Tag Archives: spinach

(Almost) Vegan Baked Mac n’ “Cheese”

30 Sep

With a chill in the air and the leaves blowing, there is nothing like a cozy pasta dish to rear in the season. This baked pasta casserole is almost, but not exclusively, vegan.

The non-vegan part of the dish comes from using a bit of butter to make the roux, as well as some nonfat dairy milk (you could easily use vegan margarine/butter and unsweetened soy, almond, or rice milk).

I was just using up what I already had in the fridge…baby steps…

BUT, instead of cheese, I used nutritional yeast. All hail nutritional yeast. Gettin’ in some B vitamins and protein with significantly less saturated fat and cholesterol than your typical baked mac.

There’s a dash of tomato paste (I already had some in my freezer ready to go) and a bit of garlic powder, with a squeeze of lemon and a splash of agave. These flavors come together and taste just. like. cheese.

There’s also some spinach in the mix to balance this carb-tastic meal with a vegetable.

What’s that crazy-looking stuff on top? Triscuits. I had the crackers laying around and they added a great salty crunch. You could crush up any cracker you like, or you could use bread crumbs for a more classy aesthetic.

I shared a vegan mac n’ cheese recipe on the blog before, but I think this one is way better. I just prefer baked mac…creamy and crispy all in one.

You may also want to check out this Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo that I made from Chloe Coscarelli’s cookbook. I kid you not, it tastes like traditional fettuccine alfredo. Vegan magic!

Almost Vegan Baked Mac n’ “Cheese”

adapted from Chloe’s Kitchen

makes a 9 x 13 inch pans-worth

1 pound elbow macaroni (you could use whole wheat if you find a version, I also think shell-shaped would work great)

1/4 cup vegan butter/margarine (I used regular butter)

1/3 cup flour (I used all-purpose)

3 cups unsweetened soy/almond/rice milk (I used nonfat dairy milk)

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons salt

fresh ground pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon agave

5 oz fresh spinach or a bunch of chard or kale

2-3 tablespoons crushed crackers or breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the macaroni according to the package directions. Drain and return to the pot.

Meanwhile, make a roux by whisking the butter and flour over medium heat until the mixture forms a paste. Add the milk, and keep stirring to avoid clumps. Add the nutritional yeast, tomato paste, garlic, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer until the sauce thickens. Stir in the lemon juice and agave.

Toss the noodles with the sauce and the spinach and transfer to the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the crushed crackers or breadcrumbs on top of the pasta and bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and crisp. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead Tip: Chloe says that the unbaked macaroni and cheese can be refrigerated for 2-3 days until ready to bake. 

The Lunch Crunch: Israeli Couscous Salad With Miso Dressing

19 May

I am no stranger to Israeli couscous salads. They are the perfect throw-together meal. Salad as an entree. Grain + veg. + protein. Check.

And after this year, I am no stranger to the wonders of white miso. I have been cooking up a miso storm this year. From satisfying miso soup with soba noodles to a cozy carrot soup with miso and sesame. From roasted veggie + tofu miso red curry smash to wild rice salads with all the fixings. And Chef Chloe has an excellent recipe in her cookbook for miso-glazed eggplant. All of these recipes are absolutely fantastic.

Israeli Couscous + Miso may not sound like they go together, but the buttery smooth rounds of couscous combine perfectly with the creamy flavor of the miso. And all those crunchy veggies, seeds, and nuts provide the texture to keep my mouth entertained.

This salad is totally vegan. It could be made gluten free if you switch out the couscous with brown or wild rice. You could still stay vegetarian and add a poached or hard-boiled egg (or cubed tofu) as an extra boost of protein to complement the salad.

Psst…did you know that radishes produce a compound shown to help support the body’s natural detoxification system? The skin is a major detox organ in the body, so the more radishes and detoxifying foods we eat, the clearer and healthier our skin will look! Get into it.

Couscous Salad

1 (~6oz) box of Israeli couscous (or any grain that you like)

2-3 large handfuls of spinach

1 bundle of radishes, cubed

1 red bell pepper, chopped fine

2-3 large carrots, chopped and cubed

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup miso dressing (see recipe below)

Make the couscous according to the directions on the box (toast the couscous in a pot, pour boiling water over it, simmer until done).

In a large bowl, combine the spinach with the chopped vegetables, pumpkin seeds, and almonds. Add the cooked couscous (I like to add the couscous when it is still warm). Toss the salad and add the dressing, a little at a time, to your liking.

Miso Dressing:

From My New Roots

makes 1/2 cup of dressing

1/4 cup light white miso

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce

Whisk all ingredients together. Leftovers can be stored in a glass jar in the fridge for up to a week.

Spanakopita with Harissa/Bengali-5-Spice Roasted Cauliflower

17 Apr

Spanakopita. Spinach Pie. Feta + Spinach wrapped up in flaky filo. Served up with some harissa and bengali-5-spice roasted cauliflower. Roasted cauliflower pairs swimmingly with any dinner. Easy and healthy. I had leftover harissa from when I made a variation of Heidi’s Harissa Noodles. I had leftover bengali-5-spice from when I roasted these nuts. Bam! to using leftover spices and sauces.

I’m totally into spanakopita. These tasted so savory and lovely. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I think I made a darn good meal.

Making spanakopita would be a great dinner party idea or date night activity, and even a way to involve the kiddos with making dinner. While I was perfectly capable of doing everything myself, it would have been nice to have an extra pair of hands to help pass the filo sheets, brush with butter, and fill and roll. Filo dough dries out quick, so just remember to be efficient when time comes to fill and roll. And you can always patch things up or just discard a sheet of filo if it rips.

Feta and spinach are the stars here. Onion adds a deeper flavor. Nutmeg gives it that cozy comfort hint. The egg makes it all stay rich and together. Butter for brushing. Lemon for squeezing. Salt and pepper for good measure.

Above you see the filling all mixed together and ready to go.

Filling gets placed on the bottom center of the rectangle of filo (2 sheets).

Edges get folded in (“hot dog” style as some call it).

Folding upward in an attempt to make a triangle. I had issues with this because I’m not great with geometry. Let’s see how you fare.

I wholly approve of round-shaped spanikopita. Any shape you make them, these darlings taste so friggin’ dang good!

Spanakopita

adapted from David Lebovitz

makes 8-10 triangles (I got 10)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 10-oz package frozen spinach, thawed in the fridge overnight and then drained (you could use fresh, too, if you prefer)

1 8-oz block feta cheese

big pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

fresh ground pepper

1/2 of a lemon, juiced

1 egg

2 oz butter, melted

1/2 of a 16 oz box (1 package) of filo dough, thawed in the fridge overnight

Before beginning, make sure that the spinach is defrosted and drained (I broke the spinach up with my hands, set it in a strainer, and pushed down with paper towel to ensure that it was fully drained). Also, melt the 2 oz of butter either in a little pan or in the microwave and set aside while you prepare everything else.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic clove and saute for 1 minute more. Add the spinach and stir until everything is mixed together and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool down a bit.

In a bowl, crumble the feta and add grated nutmeg, fresh pepper, lemon, and a tiny pinch of salt (remember, feta is already quite salty). Stir together. Add the spinach and onions and stir everything together. Taste and adjust seasonings. Stir in the egg until everything is mixed together.

Now comes the tricky part. Take a dish towel and get it damp with water. Unroll the filo dough and cover it with the damp dish towel.

Working quickly, take one layer of filo out, brush it lightly but thoroughly with melted butter. Lay another sheet of filo on top and brush it with butter as well. Spoon about 1/4 cup of filling onto the bottom center, about 1-inch from the edge. Roll the two edges over the filling (lengthwise) to encase the filling. It should look like a long rectangle with the filling at the far end. Brush the exposed surface of the filo with butter and fold one corner diagonally over the filling, then continue folding keeping the triangle shape and brushing the exposed surfaces of the filo with butter, until you have a neat triangle (I did not get neat triangles, but I had nice shapes that encased my filling anyway). Brush the top with butter and set on a baking sheet in the freezer.

Continue making more spanakopitas with the remaining filling. Once all the spanakopitas are frozen, store them in a freezer bag until ready to bake. If well-wrapped, they’ll keep for a couple of months.

To bake the frozen spanakopita, preheat the oven to 350F and put the frozen triangles on a baking sheet, then brush each with butter. Bake for 30 minutes, or until deeply-golden brown. If you’re baking them without freezing them first, they’ll take less time to bake, so check them before the recommended baking time.

Harissa & Bengali-5-Spice Roasted Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower, chopped

1 tablespoon harissa (I bought mine at Whole Foods)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon bengali-5-spice (see my recipe here)

few pinches of salt

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix together cauliflower with harissa, olive oil, bengali-5-spice, and salt. Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for about 35-45 minutes, stirring once or twice while baking.

Espinacas con Garbanzos [Spinach and Chickpeas]

16 Jun

IMG_0859

Last week I moved across the country to New York City. In addition to all of the clothes and shoes I lugged with me, I carefully managed to wrap up and bring along: my cast-iron skillet, ice cream maker, mixing bowls, knife case with knives in tow, ramekins, whisk, spatula, and a few other miscellaneous kitchen utensils. Also included in my suitcase was a beautiful photograph poster of Julia Child: Lobster Thermidor and a 1500 piece puzzle of a vintage world map.

After weighing my 2 bags of luggage making sure that no bag was more than 50 pounds heavy, I was off. Well, ok, I had a minor stint with security because I put my ice cream maker in my carry-on bag and they had to double and triple check my bag before letting me through. Alas, I am now here in New York, unpacked and in full use of my new kitchen.

Espinacas con Garbanzos. A Spanish snack, a picnic pick-me-up, a light lunch or dinner. Healthy and tasty. Perfect with toast, or homemade croutons, or rice. Smoked paprika should be in your spice cabinet. It will become your secret weapon for wowing your fellow eaters. It helps make this dish pop. Do it.

Espinacas con Garbanzos [Spinach and Chickpeas]

adapted from SmittenKitchen, originally adapted from Moro: The Cookbook and Lobstersquad

makes about 3 dinner-servings worth (double if you are feeding more people or want more leftovers)

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

9 oz. bag of spinach

1 hefty slice of bread from a country loaf or sandwich bread, crusts removed and cubed

2 garlic cloves, sliced thin

1/4 cup of tomato sauce

pinch of red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

salt and pepper, to taste

squeeze of lemon, to taste

Heat half of your olive oil (1.5 tablespoons) in a pan over medium heat and saute your spinach in batches with a pinch of salt and stir well. Remove when leaves are just tender and set aside in another bowl.

In the same pan you just used, heat up 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Add your bread and fry until lightly browned on all sides. This should take about 3-5 minutes. Add the remaining half tablespoon of olive oil, garlic, cumin, and pepper flakes. Continue cooking for about one minute more.

**NOTE: You do not have to put everything in the blender. I bet this dish would still taste great with the rustic bread cubes instead of a blended sauce.

Transfer the bread mix to a blender with the red wine vinegar and whiz until it becomes a thick-ish paste. Return it to the pan with the tomato sauce, garbanzo beans, and spinach. Add the paprika, salt, and pepper, and serve with lemon juice.

Serve with bread toasts or rice.

 

WANT MORE CHICKPEA RECIPES?

Garlicky Roasted Chickpea Salad with Feta, Herbs, and Lemon

Pumpkin Chickpea Quinoa with Haricot Vert and Almonds