Meatless Monday: Vegan Pesto Pasta with a Honeydew Lime Smoothie

Meatless Monday: Vegan Pesto Pasta with a Honeydew Lime Smoothie

Tonight, I decided to do things a little differently. Hubby and I are big smoothie lovers and I realized I’ve never featured any on my Meatless Monday posts. I decided to make pesto for the first time, too. I definitely had become a little too dependent on tomato and vegan Alfredo sauces so it was time to change things up. I got the recipe from greenevi.com and the Honeydew and Lime Smoothie was inspired by a YouTube video from Health with Kisha. I don’t remember her exact recipe but I remembered Honeydew melon and limes and I figured I could adjust according to my own taste.

We used a container of honeydew that was 1.17 lbs, the juice of 3 limes and blended it with ice.

Here’s Hubby hard at work juicing the limes for me:

MVIMG_20180416_193530.jpg

We used organic red lentil penne pasta for our vegan pesto pasta. We love the Explore Cuisine brand for red lentil and black bean spaghetti.

MVIMG_20180416_193419.jpg

Here’s the recipe:

INGREDIENTS
  • Pasta of your choice
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup of pine nuts
  • 1 cup of fresh basil (tightly packed)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 1-3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt, pepper
  • ½ lemon (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Prepare your pasta according to package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile roast pine nuts in a skillet until lightly toasted.
  3. Add basil, garlic, toasted pine nuts, nutritional yeast, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a food processor and blend until smooth. Mix pesto into pasta and add cherry tomatoes. Enjoy!
IMG_20180416_190835.jpg
Pine nuts toasting
MVIMG_20180416_191659.jpg
All the ingredients. I blended them instead of putting them in the food processor but the pesto still came out great!

Hubby has already said he wants to me cook everything again next week. I fell in love, too. The honeydew and lime smoothie was incredibly refreshing. I can see making that regularly especially when summer hits.

Let me know in the comments if there are any new plant-based recipes you have tried or want to try.

 

 

Meatless Mondays: Baked Buffalo Cauliflower ‘Wings’

Meatless Mondays: Baked Buffalo Cauliflower ‘Wings’

I have been craving buffalo cauliflower ‘wings’ for a few days now. I’ve made them before and this time hubby baked them. This particular recipe came from gimmedelicious.com. We decided to pair it with spinach and Yukon gold potatoes (not pictured–we have it on the side). The only things I do differently is bake for 15 minutes longer to achieve the level of crispiness I enjoy and use a Texas Pete Wing Sauce.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower approx. 4 cups of florets
  • 1/2 cup milk for vegan: use water or almond or soy milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour can sub gluten-free rice flour
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 cup Frank’s red hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp butter for vegan: use earth balance buttery spread

IMG_20180409_184610.jpg

MVIMG_20180409_193324.jpg
Before Baking
MVIMG_20180409_201611.jpg
After baking the sauce into the ‘wings’

Instructions

  1. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper or grease very well with oil. Preheat your oven to 425-450 F depending on your oven.

  2. Wash and cut cauliflower head into bite-sized pieces/florets.

  3. Mix the milk/water/flour and spices in a medium mixing bowl (set aside the hot sauce and butter for later). Mix until the batter is thick and is able to coat the cauliflower without dripping.
  4. Dip the cauliflower in the batter. You can do this one by one or in batches. shake off excess batter before placing cauliflower on the baking sheet. Lay the cauliflower single layer on the baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown, flipping the florets over halfway through to get all sides golden brown and crispy.

  6. While the cauliflower is baking, get your buffalo wing sauce ready. In a small saucepan low heat melt butter and mix in hot sauce. Remove from the heat just as it starts to melt. Stir together and set aside.

  7. Once the cauliflower is done its first bake in the batter, remove them from the oven and put all the baked florets into a mixing bowl with the wing sauce and toss to coat evenly. Return cauliflower to the baking sheet and bake in the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until reached desired crispness. Serve with ranch, blue cheese, or your favorite dipping sauce. Enjoy!

 

 

Meatless Mondays: Sweet Potato Quinoa & Enchilada Bake

Meatless Mondays: Sweet Potato Quinoa & Enchilada Bake

I have been holding onto this recipe from shelikesfood.com for a few weeks. I have never cooked with enchilada sauce so I was excited to try. I also have been a little rice and potato heavy so getting back to eating more quinoa seemed like a good idea. I definitely took longer than the prep time indicated but I dice vegetables slowly.

MVIMG_20180402_122249.jpg
Diced veggies: red and green peppers, onions and zucchini
Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-28,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y
Sweet potatoes ready to bake with a little salt, pepper and olive oil
Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-28,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y
All veggies with salt, pepper and olive oil ready to bake together
Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-28,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y
All veggies with quinoa, black bean, corn and spices sprinkled with vegan cheese

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup dried quinoa
  • 4 cup cubed sweet potato, about 2 large ones
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 cup grated cheese, divided (I used vegan cheese)
  • 2 1/2 cups enchilada sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • Black pepper
  • Optional garnishes: cilantro, red onion, tomato, avocado, jalapeno

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Rinse quinoa and place it in a small pot with 1 cup of water.  Bring to a simmer and cook until water is absorbed and quinoa is cooked through, about 15 minutes.  Set aside.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.  On a large baking sheet, toss together the cubed sweet potato with 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Bake sweet potato for 20 minutes.
  3. While sweet potato is baking, add all the diced bell peppers, zucchini and onion to a bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Add the vegetables to the sweet potatoes, stir and make sure they’re in an even layer.  Place back into the oven 10 minutes.
  5. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.  Place the sweet potatoes and veggies into a large baking dish and stir in the cooked quinoa, black beans, corn, 3/4 cup of the cheese, enchilada sauce, spices, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Top with the remaining 1/4 of the cheese and place back in the oven until heated through and cheese is melted, 10-15 minutes.
Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-28,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y
All done! I let it bake for 15 minutes instead of 10 minutes.

Hubby and I loved it! We chose to garnish it with avocado. It blended together well and it came out light.  While we were eating it, I thought it would be interesting to add mushrooms, too. I definitely look forward to making it again.

Meatless Mondays: Ninth Street Bakery

Meatless Mondays: Ninth Street Bakery

Today, we were on the road back home from seeing family and we decided to stop at Ninth Street Bakery for lunch. It was a few blocks from Duke University. We almost tried the Luna Living Kitchen Chapel Hill location but then we both said it was best to try something new. I was intrigued by a bakery offering several plant-based options. As soon as we walked in, we knew we were in for a feast. The smell alone was enough to buy out the store. Trying to be gluten-free saved me in this bakery. I could have walked out with a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread under each arm. Anyway, on to what we ate.

I ordered the Thai curry bowl, the savory hand pie (don’t think the flour was wheat) and a side salad. Jeff had the dal lentil soup and the savory hand pie. We loved every bit of it. The freshness and the flavor impressed us both. We left feeling satisfied and didn’t think of eating for hours afterwards. It has been incredibly encouraging to find healthy, plant-based options out on the road. It totally dispels the idea that you can’t be responsible for your health even if you travel frequently.

MVIMG_20180326_153538.jpg
Thai curry bowl for me.

MVIMG_20180326_154114.jpg

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-28,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y
Dal lentil soup for him.

 

MVIMG_20180326_154130.jpg
Savory hand pies for both of us!

We would definitely come back again. As for next Monday, I already have a recipe in mind that I am excited to try!

 

Meatless Mondays: Vegan Potluck!

Meatless Mondays: Vegan Potluck!

Back from my two-week hiatus! It was good to take a break but now it’s time to get back to sharing these recipes, my writing and plant-based wellness journey. Saturday night, Jeff and I went to a friend’s house for our second vegan potluck. Our group consisted of two other couples and their combined 8 children. Since we don’t have kids, it’s lovely to visit a home filled with the warmth of laughing, playing children.

We had our first vegan potluck in December and it was such a hit, we decided to do it again. It was comforting to be around other plant-based people, share new recipes and just have some fun!

This time around, we brought shepherd’s pie and salted chocolate chip cookies made with quinoa flour (delicious!). There was also mac and cheese, Watergate salad (a marshmallow dessert), veggie kebabs, cupcakes with chocolate frosting and hummus and tortilla chips.

MVIMG_20180317_170633.jpg
Mac n’ Cheese. We all loved it and it was gone in a flash!

 

IMG_20180317_170726.jpg
Our shepherd’s pie!
MVIMG_20180317_170654_2.jpg
Watergate salad. I don’t eat marshmallows but everyone else enjoyed this vegan version of this colorful dish.

MVIMG_20180317_190239.jpg

MVIMG_20180317_170706_2.jpg
Hubby standing proudly over his bowl of cookies!

As with all gatherings of friends, the best part was the company. Three different couples sharing their lives, a meal and and hopefully more of a future.

Meatless Mondays: No Chicken (Vegan) Pot Pie

Meatless Mondays: No Chicken (Vegan) Pot Pie

Today, hubby took over and cooked a no chicken vegetarian (we made it vegan) pot pie. The recipe came from genius kitchen.

READY IN:

55mins

SERVES:

4

UNITS:

US

INGREDIENTSNutrition

11934.jpeg

 11930.jpeg
11926
Ready to be baked!

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Saute onion, celery, carrots and potatoes in butter for 10 minutes.
  3. Add flour to sauteed mixture, stirring well Cook one minute stirring constantly.
  4. Combine broth and half and half.
  5. Gradually stir into vegetable mixture.
  6. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly.
  7. Stir in salt and pepper and tyme; add tofu and stir well.
  8. Pour into shallow 2 quart casserole dish and top with pie shells.
  9. Cut slits to allow steam to escape.
  10. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly and cooked through.
 He added broccoli, mushrooms and cilantro, replaced the onion broth with vegetable broth and the half and half with almond milk (to make it vegan) but forgot to add carrots. We are trying to stay away from soy so tofu didn’t make it into our veggie pot pie. It didn’t matter. It was tasty..we probably should have let it sit a while longer before cutting into it but the flavor was all there. Definitely would try again!

Meatless Mondays: Luna’s Living Kitchen

Meatless Mondays: Luna’s Living Kitchen

I was out of town, specifically in Charlotte this past weekend visiting family. We knew we would be leaving in the afternoon and wanted to stop by a raw vegan restaurant I found online: Luna’s Living Kitchen.

Since we are just getting home, I knew I would be in no mood to cook a meal and eat late so I thought I would share our meal at Luna’s Living Kitchen located in the South Bend of Charlotte. Even though I prefer to cook these meals, it’s good to know there are options everywhere to eat plant-based and even raw vegan!

We started off by sharing a sweet potato sushi roll. I decide to get a cacao smoothie and Jeff chose a Mango Tango. It had a kick of cayenne which we both enjoyed!

20180219_132805.jpg

20180219_133712.jpg

Jeff had been eager to try the raw manicotti made with zucchini and cashew cream and tomato sauce. He added the lentil soup for warmth. The coolness of the manicotti threw him a little even though he was warned about it but neither of us could deny how tasty the cashew cream was and how well it mimicked the taste of ricotta cheese. I chose one of the warmer entree options: BBQ sliders. That was our favorite dish! The oyster mushrooms was such an amazing filler compared to mock meats like tofu, tempeh or jackfruit. When we come back to Charlotte, we are definitely coming back!

20180219_134211.jpg
The cashew cream was incredible!
20180219_134218.jpg
Our favorite dish topped with jalapeno slaw!

Meatless Mondays: Hearty Chickpea Pasta Soup

Meatless Mondays: Hearty Chickpea Pasta Soup

Tonight, hubby found the recipe on a website for No Meat Athlete. He and I are considering following their meal plans for a week to accelerate the process on our wellness journey. Plus, the site is full of whole foods plant-based recipes which I would like to cook regularly. It’s so easy to fall into the vegan junk food or takeout trap. It’s delicious but ultimately costly and more calorie laden than cooking at home. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients
  • 1-2 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)
  • 1 Small Onion, chopped
  • 2 Celery Ribs, diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • ¾ teaspoon Dry Rosemary
  • 1 cup any Tomato Sauce
  • 6 cups Vegetable Stock
  • 1 can (15 ounces) or 1.5 cups cooked Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch Kale (about 8 leaves), preferably Lacinato (Dinosaur), torn into bite-size pieces, coarse stems removed
  • 4 ounces Whole Wheat or Alternative-Grain Linguine, broken into 1 to 2 inch lengths (or choose a bite-size pasta)
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil, if using, in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, celery, garlic, and 1 teaspoon of the rosemary and cook until the vegetables are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. If not using oil, add a few splashes of water as needed to keep ingredients from drying and burning.
  3. Add the tomato sauce, vegetable stock, and chickpeas, and bring to a boil.
  4. Add the kale and after about 5 minutes, add the pasta and stir occasionally. (This assumes your pasta will take 7 to 8 minutes to cook. If you’re using pasta that takes 12 to 15 minutes, add the pasta when you add the kale.)
  5. When the pasta is al dente, remove the soup from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Garnish with the remaining teaspoon of fresh rosemary and optionally, a drizzle of olive oil.

We loved it.. not oily and filling for sure! So glad we chose to sign up for these recipes!

 

Meatless Mondays: Black Bean Soup

Meatless Mondays: Black Bean Soup

I know I didn’t post a recipe last week but for some reason it felt like a lot longer. I have been working feverishly on a project that is coming to a close and it felt amazing to get back to Meatless Mondays by trying this recipe from allrecpies.com.

Here is the link: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/25333/vegan-black-bean-soup/

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion-chopped

4 cloves garlic-chopped

2 carrots

1 stalk of celery

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 pinch black pepper

4 cups vegetable broth

4 15 oz. cans of black beans

1 15oz can of whole kernel corn

1 14.5 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

20180205_203933

 

20180205_204952

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Saute onion, celery, carrots and garlic for 5 minutes. Season with chili powder, cumin, and black pepper; cook for 1 minute. Stir in vegetable broth, 2 cans of beans, and corn. Bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, process remaining 2 cans beans and tomatoes until smooth. Stir into boiling soup mixture, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes.

I was unsure how much I would like it without salt but the pepper, chili powder and cumin, onions and garlic provided more than enough flavor. It was relatively easy to make it and we both loved it!

 

Meatless Mondays: Walnut Meat Tacos

Meatless Mondays: Walnut Meat Tacos

Tonight, I am working on another writing project so I opted to make something quick and easy for Meatless Mondays: Walnut Meat Tacos. I have made walnut meat tacos in Romaine lettuce leaves but I opted for blue corn taco shells tonight. It’s not only quick and easy but tasty! Ever since being plant-based, I value spices more than ever and I realize all I have ever been interested in–with meat or vegetables–was the taste. No one likes a bland plate of either! I added a corn and bean salsa and sliced some avocado on the side and substituted liquid aminos for soy sauce. This recipe came from genius kitchen.

Here it is:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw walnuts
    1 tablespoon soy sauce
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1 teaspoon paprika
20180122_184455
Spiced walnut “meat” after being pulsed in the food processor.

Directions:

  1. Put ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Pulse until course and crumbly. Don’t pulse for too long, or else you’ll end up with butter!

Enjoy! I know we will tonight!