Avocado pasta – creamy, garlicky, lemony and delicious

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This pasta surprised me with its simplicity and deliciousness. It’s easy to make, no fail and will be ready in the time it takes to cook the pasta.

Make this. That’s all I can say. Just make this.

You will need a food processor for this recipe.

Ingredients

1 avocado

The juice and zest of ½ a lemon

1-2 cloves garlic

A handful fresh basil leaves –about ½ cup

1 cup of fresh kale or spinach leaves

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

¼ cup pistachios (optional)

10 ounces of uncooked pasta – any shape or kind

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Directions

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, place all the other ingredients in a food processor and whiz until you have a creamy sauce. You might need to add up to 2 tablespoons water to get a creamy consistency. The more you whiz the sauce, the smoother it will be. Spinach also makes a smoother sauce than kale.

Place the hot, cooked pasta in a large bowl and spoon the sauce over it. Toss to blend and serve. This recipe makes 2-3 servings.

If you have leftovers, this dish is great at room temperature as a cold pasta salad.

 

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Refried beans and rice – casserole style!

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Beans and rice are such an easy, affordable and comforting meal. Here’s my casserole version that everyone loves. This dish comes together quickly and is easy and no fail. It freezes well and is just one of those friendly, favourite recipes that you’ll be so glad you invited into your kitchen.

Ingredients

1 cup brown rice

1 cup jarred tomato salsa – whatever brand and heat level you prefer

3 cups fresh spinach

400ml can refried beans

½ cup pickled jalapenos – optional but I love the heat!

½ cup shredded vegan cheese. I use Daiya mozzarella or cheddar style cheese.1

½ cup corn – fresh, frozen or canned as you prefer

1-2 Tbsp chili powder

½ tsp oregano

¼ tsp basil

½ tsp cumin

¼ tsp ground pepper

½ to 1 tsp salt (to taste)

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Directions

Place the rice and 2 cups of water in a covered saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let simmer for about 25-30 minutes or until the water is all absorbed. Add the salsa to the cooked rice and stir to combine.

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Grease a casserole dish.

Mix the refried beans, the seasonings and corn in a bowl.

Layer half the rice-and-salsa mixture in the bottom of the casserole.

Add the spinach on top in a layer and tamp down. Add the refried bean mixture on top and smooth out. Scatter the pickled jalapenos on top, if using. Place the remaining rice-and-salsa mixture on top and smooth out. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. This dish makes 4 servings.

P.S. Okay, I’ll confess now…. I secretly call this dish Mexican dog food because while it’s delicious it never looks too pretty on the plate. So go ahead, fill up your plate, add some natchos, bark at the neighbours and eat up!

 

Easy 3-cheesey and veggie lasagna

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Can you believe this is the first lasagna I ever made? And I had the audacity to do it without a recipe. I think you can’t help but get crazy-good results when pasta, cheese and spaghetti sauce are involved.

Remember that I am a lazy cook so even though I made two of the cheeses in this recipe (the third is Daiya mozzeralla-style shreds), the whole recipe is easy and fail proof. I don’t like to waste time or food or money.

I made the nut-based mozzarella and the tofu-based ricotta the night before just to make Sunday morning assembly easier.

Tofu ricotta cheese

Ingredients

12 oz block firm tofu

2 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp dried basil

1-2 cloves garlic minced

1 teaspoon salt

A few grinds of pepper

1 Tbsp lemon juice (about 1/3 of a lemon)

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

¼ cup raw cashews soaked for a few hours and drained (optional but lovely)

Directions

Put everything in a food processor and pulse until the ingredients are all incorporated and look like stiff paste. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a blender or just dig in with a fork and get mashing and blending. I’m lazy… I used the blender because it’s easier to clean!

 Mozzerella cheese

Ingredients

¼ cup raw cashews soaked for about 4 hours or longer and drained

1 cup of hot water

2 ½ Tbsp tapioca flour

I Tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tsp salt

1 tsp lemon juice or cider vinegar

Directions

Put everything into a blender and blend until creamy.

Pour into a small saucepan on medium heat. Heat and stir. The mixture will start to curdle (the way scrambled eggs do) and then become thick and look like thick melted cheese. The process takes about 5 minutes. Let the mixture cool and then use in lasagnas, on pizzas or broiled on French onion soup. This mozzarella will store in the fridge for a few days. Some water may separate out of it, if you store it. Just drain that water off.

 The rest of the lasagna

Ingredients

12 oven-ready lasagna noodles – the kind that you don’t need to boil first

2-3 cups of fresh spinach washed and chopped

1 small zucchini cut into ½ moon slices

1 cup of sliced mushrooms

2 ½ cups spaghetti sauce (honestly, I used canned)

1 cup shredded Daiya mozzarella cheese (or other shredded vegan cheese)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Okay – do not be daunted by these instructions. All you are doing is creating layers of noodles, ricotta/mozzarella, veggies and sauce. Just do that and it’s all good. My instructions are written to ensure you have enough of everything to get you to the top saucy layer!

Spread about ¼ cup spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a large ovenproof baking dish (my Pyrex dish is 16”x8”x2”).

Place a layer of 4 noodles – overlapping if necessary. Top with ½ of the tofu ricotta. I find the ricotta is thick so I dolloped it across the noodles as evenly as possible. Sprinkle the shredded spinach and sliced mushrooms on top. Spoon 1/3 of the remaining spaghetti sauce over top – again, it doesn’t have to cover the whole thing evenly. Add another layer of 4 noodles. Top with the remaining ricotta cheese mixture. Sprinkle the sliced zucchini on top. Add 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese in dollops. Spoon half of the remaining spaghetti sauce on top. Add the final layer of 4 lasagna noodles. Top with the remained spaghetti sauce as evenly as possible. Dollop the remaining mozzarella cheese on top.

Cover the lasagna with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Take the lasagna out of the oven. Remove the foil and sprinkle the Daiya mozzarella cheese on top. Return to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.

Let the lasagna rest for about 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!