One pot pasta wonder (Gluten Free Version)


So like many others, I was totally seduced by the “One Pan pasta” on the Martha Stewart blog from June.  It basically went instantly viral, its simplicity and sensual photos of dried pasta in water with some herbs and tomatoes were irresistible as is usually the case with anything Martha puts her name on.  A lot of bloggers have blogged it as is, and one even deemed it virtually impossible to use gluten free pasta in it, now as with most things in my life when I am told it is “impossible” or “crazy” I go straight for it, is this poor judgment or genius….I’ll take the latter thank you!  So this is a plant-based, gluten free version of this simple idea, which actually kinda reminded me of making “Hamburger helper” or “Pasta- roni” for me and my sisters as a kid.  I also added some extra tasties, switched out a few things to use what I had on hand, and topped with my mushroom bacon here(this time I used button mushrooms as that is what I had on hand), I skipped the cheese I am on week five of my plant based experiment, but I’m sure some pecorino or a dollop of pesto would be outrageous.


2 cups Tru Roots gluten free, whole grain pasta ziti (the original recipe used spaghetti)

1 onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, I had the Organic ones from Costco in my pantry (original called for fresh cherry tomatoes)

3 cups Vegetable stock, I used this instead of plain water, I bet a little wine would be good too

¼ cup chopped black olives, I used these to add richness that the extra oil would’ve done

1 pinch salt, dried Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes

10 turns of the pepper grinder, or 1 tsp ground black pepper

In a pot place everything except pasta, bring to a boil (the original called for putting the pasta in too, but since gluten free pasta has a shorter cooking time I boiled the other stuff first), when it is at a full boil add pasta, cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and pasta is al dente about 8-9 minutes.


I used some chopped “Mushroom bacon”here totally optional, but delicious and some fresh parsley, the original called for fresh basil but I didn’t want to go to the store to get it so I used Italian, flat leaf parsley since I usually always have a bouquet sitting in a vase in my fridge.

So it can be done with delicious results, another ingenious idea, reinvented, in the words of Steve Jobs “Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal” Haha!  Thanks Martha….or should I thank Pasta-roni?

One pan oven roasted fajitas

Some days you just need easy, and tasty! Well this right here is both, this is what “fast food” should be! My family loves fajitas and this is a way to cut down on the aftermath (mess) and get to sit down and enjoy the meal with the fam. Fajitas are a great choice for plant based meals, as they already highlight our veggie friends, I used tofu in ours, but seitan would also be great, of course you could use shrimp or any other meat in this and it would be great, also great for a group you could make a few pans with different proteins to please everyone’s taste!
1 lb. firm tofu sliced into strips (or sub protein of choice)
2 hatch green chilies, seeded and cut into strips, feel free to sub green bell pepper
2 sweet tooth red peppers, cut into strips, same as chilies, again sub red bell pepper if you like
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 Tbsp. Bragg’s liquid aminos, or soy sauce
Juice of one lime
1 Tbsp. cooking oil, I used raw camelina
2 Tbsp. Cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. In a 13 by 9 inch pan place all of your ingredients, mix with your hands, until all veggies and protein evenly coated. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve with tortillas of choice, I used whole wheat…..but corn would be great. Serve yours with your favorite toppings, I for one recently have been obsessed with Valentina, it’s a red chili sauce from Mexico that is mildly spicy and packs some serious flavor, find it in your international food aisle or at a Mexican market. I think the ease of preparation and minimalist appeal of this recipe will make it a favorite, whether you are a bachelor in a hurry or a busy mom of six (in that case make double…haha!) I think this recipe will become a weeknight staple that is tasty enough to serve at a dinner party.

Scallion ginger noodles


So this recipe is slightly more indulgent then my recent recipes (but lighter still then the original), just finished week four of plant based eating and I must admit at times it has been a bit hard, but one thing about a challenge is that is has forced a whole new level of creativity for me. Today’s recipe is a homage to the scallion noodles that David Chang serves at Momofuku (Pork lovers heaven) it is basically the only vegetarian item on his menu, my version is reduced in salt and oil and I add a few little things that I like. I have felt a bit like indulging so I thought this would be a good one! This sauce would probably make tree bark taste good, and would be a great addition to most anything, rice, salad, fish, whatever! I chose to pair it up with some fresh, yakisoba noodles, and some tofu.
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp. neutral tasting oil, I used camelina
2 Tbsp. Ponzu (citrus flavored soy sauce) or Soy sauce
4 Tbsp. finely minced ginger (must be fresh, powdered would be a BIG mistake)
2 tsp. Vinegar, I used red wine cause that is what I had….choose your favorite.
Juice of one lime
2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped.
1 tsp. black pepper
Stir it up real good, you can blend if you want, but I broke my immersion blender today….so I uh, just stirred it with fork. Check salt level, mine didn’t need extra….but this all depends on personal preference.
I used some fresh yakisoba noodles, it was a 12 oz package, and you can use whole wheat spaghetti, rice noodles, ramen, chow mein noodles, noodles made out of veggies or buckwheat soba. Serve hot or cold!
I topped ours with some orange bell pepper, black sesame seeds, and some delicious baked tofu which you can find a recipe here! These are very good, and you can double the recipe and keep in the fridge for quick meals. Try this simple sauce on some of your favorites, my kids gobbled these up! Ginger is also a beneficial part of any diet as it has numerous health benefits, and aids in digestion!

Mushroom “Bacon” B.L.T.

There is a reason bacon is called “The gateway meat”, it’s that damn good. So of course I would have to find a plant based replacement for this……well I think I have found one, and it stars our umami pals….MUSHROOMS! I was reading a science article, and this food scientist guy was talking about making mushrooms taste like bacon, he had quick and easy way to make them, he used shitake, but I got some amazing locally foraged trumpet mushrooms so I used those, and I tell ya, I don’t care you if eat meat, don’t eat it, like to wear a furry suit….if you like the taste and texture of bacon you will love these!
½ lb. Wild mushrooms, sliced thin
2 tsp. cooking oil, I’m currently in love with Camelina oil, high in omega 3’s, super high smoke point. Soooo sexy! Haha
2 tsp. bragg’s liquid aminos, or soy
Heat oven to 350 degrees, toss mushrooms with oil and bragg’s until coated, place on a parchment lined baking sheet, cook one hour, turn half way through. Use however you would use bacon, I made a classic B.L.T. pretty sure everyone knows the ingredient list for those, lettuce, tomato, bread, you know the drill. Trust me this will blow everyone’s mind. You’re welcome.

Eggplant “meatballs” with quick oil free marinara

Italian cuisine is one of my favorite to cook and eat, but when switching to plant-based eating I figured my days of Italian grandmother cookery were over. My family loves my traditional meatballs, and I know they have been missing some of our home cooked standards. While researching no meat meatballs, I found that the Sicilians already been doing it for thousands of years, called “Polpette di melanzane” it is basically a way to use eggplant and stale bread to replace meat. I looked at traditional recipes and used a few plant based replacements to make it animal product free. Traditionally they are pan fried, I cooked them in the oven but I did have to use a few teaspoons of oil, but considering the original recipe or the ground meat version, these are a good alternative.
1 large eggplant
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
¼ Cup Fregola, or Israeli cous cous
2 Cups bread crumbs, preferably from stale whole grain bread, I had half a loaf of buckwheat and barley bread that I used.
1 handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tsp. dried Oregano
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
½ tsp. salt
1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
¼ Cup boiling water
2 Tbsp. ground flax (to replace two eggs)
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (Original recipe calls for Romano or Pecorino cheese)
2 tsp. oil of choice, I used raw camelina
Pre-heat oven to 375, puncture eggplant with a fork all over, place on a sheet pan, bake 1 hour. In a bowl place bread crumbs, pour boiling water over porcini, let steep 30 minutes, add flax, pour into breadcrumbs, add seasonings. In a pan heat oil over medium heat, add onion and garlic, cook 5 minutes, add fregola, cook 3 more minutes, add to breadcrumbs. Scrape the eggplant out of its skin, add to breadcrumb mixture, using a hand blender, combine until it resembles regular meatball mixture. Chill for 20 minutes or so, shape into 20 meatballs on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray, cook 35 minutes. While those bake make marinara.
1 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 28 oz can Italian tomatoes
2 tomatoes chopped, I got lucky as my friend brought me a bag of her beautiful garden tomatoes today.
Salt and pepper to taste
1 handful basil, chopped
In a medium sauce pan place everything except basil add ½ Cup water or wine, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, you can leave it chunky or blend for a smoother texture. Add cooked meatballs to sauce, cook 5 minutes, top with basil,serve over pasta or with a salad. I have found that the Tru Roots ancient grains pasta that is gluten free, is super good and a healthier option, but seriously these meatballs are totally a meal in themselves, if you like eggplant parm… will love these!

Open faced cauliflower “steak” sandwich, with raw hazelnut Romesco, arugula, olives, capers, and red pepper

Plant based eating has been anything but boring for me, it’s actually a fun new way to look at food composition. I blogged my cauliflower “steak” Oscar already and used that way of cooking cauliflower to be the highlight of this sandwich. Romesco is a traditional Spanish sauce, its tomato and garlic based and totally delicious, especially with cauliflower, so that was a no brainer. I picked up a delicious loaf of whole grain bread from Fleur de lis bakery at the Farmer’s market today, along with some spicy arugula! Easy to assemble, you can mix and match your favorites and I promise you won’t even miss the meat or cheese common on a traditional sandwich.
2 roasted cauliflower steaks recipe here:
½ cup arugula
4 tbsp Romesco sauce
¼ cup raw hazelnuts
¼ cup sundried tomatoes (fresh are good too)
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
¼ cup water
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Blend ingredients, can be stored in a jar in the fridge for 1 week.
2 thick slices rustic bread, about the same width as the cauliflower
Toppins amount is based on how much you want to eat:
Sliced olives
Red pepper slices
The possibilities are endless!
Assemble sandwiches as you like, I like to put a small amount of sauce on the bread, add some arugula, roasted cauliflower, a bit more sauce, more arugula and top with toppins! Delicious take on sandwich, unconventionally delicious and healthy!

No cream, Cream of mushroom soup

I love cream soups, I really do, but I don’t love the high fat content, and calories associated with this comfort classic. I love mushrooms as well, and found them to be quite underutilized as a main dish in Western cuisine. I have made many cream of mushroom soups in my day, but this one has got to be the show stopper! Completely plant based, with minimal sodium, you wouldn’t think it would taste as truly decadent and creamy as it does. My secret? Cannellini beans and cauliflower! This easy soup will have even the most plant based skeptic asking for seconds, and you know what? You can have seconds of this soup and not have to worry about your waistline.
Our ingredients:
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
8 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, with a handful reserved for garnish
½ medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 oz. dried porcini
2 tbsp. reduced sodium tamari or bragg’s liquid aminos
In a medium sauce pan combine all ingredients (except mushrooms for garnish, we will get to those in a sec) cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, let simmer while you prepare your other ingredients.
½ head of cauliflower florets
Place cauliflower florets in a small sauce pan, cover with water, steam 10 minutes, set aside.
For the rest of your mushrooms, place a tsp. of camelina oil (amazing raw oil, rich in omega 3’s, if you can’t find that you can use olive oil) in a sauté pan over medium high heat, sauté until golden, set aside.
Note: never salt mushrooms before you sauté them, it will release all their water and they will never brown, but rather wilt.
Take your mushroom soup and blend to desired consistency, I like very smooth, the beans add an amazing velvety texture. I used an immersion blender for convenience, keep soup warm.
Do the same blend on the cauliflower adding more water if too thick, you want a creamy, gravy like texture, add a drop or two of truffle oil, if you really want to up the decadence, a drop or two is all it takes and provides amazing aroma. Leave this out if you want…..but it really elevates the dish.
Pour mushroom soup into four bowls, spoon your cauliflower puree on top, garnish with sautéed mushroom and a little parsley, you can adjust your own level of salt, I am trying to cut out any extra. Bellisimo! If you feel the presentation is too fussy, just add the cauliflower to your mushroom soup at the start and blend all together….I however, personally live for fussy presentation…haha!

Hippie love buffets (no bake granola bars)

I don’t know about you, but I often wonder what would be served at a hippie love buffet. A love buffet being a gathering of likeminded lovers of the same stuff. In college I used to call our group of friends a “hippie love buffet”, drum circles, guitar playing, turtle whistles, and cheap beer. Give me a break, we were in Utah, but seriously there are some super crunchy liberals up at the University of Utah! I was just a dork participating in the fun….but that memory has spurred a healthy treat that if I could revisit myself from the future (haven’t you always wanted to do that?) I would give to myself to serve to my patchouli posse as food of the future. Was that taking it too far? Perhaps, but that is how I roll, these bars are so easy and healthy that you will soon forget those store bought ones and you will dump all the chemicals, and sweeteners! Ready to get psycho? I mean psychedelic? I thought so, feel free to substitute stuff you like, and what is available in your area. Kids love these, a great treat that also sneaks in the healthy stuff!
2 cups kashi 7 whole grain puffs
1 cup puffed brown rice cereal
1 cup quick oats
1/3 cup dried cranberries
½ cup almond butter
½ cup melted marshmallows (Dandies brand are vegan)
¼ cup melted coconut oil
2 tbsp. flax meal
2 tbsp. chia seeds
1/3 cup chocolate chips, melted
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix well, press into a 12 portion muffin tin. Chill 10 minutes. Donzo! Makes about a dozen. Easy right? Now invite over some friends and dial up the reggae mix on Pandora…….it’s time to get munchy.

Banana brulee pancakes

My kids love pancakes, my daughter especially, I do want to feed my kids the stuff they like….but on the nutrition chart, your run of the mill pancake recipes are basically void of anything but fat, carbs, and more carbs. So in an attempt feed my kids something they like, but something that has some nutritional balance I came up with today’s recipe. Drum roll please (snare drum rattle) I am making banana pancakes, with oats, flax, and FLAVOR! What? You say? This cannot be! Well it is! I might add there is nothing animal based either. No extra salt, but it has a lil’ camelina oil, if you haven’t heard of it, you should check it out, contains the most omega 3’s of any cooking oil and has a smoke point of 450! Bananas are cool because when heat is applied they crisp and caramelize up on top, reminded me of Crème brulee, hence the name. Shall we begin?
You will need:
½ Cup whole wheat flour or spelt
½ Cup quick cooking oats, preferably ground, you can also use a hand blender or regular blender
2 Tbsp. flax meal
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. rapid rise yeast
½ tsp. baking soda
1 Cup coconut milk
¼ Cup water
1 Tbsp. Camelina oil, or oil of choice
1 tsp. good quality vanilla
In a mixing bowl combine all the above ingredients, mix well, let sit at room temp for two hours (so the yeast can work its magic). Refrigerate overnight, I know this seems odd but this gives the pancakes a great flavor and rise without using eggs. Remove from fridge check consistency, the oats and flax suck up a lot of water so adjust to a batter consistency, maybe 2 to 4 Tbsp. warm h2o.
Slice a banana or two.
If you have a griddle that is the best route, for the rest of us, use a non-stick skillet, rubbed with little oil on a paper towel, or use cooking spray, you don’t need much, just a light coating, heat on medium, add batter about 4 Tbsp. or so I eye it, add some banana slices to the top, when the sides bubble up, flip, and cook other side till the center puffs, plate banana side up! Repeat 6 times or so, eat em! I topped ours with low sugar apricot preserves and just a sprinkle of powdered sugar, the kids love that! Try these, I think you will find that you don’t need butter or eggs or milk to make great pancakes! Tres bien mon amie!

Red chard stew with chickpeas, kidney beans, and Israeli cous cous

chardOnto week three eating plant based, and aside from a couple slip ups (goat cheese and pesto were the culprits), it has been quite easy to follow, I am down a solid 8 pounds, which is nice, my complexion is more even, and I feel good. I still think I need to get more non-cooked stuff into the mix, but it’s a change of habits, so as I pick up more knowledge I’m sure I will get the right balance. I had some beautiful locally grown, red chard, and it’s a bit overcast today, so I figured a soup was in order, even when it’s hot I totally like eating soup though….but I am kind of a weirdo. This soup boasts loads of health benefits, no oil, and with just a half cup of cous cous, is a great way to get the family their dose of veggies, plus I bet you have most of the ingredients for it already.
You will need:
1 bunch chard, or kale or spinach, get what is available and the best in your area
1 onion, diced small
2 carrots, peeled, diced small
2 stalks of celery, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. Mrs. Dash, or other salt free seasoning
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tbsp. bragg’s liquid aminos, or reduced sodium soy sauce
2 cans diced tomatoes, I used the organic S&W at Costco
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 palm full of dried porcini mushrooms
6 cups water
½ cup Israeli cous cous
Nutritional yeast for sprinkling on top of soup (optional, but if you can get some it adds tons of flavor, my new favorite seasoning, think non-dairy parmesan or pecorino).
In a large pot, add all ingredients EXCEPT chard, nutritional yeast, and cous cous, bring to a boil, reduce to medium heat, cook 15 minutes, add cous cous and chard, cook 10 more minutes. Top with nutritional yeast and serve! Seriously a plant based, vegan, one pot meal o’ awesome! Serves 8, freezes well, also a great way to dip your toe into a plant based dinner, or a meatless Monday!