What I love most about this recipe is the contrast of the hot Gardein brand beef-less tips and the cold crisp salad, not unlike an autumn day in Southern California that starts of cold and crisp, then turns warm and toasty as the day progresses. In other words, the best of both worlds.
To me, the term “almost homemade” means purchasing a quality prepared ingredient, then making it my own with fresh produce, herbs and spices. You can easily customize this Gardein product by using any seasonings you choose and because it’s a top quality product, you don’t have to “mask” the flavor in any way. By simply adding salt, pepper, garlic and green onions, you can make this a perfectly seasoned protein, perfectly matched to the kale, one of the more hearty salad greens. The texture is perfect. The cranberry vinaigrette adds a surprising fresh flavor and acidity.
Another dressing I’ve tried with this salad is so simple. I take leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving and add cranberry juice. Blend it with a blender or food processor until it is the consistency of dressing – it’s so delicious with little or no fat depending on how you make your cranberry dressing.
These ingredients work together beautifully in terms of taste, color and texture. It’s the perfect salad for an autumn day. Enjoy.
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.
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.
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!