My favourite month of the year is here and even better news – October is Pasta Month!
Today I’m showcasing new and better-for-you ways to enjoy pasta – it is such a versatile and delicious food staple! I actually have six of my favourite pasta recipes to share with you today.
To make a ‘better-for-you’ pasta, I have 3 tips to share:
Swap Out Meat For Plant-Based Alternatives -Let’s try to swap in plant-based alternatives to traditional meat-containing pasta recipes! Decreasing our meat intake, especially red meat intake, can result in a reduction of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. The following recipes, I’ve used various legumes. The legumes provide a protein and fibre-rich alternative to our traditional meat additives.
Pasta With ‘Better-For You’ Cream Sauces – I’m a sucker for a creamy pasta sauce, but I don’t always feel great after having it! For these recipes I’ve subbed in a yogurt or plant-based milk instead of cream, to take down the heavy feeling we may be feeling after that meal.
Load Pasta With Veggies – Most of us don’t get enough veggies, so pack in the veggies with that pasta! For these recipes, the veggies are so nicely incorporated into each dish, they really add such a nice texture and flavour. The veggies add a ton of micronutrients and fibre, which keeps both dishes low in the glycemic index – pasta has a low glycemic index as well! This means you won’t have an energy crash after this delicious meal.
Cook the pasta according to directions on the box.
Combine the first 6 ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until mixture is cohesive and mostly smooth.
Use a small cookie dough scoop or measuring spoon to gather one heaping Tablespoon amounts and roll into balls. You should have 14 golfball-sized meatballs. (If the mixture feels too wet to form, add 1 to 2 more Tbsp breadcrumbs.)
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add chickpea meatballs and cook 6 to 8 minutes, turning to brown all sides, until golden.
Cook the pasta according the instructions on the box.
Add the peppers, garlic, onion and tomato sauce to a large skillet and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring often over medium heat. Add the red pepper flakes. Stir in the spinach and cooked lentils. Add nutritional yeast. Cook for a couple more minutes, stirring every so often, then turn off the heat.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Sprinkle flour over evenly, then stir and cook until mixture is lightly golden.
Very gradually add broth in while whisking, 2 tablespoons at a time, waiting for mixture to become completely smooth before adding more broth. Bring mixture to a boil, then gradually stream in milk while whisking. Bring to a simmer and cook until sauce is thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and add Parmesan and yogurt, if using. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
Bring two pots of water to a boil. In one pot add the cauliflower and cashews. In the other pot, cook rotini pasta according to package directions until al dente. Cook the cauliflower and cashews for about 10-15 minutes, until they are both soft.
Meanwhile, add the olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and sauté, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from head.
Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Steam the bell pepper in microwave or veggie steamer for a few minutes until soft then put under the broiler for 20 minutes until it's slightly charred (flipping halfway through).
When the cauliflower and cashews are soft, add them into a high-speed blender with 1 cup of canned coconut milk. Add in the nutritional yeast, garlic, and roasted pepper. Blend sauce on high until completely smooth.
In a food processor, combine extra-firm tofu, mozzarella, nutritional yeast, basil, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic powder. Pulse, pausing to scrape down the sides of the processor as needed, until the mixture is almost smooth and the basil is chopped and evenly distributed. Do not overprocess, the tofu should still have a slightly grainy texture.
Pour 2 cups of marinara sauce into the bottom of a 9” x 9” casserole dish. Fill cooked pasta shells with tofu ricotta. Place stuffed shells on top of marinara sauce .Optional: Spoon shells with extra marinara sauce and vegan cheese shreds.
Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes. Let cool down and enjoy!
Cook lasagna pasta according to box directions. Drain then lay flat on a sheet of aluminum foil.
Heat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet with sides over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, zucchini, squash, stirring occasionally until softened but still with some crunch, another 5 to 8 minutes.
Stir in the roasted red peppers and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a low simmer and cook until the liquid has thickened and reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the basil.
Spoon just enough vegetable mixture into the baking dish to lightly cover the bottom (about 1 cup). Arrange four noodles lengthwise and side by side to cover the bottom. Spread about half of the ricotta cheese mixture over the noodles. Sprinkle with a third of the parmesan cheese and a third of the mozzarella cheese. Top with a third of the vegetable mixture.
Add another layer of four noodles then repeat with remaining cheese and vegetables. Finish with a final layer of noodles, vegetables, parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.
Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes, uncover then bake 15 minutes until cheese is crusty around the edges. To make the cheese golden brown on top, slide under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes. Let rest 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
I’m listening: you wanted meal prep veggie soups, so you shall receive them! Today I’m sharing my favourite plant-based soup options – perfect for the autumn weather!
Soups don’t have to be a side dish and they also don’t have to complicated! A number of these soups have a bean protein addition, a starch, some fat and lots of veggies. That is your formula for a balanced meal!
In a soup pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add celery, onions, and garlic; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth, diced tomatoes with liquid, mixed vegetables and seasonings; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes. Add pasta and cook 8 to 10 more minutes, or until pasta is tender.
Heat a large pot on medium heat. Once warm, add the oil, onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.Add the butter to the pot.
Once it starts to melt combine the flour and mix covering the vegetables in flour. This roux mixture will be thick and sticky. Slowly add the vegetable broth, thyme, and rosemary and mix until well combined. Stir the soup frequently until the soup comes to a gentle boil. As the soup heats up you will start to see the soup thicken.
Combine the peas, corn, nutritional yeast, beans and milk to the pot. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes on low heat or until the peas and corn have warmed. Divide soup into bowls and serve
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line 2 sheets with parchment paper.
Toss the sweet potatoes and cauliflower with 1 tbsp avocado oil and cumin. Spread into a single layer on the prepared sheets. Roast until the veggies start to brown at the edges and the sweet potatoes are tender – about 30 minutes.
Heat the remaining avocado oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 5-7 minutes, until they soften.
Ad the cooked sweet potatoes, cauliflower and onion in a blender or food processor. Add the veggie stock and blend.
Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Arrange tomatoes and onion on a single layer on the prepared baking pans. Drizzle with oil.
Roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Add garlic; continue roasting until mixture is tender, about 15 minutes more.
Bring broth to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, covered.
Meanwhile, put 1/2 of the tomato mixture in a blender, along with half of the white beans. Cover and pulse 3 times, then blend until smooth, adding hot broth as needed. Pour into the pot with broth. Repeat with remaining tomato mixture and white beans, then stir into the pot until combined.
Add the peppers, white beans, onion, garlic and spices to an oven safe baking dish (I used a cast iron pan). Place in the oven uncovered, and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the vegetables have softened.
Meanwhile, add the gnocchi to an oven safe dish, and bake at 400F for 20 minutes until slightly crispy.
Transfer the veggies and bean contents to a food processor or blender. Add the vegetable broth and milk and blend.
Portion the soup into bowls. Add some gnocchi to each bowl and enjoy!
Although I did find myself mourning summer coming to an end a week ago (because let’s face it – summer was so different this year without cottage trips, concerts, weddings etc) I have become recently excited for the fall. Why?
Fall represents change. And lord knows that we need change in this world right now! Fall is a cozy season. Perfect for settling into a new house with our puppy and new fall decor! Fall is THE BEST running season! Although I’m usually training for an October race at this time, I’m looking to take this running season to be a more leisurely one.
Anyways, this week I dive right into fall recipes! Pumpkin, root veggies – coming right at you!
Check out the recipes below and my Youtube channel for the recipes being made in action!
– 2 cup rolled oats – 2 cup almond milk – 1 cup pumpkin puree – 2 tablespoon maple syrup – 2 tablespoon chia seeds – 2 teaspoon vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon cinnamon – 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg – 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves pecans for topping
1. Combine all of these ingredients in a large bowl. Stir together until well combined. Transfer into mason jars or other containers, cover, and place in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight.
– 1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms – 1 small onion, chopped – 2 teaspoons avocado oile – 15 oz pumpkin puree – 1/2 cup canned coconut milk – 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves – 9 no-cook lasagna noodles – 1 block of firm tofu – 1 tbsp lemon juice – 2 tbsp nutritional yeast – 1 cup vegan mozzarella cheese
1. In a small skillet, saute the mushrooms and onion in avocado oil until tender; set aside. In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin, coconut milk and thyme. 2. Meanwhile, prepare the tofu ricotta. Add the block of drained tofu, lemon juice and nutritional yeast to a blender or food processor for about 15 seconds, until the consistency is similar to ricotta cheese. 3. Spread 1/2 cup pumpkin sauce in an 11×7-in. Baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with 3 noodles (noodles will overlap slightly). Spread 1/2 cup pumpkin sauce to edges of noodles. Top with half of mushroom mixture, 1/2 cup tofu ricotta and 1/3 cup vegan mozzarella. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles and sauce. Cover and bake at 375° for 45 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting..
– 2 Tbsp avocado oil – 3 carrots, peeled and diced – 3 parsnips, peeled and diced – 1 large onion, chopped – 2 cloves garlic, minced – 1/2 cup chopped and peeled butternut squash – 2 medium tomatoes, chopped (2) – 6 cups sodium-reduced veggie broth (1.5 L) – 1 can white navy beans, rinsed and drained (1) – 4 cups baby spinach (1 L)
1. In a large pot, heat avocado oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots, parsnips, onion, garlic and squash. Cook and stir vegetables until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes. Cook vegetables 3-4 minutes longer. 2. Add veggie broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover pot and let vegetables simmer until soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add beans and heat through. Stir in spinach. 3. Serve immediately in soup bowls or store in containers.br>
– 1 block extra-firm tofu – ½ tbsp avocado oil – 3 cloves garlic, minced – 2 tbsp soy sauce – 2 tbsp maple syrup – 2 tbsp water – ½ tsp liquid smoke – 8 slices of rye bread – 1/2 cup hummus, divided – Sandwich toppings: lettuce, onions and tomatoes
1. Slice tofu into ¼” (½ cm) slices. Press or pat tofu dry with a clean kitchen towel. In a shallow dish or sandwich-sized food storage bag, add garlic, soy sauce, maple syrup, water, and liquid smoke. Add the sliced tofu and marinate for 30-60 minutes. 2. Add the marinated tofu to the skillet, but reserve and excess marinade. Cook both sides until golden-brown. Pour the remaining marinade into the pan with the tofu, stirring gently. Continue cooking until the tofu has absorbed all the marinade. Set aside. 3. Store the sandwich inputs separately, until you are ready to eat. Enjoy!