I was recently looking through my recipes and found this one written in my mother’s handwriting. My Mom is 84 is not a vegetarian or vegan, but she has always liked to try new recipes from time to time. This dish is easy (takes 30 – 35 minutes), is packed with vegetables and noodles, and serves 6 – 8 people (great for a family). Both my husband and I really liked it and I’ve been enjoying the left-overs this week (yummy!).
1 16 oz box of linguine or other pasta
2 cups carrots, peeled and cut into strips
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 cups zucchini unsealed, cut into thin strips
1 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
3 cloves of garlic (2 tsp.) minced
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried basil
4 scallions (green onion) sliced
4 cups plumb tomatoes cut into chunks (I substituted this with 2 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes (unsalted)
Salt and pepper to taste
Start by cutting up all the veggies (ask someone to help – it will go quicker)
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion, mushrooms, red pepper and garlic. Cook until vegetables are tender.
Add oregano, basil, zucchini, and scallions. Cook until tender. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, put pasta and carrots in a pot of boiling water. Cook for 8 minutes (or whatever is called for on package). Drain and put back into pot.
Slowly combine sautéed vegetable mixture with pasta and toss until coated. I like to put the pasta in a large serving bowl (pictured above) and then cover it with the veggie mixture and toss it together. My Mom’s recipe says, “Don’t let veggies fall to the bottom of the bowl.”
I like to top this dish with some nutritional yeast in place of parmesan cheese.
As a vegan, it is sometime a challenge to know what dishes to bring to social gatherings. Recently our church had a special potluck lunch with the theme “Holy Smokes” – featuring BBQ meat dishes. I took up the challenge and decided to try a recipe I found in the Feb/March 2019 edition of Taste of Home Magazine. This would be a great meal for families with younger kids. It was simple to make, tastes great and it serves 14 (perfect for potlucks and family gatherings)!
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1/2 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
1 medium carrot, shredded
6 garlic cloves, minced (3 tsp.)
2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed
5 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 can (8 0z) tomato sauce
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
4 1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
2 tsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. tomato paste
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
14 whole wheat hamburger buns, split and toasted.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, peppers and carrot; cook and stir until crisp-tender, 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
Add broth and lentils; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered until the lentils are tender, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, honey, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Serve on buns.
Note: I found that this mixture was too sloppy so you may want to reduce the vegetable broth some. It did thickened some in the fridge overnight.
Some friends took me out to lunch for my birthday earlier this week and I had a fantastic Mediterranean Pasta dish. It had all my favorite ingredients: spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, artichokes and pine nuts! I was determined to try to make it for my husband.
Tonight I looked up the menu description online and decided to take my best stab at replicating the recipe. I also had help from another Mediterranean Pasta recipe I found on Wellplated.com. I made some modifications and swapped out a few ingredients. My husband loved it and rated it 5 stars – even without the feta cheese! It only took about 25 minutes to prepare and serves up to 4 people. This is so easy and the savory flavor would go well with a nice sweet wine.
6 oz (or half a box) of penne pasta (a little more if serving 4)
4 cloves of garlic – minced (about 2 tsp)
3 Tbsp olive oil (or 1/4 cup water if avoiding oil)
2 cups grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes – cut in half
1 can or (14 oz) jar quartered artichoke hearts (I use water-packed)
1 can whole pitted black olives (6 oz) – drained and sliced (optional)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt
A pinch (about 1/8 tsp) of red pepper flakes
8 oz of sliced of baby bella mushrooms (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cups of baby spinach (stems removed)
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes – chopped (optional)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1/4 cup feta or parmesan cheese (omit if vegan)
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley – or fresh basil (chopped)
1/4 cup pine nuts
Bring large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tsp. of salt (opt.). Cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then drain.
While water boils and pasta cooks, prep vegetables and remaining ingredients: mince garlic, cut cherry tomatoes in half, drain and roughly chop the artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes.
In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil (or 1/4 cup water if not using oil) over medium high heat. Add the cherry tomatoes, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, the 1/2 tsp salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes (if using). Sauté, stirring frequently unit the garlic is fragrant and the tomatoes begin to break down and release some juices into the oil, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the pasta to the skillet and toss to coat. Add the artichokes, olives if using, and spinach. Dried the lemon juice over the pasta. Continue tossing and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the spinach is wilted and the mixture is warmed through. If pasta seems too dry, add a splash of the reserved pasta water to loosen it. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as desired. Remove from heat and sprinkle with feta (or grated Parmesan), pine nuts and parsley or basil.
I don’t know about you – but most weekends we try to clean out our fridge before going to the store to restock. Although veggies tend to last longer in the fridge than meat – they can still go bad if not used within the week. Here are a couple of go-to recipes for using up those left over veggies.
Stir Fry Veggies and Tomatoes:
This week I had to find a use for left over spaghetti and spaghetti squash, zucchini squash, mushrooms, a yellow pepper and half an onion. After a busy week, dinner was basically on the table in about 20 minutes or less. It serves 2 – 4 people depending on amount of veggies and pasta.
3 cups of cup up veggies (zucchini, colored peppers, mushrooms, onion – or whatever sounds good to you).
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp. of Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
1 – 14.5 oz can of tomatoes, undrained (optional: Diced tomatoes with onions and garlic)
2 cups of cooked spaghetti or other pasta (or cooked rice)
Sautés the veggies in a tablespoon of olive oil for about 5 minutes (add 1 tsp. of minced garlic during last minute)
Stir in 14.5 oz can of undrained diced tomatoes with garlic and onions. Add 1+ tsp. of Italian seasoning.
Let mixture simmer for about 10 minutes.
Check to make sure the veggies are tender and then add a little salt and pepper to taste.
Serve over the warmed spaghetti noodles, spaghetti squash or rice.
Optional: top with Nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan (ground up almonds and Nutritional yeast).
Sweet Potato & Bean Quesadillas
Another favorite quick and recipe using left-overs is Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas. These are easy to make for 2 – 4 people or more depending on how many sweet potatoes and tortillas you have on hand. If you are not vegan you may choose to add the cheese. If you are vegan – it tastes fine without cheese. I found this recipe in the Feb/March 2014 issue Taste of Home magazine. This takes 30 minutes or less to make.
2 medium sweet potatoes
4 whole wheat tortillas (8 inch)
3/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese (omit if you are dairy-free)
3/4 cup salsa
Vegan sour cream (optional)
Diced Avocado (optional)
Scrub sweet potatoes: pierce several times with a fork. Place on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high for 7 – 9 minutes or until tender, turning once.
When cool enough to handle, cut each potato lengthwise in half. Scoop out pulp and spread onto one half of each tortilla. Top with beans and cheese (optional). Fold other half of tortilla over filling.
Heat a griddle or a skillet over medium heat. Cook for 2 -3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cheese is melted. Serve with salsa, vegan sour cream and/or avocado chunks (or guacamole).
Another quick and easy recipe to use left over veggies is the “Everything Minestrone” recipe that I shared in a previous post entitled “Soup in a Hurry”.
This is one of our favorite Italian dishes. It is filling, quick and easy to make, and serves 4-6 depending on how much pasta you use. With two of us cutting up the veggies it took about 35-40 minutes total to prepare. This recipe is taken from the book One dish Vegan, by Robin Robertson (page 136).
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 vegan sausage links, chopped (optional)
1 small yellow (sweet) onion, chopped
1 small eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch dice
5 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 1/2 tsp)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp natural sugar (I use Sugar in the Raw)
1 (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes, undrained
1 Tbsp capers, drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 2 tsp. dried basil (optional)
8 to 12 oz of uncooked ridged ziti or penne pasta
If using the vegan sausage, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned. Transfer the sausage to a plate and reserve.
Return the skillet to the stove over medium heat. Add the onion, eggplant, and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and a little water if needed so the vegetables do not burn. Cook for 1 minute longer.
Stir in the tomato paste, oregano, 1/2 tsp dried basil, red pepper flakes, sugar, diced tomatoes and their juices, capers, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring just to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce has thickened and the flavors have blended, about 15 minutes.
In the mean time, cook the ziti (or penne pasta) in a large pot of salted boiling water, stirring occasional until it is al dente (about 9 minutes). Drain well and return to the pot.
Add the fresh basil and the reserved sausage, if using, to the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Keep warm over low heat.
Add the cooked and drained pasta to the sauce and toss gently to combine. Serve hot, garnished with parsley if desired.
I like to top this dish with “faux parmesan” (a mixture of Nutritional Yeast and ground almonds) and serve with crusty whole grain bread and vegan butter. The leftovers can be refrigerated or frozen for another delicious meal.