Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Veggie Pasta Salad

Okay nevermind what I just said in the last post. The weather is back up to 80 degrees today and instead of warm soup, cold pasta is what I am craving today.

The meal is super quick to make and won't require you to spend too much time in front of the stove. This recipe makes a whole lot of pasta, so if you're not feeding a lot of people, you might want to divide this recipe in half.

Serves 4 to 6

* 1 1lb corkscrew pasta
* 1 lb asparagus
* 2 Tb dijon mustard
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice ( about one lemon )
* 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
* 1/4 cup fresh chopped dill leaves
* 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and rinse and set aside.

2. In another large pot of boiling salted water, add the asparagus and blanch until bright green and slightly tender, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and shock in icy cold water.

3. Remove from the water and dry well. Trim the ends of the asparagus and cut into bite sized pieces.

4. Whisk together the mustard, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

5. Combine the reserved asparagus and pasta in a large serving bowl. Add the tomatoes, dill, peas and mustard dressing. Toss with tongs to coat the salad well. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Minestrone Soup

After having the past couple of weeks in the high 70s, the weather is finally starting to dip down and feel more like winter here in California.

I chose to make minestrone soup for lunch today but with a slight twist. I added swiss chard and pureed cannellini beans, to help thicken the soup. Serve this with a slice of bread and a light green salad to complete the meal.

Serves 4 to 6

* 2 Tb extra virgin olive oil
* 1 yellow onion, chopped
* 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
* 2 celery stalks, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 lb swiss chard, stems trimmed and leaves roughly chopped
* 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
* 1 ( 14 1/2 ounce ) can diced tomatoes
* 1 fresh rosemary sprig
* 1 ( 15 ounce ) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
* 28 ounces vegetable broth or vegan "beef" broth ( try Better than Bouillon brand )
* salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Saute until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.

2. Add swiss chard and potatoes, saute for 2 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes and rosemary sprig. Simmer until the chard is wilted and the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, blend 3/4 of the beans with 1/4 cup of the broth in a processor until almost smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture and remaining broth to the vegetable mixture. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

5. Stir in the whole beans. Simmer until the beans are heated through and the soup is thick, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. ( Beware of adding too much salt because some stocks contains more than enough sodium ).

6. Discard the rosemary sprig, the leaves will have fallen off the stem.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with a crusty piece of bread.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hungarian Paprikash

I feel like it's been forever since I've done a blog post. Last year was just so crazy and I am finally finding the time again to get out my camera and share some vegan recipes.

Anyone ever tried Paprikash before? It's one of Hungary's most famous stews and consists of some form of protein ( in this case, portobello mushrooms ), peppers, onions, paprika and sour cream. Traditionally this meal would be served over egg noodles but trying to keep it vegan and also healthy, any wide whole wheat pasta noodle will do.

Printer Friendly Recipe Here

Serves 4 to 6

* 1 large red bell pepper
* 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
* 4 large portobello mushroom caps, gills scrapped, wiped clean and chopped into bite sized pieces
* 2 jalapeno peppers, sliced thinly
* 1 large yellow onion, chopped
* 1 carrot, peeled and chopped or grated
* 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
* 2 Tb sweet paprika or smoked sweet paprika
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1/4 cup tomato paste
* 2 cups vegetable broth or "chicken" broth ( try Better than Bouillon Faux Chicken broth )
* 1 Tb vegan worcestershire sauce
* 2 to 3 Tb vegan sour cream
* 8 ounces fettuccine noodles, cooked and drained according to directions on packet
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, chives or dill

1. Char the bell pepper on the stove top or under the broiler with the oven door cracked for the steam to escape. Place the charred pepper in a plastic bag and allow it to cool. Scrape or peel the skin from the pepper, then seed and thinly slice.

2. Heat 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil in a large Dutch oven or large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and brown 12 to 15 minutes until darkened and tender.

3. Add the jalapeno peppers, onion, carrot, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper, and cook to soften 10 minutes more.

4. Add the tomato paste to the vegetables and stir for 1 minute.

5. Add the stock, worcestershire sauce and roasted red bell pepper. Simmer a few minutes for the flavors to combine.

6. Lower flame to medium low and add the sour cream. Mix well.

***Serve Paprikash in shallow bowls on a bed of noodles.