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Posts Tagged ‘sauce’

Vegan, Gluten-free Fettucini Alfredo

I have fully admitted to my love-affair with pasta on this blog, many times. It is something I cannot live without and is almost always included in my weekly menu planning. Not only are pasta dishes simple and fun to create but they can easily be made with ingredients you have in the pantry and your refrigerator and many times can easily be made healthy. Even with the healthiest of pasta recipes, to me it is a major comfort food, it always will be. Probably the number 1 comfort food on my list.

Although I am on a cleanse, I wanted to make sure to experiment with at least one cleanse-friendly pasta dish. Of course, as I mentioned in my post about my cleanse, there are many different types of cleanses out there and many different items you can remove from your diet when cleansing. Obviously this recipe may not work on every cleanse. For me already being on a totally gluten-free diet, removing gluten when cleansing is never a major hassle or issue, but it is very important to a cleanse and to detoxify your body. For me one of the biggest things I like to remove from my diet while cleansing is dairy. I am not a milk drinker and I rarely cook with it, but cheese is what gets me. I love cheese. So with that in mind, I wanted to come up with a cleanse-friendly pasta dish that would bring the comfort of any other gluten-free pasta dish I would make, but with cleanse friendly ingredients.

I love gluten-free pastas and find them to be much lighter compared to traditional wheat-based pastas. I personally prefer brown rice pastas and I love Tinkyada brand organic pastas. They have three or less ingredients, organic brown rice, rice bran and water. That’s it. When I cleanse the majority of what I eat is fresh vegetables, legumes and whole grains – I certainly cannot go without pasta. Brown rice pasta falls within the constraints of my cleanse and though I don’t eat a ton of it, a dish like this is a perfect way to forget you are even cleansing at all. If you don’t care much for brown rice pasta, there are also corn and quinoa based gluten-free pastas that are also quite delicious, as well.

I decided when making this alfredo sauce rather than trying to experiment with different nut milks, which I knew wouldn’t give me the thick and creamy affect of an alfredo sauce, I would go the route of a raw nut based sauce. Cashews tend to be great for this. Even without excessive soaking, you can just add boiling hot water to cashews just before pureeing and get a delicious creamy sauce. I took the above photo the next day with the leftovers, since it was too dark to take photos the night we ate it. I honestly don’t think the image fully captures just how creamy the sauce really is, it is incredible. There isn’t an overwhelming nutty flavor to the sauce and by adding garlic, basil and some nutritional yeast, it’s very hard to tell that it is even dairy free. Beyond nutritional yeast’s nutty and cheesy flavor, is a great source of protein and fiber, it is rich in B-complex vitamins including B12 and it contains the glucose tolerance factor that helps in the regulation of blood sugar. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, it is definitely worth exploring adding it into your diet.

The beauty of this sauce is that it doesn’t actually need to be heated up, so if you like to eat raw, you could skip heating it up, use your favorite alternative raw noodle, like thinly sliced raw zucchini (or other raw vegetables), kelp noodles, etc and just pour the raw cashew cream sauce right over for a delicious and healthy raw meal.

I had some beautiful zucchini and yellow squash that we picked up at a farmers stand on our drive home from NYC so I added that and a carrot to the dish for some additional health-benefits as well as the very lovely colors. You could play around with many different vegetables here including fresh spinach, peas, etc.

I had a small amount of sauce leftover that I put in the fridge, I figured it would be delicious on some steamed broccoli or over a baked potato, etc. I have a feeling you will fall in love with this healthy alfredo sauce.

Soaking raw cashews for Vegan, Gluten-free Fettucini Alfredo

Veggies for Vegan, Gluten-free Fettucini Alfredo

Vegan, Gluten-Free Fettucine Alfredo
serves 6

1 1/2 cups raw, unsalted organic cashews
3 cloves garlic
1 cup warm water (you may need more)
3 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
14 ounces of your favorite gluten-free fettucine or linguini, I use Tinkyada’s organic brown rice pasta
handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 zucchini, julienned
1 yellow squash, julienned
1 carrot, peeled, julienned (or you can wash and peel the outside, then peel the entire carrot instead of julienning it, which is what I did)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the raw cashews in a glass bowl, cover in water. Let soak as little as a few hours or overnight.

In a large saucepan bring your water to a boil and cook your pasta according to package directions.

Drain the soaked cashews and rinse well, place into your food processor with garlic, salt, pepper and 1 cup of water. You may find you need to add more water if the sauce is too thick, but you can always add more. Process until smooth and creamy. Once it is at your desired consistency, add in the nutritional yeast, pulse a few times to combine. Set aside until you are ready to heat it up.

While your pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a skillet over a medium-high heat, add your julienned vegetables and sauté a few minutes until tender. Remove from heat.

Once the pasta is cooked, reserve 1/2 cup of your cooking liquid, drain and place in a large serving dish. Pour the alfredo sauce into the saucepan you used to cook your pasta and heat over a medium heat, stirring often to keep from sticking. Once warm, pour over the pasta.

Add the vegetables and fresh basil to the pasta and sauce. Toss to combine, adding some of the pasta cooking liquid if the sauce is too thick. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, topped with freshly chopped basil and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, if you wish.

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Mint Pesto

Last summer I made, what I later learned, to be a big mistake – I planted mint in our yard, not in any pot or planter, just in the dirt on the side of the yard near my vegetable and herb gardens. I originally planted it because I absolutely LOVE fresh homemade mojitos in the summer time. There is nothing more refreshing. The reason my planting of said mint turned out to be a mistake, was the fact that it has grown out of control and it is taking over that section of the yard. Because I have never grown it in my own yard, I didn’t realize how quickly it grows and how far it can spread. We travel so much, that getting into the yard and weeding my gardens gets increasingly difficult as the summer goes on. I know I should get out there more, but I don’t, so I always try to plant things that need very little upkeep. Well, mint definitely falls into that category. Early in the summer I took a look out in the yard to see the progress of things and I was floored at how the mint was spreading. It was crazy. So I made a lot of mojitos this summer. I also decided I needed to find other things to do with the mint. I mentioned something on Twitter and Kelly from Design Crush made the wonderful suggestion of mint pesto. I had never thought of that. So, earlier this summer I played around and made mint pesto to serve with gluten-free penne. It was sooo good that we ate it all up and I forgot to write-up my recipe or photograph it. Ooops. That just meant I needed to make it again. Darn.

This time around, I again served this over delicious organic gluten-free penne with some gluten-free crispy zucchini rounds on the side. We both were in heaven with this meal. This pesto, much like the original that we all know, is bright and light but chock full of flavors. I like my pestos garlicky, which gives a bit of a spicy kick, you can certainly take it down to one clove if you don’t like a lot of garlic (shame on you). I also love playing around with different nuts in my pestos. Most original basil pesto recipes call for pine nuts, which I really love, but they can be hard to find sometimes and many times are insanely expensive. I have played with both toasted almonds and walnuts in pesto recipes, both of which are absolutely equally delicious, if not more. I think any one of those nuts would be great in this mint pesto. I went ahead and still included some basil in this mint pesto, since I also grow that in my yard and I thought it would round out the flavor of the mint nicely, so it wouldn’t be too overpowering. Also, it should be noted, it is crucial to use a good quality olive oil in your pestos, since the sauce is left raw and is never cooked, the olive oil flavor remains in the forefront of the flavors, so you want it to be a good one.

In addition to all the usual dishes that pesto is great in; pasta, sandwiches, pizza, in soup, over a baked potato etc, – you could definitely use this mint pesto for other non-traditional uses as well, such as a marinade or served over-top grilled lamb or steak, etc, you could just skip the basil and cheese, maybe add some lemon juice and red pepper flakes and make it more of a Chimichurri style condiment. Have fun with it and make sure if you plant mint of any kind in your yard plant it in a pot, unless you are looking to be able to make enough mojitos and pesto to serve a small country.

Gluten-free Penne with Mint Pesto

Mint Pesto
makes approximately 1 cup

2 cups fresh mint
1 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds (walnuts or pine nuts would also be great)
2 medium-large cloves garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 – 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano, shredded (plus more for serving)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Place mint, basil, almonds, garlic and salt in a food processor; pulse a few times, and process until everything is finely chopped and combined. With the processor running, gradually pour the olive oil in and process until smooth. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides to get all the little bits. Add the parmigiano reggiano and pulse again until blended and smooth. Season with additional salt, if needed, and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

If you are serving this immediately, keep the sauce at room temperature and pour it over your cooked pasta (I used my usual gluten-free organic brown rice penne) and quickly stir to combine, top it with fresh parmigiano reggiano and serve immediately. I always recommend reserving approximately 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid from your pasta so you can add it in to the final dish, if need be, to thin the sauce if it is too thick.

If you aren’t serving this immediately, it can be stored in a tightly closed container in your refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Notes:

To toast sliced almonds, cook them over a medium-low heat in a small dry skillet, stirring and tossing constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, this will take less than 5 minutes.

If you’d like to freeze your pesto, leave out the parmigiano reggiano. When you’re ready use the pesto, defrost it first, then stir in the cheese.

Seri frolicking in our mass amounts of mint

Seri hiding out in the mass amount of mint in our yard, earlier this summer

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I’ve been making this lasagna recipe for years, it’s so simple and very delicious. It is best with a homemade sauce, but if you don’t have any on hand, a store-bought sauce will do. I would like to try it at some point this winter with homemade gluten-free pasta. I think that would set this recipe over the top. This lasagna is easy to make and if you are a household of 2, like we are, this provides 4 meals throughout the week. I love those types of meals this time of year. Something you can make on Sunday and eat through the week.

Gluten-free Vegetable Lasagna
adapted from Everyday Food Magazine, May/June 2003
Serves 8

4 cups (32 ounces) whole-milk ricotta cheese (organic if you can find it)
2 large farm fresh eggs
Salt and fresh ground pepper
2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen organic chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove excess moisture
6 cups store-bought or homemade tomato sauce
12 gluten-free lasagna noodles (I love Tinkyada’s organic brown rice lasagna noodles)
1 pound fontina cheese (4 cups), shredded
1/2 cup (+ a bit more for serving) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400º. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions.

In a medium bowl, whisk together ricotta cheese, eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes. Add spinach and 1/2 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, stir well to combine.

Spread a small bit of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Arrange a layer of lasagna noodles on top. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, followed by 1/3 of the remaining sauce; sprinkle with 1/3 of the grated cheese. Repeat to make two more layers, ending with cheese. If freezing, cover tightly with plastic wrap. Before baking, defrost in the refrigerator overnight.

Cover with aluminum foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil; continue baking until top is golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Let cool slightly before serving. Top each piece with a sprinkle of shredded parmesan reggiano cheese. Enjoy.

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I had a short time at home yesterday between leaving the studio and heading over to the Rock Harbor Yard to set up for the Hallwalls Artists & Models Stimulus event, that we are screen printing live at tonight. I decided since I was eating alone, it would be a good time to try something different and new (in the event I royally screwed it up). I came across this recipe from Anna Getty’s book Easy Green Organic that she shared on etsy and knew it was something I was going to love, since I have become a huge fan of quinoa. Quinoa is gluten-free, high in fiber and a complete protein which makes it a perfect grain for the gluten-free vegan. Quinoa is great as a replacement for rice or couscous.

I changed the original recipe a bit to what I had on hand and also to make it gluten-free. The original recipe called for adding shredded zucchini in addition to the carrots, but since I didn’t have any, I opted to go without. However, I definitely plan on making these again and including it.

The croquettes had just the perfect amount of “fried” crunch, that I actually felt like I was cheating and eating something unhealthy. The quinoa has such a beautifully nutty flavor and there is a subtle tartness from the cilantro sauce. I ate 3 of these as a meal, but they would be great as an appetizer or a side with grilled or roasted vegetables.

These turned out so good and I was sure my husband, Mark, could use a good snack. So, when I headed over to the warehouse to meet up with him, to start setting up our press and to print the first color on our poster, I decided to bring him a small leftover container of the croquettes, and a bit of the sauce to drizzle over. He was so happy and could not stop talking about them.


Quinoa Croquettes with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

Serves 6

Cilantro Yogurt Sauce:
1 large bunch fresh cilantro, stemmed
1/4 cup soy sauce (I used low sodium gluten-free tamari)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 small white onion, quartered (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup of non-fat greek yogurt (I used FAGE)
1/3 cup olive oil

Quinoa Croquettes:
1 cup quinoa, washed thoroughly*
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated on medium holes
1 scallion, finely chopped (white and green parts)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
6 sprigs fresh parsley, stemmed and minced
1 large egg
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1 tablespoon tapioca flour
Vegetable oil for cooking

(if you don’t wish to make these gluten free, omit the brown rice and tapioca flours and just use 1/4 cup all purpose flour)

To make the sauce, combine the cilantro, soy sauce, vinegar, and onion in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Stop the motor and add the yogurt and olive oil. Blend until creamy. Transfer the sauce to a container with a lid and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

To make the croquettes, combine the rinsed quinoa with 2 cups of water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the water is completely absorbed. Remove from the heat and transfer to a medium bowl to cool.

When cool add the carrot, scallion, garlic, salt, parsley, egg, and flours. Mix well. Using your hands, form the mixture into patties about 1/2 inch thick and 2 inches in diameter.

Pour just enough oil into a large skillet to cover the bottom of the pan, and heat the oil over medium heat. Working in batches, lay the quinoa cakes in the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. (You can probably cook 5 to 6 patties at once.) When the cakes are golden, turn them over and cook until the second side is golden. (Check by lifting up a side with a spatula.) Add additional oil as needed, and remove any brown bits that accumulate in the pan as you cook.

Remove the cakes from the pan and place them on a plate lined with a recycled brown paper bag. Serve hot, drizzled with the Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. Or put the yogurt sauce in a bowl for dipping.

*The key to cooking quinoa is to make sure to adequately rinse the quinoa through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the bitter protective saponin coating that protects the grain from being eaten by birds and insects.


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