Greek Oil Free Pasta Salad

Need a simple and fresh pasta salad for summer? This was a tasty and dill-icious light dinner and would be perfect as a side for a cook out or party. It’s only a few ingredients and it comes together quickly, so I’m glad I put these things together because it definitely works! I used High Carb Hannah’s oil free tzatziki sauce as the dressing and used whole wheat Penne, cucumber, tomatoes, and blanched broccoli with some extra dill and you can add onion, chickpeas, asparagus, olives, or whatever veggies you’d like. I served it cold, but it could also be served warm if you prefer.

Greek Pasta Salad

1 lb whole wheat Penne

Handful of grape tomatoes, halved

3 Persian cucumbers, halved and sliced

Head of broccoli, diced

1 tsp dried dill

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Blanch broccoli in the microwave for 3 minutes and cook pasta 2 minutes less than directions.

2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and add tzatziki sauce when ready to serve. If you add it to early it might dry out.

Hannah’s Tzatziki Recipe *slighted changed*

1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced

1 tsp dried dill

1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 20 minutes

Juice of one lemon

1 tsp minced garlic

1/3 cup water

1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Creamy Lemon Asparagus Pasta

Creamy Lemon Asparagus Pasta

Creamy Lemon Asparagus Pasta

Craving a creamy Alfredo-type pasta without all the dairy and fat? I compiled a few vegan Alfredo recipes together to make one that would be the best and it was delicious. It’s a cashew based sauce, but instead of using a cup of cashews, I used half a cup and added zucchini as a filler because it’s so calorie friendly. I also roasted a head of garlic to add into it for a wonderful Italian flavor and lemon to bring some acidity to the sauce. I used brown rice fusilli from Trader Joe’s and don’t worry, I remembered to rinse it well this time before mixing it into the sauce. I roasted some asparagus as a mix in with the pasta and baby spinach, but you can use whatever vegetables you like to make this pasta dish work for your family. I added chopped grape tomatoes on top of mine to bring some more color, and topped it with more lemon zest, pepper, and nutritional yeast.

Creamy Lemon Asparagus Pasta

1 lb Brown Rice Fusilli (TJ’s)

1/2 bag baby spinach

1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed

fresh basil

fresh lemon thyme

Vegan Alfredo Sauce

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked

1 large zucchini, peeled and chopped

1 head roasted garlic

1/3 cup vegetable broth

juice of 1 lemon

few pinches of lemon zest

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

  1. Soak cashews the morning of in hot water and let sit on the counter until you need to make the sauce.
  2. Preheat oven to 400* and cut the top of a head of garlic, spray with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt then wrap in tin foil. Bake for 35-45 minutes, I went ahead and made two heads so I can use one for roasted garlic hummus.
  3. Keep oven on and add asparagus spears with salt and pepper to roast in the oven for 10 minutes and then cool and chop into bite-size pieces.
  4. While boiling pasta, you can blend everything for the Alfredo in your high-speed blender. I used my Nutribullet and it worked great.
  5. Drain pasta and rinse if using rice pasta, then add baby spinach, asparagus, and Alfredo sauce and mix to combine. Add fresh torn basil and thyme and stir.
  6. Turn on medium-low to heat the mixture back up and serve. If the sauce gets too thick, you can add vegetable broth to thin it out to the consistency you like.
  7. You can add tomatoes, if you like them, and sprinkle with pepper, lemon zest, and nutritional yeast.

Baked Penne Mushroom Florentine

Baked Penne Mushroom Florentine

Baked Penne Mushroom Florentine

Another night, another McDougall recipe this week. His is Baked Penne Florentine, but I added the baby bellas to make it a little more substantial and add some more flavors to this dish and it turned out to be good! It uses cashews as the base of the creamy sauce so it adds protein with a little bit of fat, and you add in different flavors to make it flavorful and the pasta bakes in the sauce. I made a few changes to the recipe (per usual), but it’s generally the same if you want to look up his version online. I have his app on my phone, but you find recipes online as well. Josh said “hey this isn’t bad!”… to which he learned doesn’t sound very nice and then changed it to “hey this is pretty good!” to put a more positive spin on it! I think he still gets surprised how good plant based food can be and every day (well most of them) he gets pleasantly surprised. I roasted some of my leftover cauliflower from a previous night as a side with some garlic powder, salt, and pepper, so sorry for the beige meal but it was much tastier than it looks!

Baked Penne Mushroom Florentine

1 lb whole wheat penne pasta

16 oz frozen chopped spinach

1 10 oz baby bella mushrooms pack, sliced

1.5 cup vegetable broth and 1/4 cup water, mixed

1 onion, diced

1/2 cup raw cashews

1 15 oz can white beans, I used cannelloni

1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp lemon juice

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp dry mustard powder

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 375* and cook pasta to al dente and drain.
  2. Add spinach to drained pasta in a large pot and stir together.
  3. In a skillet, saute onion and mushrooms until tender (about 5 min) and add mushrooms to pasta pot.
  4. In a food processor or high speed blender, process cashews until powder and add half of the broth and blend until smooth.
  5. Add in the other half of broth and water mixture, beans, garlic, soy sauce, mustard, lemon juice, pepper, and onions and blend until smooth.
  6.  Add sauce to pasta, spinach, mushroom mixture and combine, then spread into a 9×13 baking dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.
  7. Bake uncovered for 10-20 minutes until bottom is bubbly and top is golden.

Balsamic Roasted Veggie Pasta

Roasted Veggie Pasta

Balsamic Roasted Veggie Pasta

Well you would think this would be a super easy throw together meal that would be really hard to mess up, right? Apparently I found a way to do that! I think this could have definitely been great with whole wheat pasta instead of using the brown rice and quinoa pasta that I used. When using brown rice pasta, it’s SUPER important to rinse it off really well after draining and to make sure you don’t overcook it or it gets mushy. Usually you don’t rinse pasta because the starch helps the pasta sauce stick to the noodle, so I didn’t rinse it off and it made it taste gummy. It thickened it and just had a layer of mush involved. I tried to cut the thickness with balsamic vinegar and veggie stock, yet it could only do so much. I will revive this dish by adding marinara sauce to it and it might be okay for leftovers. Next time I will use different noodles and add the nutritional yeast on top of mine instead in the sauce because Josh isn’t a fan.

Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a try. I’m going to write it as though I’m making it again and learning from my mistakes, so maybe you’ll have better luck!

Balsamic Roasted Veggie Pasta

1 lb whole wheat penne pasta

10 oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped

1 large zucchini, halved and sliced

1 yellow onion, halved and sliced

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1 bag baby spinach

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp italian seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup veggie stock

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Nutritional yeast or red pepper flakes for topping

  1. Preheat oven to 400* and lay all veggies except tomatoes and spinach on a parchment lined baking dish and sprinkle with garlic powder, italian seasoning, salt and pepper, and a drizzle of balsamic.
  2. Bake for 30 minutes and then add in tomatoes to bake for another 10 minutes.
  3. While vegetables are roasting, boil pasta to al dente then stir in spinach while the noodles are still hot until all is wilted and set aside.
  4. Add roasted vegetables to pasta and then add vegetable stock, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Combine and then serve with nutritional yeast or red pepper flakes, and one more drizzle of balsamic.

Vegan Baked Ziti

Vegan Baked Ziti

Vegan Baked Ziti

Anyone else always get Sbarro ziti in the food court growing up on a long day of shopping with your mom? Even though you were lactose intolerant? Only me…? Not the best decision I might add.

This is also something my mom used to make, and then it became my go-to in high school  meal when all of my friends would come over. So instead of filling this baked ziti with ground beef, Ragu, and a variety of cheeses, I came up with a plant based version that still has the creamy tomato sauce and the crunchy noodles on the top (my favorite part!) The tofu becomes a ricotta, and then it’s mixed with mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes and marinara make a pink sauce. I used whole wheat ziti and combined that with my sauce and sprinkled about a tbsp of Follow Your Heart Parmesan for the top. It still blows my mind that by just eating these veggies and pasta, my protein percentage was over where I wanted it to be for this meal. It’s 23% protein, 15% fat, and 62% carbs.

                                                            Vegan Baked Ziti

serves 8

1 lb whole wheat ziti noodles

1 large can low fat Tuscan Marinara, TJ’s

10 oz baby bella mushrooms

1 bag baby spinach

5 oz grape tomatoes, halved

1 tbsp Follow Your Heart Parmesan

salt and pepper to taste


                                                          Tofu Ricotta

1 lb extra firm organic tofu

2 tsp nutritional yeast

1 tsp italian seasoning

2 tsp minced garlic

3 tbsp water

salt and pepper to taste

  • You can use as much ricotta in the recipe as you’d like, I used it all and it was a tad too pink so next time I’ll start with half and add in more if I want more.
Tofu Ricotta

Tofu Ricotta

  1. Preheat oven to 400* and prepare the tofu ricotta. Drain the tofu and cube it, then add to the food processor or mixer and blend with other ingredients.
  2. In a large saute pan, saute the mushrooms, tomatoes, and spinach with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  3. Add the can of marinara to the vegetables when they’re tender and combine.
  4. Add the ricotta to the sauce, I’d start with half and then work your way up to the amount you’d like. I dumped it all and it was a little too pink for what I was going for, so I had to add a little more marinara. IMG_0478.jpg
  5. Combine the cooked pasta with the sauce and then add the mixture to a 9×13 baking dish.IMG_0480.jpg
  6. Sprinkle with a little vegan parmesan and nutritional yeast.
  7. Bake covered for 40 minutes and then uncover and cook an additional 10 minutes until pasta is golden brown.
Vegan Baked Ziti

Vegan Baked Ziti

Red Lentil and Roasted Veggie Pasta

Red Lentil and Roasted Veggie Pasta

Red Lentil and Roasted Veggie Pasta

If spaghetti is part of a “diet”, then I’m in! This has a mix of roasted eggplant, zucchini, and baby bella mushrooms mixed with split red lentils in an oil free marinara sauce topping brown rice spaghetti. It was filling and a spin on one of those staple meals that you miss if you don’t have for a while. The roasted vegetables gave this texture and heartiness, and the lentils created a “bolognese” quality to the sauce. I also roasted double the amount of diced veggies I needed because tonight we’re having pizzas, so the veggies are already done! Twofer!

Red Lentil and Roasted Veggie Pasta

1/2 cup split red lentils, dry

1 lb Organic Brown Rice Spaghetti, TJ’s

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1/2 eggplant, diced

2 zucchini, quartered and sliced

1/2 carton baby bella mushrooms, de-stemmed and sliced

1 jar Organic Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms, no oil from TJ’s

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp Italian seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

vegan parm to sprinkle

  1. Preheat oven on 400* and cube eggplant. Lay it out on paper towels and sprinkle with salt and let it excrete it’s bitterness, about 20 minutes.
  2. Use a paper towel to press out the water that came from the eggplant and then add the eggplant, mushrooms, and zucchini to a parchment lined baking sheet. I did use a really light spray of olive oil and sprinkle with spices. Roast for 30ish minutes until tender.
  3. In a large saucepan, add diced onion and lentils and cover with water. Boil until they’re soft, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add sauce to lentil mixture and combine.
  5. Cook pasta, my pasta water got so starchy that I had to dump the water out and add clean water so it would absorb and cook.
  6. Combine roasted veggies to the marina mix and then top your pasta with the amount you’d like and a sprinkle of vegan parm.

    Roasted Veggies

    Roasted Veggies

Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Rosemary White Bean Sauce

Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Rosemary White Bean Sauce

Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Rosemary White Bean Sauce

Perfect rainy night meal alert! I came up with this idea after I saw Clinton Kelly making a white bean and spinach pasta on The Chew last week. I was really excited to see a vegan option on their show because I usually have to ignore most of the things that they make now. Minus the parmesan, it was vegan! Thanks Clinty! I decided to take their idea and run with it and come up with my own recipe. Adding baby bella mushrooms is always a good idea, and I blended the white beans to make a creamy sauce to coat the brown rice pasta and vegetables. I make a rosemary white bean dip for appetizer sometimes and love the flavor combination so I thought I would make a rosemary, lemon, white wine, cannellini sauce. It’s a nice feeling knowing everything you are putting in your body is healthy and you’re doing the best for yourself, and making a creamy sauce out of white beans instead of dairy is a great option. It’s lighter and doesn’t weigh you down, yet it’s still a comforting pasta dish.

Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Rosemary White Bean Sauce

12 oz baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

6 oz bag of baby spinach

1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 red onion, diced

1/2 c vegetable broth, low sodium

1/4 c white wine, use the cheap stuff

1 tsp dried rosemary, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb brown rice pasta, TJ’s bag has only brown rice and water, no fillers!

1 lemon, zest and 1/2 juice

few splashes of Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper to taste

vegan parmesan to top

  1. Spray olive oil in a large skillet and saute red onion, mushrooms, spinach, worcestershire, and garlic until tender.
  2. In a high speed blender (I used my Nutribullet) put the beans, veggie broth, rosemary, salt and pepper and blend literally less than a minute until just smooth and thick.
  3. Cook rice pasta very al dente because it will continue to cook when combining.
  4. Add wine to the veggie mixture and cook for a few minutes then add the white bean mixture to make a creamy sauce.
  5. Pour the pasta in to combine, and then add the zest of one lemon, and half of the lemon’s juice.
  6. Serve with a sprinkle of veggie parm on top.

    Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Rosemary White Bean Sauce

    Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Rosemary White Bean Sauce