Creamy Pepper Pasta

standard September 18, 2014 Leave a response

This dish is the best way to end a week of hot and cold transition meals. Warm, creamy sauce combined with raw squash noodles make for a well-balanced, filling meal, that is light enough for a warm day, yet comforting enough for a fall dinner. And cashews never cease to amaze me with how versatile they are. This sauce is super simple and only has a handful of ingredients, but it makes this dish so rich, you’d think it had twice the calories that it actually does.

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Creamy Pepper Pasta

Serves 2.

Print-Friendly Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c cashews
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 c sweet peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 c mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 c water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 T nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3-4 summer squash

Steps:

  1. Soak cashews in cold water for 1-2 hours.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat until it is hot. Add coconut oil. Immediately add peppers and let them cook until they start to blacken.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add mushrooms, basil, and oregano. Gently stir in with the peppers and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. While veggies cook, drain water from cashews. Add cashews, 1 c fresh water, garlic, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper to a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth. Sauce should be runny.
  5. Julienne, peel, or spiralize your squash into spaghetti ribbons and divide among two plates.
  6. When mushrooms are cooked, reduce heat to low. Add sauce and quickly fold into veggies. Sauce will thicken very quickly, so make sure heat is low and you stir quickly. Continue stirring gently for a few minutes so flavors can meld together.
  7. Portion mixture evenly over squash plates and enjoy!

Nutrition:

Per serving: 327 kcal, 30 g carbs, 20 g fat, 13 g protein, 480 mg sodium, 14 g sugar

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Eggplant Ragout with Risotto

standard September 11, 2014 3 responses

As a lifelong mac and cheese lover, I’ve discovered that risotto is the perfect grown-up alternative of that classic comfort food. I don’t think there is anything better than a creamy bowl of risotto. I still remember the very first time I tried it, at a small, family owned Italian restaurant in Chicago. Cheesy, creamy, sprinkled with vegetables, and oh so rich. I very quickly figured out how to make it at home, and I have always found the 30 minutes of constant stirring and standing over the stove to be soothing, part of the whole process of homey comfort that the end result provides.

My absolute favorite way to make risotto will always be my mushroom and leek recipe, but this simple, almost rustic dish is just as comforting. Laden with veggies in the ragout, it makes even this eggplant-averse eater happy.  Both dishes come together at the same time, with minimal clean up, and plenty to serve a crowd. (Or plenty to hoard to yourself for a week of leftovers).

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Eggplant Ragout with Risotto

Serves 4.

Print-Friendly Recipe

Ingredients:

Ragout:

  • 2 T Earth Balance, divided
  • 1 eggplant, diced
  • 1 c mushrooms, diced
  • 1 c summer squash, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 c white wine (chenin blanc or pinot grigio work well)

Risotto:

  • 2 T Earth Balance, divided
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 3/4 c arborio rice
  • 1/2 c white wine
  • 3-4 c vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast

Steps:

  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Melt 1 T Earth Balance, and add diced veggies. Saute until softened, about 5-8 minutes.
  2. Season with salt, pepper, parsley, and oregano, and stir.
  3. Add wine, bringing it to a low boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until wine reduces by half.
  4. While veggies cook, melt 1 T Earth Balance in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add onion, and let cook for a few minutes until translucent.
  5. Add rice and toast for 3-5 minutes.
  6. Add wine and let cook down. When most of the wine is absorbed, add the vegetable stock 1/2 – 1 c at a time, stirring frequently. Let the rice absorb the liquid before adding the next cup of stock. This should take about 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
  7. Once all stock is used, and rice is creamy and soft, add salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast. Let cook for a few more minutes, until all flavors are melded together. Stir in final tablespoon of Earth Balance for extra creaminess.
  8. Once wine is reduced, stir in remaining tablespoon of Earth Balance to the eggplant mixture.
  9. Serve the risotto in bowls, topped with the eggplant ragout.

Nutrition:

Per serving: 281 kcal, 47 g carbs, 12 g fat, 8 g protein, 1190 mg sodium, 7 g sugar

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Nutty Sweet Potato Salad

standard September 10, 2014 Leave a response

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I love sweet potatoes in salads. Roasted, warm, crispy, sweet. They add a ton of texture and flavor to the standard chopped veggie mix. Top it with a sweet and salty almond sauce and get ready for a flavor party. This salad has a little bit of everything, a perfect hearty midday meal.

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Nutty Sweet Potato Salad

Yield: Serves 1

Calories per serving: 418

Ingredients

    Salad:
  • 1 c diced sweet potato
  • coconut oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 summer squash
  • 2 sweet peppers
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 c butter lettuce
  • 1 T almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 T hemp seeds
    Dressing:
  • 2 T almond butter
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 T tamari
  • 1 1/2 tsp agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp dried cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flake (or to taste)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Dice sweet potato into one inch pieces and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush sweet potato lightly with coconut oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-45 minutes or until lightly browned and tender.
  2. While potatoes cook, wash lettuce and place in a serving bowl. Dice cucumbers and peppers. Julienne summer squash into ribbons. Toss together with lettuce.
  3. To make the dressing, mix almond butter, lime juice, soy sauce, agave, cilantro, coriander, and red pepper in a mason jar until combined. Add 1-2 T of water to thin out, if needed (You will have extra).
  4. Add cooked sweet potatoes to salad. Drizzle with 1/2 the dressing. Top with almonds and hemp seeds.
http://www.neatandnutritious.com/nutty-sweet-potato-salad/

Nutrition:

Per serving: 418 kcal, 62 g carbs, 18 g fat, 17 g protein, 557 mg sodium, 27 g sugar

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