Meatless Monday: Lemon Herb Vegan Pasta Salad

Lemon Pasta SaladWe had a block party recently and I wanted to bring a pasta salad. I was going to make my hearty pasta salad with Field Roast, but it was hot out and I decided I wanted something a bit lighter and fresher. I came up with a vegan pasta salad with a lemon vinaigrette and lots of fresh herbs. The salad was a big hit. It can be a Meatless Monday lunch or light dinner. The leftovers are fantastic.

Lemon Pasta Salad

The salad is a mix of cooked and raw components. I sauteed 4 squash in a hot cast iron skillet. The idea is to get the outside crisp without turning the squash to mush. You could also use a hot grill if you like.

Lemon Pasta Salad

For the herbs I used mint and parsley. Basil would also be delicious here, but unfortunately my basil had gone bad before I had time to use it. If you are like my sister, who hates anything mint related, you can leave out the mint.

Use shallots or sliced green onions if raw onions are too intense for you.

Lemon Pasta Salad

Any small pasta will work in this salad. I used some cute little gnochetti that I found at the store. I love how the little pockets in the pasta held onto the dressing.

Lemon Pasta Salad

Lemon Herb Pasta Salad
 
A light, refreshing pasta salad filled with end-of-summer vegetables and herbs.
Ingredients
  • Salad
  • 4 small Squash (mix of zucchini and yellow squash)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely diced
  • ¼ cup sliced green olives
  • ¼ cup minced mint
  • ½ cup minced Italian parsley
  • 12 oz short pasta, cooked
  • Dressing
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 TB white wine vinegar
  • 1 TB lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp dijon
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Slice squash lengthwise. Add oil to a cast iron skillet or large pan over medium high heat. Place slices of squash into pan. Heat for 2-3 minutes. Flip squash over and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan. Squash should be browned on both sides. Chop squash into a large dice.
  2. DRESSING: In a small pan heat ¼ cup of olive oil over low heat. Add garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Do not brown, just warm, garlic. Add warmed garlic and oil to a large bowl. Add in white wine vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Stir together with a small whisk.
  3. In large bowl with the dressing add cooked squash, red onion, green olives, mint, parsley and cooked pasta. Toss with dressing. Start by adding half of the dressing, taste and add more as needed.

 

Meatless Monday: Vegan Pasta Salad

As a vegan when you are invited to parties and BBQ’s the item you bring will often be the only item you eat. I’ve learned the hard way that bringing only a dessert backfires since you won’t have anything to eat for dinner. I like to volunteer to bring a salad and a dessert to parties. I developed this vegan pasta salad to work both as a complete meal for vegans and as a side dish for other guests. The pasta salad includes sautéed Field Roast sausage, bell peppers, tomatoes, basil and parsley.  The Field Roast and vegetables are tossed with a short-cut pasta and a tangy vinaigrette. Make this at home for a Meatless Monday summer entree or bring it to a party to share.

Vegan Pasta Salad

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Vegan Green Chili Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese and I had a tenuous relationship growing up.  When I was about 5 a babysitter served me boxed macaroni and cheese for dinner.  Later that night I got sick and from that point on I could not stand mac and cheese.  I wouldn’t go anywhere near it for 15+ years.  That included telling people I babysat for that I was happy to make their children dinner, but never macaroni and cheese.  Fast forward to college where one of my close friend’s Mom made us homemade, baked macaroni and cheese and I saw the light. Turns out I love baked macaroni and cheese.  When I went vegan I was actually concerned about missing mac and cheese…ah the irony.  Fortunately I have a few recipes for vegan macaroni and cheese that I love.  Recently I made a Vegan Green Chili Mac and Cheese.  Spiced with green chilis, cheesy sauce and crunchy tortilla chips this is a fantastic variation.

Vegan Green Chili Mac and Cheese 1

I used canned chilis and the Hatch Valley Salsa from Trader Joe’s.  Obviously if you make your own green chilis or green chili sauce feel free to use that in its place.  My best friend’s husband is from New Mexico and I know his homemade green chili sauce would taste incredible here. Make sure you are using a green chili sauce and not salsa verde.  Salsa verde is usually made with tomatillos and does not have the flavor of green chilis.  If you can’t find green chili sauce just add an extra can of diced chilis.  The canned chilis come in mild or medium so choose which spice level your family will enjoy.

Vegan Green Chili Mac and Cheese Whole

You can vary the amount of green chili sauce and diced green chilis depending on how much green chili flavor you like.  Originally I used a 4 oz can of diced green chilis with 1/4 cup of green chili sauce.  In my second batch I used a 7 oz can of diced green chilis and 1/2 cup of green chili sauce.  Trey didn’t love the extra green chili chunks in the second batch, so next time I will use a 4oz can of diced chilis and 1/2 cup of sauce.

Vegan Green Chili Mac and Cheese Close

For the topping I originally combined Daiya cheese and crushed tortilla chips.  Unfortunately this created a strange texture.  In my second batch I just topped the vegan green chili mac and cheese with crushed tortilla chips.  I lightly sprayed them with canola oil.  This was much more successful.  You could use a traditional bread crumb topping here, but the flavor of corn tortilla chips with the green chili works really well.

Any foods you hated as a child that you love now?

Vegan Green Chili Mac and Cheese
 
Vegan green chili mac and cheese packed with green chili flavor and topped with crunchy tortilla chips. A great addition to your mac & cheese repertoire.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb macaroni, cooked
  • ½ cup Raw Cashews
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1.5 teaspoons Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Onion Granules
  • ¼ teaspoon Garlic Granules
  • ¼ - ½ cup Hatch Valley Salsa or Green Chili Sauce (depending on spice preference)
  • 4oz - 7 oz can Mild Green Chilis, diced (depending on spice preference)
  • 2 cups crushed Tortilla Chips
  • Canola Oil Spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 9x12 pan lightly with oil. Set aside.
  2. Add cashews, water, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, cornstarch, salt, onion granules, and garlic granules to a blender. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add mixture from the blender into a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk sauce continuously until it becomes thick. This normally takes 5-7 minutes.
  4. Once sauce is thickened stir in the green chili sauce and diced chilis.
  5. Stir the thickened sauce with pasta until combined. Pour mixture into the greased pan.
  6. Top with crushed tortilla chips. Lightly spray with canola oil.
  7. Place uncovered pan in the preheated oven. Bake for 25 minutes. Serve warm.

 

Penne with Creamy Vegan Vodka Sauce

What do you do when your 8 year-old son’s favorite meal title includes the word vodka?  You rename the dish. That is how Orange Sauce Pasta was born.  Don’t worry for my son, or any children you might cook this for. The vodka and tomatoes roast in the oven for 90 minutes, burning off all of the alcohol.  However, I didn’t want Trey running to school and saying his favorite dish was Vegan Vodka Sauce Pasta so we changed the name to the more child-friendly Orange Sauce Pasta.  This dish is not only Trey’s favorite dish, but a huge hit with ALL of the vegans and omnivores I have made it for. The sauce is richly flavored and the addition of cashew cream gives it a luscious texture. If you have any omnivores coming over for dinner who are a bit suspicious of vegan food this is what you make them. It has familiar ingredients and outstanding flavor.

Vegan Vodka Sauce

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Vegan Lasagna in a heat wave

My husband, Harrison, is baffled by the fact that I don’t check the weather regularly. He loves looking at the weather on his phone, watching storms come in on the doppler radar and even watching the Weather Channel.  I like to wake up, look outside and move on with the day.  I blame this on the fact that I grew up in Northern California and Harrison grew up in Seattle.  Our Bay Area weather just isn’t that exciting.  To me it is either raining or it’s not, no more data needed.  Every now in then my lack of interest in the weather comes back to bite me.  Wearing flip flops when it starts to rain an hour after I leave the house is a key problem.  The other issue is my decision to cook the wrong food for the weather.  Yesterday I planned to make a lasagna using my bolognese sauce.  Too bad it was 88 degrees out!  I ignored the weather and made a tasty vegan lasagna, but it was a sweaty endeavor that I wouldn’t choose to repeat.  Assuming it is below 80 degrees where you live try this vegan lasagna before the summertime weather kicks in!

Vegan Lasagna

This lasagna was very easy to put together as I used the “No Boil” lasagna noodles from Whole Foods, Vegan Bolognese I had in the freezer and an easy Truffled Cashew Cheese.   To start I sprayed a large 13×9 inch pan with canola oil.  (I used this lasagna pan)  I spread a cup of bolognese in the bottom of the pan and layered it with 4 of the No Boil noodles.

Vegan Lasagna Noodles

The only thing I had to make yesterday was the truffled cashew cheese from Dreena Burton.  Her recipe is fantastic and can be used for stuffed pastas like this or served as a spread for crackers and crudite.  I often bring it as a spread to parties and it always receives rave reviews.  I prepared the cheese quickly in my food processor and spread half of it on the first layer of noodles.

Vegan Lasagna with Truffled Cashew Cheese

On top of the cashew cheese I layered 1.5 cups of the bolognese.  Then I repeated the layers (noodles, remaining cashew cheese and another 1.5 cups of bolognese).  I added a final layer of noodles, the remaining sauce and topped the whole thing with 1.5 cups of Daiya mozzarella cheese.  I cooked the lasagna, covered in foil, in a 385 degree oven for 40 minutes.  After the initial cooking I took the foil off and bake it uncovered for another 10 minutes.  At that point I removed the lasagna from the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Vegan Lasagna in pan

I served the lasagna topped with minced parsley and a green salad.  The dinner was a hit with both Harrison and Trey.  It will also make great leftovers during the week.  The actual baking took awhile, but it was very quick and simple to assemble on a weeknight.  If you make my vegan bolognese be sure to double the recipe and freeze half.  It is fabulous in this lasagna…just check the weather before you put it on your weekly meal plan!

Vegan Lasagna

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