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.
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”.
We all have those nights when dinner has to be prepared quickly because family members need to eat and a leave for evening activities. Tonight was one of those nights. I pulled out my “go to” quick recipe for when I don’t have time to shop and want to use up veggies in the fridge before they go bad.
Makes 8 servings. Recipe by Lindsay Nixon. Gluten free without pasta.
1 small onion diced (or half large onion)
4 garlic cloves minced (2 tsp)
pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
3 cups sliced or chopped vegetables (such as carrots, yellow squash, zucchini, etc.)
2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar (or reg vinegar)
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes (fire roasted – optional)
1 15-oz can of white beans or garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
Cooked rice or small shaped pasta like Ditalini (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Line a large pot with a thin layer of water and sauté onion, garlic and a pinch of crushed red pepper (if using ) for about 1 – 3 minutes.
Add Italian seasoning and continue to cook until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add all remaining ingredients, including choice vegetables (except beans), salt, and pepper and stir to combine.
Bring to a boil then cover, decrease heat to low, and let simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 – 20 minutes.
Add beans and cooked rice or pasta (if using) and continue to cook until thoroughly warm.
Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Tips: Fire-roasted or tomatoes with onion and garlic can be used for more flavor. Feel free to use leftover cooked pasta or rice for the optional beans (or use all three). You may need to add a cup or more of the vegetable stock if the soup is too thick. You can use any vegetables you have on hand. For extra nutrition – I like to throw spinach at the very end.
When we decided to cut meat and dairy out of our diet I had to search through my existing cookbooks to find recipes. This one, Penne with Veggies ‘n’ Black Beans came from Taste of Homes’ Healthy Cooking Annual Recipes (2015). Since we had just become “empty nesters” I turned to the ‘Table for Two’ section and found a photo of a meal that looked appetizing and super simple to make.
Since it was June – all of the ingredients were in season and it did not require any special ingredients that were hard to find (except maybe the Nutritional Yeast – which is used as a substitute for the parmesan cheese).
Recipe for: Penne with Veggies ’n’ Black Beans
Estimated time to prepare: 25 minutes. Makes: 2 servings (double for 4)
Quick tip: use a bag of your favorite pre-cut frozen veggies if you are in a hurry.
3/4 cup of uncooked penne pasta (substitute with a bean pasta if gluten free)
1/3 cup of sliced zucchini (about one medium)
1/3 cup of sliced carrot (about 2)
4 medium mushrooms sliced
1/2 small green pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow or red pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 onion thinly sliced
1 small garlic clove, minced (I used minced garlic from a jar)
1/4 teaspoon of each: dried basil, oregano & thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained (15 oz can is ok)
1/4 cup chopped seeded tomato (canned and drained is ok)
2 Tablespoons shredded Parmesan (substitute with Nutritional Yeast)
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté all the vegetables, garlic and seasonings in 1+ teaspoon of oil until tender-crisp. Stir in the beans.
Drain pasta; add to vegetable mixture. Add tomato and remaining olive oil; toss gently. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (or Nutritional Yeast) and parsley.