’s the ultimate compliment.  The zucchini, which is sliced extra thin, looks delicate and inviting, making this quick-dish look very impressive.  You don’t have to tell anyone that it’s only semi-homemade.

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Spaghetti Squash, Heirloom Tomatoes
3 years ago

Spaghetti Squash, Heirloom Tomatoes

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I didn’t think it could be done, but it can and I’m thrilled.

Just last night I ate a huge plate of regular pasta–I can’t help myself, I grew up eating huge servings of pasta without any weight gain.  Fast forward to 50+, however, and I have to keep the pasta to a minimum.  This morning, I woke up with the “morning after” guilt and an extra pound on the scale, wondering how I could enjoy the pasta I love without the weight gain we 40+ types battle daily.  So, I reluctantly tried spaghetti squash.  I had truly never cooked with it before because I didn’t believe the hype that it tasted just like “angel hair” pasta.  I thought that was what people told themselves to feel better for not being able to actually have angel hair pasta.

But this is truly exceptional.  I have not yet tried it with a heavier tomato basil sauce, but I will be doing a lot of experimenting with various sauces in the future.  I think one reason this recipe works is because the sauce is so flavorful, yet so light and fresh it pairs quite well with the light shreds of fibrous squash.  The brilliant colors are beautiful to the eye, and the taste buds will not be disappointed.  Let me know what you think!

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Pasta, Spinach & Tomatoes
3 years ago

Pasta, Spinach & Tomatoes

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Too lazy to go to the grocery store, I did a thorough inventory of my kitchen: a big bag of frozen spinach taking up room in my freezer, half a lemon, a half-empty box of pasta (or was it half-full?), fresh garlic (okay, I’m Italian, I always have fresh garlic), tomatoes, and fresh basil (thanks to the basil plant near my window).  If you don’t own a fresh basil plant, I highly recommend it because it saves money and makes anything you whip up taste like a culinary masterpiece. I also had whole nutmeg in the spice rack. These ingredients seemed like the start of something promising.  And as it turned out, they were! This dish turned out so well, it seems like I planned it this way.

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Stuffed Pasta Shells
3 years ago

Stuffed Pasta Shells

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My solution to eating less pasta? Eat more filling! Enter Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles. It’s what I use to stuff these shells to the brim with veggie protein and goodness.  I also add spinach because iron is a beautiful thing. The end result is a little taste of pasta to satisfy your carb addiction and a boat load of healthy veggies.

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Pasta Marinara
3 years ago

Pasta Marinara

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Even in sunny California, one can feel fall in the air and although I cook year – round, autumn has a way of transforming me into a vegan (and Italian) Martha Stewart.  My go-to meal often contains pasta in one form or another so be prepared for a semolina storm coming your way in my next few weeks’ worth of recipes.

Some people are surprised when they learn that many pastas are vegan.  Most of the dry pasta you find on the supermarket shelf – with the exception of egg noodles – are vegan, made primarily with semolina flour and water.  The pasta in the dairy section, laden with fat and cholesterol, is the one to avoid.

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Pasta Fagioli (Pasta and Beans)
3 years ago

Pasta Fagioli (Pasta and Beans)

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Pasta Fagioli combines both ingredients and there are many variations to this recipe. I’m using a bean called  “Christmas Lima” from the Rancho Gordo company (www.ranchogordo.com). I was seduced by the beautiful marble color of the beans and the chestnut-like flavor, so I used them to replace the white beans in my mom’s recipe. Feel free to use whatever bean you have available – that’s the joy of Pasta Fagioli.

Because I did not use canned beans, I needed to soak them the night before and boil them separately to soften them up. For this recipe, I’m suggesting canned beans as a time-saver, but feel free to use whatever beans work for you depending on the time you have available.

I’m also using elbow macaroni because I happen to have it in my pantry– any small pasta will do. My mother used to break up spaghetti into bite-sized pieces in her version.
This soup is so simple and hearty. You’ll enjoy it any time of year, but it’s especially wonderful in the fall. Serve with bread and salad and you’ll want to add it to your regular rotation of meals.

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Gnocchi, Sage & Butternut Squash
4 years ago

Gnocchi, Sage & Butternut Squash

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She used the kitchen table as her mixing bowl, making a mountain of flour in the middle of the table, creating a well on top, then cracking eggs in the well and adding mashed potatoes. She turned the mountain into long ropes, cutting them into bite-sized pieces, then scoring them with a fork to create sauce-friendly grooves. After I became vegan, I assumed that I would d never be able to enjoy gnocchi again, thinking the recipe could not work without the eggs. Was I ever wrong! This recipe contains two ingredients–potatoes and flour–and tastes just like the original recipe.

Grandma’s original recipe. To cut down on the prep time, use a mixer that can be fitted with a dough hook. (although you can mix everything by hand). This is one of my all-time favorite recipes and while any sauce will do, I’ve chosen a velvety butternut squash sauce that’s almost as easy to make as the gnocchi. You are going to fall in love with this dish and want to make it for family and friends -it’s that special!

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