Saturday, July 2, 2011

Vegan Pesto Pasta

The farmers market created a them, but with such diversity, who's complaining?  I have a lot of nuts I am supposed to someday get around to feeling like making nut milk, but in the mean time they are pine nut replacers.  Tonights replacer, almonds.  The idea came from Tofu 666's twitter and blog.  Although the recipe wasn't included so it was kind of a guess/adapted from Fun and Food Blog.  With a hankering for pasta it was perfect and delicious.

Vegan Pesto Pasta
1/4 cup of blanched almonds (I forgot to blanch, it turned out fine)
1.5 cup fresh basil
1 cup fresh parsley
4 tbsp lemon juice
3 large garlic cloves
5 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp vegan Parmesan
2 cups pasta
1 cup mixed veggies

I just boiled the almonds for a few minutes and threw them in, my husband was reading the recipe out loud and got things mixed up and left things out, oh well.  I used a blender but a food processor may work better.  Throw all ingredients in the blender except 2 of the 5 tbsp of oil.  Blend until it reaches the consistency of pesto you like, you will likely need to use one of those blender tools that helps push the food down so that it is all processed.  Cook the pasta for 8 minutes and drain.  While pasta is in colander, pour remaining oil and a touch of salt or nusalt in and toss with your fingers.  Add pasta to a large bowl with veggies and pour pesto on top.  Personally this was a lot of pesto for me so I saved some for sandwiches later.

Pesto pasta topped with veggie parmesan

Curry Vegetable Leek Soup

This is delicious.  It was served with the Collard Green Sushi and my husband and I were crying with yumminess.  Yes that's possible.  Here I thought the leeks at the farmer's market were pretty expensive but I have used parts of the two I have for 2 weeks now and there is still the onion part left and going strong. 

Curry Vegetable Leek Soup
About 2 inches of the green part of the leek, chopped
1 tbsp curry powder
3 baby carrots, chopped (I used the small ones you get at the farmer's market, not actual baby carrots)
1 cup water
1 collard green leaf
3 sprigs parsley
4 basil leaves
4 small red potatoes
2 tbsp cashews

Boil potatoes and carrots until soft.  Steam/boil leeks and collard green in 1 cup of water.  Add curry powder, parsley and basil.  When everything is cooked thoroughly, pour in the veggies with the water and spoon in the potatoes and carrots.  Blend for about 3 minutes or until completely smooth.  Add cashews and let sit for a bit until ready to serve.  Just before serving blend again to just chop cashews but not liquefy them.  Add a parsley spring to the top for fanciness and to get rid of the huge amount of parsley that you get with one bushel.

Collard Green Sushi

I bought some greens at the farmer's market but since I have never really had collard greens (except canned, once), kale (except the chips), or swiss chard I was at a loss for what to do with them.  It was right after How Do You Roll's birthday where their rolls were half off so I was in the mood for sushi.  I used to make cabbage rolls a lot back in the poor days so the two ideas merged and here we made a masterpiece. 

Collard Green Sushi

4 large, intact collard green leaves (no holes if possible)
.5 cup rice (I used cal rose one time and plain white rice another)
1 cup water
1 tsp vinegar (rice vinegar if you want it sticky, apple cider if you just want the taste)
4 tsp black sesame seeds
4 tbsp vegan cream cheese
.25 of a cucumber cut into small sticks
1 serving of tofu, garlic spiced, grilled and sliced into sticks
2 tsp chili oil (essential, we used our leftovers from How Do You Roll)
4 tsp low sodium soy sauce (you can also use this for dip instead)
.25 cup leeks or green onions, sliced and grilled or raw
4 tbsp cashews (optional, mostly for texture)
2 tsp kale powder or other powdered fishy tasting herb (optional, if you liked fish)

Make the rice and add the vinegar.  Rinse the collard greens and cut the long stem off just up until the part where the leaf starts.  When the rice is nearly done put the collard greens in the pan and close the lid, turn off the heat.  Start preparing the other veggies and grilling the leeks and tofu, you can add others as you prefer but this is all I had on hand.  Once everything is diced, take the collard greens out and put a small layer of rice in the middle area along spine, if there are any holes block it with a leek before laying rice.  Then add tofu, veggies, 1 tbsp cashews, 1 tbsp cream cheese, .5 tsp oil, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame seeds and .5 tsp kale powder.  Roll lengthwise and stab each side with a toothpick, cut in half and place in the fridge until it's cool enough to eat, I prepare the rest of dinner while they're cooling then they are ready for a side or an appetizer.  You would be surprised at how good these are, the spine of the collard green actually adds to the crunchy veggie factor.  They are really good dipped in soy sauce but you can control your sodium intake better by adding the soy sauce ahead of time.

Spaghetti Squash with Tahini Sauce

In my much poorer days, my favorite meal was pasta with garlic and onions fried in the oil at the top of the tahini, lemon juice and tahini, toppde with Parmesan.  I loved the grainy, creamy but dry texture and it was so filling and delicious.  Of course this was when I was wondering why I am a vegetarian gaining weight.  So now my much healthier version is made with spaghetti squash and I added some more veggies in, now that I can afford them.  I love spaghetti squash because it satisfies your pasta cravings with a vegetable calorie count so I can eat as much as I want, rather than just 2 oz.

Spaghetti squash with Tahini Sauce

1 spaghetti squash
1/4 cup tahini
1 tbsp lemon juice
4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped or sliced
1/2 a white onion, chopped 
1 tbsp veggie Parmesan
2 cups mixed veggies
1/4 cup sprouts

Cut the squash in half and bake on 350 for about an hour, or until the top lightly browns and the inside is easy to core.  Take out the seeds and set aside.  In a large bowl add the tahini, lemon juice, onion and garlic then stir.  Pour the hot spaghetti squash on top and let sit so that the onions and garlic are cooked with the heat of the squash.  Steam the vegetables while that sits then combine and add Parmesan.  Top with sprouts and serve.  If you feel this is too much tahini, add more squash, otherwise save the other half for another night.  It is also very good cold.  The picture below was the other half of my spaghetti squash which I scooped out cold and added the tahini, spinach, tomatoes and sprouts for more raw items and an even crunchier texture.

Cold spaghetti squash with raw spinach and tomato.