main course

Roasted Butternut Squash Chipotle Mac and “Cheese” (V)

I am so excited to be sharing this recipe! I made something similar a few years ago for a potluck, but I was itching for a revamp. Let’s be clear, this is not going to taste exactly like mac and cheese. It looks a bit like mac and cheese, it’s just as comforting and hearty, but the flavor profile is quite different. The sauce is made out of roasted butternut squash, sweet onions and roasted garlic. I  I added a bit of nutritional yeast,  paprika and chipotle seasoning and blended this up into a creamy sauce. I also added a can of canellini beans for extra protein. I had friends over to try this and it was a huge hit! Everyone went back for seconds…and thirds! It was also pretty easy to make! Scroll down all the way to the end for a printable recipe.

DSC_0057

DSC_0060

DSC_0082

To Prepare:

  1. On a baking sheet, toss cubed butternut squash and roughly chopped sweet onion with olive oil, himalayan sea salt, chipotle seasoning and paprika
  2. On the same baking sheet, wrap 2 heads of garlic in foil. I cut off  the tops to expose some of the flesh. DSC_0015
  3. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until fork tender and caramelized. The garlic may need to stay in the oven for 10 additional minutes. DSC_0026
  4. Let this cool, and add the butternut squash, garlic and onion to a food processor. Add 1 cup of non-dairy milk, 1 tbsp nutritional yeast,  and puree, adding water or milk as necessary to get a smooth consistency. At this point, I taste the mixture to see if it needs more chipotle seasoning for spice or salt. DSC_0031DSC_0035
  5. In a pot, boil 1 package of pasta until al-dente. Reserve some of the cooking liquid to loosen the sauce later.
  6. Mix the sauce with the pasta and place in a baking dish. The pasta should be slightly runny, but be able to hold shape enough. Add pasta water or milk if the sauce is too thick. Add 1 can of canellini beans, rinsed.
  7. Cover with a layer of breadcrumbs and some pepitas, and return to the oven.
  8. Set the oven to the broil setting and broil the pasta until the top browns slightly. Remove, garnish with parsley and serve!

DSC_0045

DSC_0054

DSC_0083

DSC_0076

Roasted Butternut Squash Mac and 'Cheese'

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash cubed, or about 20 oz packet of butternut squash
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • Pasta of choice (I used Rigatoni)
  • Non-dairy milk of choice (I used soy)
  • 1 can canellini beans, drained and rinsed.
  • Chipotle seasoning
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Paprika
  • Himalayan Sea salt (regular salt is fine if you don’t  have it, but it is delicious! )
  • Optional toppings: Breadcrumbs, pepitas and parsley

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. On a baking sheet, toss the cubed butternut squash and roughly chopped sweet onion with olive oil, himalayan sea salt, chipotle seasoning and paprika
  3. On the same baking sheet, wrap 2 heads of garlic in foil. I cut off  the tops to expose some of the flesh.
  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until fork tender and caramelized. The garlic may need to stay in the oven for 10 additional minutes.
  5. Let this cool, and add the butternut squash, garlic and onion to a food processor. Add 1 cup of non-dairy milk, 1 tbsp nutritional yeast,  and puree, adding water or milk as necessary to get a smooth consistency. At this point, I taste the mixture to see if it needs more chipotle seasoning for spice or salt.
  6. In a pot, boil 1 package of pasta until al-dente. Reserve some of the cooking liquid to loosen the sauce later.
  7. Mix the sauce with the pasta and place in a baking dish and 1 can of canellini beans, rinsed. The pasta should be slightly runny, but be able to hold shape enough. Add pasta water or milk if the sauce is too thick.
  8. Cover with a layer of breadcrumbs and some pepitas, and return to the oven.
  9. Set the oven to the broil setting and broil the pasta until the top browns slightly. Remove, garnish with parsley and serve!

Makes 8 servings

 

 

Advertisements

Rajas con “Crema” (V+GF)

If there’s one type of cuisine I could have every day it’s Mexican! Kind of like Indian Food, the flavor profile is so complex, so rich and satisfying. This is a recipe a good friend recommended to me. It’s a take on “Rajas con Crema” a mexican dish with poblano peppers and lots of cream. Instead of cream, I used cashews, rich in protein and only a portion of the fat of regular cream. I also added some seasonal squash and corn to the dish.  I served it up with some corn tortillas, black beans and homemade pico de gallo. Delish! It truly takes very little time once all the veggies are chopped. I know you’ll love it!

DSC_0053

Note: The spiciness of this dish really depends on the chillies you get. Some peppers are hotter than others. Try to  seed and de-vein the peppers if you prefer less spice and add more cream if it is still too hot for our liking.  

DSC_0045

Continue reading

Tofu Bhurji (Masala Scramble) (V)

I need to preface by saying, I love this recipe! It is so quick, easy and filling and the leftovers lasted me for quite a while. It’s a take on the traditional Indian Paneer or Egg bhurji, which usually involves crumbled paneer cheese or egg and some veggies in a tomatoey spicy gravy. The difference between this and a traditional scrambled egg is that I added a bit more tomatoes so the tofu was really soaking in a spiced almost-gravy.  It was so delicious!

Health Stuff: Now that the Whole Foods Plant Based diet has become so popularized people are always looking for a vegetarian protein source. This is one that doesn’t skimp on flavor. Specifically, it alters the texture of tofu which is the biggest complaint I’ve heard from people who eat meat. Turmeric is totally en-vogue right now too! It’s been used in my family for generations and is so good for you! It’s an antiseptic and has anti-inflammatory properties.

DSC_0021

DSC_0043

You will need:

  • 1 block of tofu (I prefer not to use the extra or super firm because I like a softer consistency)
  • 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 med onion
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • Cumin seeds
  • Turmeric powder
  • 2-3 green chillies, chopped
  • Grated Ginger
  • Pinch of garam masala powder
  • Cilantro for garnish

DSC_0013

Prep:

  • Using a fork, crumble the tofu. Let it drain in a muslin cloth if you like, but since this recipe is slightly wet, it doesn’t matter if you skip that step.
  • Finely chop all the veggies.
  • Grate the ginger (about 1 tbsp)

DSC_0006

To Prepare:

  1. In a skillet, heat 2-3 tsp of oil. Add cumin seeds.
  2. When cumin seeds sputter, add chopped onions and 1 tbsp grated ginger and green chillies to taste.
  3. When onions become transluscent add the tomatoes. Allow the tomatoes to cook down on high heat until they start to break down and get soft. Add 1 tsp of turmeric.
  4. Add peppers of choice, (I used green and red) and the tofu
  5. Add water if the sauce is too thick.
  6. Salt liberally and simmer for 5 minutes until the tofu absorbs the flavors.
  7. Sprinkle some garam masala over the top
  8. Garnish with cilantro and serve with chapatis, bread or rice!

DSC_0025DSC_0049DSC_0053

Makes 4-6 servings!

Creamy Red Lentil Dal with Coconut Milk and Spinach (V +GF)

Those who know me know that dal is one of my favorite dishes. I can barely go a week without making it. It is filling, packed with protein and fiber, and quite honestly is any Indian’s comfort food. But sometimes it is nice to make a different take on the traditional dal. I  was inspired by some of the ingredients I had at home to make a nutritious one-pot version using a can of tomato sauce (tomato puree), coconut milk and a bunch of fresh spinach. This turned out so great! Warm, hearty, filling. The best part is that I froze half of the recipe and when I reheated it 2 weeks later it tasted just as good!I served it up with some brown rice and simple roasted cauliflower that I stuck in the oven at 375 for 15 minutes seasoned  with some salt, garlic powder and pepper. I hope you love it!

Continue reading

Quick and Easy Japanese Eggplant in a Green Curry Sauce

I’m not much of an eggplant person. I’ve learned to like it more over the years, but it will never be my go-to choice. But I was at the farmers market the other day and I saw these beautifully vibrant purple japanese eggplants. Japanese eggplants have a tougher, less mushy consistency. They hold their shape well and go great with asian dishes. I decided to make a quick and easy green curry. Quite honestly, this recipe is quick! I find that most of my cooking time is used with prep. In this dish I only used eggplant, and some shallots and red pepper. I served it with Trader Joe’s quick-cooking brown rice.  I was super excited to use my fresh thai basil that I have growing out on the balcony as a garnish. It was delicious! If you don’t have thai basil, you can use cilantro or regular basil. This dish was a true testament to the fact that a healthy meal can be done from start to finish in under 20 minutes.

DSC_0036

You will Need:

  • 2 Japanese Eggplants
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • a small nub of ginger (optional)
  • Green Curry Paste
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • Soy sauce
  • A pinch of sugar
  • Thai basil (optional)

To prepare:

  1. Cut the eggplants in half length-wise. Then cut them on the bias, meaning at a diagonal so you get nice little pretty angled pieces. DSC_0032
  2. Next, chop the garlic, shallots, and slice the red pepper.
  3. In a wok, heat some oil, add the garlic and shallots and stir.
  4. Add in the eggplants and saute for 5 minutes on high heat.
  5. Add in the red peppers and stir.
  6. After 2-3 minutes, add 1 can of coconut milk, a dash of soy sauce and a pinch of sugar. Take a tablespoon of green curry paste and dissolve this in the milk. You can optionally grate some ginger over the top for added flavor at this stage.
  7. Reduce the flame to medium and allow the curry to simmer for another 5 minutes, adding water as necessary, depending on how you like it. The eggplants are cooked when they are no longer white, but have a more eggplanty color.
  8. Taste the  curry and make sure it has enough salt.
  9. Sprinkle some chopped or julienned thai basil over the top and serve with steaming brown rice!

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15-20 minutes.

Makes 3-4 servings.

DSC_0045DSC_0055

Middle Eastern Spiced Rice and Lebanese Mousaka (Maghmour)

I love middle eastern food. Plain and simple. The flavors go so far beyond just hummus and pita. When I was younger and we lived in South America , we would frequent the Syrian, Lebanese and Armenian restaurants a lot because of their vast selection of vegetarian dishes. Hummus, babaganoush, tabouleh, fattoush salad and one of my favorites, lebanese mousakka. Mmmmm my mouth is watering! This dish is called Maghmour I believe in Arabic, and bares very little resemblance to its Greek counterpart (A layered caserole dish with meat and potatoes.) It is a savory, tangy, and sometimes spicy blend of tomatoes, spices, eggplant and chickpeas. I’ve seen it served both room-temperature and warm. I ate this dish warm. Especially, now that tomatoes are in season I used a bunch of fresh tomatoes.   You are going to love it!

DSC_0330

I paired this with some delicious middle eastern spiced rice. You see this on the streetcarts of NYC and in any shawarma place. Warm Basmati rice cooked to perfection with a blend of freshly ground cinnamon, cloves, peppercorn, allspice and paprika. I topped it off with a few slivered almonds.

*On the side was a yummy and simple salad of Persian cucumbers, tomatoes, mint and feta. Drizzled with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil. (This was the only non-vegan portion of this recipe.

DSC_0313

For the Rice:

You Will Need:

  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice, rinsed a few times under running water
  • 1 tbsp whole allspice
  • 1 tsp whole cloves (4-5 cloves)
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • Olive oil
  • Mint, cilantro or slivered almonds for garnish

1) Grind whole spices finely in the above proportions

DSC_0222

2) Heat  olive oil in a skillet and add  spices, saute for less than a minute

3) Add 1/1/2 cups basmati rice (rinsed first) and fold in the spices

DSC_0248

4) Allow the spices and rice to fully blend together (2-3 minutes)

5) transfer to a rice cooker or pot, and add less than 3 cups of water and 1 tsp salt, cook covered on medium for about 20 minutes, until the rice is cooked.

The result is spiced, savory perfection! Garnish with some mint and slivered almonds if you like!

DSC_0323

For the  Mousaka

DSC_0311

You will need:

  • 2 eggplants
  • About 5-6 Roma tomatoes , chopped(or 3 larger tomatoes)
  • 1/2 Red onion
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Cayenne pepper or any chili powder on hand
  • A pinch of sugar
  • Paprika
  • Cumin powder
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Can of chickpeas, drained ( I used only half in this recipe)

Before you begin:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°  and trim the ends of the eggplants, and peel in strips (like below image)
  • Then, cut the eggplant into about 1 inch rounds, and lay them on a baking sheet. Drizzle generously with olive oil and salt them. Make sure both sides get some olive oil.

DSC_0289

To Prepare:

1. Bake  eggplant rounds for 20 minutes, turning half-way. Remove when eggplants are soft, but not squishy. Cut into cubes and set aside.

4. In a skillet, heat olive oil and saute half a large red onion and 3 cloves of garlic, minced

5. Add in the chopped tomatoes and 1 tbsp of tomato paste

6. Saute for a few minutes, and add 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika, and 1/2 tsp cayenne powder (more if you like it spicy). Add 1 tsp salt and let the tomatoes reduce into a nice sauce, adding water as necessary.  This should take about 10 minutes.

7. Reduce flame to medium and add chick peas. I am not a huge fan of chickpeas so I just added half the can.  Simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Add a pinch of sugar if you feel it is too acidic. This cuts the acid.

8. Add in the eggplant and mix well.

9. Finish it off with some fresh chopped mint and cilantro. Remove from flame and serve with the spiced rice and salad!

DSC_0316

DSC_0304

 

Lobia (Black Eyed Peas) Masala

I always say this, beans truly are a vegetarian’s best friend! Packed with fiber, protein, and a ton of other nutrients, beans are always my go-to. What I love about bean dishes is that they really help me out on busy days because I can make a batch and it stores really well in the refrigerator or freezer. Lobia masala is a traditional northern indian dish made with black-eyed peas. I love that each bean dish has it’s own flavor and texture. Black eyed peas tend to thicken quicker than other beans and has a softer texture. This recipe uses tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger and indian spices such as cumin, coriander and cinnamon. The best part is that it’s a one pot dish. Hope you enjoy!

DSC_0322

You will need:

  • A pressure cooker. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, the beans will take a really long time to cook. (Canned beans are an acceptable alternative in this instance, but lacks the flavor of dried beans.)
  • 1 cup dried black eyed peas
  • 2 large  tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste, or 1/2 inch numb ginger, grated, and 1-2 garlic cloves, grated
  • cumin powder
  • coriander powder
  • red chili powder (or cayenne)
  • turmeric
  • 1/2 a cinnamon stick
  • Optional  pinch of garam masala
  • Cilantro and fresh red pepper (capcicum) to garnish

 

DSC_0350

To Prepare:

  1. Rinse and soak black-eyed peas for at least 4 hours, overnight preferred
  2. In the pressure cooker itself, heat  2 tbsp of oil.
  3. Add 1 tsp cumin seeds and wait until they sputter.
  4. Add onions, stir
  5. Then add ginger-garlic paste and sauté til translucent.
  6. Add spices: 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp red chili powder (or more if desired), 1/2 tsp turmeric , and 1/2 cinnamon stick.
  7. Then add tomatoes, sauté until the tomatoes reduce a bit.
  8. Add the black eyed peas, add water and 1-2 tsp of salt
  9. Fill enough water to cover beans by 1 inch, but not too much or the pressure cooker will spew out spicy water.
  10. Close the pressure cooker and set to high. When you hear the first whistle, reduce to Medium.
  11. Allow to cook for 10 more minutes.
  12. Run pressure cooker under water or allow to cool completely before you open. Stir and simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes to thicken.
  13. At this stage you can add a pinch of garam masala and garnish with cilantro if desired. I also garnished with red pepper for a fresh bite.
  14. Serve with chapatis or rice!

DSC_0354

This will serve a family of 4 and yield plenty for leftovers.

Prep time: 15 minutes (excluding soaking)

Cook time: 30 minutes

Bon Appétit!