Hurry Up Alfredo

This weird combination of food was our dinner last night. I made the Hurry Up Alfredo from “Vegan Yum Yum,” along with a spinach salad and a side of roasted okra (I discovered my love of roasted okra last summer).

The Hurry Up Alfredo is one of those recipes that definitely requires a good blender. I tried to make it a year or two ago in my food processor and the flavor just didn’t come out right, not to mention there were bits of raw cashews in the sauce. This time around, however, I was able to get it silky smooth and, wow, it was really, really good. It also lives up to its name because it comes together amazingly fast, making this a great weeknight meal. By the time the okra had roasted in the oven, the alfredo — pasta, sauce and all — was ready to serve.

I hope you all have a great week! I plan on making a few dishes that will make use of my Jungle Jim’s purchases and will post them soon.

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Penne Vodka

This was one of the first recipes I made from “Veganonicom” when I first became vegan. It’s really simple to put together, and I even found the recipe online. The sauce consists of a basic, garlicky marinara with red pepper flakes for kick and vodka. The sauce is simmered for about 20 minutes so that the alcohol dissipates and the flavor infuses the sauce. Slivered almonds are added to the sauce right before it’s blended. And if you have fresh basil (I didn’t in this case), add a chiffonade of it on top.

I will say, it’s important that you have a blender with a tight lid because you’ll be blending hot liquid. I haven’t made this recipe in a couple of years because I didn’t have a blender, and an immersion blender won’t cut it. I recommend placing a towel over the lid and holding it down tightly as you blend the sauce just to be safe.

On the side, I included baby spinach with a warm poppy seed dressing, as well as an assortment of olives.

Recipe: Spinach Mushroom Lasagna

I love lasagna. It’s up there on my list of comfort foods. I had actually planned on making this last week, but kept putting it off — lasagna’s not the quickest meal to throw together. It doesn’t exactly fit in with my detox plan for this week, but I still feel like it’s a healthy, hearty meal.

I don’t have exact measurements for this recipe because, well, I didn’t really measure out everything. I just added and tasted it as I went. So, if you do have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments. It does make enough for two full layers in a 9-in x 13-in casserole dish.

For this particular lasagna, I followed Veganomicon‘s recipe for Cashew Ricotta, which is absolutely amazing if you haven’t tried it. As far as the sauce, I sauteed half a yellow onion, three cloves of garlic and one finely diced carrot. To that, I added a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, along with dried basil, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. (I tend to like my lasagna on the dry side, so you may want to add an additional can of tomatoes if you prefer a saucier lasagna.)

To cut down on pots and pans, I used the same pot that I used for the lasagna noodles to cook down a large package of frozen, chopped spinach and 8 ounces of sliced button mushrooms. Finally, I layered it all in baking dish, topped it with extra sauce and a sprinkle of basil and nutritional yeast, and baked it for 35 minutes at 375 degrees.

A spring mix salad, crusty bread and olives rounded out the meal.

Enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and Veggie Wraps

I don’t know about you, but I have such a hard time coming up with lunch ideas. And it doesn’t help that my husband is really limited to what he can bring with him. He’s on the road non-stop and his “office” is his car, which means I can’t pack anything that needs to be warmed in a microwave.

This week, I decided to make wraps. Boring, I know, but it’s an improvement from the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches he’s been taking.

For this particular wrap, I made a roasted red pepper hummus, and I added baby spinach, shredded carrots, sliced cucumber and red onion, and shredded iceberg lettuce from Ancho Lentil Tacos I made earlier in the week. The wrap bread itself was an extra-large, whole wheat tortilla. Simple, fast and cheap. My kind of meal.

Do you have suggestions for cheap and easy lunch ideas that don’t require a microwave?

 

Split Pea and Lentil Soup

So this might not be the prettiest dish, but it sure was tasty. The recipe can be found in “The Vegan Slow Cooker,” and it’s another dinner item I have featured in my latest meal plan. Split peas and lentils combine in a wonderful broth. Baby spinach is added at the end for added texture and flavor. The only thing I would change is the amount of salt. I used Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base, which is pretty salty on its own, so you really don’t need to season it with more salt, at least in my opinion. Still, it was so nice to come home to this wonderfully hearty and nutritious soup on a rainy spring day. A side of homemade cornbread goes great with it.

Tempeh, Spinach, Tomato, and Avocado Sandwich

This sandwich is my vegan take on a classic BLT sandwich. It’s super-easy to throw together, and is much healthier and tastier than the original, if you ask me.

For the “bacon,” I use Light Life Organic Smoky Tempeh Strips:

Tempeh, Spinach, Tomato, and Avocado Sandwich

Serves 2 + leftovers

Ingredients:

1 package Light Life Organic Smoky Tempeh Strips
1 ripe avocado
1 tomato
baby spinach
Vegenaise
4 slices of whole wheat bread

Directions:

Using a non-stick griddle pan or skillet, cook the tempeh strips over medium-high heat until they brown or have grill marks. Lightly toast the bread and spread both sides with the Vegenaise. Layer the avocado, tomato, baby spinach, and tempeh on the bread and slice diagonally.

Enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper and Hummus Wrap

I always have a difficult time coming up with new lunch ideas. My husband attends school during the day, so he doesn’t have access to a microwave. That means I’m limited to making something that doesn’t need to be heated.

Because we are on a budget, we tend to eat the same thing for lunch a few days in a row. But I don’t mind since breakfast and dinner are there to break up the lunch monotony. This week, I decided to do wraps. Like stir-fry, anything goes, so they are a great way to use up extra vegetables. I stuck with hummus for my protein, but an olive-nut spread would also be delicious. For my fillings, I used baby spinach, seedless cucumber, red onion, and roasted red peppers. I used a little help from the grocery with the hummus and roasted red peppers; making both is an easy process (and cheaper than store-bought), but I’ll admit, I’ve been lazy lately.

For the wrap bread, I like to use whole wheat lavash bread, which is a little thicker than a tortilla, but thinner than pita bread. But if you can’t find it (I picked it up from Whole Foods), a tortilla will certainly work.

Roasted Red Pepper and Hummus Wrap

Provides four lunches for 2 people

Ingredients:

2 packages whole wheat lavash bread (freeze one until ready to use)
1 16 oz. container hummus (I’ll be using some of this for another recipes this week)
1 jar roasted red peppers
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
1 seedless cucumber, sliced thinly
1 package baby spinach

Directions:

Lay the lavash bread or tortilla out flat. Spread a generous amount of hummus all over the surface, and follow up with the spinach, onion, and cucumber. Tightly roll the wrap and cut in half at a diagonal.

Serve with multi-grain chips and fruit.

Enjoy!