Spaghetti Squash Tacos

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Tacos are an incredibly versatile dish. You can keep it traditional with your protein asada or you can get creative and add new veggies, like spaghetti squash.

What I loved about this meal is that it was ready in less than 30 minutes. If you bake your spaghetti squash the night before, all you need to do the next night is marinate and heat the squash. I added corn to my squash, but you can add peppers, onion, beans, etc. I hope this recipe inspires you to get creative the next time you are craving tacos!

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash, roasted, set 2 cups aside
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp chipotle sauce, if you like more heat, add 1 chipotle pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ c to 1 c vegetable broth or water
  • 1 c corn
  • ½ c black beans
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Corn tortillas and toppings of your choice (cilantro, red onion, avocado, fresh lime, pico de gallo)

 

  1. Make the spaghetti squash ahead of time. Slice squash in half, scoop out the seeds* and coat inside of squash with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast flesh side down at 400 F until fork tender. Set aside to cool. Pull squash out using a fork.
  2. In a skillet, sauté olive oil, spices and garlic. After 3-5 minutes, add ½ c of broth or water
  3. Next, add the spaghetti squash, corn and beans into the marinade. Cover and let cook for 10 minutes or until warm.
  4. Season as necessary. Heat the tortillas, add the butternut squash filling to each taco and garnish with desired toppings

Dinner for One: Couscous Bowl with Veggies and Sun-Dried Tomato Cashew Cream Sauce

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When my partner is out, the thought of cooking for just myself seems lackluster. Usually I default to making myself a salad or finishing off various leftovers that weren’t enough for the two of us. Tonight, I decided to wine (er, beer) and dine myself, while trying out a new sauce recipe. I don’t have exact measurements, but I am happy to share the process with you…

First, make a grain. I went with couscous because we had about 1/3 c left and that’s the perfect serving size for one person.

Next, get the veggies roasting. I decided to go with broccoli. Preheat the oven to 400F, douse the cruciferous veggies in olive oil, salt and pepper, then roast until they are slightly brown.

While the veggies are roasting, make your sauce. I absolutely love cashew “cream” sauces. Ideally, you want your cashews to soak in water for 8 hours-overnight. However, in a pinch, like I often am, I will resort to simmering them for about 10 minutes. I reserve some of the water and puree the softened cashews, with a little bit of that reserved water, then add some seasonings such as garlic, nutritional yeast and sun-dried tomatoes.

Finally, pick your toppings. I went with feta because it’s what I had on hand. You could sub in nuts or diced, raw veggies, such as red peppers.

Classic Tomato Soup with Pepper Relish

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There is nothing better than a hot bowl of tomato soup. On occasion, I will buy cans or cartons of tomato soup from the store and am usually disappointed with the product. While making your own can take a few more minutes, if you have the energy, it’s totally worth it.

Once you get everything into the pot, you simply let it simmer until the veggies are tender. There is very little labor necessary for this recipe. With most soup/stew recipes, feel free to get creative – add cream or fresh herbs, or incorporate a fun spice like berbere!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
  • 6 Tbls butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbls flour (optional, it just helps thicken the soup a bit)
  • salt, pepper, thyme, paprika to taste
  • 1/2 c tomato sauce (optional, I just happened to have some leftover that I wanted to use)
  • 3 small sweet peppers
  • olive oil and balsamic

 

  1. Melt the butter in a pan – please feel free to reduce this amount as I went a little stir crazy with the amount… although if you keep it at 6 Tbls, you won’t be disappointed
  2. Sauté the onion and carrot for 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic. Once this becomes fragrant after a few minutes, add the flour, spices, herbs, and tomatoes. Make sure to crush the whole tomatoes with your spoon. Bring so a simmer, then cover
  3. While the soup is simmering, roast some sweet peppers at 400F until charred. Once they cool, peel the skins and slice them. Dress them with a little olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper
  4. When the soup is ready, garnish with sweet pepper relish

Layered Veggie Enchiladas

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Normally when I make enchiladas, I make them one by one: warming the tortilla, drenching it in enchilada sauce, filling it with veggies, then rolling them into place.. This time, I deconstructed the process a bit. Rather than filling and rolling, I layered it like a lasagna. It worked wonderfully!

I still warmed the tortilla, then I started each layer with enchilada sauce – tortilla – more sauce – veggies/beans/cheese – repeat. The middle layer, I omitted the sauce and put a thin layer of chili – I had some on hand that I wanted to use up. If you don’t have chili, you can just add more beans. This enchilada powder mix from Simply Organic is my go-to sauce.

Have fun with this recipe – feel free to get creative with the layers!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of frozen tri-colored peppers (red, orange, yellow)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • Chili
  • Cumin
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 c chili (optional)
  • Enchilada sauce – Simply Organic powder mix and 8oz can of tomato sauce
  • Small corn tortillas
  • Cheese (optional)
  1. First, prep the veggies. Sauté the onion in some oil for about 5 minutes, then add the peppers. If using frozen peppers – be ware the skillet might sizzle a bit
  2. Next, add some seasonings – I used a few pinches of chili and cumin – taste and adjust as needed
  3. Get the enchilada sauce together – following instructions on the packet
  4. Heat the tortillas in a skillet
  5. In a casserole dish layer enchilada sauce, tortilla, sauce (enough just to cover/saturate tortillas), veggies, beans, and cheese (if using). The top layer should be tortilla, sauce and cheese.
  6. Bake at 350F until cheese is melted – it took about 45 minutes for ours to heat all the way through

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Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo

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This Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo recipe from Half Baked Harvest is serious business. While their post gives the option for a fried cheese, I skipped that part and focused on adding some greens to the dish as it’s already pretty stocked with dairy. I slightly modified the ingredients so feel free to view both versions. This is a great way to utilize a portion of canned pumpkin as I can never seem to use one can on one recipe.

I hope you enjoy this delicious meal as much as I did!

Ingredients

  • 4 tbls butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 c whole milk
  • 1 c cream
  • 3/4 c pumpkin
  • 2 c grated parmesan
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb pasta noodle of choice – or keep it in the squash family and use the sauce over spaghetti squash!
  • 12-16 oz fresh spinach
  1. Melt the butter in a sauce pan, once browned, add the minced garlic
  2. Next, add the milk, cream and pumpkin. Whisk until everything is well combined. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, then add the parmesan (or other cheese of choice)
  3. While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta/squash. *Note, spaghetti squash will take a pretty long time to roast in the oven. Either way, once preferred noodle is cooked, add this to the sauce
  4. Wilt spinach by setting in a strainer over the cooking pasta – or sauté spinach in olive oil
  5. Serve pasta in a bowl and top with spinach

Mushroom Loaf

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Mushrooms – people either love them or hate them. I absolutely love them. Hence, the mushroom loaf. Tasting Table came out with a wonderful recipe for a Mushroom Loaf.

I served this to my parents and they said it tastes like Thanksgiving, aka stuffing. The downfall to my first attempt was over dicing my mushrooms – the consistency was pretty….soft. Next time, I will follow the recipe more closely and do a fine chop/dice – but don’t bring out the food processor to do this. Oops.

I love the flavor and texture of this – the oats, breadcrumbs and walnuts; along with the topping of ketchup, remind me of everything I want a “meat”loaf to be.

Have you tried any meatless loafs before? Whether you have, this one is definitely worth a try (unless you fall into the anti-mushroom category…then stick with a lentil loaf!)

A Simple Tofu Scramble


Scrambles are one of my favorite ways to use tofu. I enjoy the simplicity and endless creative possibilities. You can do a Mediterranean version with sun-dried tomatoes and Kalamata olives; or a Mexican version with black beans and avocado; or whatever you have on hand that sounds good!

An important part about tofu is pressing it and seasoning it well. With scrambles, I’ve found that you don’t have to spend too much time pressing, as I cook it down in my skillet until most liquid has evaporated. 

Seasoning is a must. Make sure to use turmeric (this will provide a beautiful color), nutritional yeast, salt (I sometimes use Black Sea salt, it has a nice egg-like flavor), onion powder, and pepper.

For the basic breakfast scramble today, here is what I used…

Ingredients

  • 1 block tofu, extra firm, drained and/or lightly pressed
  • Olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 red pepper, diced 
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • A couple of handfuls of spinach
  • 1 Tbls nutritional yeast 
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Sauté the onion and red pepper in olive oil for several minutes. Add the garlic and spinach, cook for a few more minutes. Make sure you cook any excess water out from the spinach. Transfer to a bowl, set aside.
  2. Pour olive oil in the same pan, break the tofu into crumbles. Cook for a few minutes until most of the water has evaporated. Next, add the spices. Make sure everything is well incorporated. If you need to add a little more oil or water, feel free to do so. When the spices merry with the tofu, give it a taste and adjust with seasonings as necessary.  Add the veggies with the tofu. 

“Chick Seitan” with Asian Peanut BBQ Sauce

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Upton’s Naturals makes some seriously delicious plant based protein. I had yet to try their “chick seitan” style and I thought it would go great with an Asian inspired stir-fry. I referred to Isa’s BBQ sauce, but was short on a few ingredients so I jazzed it up in my own way. I was also reluctant to put peanut butter in a BBQ sauce – but by thinking Asian-fusion, I was able to balance some of the flavors out. This is a meal you could easily make in 30 minutes – the most time consuming part was simmering the sauce down.

Asian Peanut BBQ Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbls pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbls agave
  • 2 Tbls tomato paste
  • 1 Tbls peanut butter
  • 1 Tbls tamari or Bragg’s Aminos
  • 1 Tbls apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbls dijon
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp-1 tsp fresh or powdered ginger
  1. Simmer the above ingredients in a sauce pan over low heat. Reduce down until the sauce has reached a thick, saucy consistency.

 

Garlic Balsamic Glazed Tempeh

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I’ve been working on a cooking class that features plant based protein. This Garlic Balsamic Glazed Tempeh was awesome! I served it with a side of couscous which is topped with oven-roasted green beans and mushrooms. I then dressed the dish with truffle infused balsamic. I may have gone a bit overboard with balsamic. You can definitely substitute other flavors and sauces, such as barbecue or ketchup.

Now, I ask you friendly viewers, what are your favorite plant based proteins? Some of mine include marinated tempeh, tofu (scrambles and eggless salads), chickpea sloppy joes, and desserts using soft tofu as the filling.. I would love to hear some ideas from you that I could incorporate into my upcoming class!

 

Garlic Balsamic Glazed Tempeh

  • 8 oz tempeh
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4-1/3 c balsamic vinegar (start with less, unless you are really looking for that balsamic flavor)
  • 3 tsp tamari or Bragg’s Aminos
  • 1 Tbls maple syrup
  • 1 Tbls olive oil
  • pepper to taste
  1. Steam the 8 oz block of tempeh in a skillet until water is evaporated (I fill enough water in the pan to cover 1/3 to 1/2 of the block of tempeh)- this takes about 10 minutes. I like to steam my tempeh before cooking with it because it opens up the protein which helps the marinade process. Tempeh can also have a strong, fermented taste, and steaming can help soften that flavor
  2. Let the tempeh cool until you are able to handle it, then cut it into desired shapes. To make the small triangles, I cut the 8 oz square into 4 triangles. I then cut those triangles in half (width wise) and then in half lengthwise.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together garlic, vinegar, tamari, maple syrup, olive oil and pepper
  4. Add the tempeh in a pan/dish where you can lay them all flat – I fit them easily into an 8×6 Pyrex. Cover the tempeh with your marinade. Let this sit overnight, then flip them in the morning
  5. In the evening – or whenever you’re ready to bake these, preheat your oven to 350F. Cover your pan/dish with foil, bake for 15 minutes; uncover and bake for 20 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed

Oven Roasted Cauliflower

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This recipe comes from Alon Shaya, courtesy of Food52. While I did not make the whipped goat cheese that is supposed to accompany the cauliflower, I did make a sun-dried tomato sauce that I wanted to eat with a soup spoon. I simply simmered some sun-dried tomatoes in some fresh cream. Once the cream went down in size by a third, I puréed the cream and tomatoes and added some garlic, salt and pepper. You could easily make this meal vegan by using a non-dairy creamer in place of the fresh cream.

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I absolutely love the idea of roasting a whole head of cauliflower. This is such a beautiful dish that is so satisfying, you won’t be able to resist seconds.