Creamy Spinach Pasta

I posted a recipe awhile ago for Cheesy Rice where you cook the rice/pasta in milk to make it creamier. That got me to thinking…if the noodles come out creamier, then you do not need all the (vegan) butter and cheese right? You still get a bowl of creamy goodness but cut out a lot of calories. Thus, I came up with this recipe. I added in spinach for some extra nutrition.  And before you start saying “But the butter gives it more flavor,” just relax. Yes, it is true this dish is not a rich as it could be, but it does not lack any flavor. And I ask you this: Is it that big of a deal to have a slightly less rich bowl of pasta? Will your life come to end because you did not indulge? Do you have to cut out butter and cheese for the rest of your life? No. Nothing will happen if you eat healthy food (that still tastes great) and you can always have the richer stuff on occasion too. I believe this is that magically thing called moderation 🙂

This recipes makes 4 servings.

Creamy Spinach Pasta
4 cups plain soy milk
2 cups water
2 and 1/3 cup of Gemelli pasta
1 tbs cornstrach (optional)
4 cups fresh spinach
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp soy sauce (optional)
Salt and pepper

In a large pot, bring the soy milk and water to a boil.

Add the pasta and cook according to the directions.

When the pasta has about 5 minutes left, add the spinach and garlic. Mix together well.

Once the pasta is cooked to your liking, if there is still liquid in the pot you can add the cornstarch to thicken the sauce and cook for a bit longer. The first time I made it I needed it. The second time I did not. It just depends.

If you want a more “salty/meaty” flavor, you can add the soy sauce.

Season with salt and pepper.

I sprinkled on a little dried parsley as well.

Easy and delicious. This way can you enjoy a bowl of pasta with less guilt!

Roasted Bell Pepper and Spinach Sandwhich

This is the sandwich to go with my gazpacho recipe. Not too complicated but tasty!

This recipe makes 2 sandwiches, but can easily be multiplied.


1 red pepper pepper
Olive oil
1/4 onion, sliced
1 cup fresh spinach (frozen is fine)
2 rolls (I used torta rolls)
Mustard
Horseradish
2 slices of vegan swiss cheese (I used Daiya)

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Rub the pepper with some olive oil. This does not really help with the roasting process, just adds flavor.

Bake for 15 minutes, until the upside is lightly browned.

While the pepper roasts, sautee the slices onions and spinach in a pan over medium heat, with a touch of olive oil. Once the onions are translucent, set aside.

Remove the peppers from the oven and turn them over.

Bake for another 15 minutes.

The skin should be charred now and the pepper should practically be falling apart.

Place your pepper in a zip-lock bag. Let it sit and cool for 5 minutes.

Now the skin will be soft and cool enough to peel off. I usually peel the pepper in the bag, so there is less mess. Just peel off all the charred skin either with your fingers or a small knife.

Now cut the pepper in half. The steam and attached seeds will come out easily.

Wipe away any remaining seeds.

Set the two pepper halves aside.

Now we can assemble….

Heat a pan (the one you did the spinach in is fine) over medium-high heat.

Take spread of mustard and horseradish on each roll.

Add a slice of cheese on one side of each roll.

On half of the bell pepper on top of the cheese for each roll.

Add the spinach mixture on top of the pepper pepper.

Top with the other piece of the roll.

Squish the sandwich down a bit, this will help it all stay together

Place in the hot pan. Cook a few minutes, until the roll is crisp and golden.

Flip over and repeat on the other side.

Now you have a tasty grilled sandwich to go with your soup!

Spinach Tofu Quiche

I am so sorry I have not posted in awhile. Life got busy all the sudden. But let me update you! I am doing much better after my car accident. My back is sprained and my neck is still stiff, but I am up and about so it’s okay. I also got a new kitty, kind of a long story so I will spare you. Her name is Zoey and she is a stray who is still in the process of being tamed. She and Penny are getting along like sisters now. Love my little ohana 🙂  And, I also have a boyfriend now! Which brings me to my recipe for this post….

Zoey ‘Uala

Michael, my boyfriend, has been really sweet and helping me figure out what is wrong with the power steering on my car so I thought I’d make him something nice. He is a meat eater, but what guy would turned down any home-cooked meal from a girl? I was bored in class so I was searching recipes on VegWeb and came across The Best Spinach Quiche Ever, and thought it sounded amazing. And, like I said, I figured Michael would eat it anyways. I did some variations from the recipe, mainly using red pepper instead of zucchini and added some turmeric. I used silken tofu because I think it has a more egg-like texture, but it didn’t quite set-up right like extra firm tofu would have. It made it harder to take out of the pan while hot, but overall no big deal. It was delicious, had the nice fluffy egg texture, and Michael enjoyed it too.

Spinach Tofu Quiche
Olive oil
1 pie crust (I used a pre-made Pilsbury one)
1 red bell pepper
1/2 of an onion
1 carton of sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup white wine
3 cloves of garlic
2 cups fresh spinach
crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
1 and 1/2 block silken tofu
Turmeric

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees

Roll out the pie crust into the pan,  here is a video if you don’t know how to do so.

Chop the bell pepper, onion, and any really big mushroom slices into bite size pieces.

Heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the veggies and saute until the begin to caramelize.

Pour the wine in to deglaze the pan. Once all the liquid is absorbed, remove from the heat.

In another skillet, heat more olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, spinach, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the spinach is wilted. Remove from the heat.

In a blender, add the tofu and the spinach mixture and blend together until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large bowl, add the tofu mixture and the red pepper mixture. Mix together well.

Now pour the the filling into the pie crust and smooth out the top.

Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes. The center will be a little jiggly but firms as it cools.

Michael’s only complaint was it needed more salt, which as I’ve mentioned before I am a salt queen so I held back on the salt while making it so he would not be overwhelmed.

But I loved it, so making this again sometime.

I promise I will post blog more regularly again now that my life is back together!

Happy Easter! Would You Like Some Green "Eggs" from Sam?

Happy Easter and happy spring! I thought I would make myself a little brunch today. I had some left over pierogi filling from last night, so I thought something egg-like with potatoes would be nice. Of course vegans do not eat eggs, but we make awesome things with tofu. Tofu scrambles are a great breakfast staple, but I wanted something a little fancier for Easter.

I found a recipe for Tofu Quiche with Spinach and Broccoli on VegWeb, and thought it would be tasty.  Instead of making a crust, I used my pierogi filling as a base and made little mini quiches. You can use just plain mashed potatoes or even instant too.

So creamy!

I used hemp milk in this recipe because it is my favorite non-dairy milk. It’s creamier and a little sweeter than soy milk. I haven’t been able to find it in Hilo, but to my delight I saw some in the health food store yesterday. You can use whatever milk you prefer.

I also decided to puree my tofu filling to make it all green in honor of my favorite childhood book, Green Eggs and Ham. Purees are a good way to get more vegetables into your meals, especially for picky little kids.

 
Green Mini Quiches
1 cup prepared pierogi filling or mashed potatoes
1 tub of extra firm tofu, drained
1/2 cub hemp milk
1/4 cup spinach, frozen or fresh
1 cup broccoli
1 clove garlic
1/4 of an onion
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbs turmeric
pinch of salt

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

I saved my stems for a stir-fry later this week.

Chop the broccoli into smaller pieces. They are going into a blender so don’t worry about size too much. Make sure to save the stem, it’s really the best part. Just peel off the outer tough layer. The inside is sweet and tender.

If you use fresh spinach, just tear it up a little first. If you use frozen, thaw it first.

Chop the onion and garlic a little too.

So easy, no hard chopping or mixing.

Drain your tofu and place into a blender or food processor. Add the broccoli, spinach, onion, and garlic. Pour in the hemp milk. Blend until smooth.

Lovely green color

 Next add the nutritional yeast, turmeric, and salt. Turmeric turns whatever you cook bright yellow so it’s normally used in tofu scrambles to make it look like eggs. But the pureed spinach and broccoli overpower the color, so the turmeric is more for flavor and it’s amazing health benefits.

Make sure the bases are even so the filling doesn’t leak.

Now spray a muffin or cupcake tin well with cooking spray. Evenly line the bottom of each cup with your potato mixture.

Fill to the top.

Pour the tofu filling on top of each potato base. Tofu does not rise like eggs, so don’t be shy about filling to the top.

They smell so good.

Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until the quiches no longer jiggle in the middle.

Let them rest for 5 minutes before serving. I have to confess they can be hard to remove so just be careful.

I topped mine with fresh tomatoes and a little vegan sour cream. It went nicely with a cup a green tea.

All the taste of eggs, and no cholesterol and loads of fiber.

Even as a vegan, I am Sam, Sam I am!

Spinach and Mushroom Pizza

I wanted something different for my Friday night pizza this week, and thought sauce-less might be nice. I saw an amazing spinach pizza recipe when I was looking at other vegan blogs last night…but I can’t remember which one I saw it on. There are great vegan sites out there and one of them has a fantastic spinach pizza recipe that I based this on.

Thrawed on the counter for 5 hours

My pizza dough recipe makes 2 to 3 pizzas easily, so I freeze some for the next few weeks. It should freeze nicely, and I heard on some cooking show before that it can last for up to 3 months (though I usually eat mine within a month so I don’t know). Again, I suggest pre-baking the crust since the veggies do not take long to cook.




 

Spinach and Mushroom Pizza

1 pre-baked pizza crust (try mine)
1 tbs olive oil
1 clove of garlic, fine chopped
1 cup spinach, chopped (frozen or fresh)
1/8 cup red onion, sliced
1/2 mushroom, sliced
1/8 cup kalamata olives, chopped.  
Pinch of salt and pepper

Evenly spread the olive oil and chopped garlic on the pre-baked pizza crust.

If you use frozen spinach like I did, thaw and thoroughly drain it, or else your pizza will be soggy.  If you are using fresh, wash it well and coarsely chop.

Evenly spread the spinach over the crust, then spread on the onions on top.

If you use fresh mushrooms like I did, wash and dry them well before slicing. If you use canned, drain them thoroughly like the spinach to keep your pizza from getting soggy. Evenly spread on top of the spinach and onions.

Top with the olives, then sprinkle on a pinch or two of salt and pepper. If you like a kick, add some red pepper flakes too.

Bake for 7-10 minutes, until spinach and mushrooms are wilted.

It’s a nice change from the same old tomato sauce pizza, plus it will make you strong like Popeye 😛